Dr Rod Everett, a local-to-Lancaster farmer has recently developed a resilient food check list as part of FoodFutures work in Lancaster. This document is now available to read online and we are keen to hear your thoughts on it. Is anything missing? Could things be worded better? How could we use this document locally?
The check list explores the question: ‘what is a resilient food system’? by exploring 15 qualities that Rod thinks are important for a food system to move towards resilient sustainability. In exploring topics, ‘stopping actions’ are suggested- for example banning exploitative practices such as chemical farming. Measures are also suggested to minimize damage, support and improve specific conditions e.g. build soil health and biodiversity.
In talking about resilience the checklist refers to ‘food systems that can adapt and transform themselves in such a way that no matter what the future looks like, they can still produce enough healthy food’ – food that can be accessed by everyone; that avoids environmental damage and contributes to livelihood generation. All are important qualities given the current political and environmental instability we face!
The 15 topics explored include: Supporting local seed varieties adapted to climatic conditions; building natural soil fertility; encouraging regenerative farming systems that build soil health; taking measures to support animal health;shifting the whole food system away from fossil fuels and towards renewable energy.
It encourages the creation of a system that provides workers (from field to fork) with a regular ongoing living wage that is enough to support a family lifestyle from generation to generation without the need for subsidy. A system that supports cooperation rather than competition.
In terms of human health, the checklist encourages us to think about producing food that supports excellent human health throughout the year – food that is fresh and contains no residual agro-chemicals. It also suggests that the food we eat should provide mental and emotional stimulation when eaten.
When you think through your daily diet, does the food you eat provide mental and emotional stimulation? Does it provide this in a positive way?
Not only is this document an interesting read (that also raises lots of questions) but it presents itself as a potentially useful evaluation document. It could be used by organisations and individuals throughout the food supply chain to self-evaluate their own practice for example. It could also guide FoodFutures own strategy work.