Disrupt & Support

I’ve spent a bit of time on Twitter lately, for my sins, and have been simply astounded at how many people are out there who’re working on a more planet & people friendly food system.

I’ve seen everything from hydroponics to beekeepers, urban designers to organic cosmetic boxes, bloggers & restaurant owners, environmental engineers to grass roots GMO activists.

It’s been really encouraging – we know we’re backing a swelling movement, and we’re here all guns blazing ourselves.

Our view is one of disruption of the status quo, and support of the individuals, communities & organisations who’re getting on with creating a better world.  We aim to disrupt the existing food distribution system – one which wields so much power – by directly supporting the farmers, community food enterprises & small scale food distributors with the tools to enable a local food movement.

Software is our team’s background (well except for mine which is environmental conservation & business..) so we were in a good position to create the web 2.0 tools for the people we know can create the kind of food system which will support people & planet more readily than the holders of the power in the industrialised food distribution, who are simply ‘working for their shareholders’.

Too much power in food distribution will cause a problemDisruption is important – it can create systemic change. Take what Napster did to the music industry for example; one simple innovation in digitising and sharing files has blown apart a system which is still re-sprouting in its wake – those that try to fight or cling on to the old paradigm will eventually be left behind. Those that embrace, innovate, and find new ways – will be rewarded with inheriting a new system.  We see disruption of the power balance of food distribution in the same way.

We realise of course that we are not going to do this on our own – in fact the ground work is already well underway – food hubs, vege box schemes, organic farmers, fair food bloggers, sustainability consultants, local food enterprise resources, education & future thinkers are already doing stirling work in this area.  That’s why we’re working with local & friendly food champions like Food Connect and the Soil & Health Association, who are doing great work in education, advocacy & research into what a sustainable food system looks like.

In the meantime, before our launch, we look forward to hearing from you about what your view of a better food system is, and how you’re working towards it.

2 thoughts on “Disrupt & Support

  1. The extent of the #locafood movement is extraordinary, isn’t it Sam! I’ve been very attentive to this via the growth of Transition Towns movement which dovetails so nicely into it. It’s only 4 years, since TT’s initial national gathering and workshops in New Zealand, and TT and in that time the local food movement have grown at a phenomenal rate.

    This gives me great hope, that we are making the necessary changes from the globalised, industrialised and fossil fuel dependent food systems – to relocalised, diverse, compassionate food systems that take all all life (including human) into account while growing and sharing healthy life-supporting food.

    What I love is that the whole change in digital technology is supporting real-worl actions, by reducing the cost of transaction. The inclination to centralise and globalise because of so-called efficiencies, was more about efficiencies in the extraction of wealth from food producers and food consumers.

    Components of the new food distribution systems, like Bucky Box and Ooooby (Out of our own backyards), being two I’ve been at the start of, are putting the power back in the hands of the producers and the people who eat the produce. They are building more direct connections between them, with ripple on benefits that are frankly astounding.

    Amongst the benefits is reducing the distance from food to plate, reducing energy costs and dependence on finite fossil fuels. Greater awareness for how the land is treated and the food produced, is a natural side effect – no food grower wants his customers to be unhealthy, and to continue to be able to grow food in a post-carbon world he has to close the nutrient loops, look after his soil and conserve the water supplies. The social benefits are endless and in a class of their own. The list goes on.

    I like the disruption diagram, as it points to how quickly things can change when we make a change of habit, and break the cycle. And what I like is that it allows us to turn from resisting a system (that we now now is unsustainable) to focus attention on the new systems we’re building.

    We know the principles to attend to: Earth Care, People Care, Fair Share, and the details are working themselves out. I see the teams of people behind this change, starting to celebrate, as we see it working. The vision of a diverse local food system is sprouting up before our eyes.

  2. Thanks for your note James – such a depth of experience and knowledge behind this.

    We really look forward to hearing people’s perspectives on this issue – whether it’s over the blog / social media / offline channels. We’re here for the impact, and we’re here to listen.