Food security: it sounds so formal, but the concept is actually very simple. If you can eat fresh and healthy food every day, you are food secure. If you struggle to buy or grow or glean enough food for yourself and your family, you are food insecure.
Increasingly, there is a focus on developing food secure communities. A community has food security when it builds networks to grow, harvest, and share healthy food with everyone. Concerns about peak oil and the growing need for relocalization have given life to the local food movement. Food security is part of the bigger picture of local self-reliance. By growing our own food in our own communities, we increase everyone’s ability to eat healthy local food, now and in the future.
How does food security happen? There are many ways.
• Creating school and community gardens
• Growing urban gardens on balconies and rooftops
• Sharing yard space with your neighbour so that everyone can grow food
• Growing garden plots in back and front yard gardens
• Harvesting and gleaning unwanted food and sharing it with those in need
• Visiting farmers’ markets and building new ones
• Developing links between farmers and those who eat the food that they grow
You can find resources to strengthen the food security in your neighborhood. As you dig deep into community organizations, you will find that many of them have an interest in food. Seniors’ organizations talk about health and poverty. Organizations for children focus on hot lunch programs. Schools grow community gardens. Gardeners enjoy growing vegetables. All of these local organizations are part of the food security movement in your community, but they might not think of themselves as such. Bringing them together can yield exciting connections and a fusion of ideas that creates new programs and projects in your community.
There are national organizations that can help as well.
The Community Food Security Coalition has an email list that links people across and within communities.
Farm to family and Local Harvest are both databases of farmers and farmers’ markets so that you can discover the produce in your local area.
Why Hunger has a database of community food security projects across the United States.
Slow Food celebrates local food and good, conscious eating.
The American Community Garden Association can help you find a garden near you, where you can grow your own food.
The number of organizations focused on community food security is abundant and growing. If you are starting a community based food security initiative in your area, lean on those with experience and ask them for resources to help you get started. There is a lot of wisdom out there if you know where to look.