Our current food system needs to be overhauled. Farmers and food producers will not need to be told that their efforts are often currently hugely undervalued. Environmentalists will no doubt be well aware of the problems inherent in current agricultural and food systems. Those living in food deserts will already know well the injustice inherent in our food systems and that fresh, local, organic food is not readily available to all. A sustainable food system would obviously have to address all of these issues.
Reforming our food systems will take a lot of work. But is should be an urgent priority. As we reassess all societal systems due to the coronavirus, we need to be clear on the changes that can and should be made.
One of the major issues in current food systems is the disconnect between growers and producers and the average consumer. Many people pay little regard to where their food has come from, let alone where it was grown. Farmers in rural areas often have little real connection with city dwellers eating what they grow. And city dwellers are often entirely in the dark about what those growing their food are really facing.
We need to bridge that gap. And creating a series of local food hubs is one key step that we could take to achieve that goal. A local food hub is a sales venue or eatery that serves as a bridge to market for growers. It can be a place where sustainable growers in a bioregion can come together, and connect direct with customers in the heart of a town or city.
Unlike a typical farmer’s market, these would be permanent venues, accessible not only to the wealthy. They would be places where people not usually able to connect with sustainable food production would have access not only to the food, but also to information. But through which producers can save on distribution costs and use collective power to compete more effectively with supermarkets and other larger outlets.
In some places, of course, such food hubs in some form or another already exist. But in other areas, they are missing entirely or in short supply. As an individual, as a small business owner, or by galvanising your community, you could play a key role in creating new food hubs, and developing the infrastructure we need for a more sustainable food system.