Food System Network

We see ourselves as a tiny part of a huge system of food producers and food ‘eaters’ that is just beginning to develop its own "consciousness". Those of us around the world who have been working for many years on our various small and large projects are just beginning to find one another. A network is emerging and ‘neural pathways’ are forming which are allowing us to ‘think big.’ We are still very much at the stage of becoming aware of each other’s issues and perspectives. What do steelworkers have in common with environmentalists? What differences? What do shrimp fishers in India have in common with coffee farmers in Colombia.

How can we work together to help each other achieve our goals and to resolve our differences? International dialogues between the ‘intellectual’ elements of all these disparate groups are addressing this question. This is important because it gives us hope that what evolves will have some coherent consciousness, which will be able to come up with some sensible solutions to our various problems.

But just as important is for those of us ‘on the ground’ to make those connections in our own local situation. We at Swanton Berry Farm try to deal with the full range of ‘barriers’, which often divide us from our neighbors. Can we deal with labor issues and economic issues? Can we create an organization which does this on an ongoing basis without self-destructing? So far we seem to have been successful at beginning to deal with all this at once. Twenty-three years, after all, is just a beginning.

Swanton Berry Farm is committed to contributing to this dialogue. In this vein, you might want to look at Jim’s concept piece on an alternative food system, "A New Architecture for the California Food System."