GENERATION FOOD: All meals are local

Want to get into a heated argument? Start a conversation about the methods we use to grow our food. Whether you’re supporting the current norm for agriculture (big, mechanized farms using an array of chemical products) or something that seems much greener (organics and other methods of ecological farming), you’ll likely have no trouble finding someone who disagrees with you. Vehemently. At some point, that person will tell you that you’re arguing for the starvation of millions — regardless of which side you’re on.

The problem with both sides of this debate is that they tend to buy into global solutions, and food itself, along with the practices used to grow it, are very localized. In the developed world, our “cuisine” has become largely homogenized by chain restaurants and supermarket standards, but a home-cooked dinner in Boston still looks quite different from one in Atlanta. Less developed parts of the world have likely maintained their food cultures more successfully, though many have been thrown for a loop with environmental changes. The point is that there aren’t just two methods for growing and harvesting food — there are thousands of them.

That’s the focus of GENERATION FOOD, a documentary project by filmmaker Steve James and author Raj Patel. They’re pulling together stories from around the world that show how people make use of local resources to grow the food they eat, as well as how they’re adapting to environmental changes wrought by global warming, water shortages and topsoil loss. When complete, James and Patel plan not only to release a film and book, but also to have built an online community of people willing to share their own stories about the food they eat.

James and Patel just announced GENERATION FOOD this month, and have launched a fundraising campaign on Indiegogo in support of it. Check out the introductory video below, and if you’re so moved, kick in a few bucks in support. They’ve chosen a flexible funding campaign, so they will get whatever funds are pledged by August 17.

If you want to fight about food, take it somewhere else! But if you’ve got stories to share about innovative ways people are feeding themselves around the world, please share them with us.


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Photo credit: Screen capture from “Generation Food Project — Campaign Launch Video”