Oh, sorry, I'm new to this and not sure what goes where. Inspiration. I'm a big fan of Community Supported Agriculture, which is a bit like what Elizabeth described but is a one-on-one relationship with a particular farm. You sign up in the early spring and pay a certain rate, usually depending on how much produce you want every week, and you pay up front because the farmer needs the money to buy seeds and equipment at the beginning of the season. Then, every week you go to a pick-up spot and get your allotment of whatever is growing, usually a wide variety of things. Some farms include meat and dairy as well. It's an excellent deal and puts the consumers directly in touch with both the farmers and the reality of food production -- certain foods are only available in certain seasons, for example. I also like urban farmers markets, which I'm seeing more and more.
Wow, there are so many levels on which to address this. There is a program in Philadelphia where they grow food on unused urban land, http://www.phillyorchards.org/. I think that helps because it helps the urban population see what goes into the process of caring for food producing plants. But education seems to be the main issue. I don't think many urban consumers think about the fact that Chile uses pesticides that have been banned in the US when they're buying fruit in the winter, or of the cost of transporting it. Transportation cost is a major issue both because of the pollution it causes, and because of the wars we have to go to to get the fuel for it. Another issue regarding sustainability practices is family farm vs. agribusiness. Wouldn't it be great if food could come up with some sort of "sustainability rating" that took into account a) how far the food had traveled, and b) the farming practices used to produce it? Maybe farmers with a higher sustainability rating could be subsidized to reward them for not relying on agrochemicals/cheap labor/externalized transportation costs to go for the lowest bottom line and to help them be competitive?