What would thriving and sustainable food systems in British Columbia look like?
Imagine: Food sovereignty is a reality for communities around the province; there are more farmers growing food locally; farmers are making a good living; food production is building soil health, increasing biodiversity, and providing other ecosystem services; equity and inclusion are at the forefront of our food systems from seed to plate; agricultural emissions are drastically reduced; food is produced and sold with accountability and transparency; and communities connect directly with those who grow, raise, and catch their food.
Telling new and better stories is an integral part of working toward change. Imagining alternatives to our current food systems is the beginning of making new ones. We invited folks to start imagining and sharing stories of hope and transformation, aiming to create space for people to share their vision of sustainable food systems in BC.
Stories shape how we understand the world, our place in it, and our ability to change it.” – Ella Saltmarshe, Using Story to Change Systems
What differences would thriving and sustainable food systems make? How would they change the food security of our communities, the climate impact of our agriculture, the resilience of our province, the robustness of our local economies, the protection of our soil health, and the way we live and eat?
Why visioning is important
In ‘The case for imagination’, A Growing Culture describes how the importance of stories has become increasingly prevalent to them in their work that focuses on systems change in food and agriculture. They write that while systems change comes up a lot, the often-missed critical question is, “Can we even imagine systems beyond the ones we have now?”If we do not have a vision for what our food systems could look like, how can we hope to create positive change? Click To Tweet
A Growing Culture goes on to describe how spending time reimagining, “Allows the space for individual communities to identify the unique barriers to realizing this vision in their own contexts, and to come up with innovative, creative solutions.”
In 2021, the National Farmers Union (NFU) published an inspirational vision of agriculture and food systems in Canada. In the introduction to the report, the authors describe that “What follows is neither prediction nor projection.” What they describe as the importance of the report, however, “Is the realization that safe and positive paths exist, that they can be afforded, and that they offer many benefits beyond just curbing emissions of greenhouse gases.”
In other words, to work towards change, we need to recognize that there are positive paths forward.
What can you imagine for the future of the food systems you engage with and are part of?