At the culmination of this class I see that the main issues in not only our food system, but in climate change and over consumption as a whole, are open ended circles. We live within unsustainable linear relationships with earth that do not resemble natural processes.
As an action group we used our group mind to approach closing one of these loops in Seattle. Perhaps it is presumptive to say “close the loop” because our reliance on non renewable energy and un-sustainable growing practices in the United States means that there isn’t a way currently to create a city wide sustainable loop of food.(Brown) We however could use the “wasted” food to fix our cities issue of hunger. Solving hunger by using the waste of the large food industry in Seattle allows us to prevent the use of more “new” food as well as meets the basic needs of a population that may not otherwise be met.
Our focus was on solving a problem in Seattle without creating a new one. We approached it this way in order to not only increase food security, but also address food waste and the toll that our agricultural practices take on the earth and third world populations. The difficulty of implementing circular systems is that each piece of the circle must be in place. In trying to use excess food that has already been prepared to feed our hungry populations, there is not the same symbiosis found in natures systems. It proved quite difficult to get catering companies and/or restaurants to be interested in the idea, and even if they seemed like they were there was questions of the legality.
The difficulties we encountered made it evident that we can only create cyclical systems by making them the norm. It is challenging to try to break out of the status quo to try something new, there must be an education phase, so we decided to take on that phase. Due to the confusion at multiple levels of our project, we created an informational brochure to educate food serving establishments about the importance and ease of donating food. We also connected them with organizations that had more resources than us to pick up and deliver food for them and coordinate with shelters to best utilize it. This plan was not as exciting for us, and I can’t say we quite attained our goal, but it was the next step to creating a sustainable process.
Bringing people together is a skill, one that I am learning to develop. I tip my hat to each group member for their ingenuity when solving the roadblocks we faced, and it is evident we all learned along the way. After this project it is my hope and expectation that each of our ability to organize will be more developed and effective.