Thursday, 28 February 2013

Keeping it Local


The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) has named Mongolia, as the Global Host of World Environment Day 2013, and, in partnership with TreeHugger, whose work channels green issues through science, design, technology, business and much more, are running a really exciting blogging competition.
The contest winner will be flown to Mongolia for World Environment Day which falls on 5 June. I'd love to be that person!
So I dedicate this blog post in line with the rules of the competition and theme of World Environment Day, Think. Eat.Save – Reduce your Foodprint!
My belief is that ‘keeping it local’ is the way forward, to achieving sustainable ways to feed ourselves. My view is if we can tap in to the social consciences of people who connect, day to day, directly with villagers, city and town folk; we could really be on to something! We are all one big society, remember? I’ll digress from this matter for now, but there will be more on my ideas around community led projects if I’m lucky to make it to the second round of blogging.
I acknowledge that it is no longer a new idea that to reduce our ‘foodprints’ we need to highlight specifics and address things at local level. Those who know me personally, or who subscribe to my online outlets or interact with me via social media, will not argue the fact that I am someone who champions the value and sense of community and its importance.
Globally, in all things relating to agriculture and farming, food production, research and education, progression can bring about giant leaps while new threats can hold back advancement. Alleviating problems to do with scarcity of food for some, and poor health due to bad diet is wide spread. The well being of the population and the environment is a worldwide concern, yet all of these pressing matters are mirrored in a domestic sense too. My first port of call to deal with any kind of big issue would be to seek advice, help or action from local government. Would this be a waste of my time?
We know Local Authorities in the UK have little or no money to support organizations that wish to lead communities in tackling the problems of wasted resources in food production and transport. Regeneration departments have lost their way as to how they can be effective, and seem blissfully unaware that answers to problems could lie relatively close by. Just a little more imagination and less bureaucratic restriction when it comes to interdepartmental communications would be a good starting point.
Councils here, claim, that they respond to the needs of the community, but any new food business knows it has to be financially independent right from the off. Yet start-ups, however enterprising, are unable to provide any large scale solutions to environmental matters and the health and prosperity of people around food supply and transportation etc, without the help of policy makers and some show of backing from government departments. It is a dilemma.
It is impossible not to get political when setting about any task which involves policies to do with the food supply chain. UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner says 'Mongolia will demonstrate to the world that a transition to a Green Economy is possible.' I want to know what level of help people have managed to acquire from governing bodies when starting up their own social enterprise or food related business. Discuss.

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