The World Food System is a Living System

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The world food system as it currently functions is not sustainable. In the contemplative practice of lesson two we were asked to think about the systems involved in the food we eat. I make a concerted effort to eat locally grown and unpackaged foods but this contemplation helped me to imagine what my diet would be if I truly ate a local diet. I live in southern Germany. I would not be drinking coffee each morning or black tea. As I am writing this, in February, my diet would consist of foods such as cabbages (fresh or preserved as Sauerkraut), potatoes, apples, carrots, onions, beets, celery root, pumpkin, and winter greens like arugula.This practice has inspired me to reinvest in local recipes and blogs that feature the local produce and traditional German fare.

Thinking about the interconnectedness of the world food system helped me to understand the importance of local traditional diets. The crops grown prior to the green revolution shaped the palates and traditions of local people. Returning to local traditional diets, eating produce only in season, and resuming to a more labour intensive yet environmentally sustainable way of farming that takes a systemic approach is clearly the way forward. I envision the return of backyard gardens and increasing food production in community gardens. We cannot continue to follow the capitalistic illusion of unlimited growth on a planet with finite resources. The world food system, as it exists today, is a living system that is being kept alive through a fossil fuel laden life support system. Returning to a local, traditional diet is one way I am moving my family toward sustainability.