OpenIDEO is an open innovation platform. Join our global community to solve big challenges for social good. Sign up, Login or Learn more

Vibrant Food Cycles

Food is power. It's the way communities get our energy.

Photo of Meaghan  Orlinski
4 5

Written by

Human civilization flurished when we mastered agriculture. In wars, the most effective tactic is to cut off food supplies. Meals are defining moments that forge bonds and create ties. They say the stomach is they way to a person's heart. It's the basis of life.

We hear it over and over again- you are what you eat. What we are then becoming is unreal, far removed from our roots, over processed and lacking substance. How can the SAD (Standard American Diet) create vibrant communities?

How can we change food so it is not a foreign, industrialized creation? How can we make our food real and lasting, not based on subsidies and multinational agri-corps that take power away from the people? How can we return to food that nourishes the heart and mind and builds us as humans, not just expands our waists and temporarily fills a void?

Traditionally, with animals and humans, when resources have been depleted in one field or valley, it is time to move on to the next. So, in hopes of keeping people from moving on to greener pastures, how can we restore this wealth in areas that are depleted of these resources?

This inspiration follows the thread of food and nature in vibrant communities, and the people and movements that inspire me.

GROWING POWER
Will Allen has been making changes and helping add vibrancy to Millwaukee and Chicago's South side for over a decade. His growing intensive strategies, and intensive composting, provides communities with jobs, access to healthy foods, beautiful plants to admire, healthy focuss for at risk-youth and turns abandonned lots previously used for drugs and prostitution into community hubs filled with life.

EVERGREEN CANADA
Evergreen in Toronto is a multifaceted NGO that raises awareness and educates about greening cities, making them more vibrant and self-sufficient. Their slogan is "Imagine Your City With Nature." Clean air, healthy transportation, local food and educating children is their mandate. Their location in the historical Brickworks shows the power of revitalization- turning an old abandoned factory into a cultural and business center that is an inspiration to the city.

THE BROOKLYN GRANGE
Utilizing crumbing infrastructure to grow local yummy food, and educate the next generation of farmers to grow the new economy of urban food. A community start up, and cooperative to believes in commerce and has some of the best restaurants in NYC as their clients.

SOUL GARDENS
A community initiative in North America's most intensive drug use area, Vancouver's Downtown East Side. It provides healthy food to a community desperate for nourishment, a point of pride in an area that is lacking, and a source of hope and work for the community. It’s an exit out of a cycle of concrete and lack of life. It also provided me with amazing, yummy and fresh tomatoes, peppers, greens and herbs this past summer.
 
A book to be launched in January 2012 that documetns three men as they road trip through America as they explore the exploding urban agricultural scene.
 
 
In nature when a tree becomes old, its hollows are used by animals for shelter, from it’s trunk grows mushrooms, and it’s branches supports new growth like the magical mistletoe. When the tree falls over, from its decay supports and sprouts new life. It’s not sad or seen as a “negative” thing… it is simple the cycles of life. How can we change our minds to look at our cities like a tree; to see decay and decline as new opportunities for shelter and growth?

4 comments

Join the conversation:

Comment
Photo of Vesna

Hi Meaghan,

Like an idea, actually was even thinking to write something about the food markets.
A few ideas from the other world:
Temporary food markets:
Christmas and Fish Market in Stuttgart;
(http://www.stuttgarter-weihnachtsmarkt.de/index.php?id=124)
Food markets from Borneo (can send you a few pics)
Permanent food markets:
Bohnenviertel Stuttgart (previously a black zone, and prostitution part, in the center of Stuttgart, now a place with cozy restaurants and coffee shops)
http://www.bohnenviertel-stuttgart.de/
So, go for it! Keeping thumbs!

View all comments