Thursday 1 October 2009

Local Food - How to make it happen in your community


Local Food - how to make it happen in your community

Tamzin Pinkerton & Rob Hopkins
(Green Books), £12.95. pp.216

“If you want to find a way into Transition, choose food,” Rob Hopkins once said. Hopkins, a teacher of permaculture and co-founder of the Transition movement, sees the re-establishing of local food networks as core to the Transitional shift from our fossil-fuel dependence to a low-carbon way of life. How we engage physically in this process is by learning how to share our lives and work together in a practical and imaginative way.

Community food projects are one of the key entry points into this new co-operation with people, plants and places, and Local Food is an invaluable handbook in how to set them up, the philosophy behind them, and the different areas they cover, including CSAs, community orchards, garden shares, food coops, school gardens and directories. Inside its pages are detailed reports and tips from world-wide initiatives, as well as “mission statements” from community food activists, from Growing Communities in Hackney to the fruit gleaning project, Abundance, in Sheffield. The majority of the examples are from Transition initiatives but there is also a strong band of UK local food projects that work in a similar collaborative spirit. There is an excellent resources section at the back and profiles of some ground-breaking work by individuals (Sandor Ellix Katz’s work on wild fermentation for example is an eye-opener).

If there is one criticism of this clear and well-researched guide it is that the vibrancy and voices of the ordinary people taking part in these endeavours doesn’t fully come across. And it is the enthusiasm and reciprocity that is commonly experienced from regenerating the earth together and creating a future within the neighbourhood that makes this modern “call to spades” so attractive. Dig it!

Charlotte Du Cann

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