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"Inspiration and Innovation"
I am an artist and designer living in the Bay Area. I earned an MFA from SFAI (San Francsico Art Institute), focusing on photography and interrelated media. My interests are in social practices and digital media and how the two things combined can generate dialog and effect positive social change. I love animals, especially dogs and pigs, but hate mayonnaise. I travel often, and have a special place in my heart for South Africa and Mexico.
I'm not sure I agree with Duncan. I think we've created a social system that requires large-scale food production, but it is not a fixed system. I think communities, on the neighborhood scale, might want to consider bringing food production to their backyards or a shared, accessible lot. But that will require folks to get real about the food they are buying. It is not normal to eat mangoes any time of the year because they don't grow in the US. So people will have to make tough choices such as foregoing the mango and buying a regionally specific, seasonal fruit. I know it's hard, because I love tropical fruits—the more exotic, the better—but I would be willing to give them up in if meant having a more sustainable system that deepens interpersonal relationships between producers, retailers and consumers.
This challenge was a particularly challenging one. I found myself at a loss for concepts that hadn't already been proposed. I also found myself wondering exactly how do you get people to care about where their food comes from in a way that isn't paternalistic or that requires complex logistics. Then, while I was in Mexico, I spoke to a woman who worked for the USDA in the fifties or sixties. She told me that the USDA had a team of employees who were sent to preschools, childcare facilities and the homes of new mothers to teach them about nutrition and healthy eating. Of course the program was terminated at some point, but I thought it was such a brilliant idea. Providing face-to-face meetings with people to show them how simple it can be to eat well. Additionally, they were getting to people at an early stage in life. I'll definitely be applauding those concepts that create an interpersonal framework and targets young people. I'll also be keeping my out for concepts that smartly employ new technologies; in other words, concepts that understand technology is a facilitator not the main attraction.