This article focuses on what communities can do to take action on food issues. Appropedia's Food article is a more general and signposting article.

Community action projects[edit | edit source]

Allotment gardening[edit | edit source]

Typical allotments on the Käferberg hill in Zürich, Switzerland, Attribution: Roland zh

The Luxembourg-based Office International du Coin de Terre et des Jardins Familiaux, representing three million European allotment gardeners since 1926, describes the socio-cultural and economic functions of allotment gardens as offering an improved quality of life, an enjoyable and profitable hobby, relaxation, and contact with nature. For children, gardens offer places to play and to learn about nature, while for the unemployed, they offer a feeling of doing something useful as well as low-cost food. For the elderly and disabled, gardens offer an opportunity to meet people, to share in activity with like-minded people, and to experience activities like planting and harvesting. W

City farms[edit | edit source]

City farms are usually community-run projects in urban areas, which involve people interacting and working with animals and plants. They aim to improve community relationships and offer an awareness of agriculture and farming to people who live in built-up areas.

They vary in size from small plots on housing estates to larger farms that occupy a number of acres. It is estimated that more than three million people visit city farms each year and around half a million people work on them as volunteers. Although some city farms have paid employees, most rely heavily on volunteer labour, and some are run by volunteers alone. Others operate as partnerships with local authorities. W

Community fridge[edit | edit source]

A community fridge is a refrigerator (colloquially "fridge") located in a public space. Sometimes called freedges, they are a type of mutual aid project that enables food to be shared within a community. Some community fridges also have an associated area for non-perishable food. Unlike traditional food pantries, these grassroots projects encourage anyone to put food in and take food out without limit, helping to remove the stigma from its use. The fridges take a decentralized approach, often being maintained by a network of volunteers, community members, local businesses, and larger organizations. Food in community fridges is primarily donated by individuals or food rescue organizations and can be sourced from a variety of places. Major grocers like Trader Joe's and Whole Foods donate large amounts of excess foods to food rescue organizations that then donate to these fridges. The food donated would have otherwise been thrown out.

The main aim of community fridges is to reduce food insecurity, while also mitigating food waste. They enable people facing hardship to have easy access to fresh, nutritious food. Fridges offer a wide range of food from canned goods to fresh produce to pre-cooked meals. Pre-cooked meals are required to be labeled when donated. Many fridges also accept household items, sanitary goods, and during the COVID-19 pandemic, offered masks and other PPE. Community fridges can also serve as social spaces that enable people to connect to their communities; Shelterforce magazine notes that "community fridges seem to have discovered a sweet spot in service delivery: close enough to feel the warmth of shared humanity, but far enough to avoid a sense of resentment or burden." Many fridges also painted by from local artists.

Community gardening[edit | edit source]

Strathcona Heights Community Garden in Ottawa. Attribution: Tobi McIntyre

Community gardens provide fresh produce and plants as well as satisfying labor, neighborhood improvement, sense of community and connection to the environment. They are publicly functioning in terms of ownership, access, and management, as well as typically owned in trust by local governments or not for profit associations. W / Community gardens

Community-supported agriculture[edit | edit source]

Community-supported agriculture (CSA; sometimes known as community-shared agriculture) is an alternative, locally-based economic model of agriculture and food distribution. A CSA also refers to a particular network or association of individuals who have pledged to support one or more local farms, with growers and consumers sharing the risks and benefits of food production. CSA members or subscribers pay at the onset of the growing season for a share of the anticipated harvest; once harvesting begins, they receive weekly shares of vegetables and fruit, in a vegetable box scheme. Often, CSAs also include herbs, honey, eggs, dairy products and meat, in addition to conventional produce offerings. In theory a CSA can provide any product to its members, although the majority of CSA operations tend to provide produce, fruits, and various edibles. Some CSA programs also include cut flowers and various ornamental plants as part of their weekly pickup arrangement. Some CSAs provide for contributions of labor in lieu of a portion of subscription costs. While some CSAs include small community deliveries, other CSAs expand to large neighborhoods and beyond, centering with a farmer's market type setup where members can pickup their shares and establish an open forum for other topics that members may be interested in discussing. The farmer's market type CSA usually leads to a more dynamic community stemming from this pickup location. W / Main article: Community Supported Agriculture

Community-supported fishery[edit | edit source]

A community-supported fishery (CSF) is an alternative business model for selling fresh, locally sourced seafood. CSF programs, modeled after increasingly popular community-supported agriculture programs, offer members weekly shares of fresh seafood for a pre-paid membership fee. The first CSF program was started in Port Clyde, Maine, in 2007, and similar CSF programs have since been started across the United States and in Europe. Community supported fisheries aim to promote a positive relationship between fishermen, consumers, and the ocean by providing high-quality, locally caught seafood to members. CSF programs began as a method to help marine ecosystems recover from the effects of overfishing while maintaining a thriving fishing community. W

Food cooperative[edit | edit source]

A food cooperative or food co-op is a food distribution outlet organized as a cooperative. Food cooperatives are usually consumers' cooperatives where the decisions regarding the production and distribution of its food is chosen by its members. Food cooperatives follow the 7 Cooperative Principles and typically offer natural foods. Since decisions about how to run a cooperative are not made by outside shareholders, cooperatives often exhibit a higher degree of social responsibility than their corporate analogues. W

Garden sharing[edit | edit source]

Yardsharing arrangements can be made between friends, neighbors, families or unrelated groups. It is a decision to garden and grow food together. Yardsharing groups gather to share time, resources, space and skills in order to lower cost of food, lower miles that food travels to plate, teach kids about growing food and to make neighborhoods livable again.

Garden sharing is a local food and urban farming arrangement where a landowner allows a gardener access to land, typically a front or back yard, in order to grow food. This may be an informal, one-to-one relationship, but numerous Web-based projects exist to facilitate matchmaking. In some cases, garden sharing projects are launched as a way to shorten community garden waiting lists that are common in many cities. W

Gleaning or Food rescue[edit | edit source]

Gleaning is the act of collecting leftover crops from farmers' fields after they have been commercially harvested or on fields where it is not economically profitable to harvest. Some ancient cultures promoted gleaning as an early form of a welfare system. W

Food rescue, also called food recovery, is the practice of safely retrieving edible food that would otherwise go to waste, and distributing it to those in need. Organizations that encourage food recovery, food rescue, sharing, gleaning and similar waste-avoidance schemes come under the umbrella of food banks, food pantries or soup kitchens. W

Guerrilla gardening[edit | edit source]

Guerrilla gardeners planting vegetables in downtown Calgary. Attribution: Grant Neufeld

Guerrilla gardening is the act of gardening on land that the gardeners do not have the legal rights to utilize, such as an abandoned site, an area that is not being cared for, or private property. It encompasses a diverse range of people and motivations, ranging from gardeners who spill over their legal boundaries to gardeners with political influences who seek to provoke change by using guerrilla gardening as a form of protest or direct action. This practice has implications for land rights and land reform; aiming to promote re-consideration of land ownership in order to assign a new purpose or reclaim land that is perceived to be in neglect or misused. W / Guerrilla gardening

Organise food events[edit | edit source]

Examples include:

  • Celebratory feasts such as harvest festivals or just social gatherings centred around a meal: a potluck, bring and share food, or a potlatch, see United States#Free stuff
  • Free Compost Give Away Day
  • Solar Cookout, for example Sustainable NE Seattle's Second Annual Solar Cookout!

Regenerative agriculture[edit | edit source]

'From the Ground Up – Regenerative Agriculture'
Authors: festival21, Jul 28, 2019

Regenerative agriculture is a conservation and rehabilitation approach to food and farming systems. It focuses on topsoil regeneration, increasing biodiversity, improving the water cycle, enhancing ecosystem services, supporting biosequestration, increasing resilience to climate change, and strengthening the health and vitality of farm soil.

Regenerative agriculture is not a specific practice itself. Rather, proponents of regenerative agriculture use a variety of sustainable agriculture techniques in combination. Practices include recycling as much farm waste as possible and adding composted material from sources outside the farm. Regenerative agriculture on small farms and gardens is often based on philosophies like permaculture, agroecology, agroforestry, restoration ecology, keyline design, and holistic management. Large farms are also increasingly adopting such techniques, and often use "no-till" and/or "reduced till" practices.

As soil health improves, input requirements may decrease, and crop yields may increase as soils are more resilient against extreme weather and harbor fewer pests and pathogens.

Regenerative agriculture mitigates climate change through carbon dioxide removal, i.e. it draws carbon from the atmosphere and sequesters it.

School-community kitchens[edit | edit source]

School-Community Kitchens Concept Paper, Center for Ecoliteracy

Seed library[edit | edit source]

The Seed Library of Los Angeles. Attribution: Kathryn Brown

A seed library is an institution that lends or shares seed. It is distinguished from a seedbank in that the main purpose is not to store or hold germplasm or seeds against possible destruction, but to disseminate them to the public which preserves the shared plant varieties through propagation and further sharing of seed. Seed libraries usually maintain their collections through donations from members, but may also operate as pure charity operations intent on serving gardeners and farmers. A common attribute of many seed libraries is to preserve agricultural biodiversity by focusing on rare, local, and heirloom seed varieties. W

External links

Seed swap[edit | edit source]

Seed swaps can be arranged online or by mail, especially when participants are spread out geographically. Some events are organized as part of an educational effort, where visitors are taught gardening and growing skills and how to preserve an area's cultural heritage and biodiversity. W

Seedy Sunday[edit | edit source]

Seedy Sunday or Seedy Saturday is a catchphrase used for seed swap events that bring the public together with seed savers, to maintain and develop the open pollinated and heritage crop cultivars that are a resource in a community. In some communities the event is a gardening show or may feature local chefs using the heritage plants and seeds. The titles Seedy Saturday and Seedy Sunday are dedicated to the public domain by the event founder Sharon Rempel..[citation needed]

The heart of a Seedy Sunday or Seedy Saturday event is the swapping and sale of seeds or other propagation material for public-domain plant cultivars that that have been preserved or developed by individuals or families. These may not require high-input agriculture, and are variously described as landraces, folk varieties, farmer varieties and heritage seed. Sharing information about the social, cultural and culinary aspects of the seed is an important part of heritage seed saving around the world. Providing education about techniques for seed-saving, small-scale agriculture and horticulture, and about local, national and international laws that affect public-domain crop plants can also be an important part of the event. W

Urban forest garden or Food Forest[edit | edit source]

see separate article: Food forests

Other community action projects[edit | edit source]

see also: How to's

  • Abundance schemes to collect and share food using bicycle trailers
  • Community allotments
  • Community Farm Land Trusts
  • Community fridge
  • Community greenhouse, eg see Food news#2013
  • Community harvest related events, eg community apple juicing
  • Community orchards
  • Farmers markets, set one up or support most local ones
  • Bulk buy schemes
  • Fruit tree mapping
  • Gardening clubs, eg for specific types of gardening: organic, permaculture, etc.
  • Gardening match up service
  • Healthy eating initiatives
  • Local Foodshed Mapping
  • Local recipe collections
  • Seed saving and sharing
  • Sharing cooking skills, for example with younger people or younger parents
  • Slow food initiatives
  • Support wider initiatives such as Meat Free Mondays
  • Visit an organic farm

Events[edit | edit source]

Resources[edit | edit source]

see separate article: Food activism resources

News and comment[edit | edit source]

See separate article: Food news

Community food security[edit | edit source]

Community food security (CFS) is a relatively new concept that captures emerging ideas about the central place of food in communities. At times it refers to the measure of food access and availability at the community level, and at other times to a goal or framework for place-based food systems. It builds upon the more commonly understood concept of food security, which refers to food access and availability at an individual or household level (in health and social policy, for instance) and at a national or global level (e.g., in international development and aid work). W / See also Food Sovereignty

Local food[edit | edit source]

Local food or the local food movement is a "collaborative effort to build more locally based, self-reliant food economies - one in which sustainable food production, processing, distribution, and consumption is integrated to enhance the economic, environmental and social health of a particular place." W

More video: The Joy of Local Food on Vimeo

Seasonal food[edit | edit source]

Greater local connection with food and food growing enables communities to better appreciate food in season, thereby strengthening the local food economy.

Foodshed[edit | edit source]

A foodshed is the geographic region that produces the food for a particular population. The term is used to describe a region of food flows, from the area where it is produced, to the place where it is consumed, including: the land it grows on, the route it travels, the markets it passes through, and the tables it ends up on. "Foodshed" is described as a "socio-geographic space: human activity embedded in the natural integument of a particular place." A foodshed is analogous to a watershed in that foodsheds outline the flow of food feeding a particular population, whereas watersheds outline the flow of water draining to a particular location. Through drawing from the conceptual ideas of the watershed, foodsheds are perceived as hybrid social and natural constructs. W

Methods of Distributing Food within a Local Foodshed[edit | edit source]

The “farm-to-table” movement is focused on producing food locally within a foodshed, and delivering it to local consumers. Methods of Distributing Food within a Local Foodshed include Farmers’ markets, Roadside stands, Pick-your-own, Subscription farming and Community-supported agriculture. W

Local Foodshed Mapping[edit | edit source]

The internet can be used to locate foodshed maps of almost any area. Some maps are interactive, where sources in an area can be found for organic produce, microbreweries, farmers’ markets, orchards, cheese makers, or other specific categories within a 100-mile radius. A 100- mile radius is considered "local food" because it is large enough to reach beyond a big city, and small enough to feel truly local. W

Foodsheds and Sustainability[edit | edit source]

Buying local food within a foodshed can be seen as a means to combat the modern food system, and the effects it has on the environment. It has been described as “a banner under which people attempt to counteract trends of economic concentration, social disempowerment and environmental degradation in the food and agricultural landscape.” Choosing to buy local produce improves the environmental stewardship of producers by reducing the amount of energy used in the transport of foods, as well as greenhouse gas emissions. W

Campaigns[edit | edit source]

Compassion in World Farming, campaigning and lobbying animal welfare organisation. It campaigns against the live export of animals, certain methods of livestock slaughter, and all systems of factory farming. W

Feedback, environmental organisation campaigning to end food waste at every level of the food system

I know who grew it, campaign to fix broken food and farming


Near you[edit | edit source]

Food activism UK - Food UK news - A People’s Food Policy (UK) - Food activism London - Food USA

local information can be found, or shared, via our many location pages

See also[edit | edit source]

External links[edit | edit source]

Solar cooking wiki

  • CrowdFarming, Farm fresh food directly from the farmer. added 17:28, 17 December 2020 (UTC)
  • Fallen Fruit is a Los Angeles based artists' collaboration composed of David Burns and Austin Young. The project was originally conceived in 2004 by David Burns, Matias Viegener and Austin Young. Since 2013, David and Austin have continued the collaborative work.
Using photography and video as well as performance and installation art, Fallen Fruit's work focuses on urban space, neighborhood, located citizenship and community and their relationship to fruit. W
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