A Breakthrough MomentJune 16, 2011 Leave a comment
The storming had begun. For the first few meetings, the team had engaged in “feel good” conversations, getting to know one another, breaking bread together, laughing, and bonding around their shared desire to build a stronger local food system to ensure community food security. They had agreed to a set of values and a vision to guide their work. Now they were diving into more of the specifics. What would the scope of the work be and what wouldn’t it include?
The convenor, a strongly affiliative and passionate visionary, had been sitting back for some time as people shared their opinions about the definition of “local.” Could we really only focus on strengthening the in-state system? Would that be enough to meet the goal of community food security? Perhaps not, but building more local capacity was critical. Clearly the state would benefit economically from a more connected and robust food system. And people would benefit from greater direct access to food growing near them. Yes, but focusing only in state might not ultimately address the issue of lack of affordability of (and therefore access to) healthy food, especially for those who most need it due to health issues. Points were made about the need to think beyond state lines, to the region, to imported food as at least part of the key to ensuring that no one would go hungry or suffer from poor nutrition. Heads began nodding.
Our convenor smiled. She looked around the room and said, “This is precisely why you were invited to this table. You are all so committed and smart. I come to this conversation with my own opinions and biases that I have made known. I believe very strongly that this state and its residents need to have greater production capacity. And having listened to this conversation I really understand the points you are making. And I am convinced. We need to think bigger. That IS our work.”