New Clear Vision

constructive commentary for the chronically farsighted

Archive for the ‘Randel Hanson’

Shoulders to the Wheel

February 11, 2011 By: NCVeditor Category: Community, Culture, Ecology, Randel Hanson

Laying the Foundations for Sustainable Local Food Systems

by Randel Hanson

How do you create a locally harvested food system for a city of 100,000? This question is being asked presently in a seminar, in Duluth, Minnesota and the broader western Lake Superior region, as well as in many other cities across the United States. It was also an urgent local question a century ago.

Indeed, across the U.S. at the onset of the 20th century, public and private concerns were scrambling to get a handle on the haphazard ‘system’ that transformed nature into edible human culture within the rapidly urbanizing America. This was a chaotic, wasteful, and powerfully transformative period, with rural populations shifting into cities as the primary engine for economic activities turned from agrarianism to industrialization. The rapid growth of industrial cities forced an emerging ‘municipal responsibility’ for the various inputs and outputs of urban life. Public and private city planners in the late 19th century began to reflect upon and intervene into this laissez faire urbanization, including how to procure ample food of adequate quality and cost to citizens. In short, it became quite apparent that leaving the issue of food to the market was wholly inadequate to the demands of society from any number of perspectives. (more…)