Food activism

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Foto familia huertos comunitario.JPG
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.

What communities can do[edit | edit source]

  • Abundance schemes to collect and share food using bicycle trailers
  • Allotment gardening and community allotments
  • City farms
  • Community Farm Land Trusts
  • Community fridge
  • Community gardening
  • Community greenhouse, eg see Food news#2013
  • Community harvest related events, eg community apple juicing
  • Community orchards
  • Community Supported Agriculture
  • Community-supported fishery
  • Farmers markets, set one up or support most local ones
  • Food cooperatives and bulk buy schemes
  • Fruit tree mapping
  • Gardening clubs, eg for specific types of gardening: organic, permaculture, etc.
  • Gardening match up service
  • Garden sharing or Yardsharing
  • Gleaning or Food rescue
  • Guerrilla gardening
  • Healthy eating initiatives
  • Local Foodshed Mapping
  • Local recipe collections
  • Organise food events
  • School-community kitchens
  • Seed libraries, seed saving, swapping and sharing
  • Sharing cooking skills, for example with younger people or younger parents
  • Slow food initiatives
  • Support wider initiatives such as Meat Free Mondays
  • Urban forest garden or Food Forest
  • Visit an organic farm

Events[edit | edit source]

Willow Basket Solar Bakes Challah Bread At Lost Valley 2016.jpg

Feb 22 - Mar 1 Real Bread Week, 2020: Sat-Sun

Street Party Table.jpg

Sep 21 The Meal, 2019, Sat

Vegetables Padangpanjang.jpg

Oct 1 World Vegetarian Day, 2019, Tue

Fruit & vegs assortment.jpg

Oct 16 World Food Day, 2019, Wed

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


Why it matters[edit | edit source]

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

Allotment gardening[edit | edit source]

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 Zürich - Käferberg - Affoltern IMG 3194.JPG

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 gardening[edit | edit source]

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 garden in Ottawa.jpg

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 / 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]

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 / Yardsharing

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. Organisations 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 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

Guerrilla gardening.jpg

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!

School-community kitchens[edit | edit source]

School-Community Kitchens Concept Paper, Center for Ecoliteracy

Seed library[edit | edit source]

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


News and comment[edit | edit source]

See separate article: Food news

Resources[edit | edit source]

Citizens data initiative[edit | edit source]

The number of chronically hungry people is expected to top 1 billion in 2009, up from 850 million in 2007. [1]

Why it’s green to be vegetarian: Farmed animals produce more greenhouse gas emissions (18%) than the world’s entire transport system (13.5%). [2]

How to's[edit | edit source]

Maps[edit | edit source]

falling fruit – Map the urban harvest!

Food: An Atlas Download Food: An Atlas as an 84.5 MB PDF licensed under Creative Commons. Use and reuse the maps to inspire others with cartography. From Guerrilla Cartography.

Food insecurity and climate change

Mundraub Map

Seed Map Project

SHARECITY100, database of more than 4000 food sharing enterprises across 100 cities around the world, including Asia, Africa, Australia, North and South America, and Europe. The first major output of SHARECITY, a five-year research project at Trinity College Dublin, SHARECITY100 was created to assess the practice and sustainability potential of information and communications technology (ICT)-enabled food sharing within cities.

Networks[edit | edit source]

More video:

Pam Warhurst from Incredible Edible Todmorden, 12/5/2011, on vimeo

  • Incredible Edible network. The Incredible Edible project is an urban gardening project which was started in 2008 by Pamela Warhurst, Mary Clear and a group of like minded people in Todmorden, West Yorkshire, England, UK. The project aims to bring people together through actions around local food, helping to change behaviour towards the environment and to build a kinder and more resilient world. In some cases, it also envisions to have the groups become self-sufficient in food production, hence having all food being produced locally.
Since its conception, the Incredible Edible ethos has been taken up by communities all over the world and there are now 120 Incredible Edible official groups in the UK and more than 700 worldwide. In 2008 to help sustain existing groups and continue to inspire new ones in the UK, the Incredible Edible Network was launched with Pam Warhurst as its chair and Tanya Wall, as its operational lead.
In the UK, these groups' collective success has begun to directly influence decision-makers both on a national and local level. In response, the network has evolved from a resource for members into a fully fledged movement, simply known as Incredible Edible. W

10 Steps Toward an Incredible Edible Town, Dec 3, 2013

Other links[edit | edit source]

  • BFR Package Deal, a DIY kit for starting a bike-powered food rescue project.
  • Creating a Community Polypod, Permaculture Magazine
  • Farm Hack / Farm Hack, an open source community for resilient agriculture
  • Food Systems Academy, an open education resource to transform our food systems
  •, American non-profit organization focused on food sustainability and solutions to hunger, obesity and poverty. W
  • Global Seed Network, free peer-to-peer seed sharing tool
  • Growstuff, community of food gardeners. "We're building an open source platform to help you learn about growing food, track what you plant and harvest, and swap seeds and produce with other gardeners near you."
  • Meat Atlas, Facts and figures about the animals we eat
  • OpenFarm
  • Open Source Seed Initiative, dedicated to maintaining fair and open access to plant genetic resources worldwide.
  •, free tool for coordinating meals for groups
  • Ripe Near Me, local food, home grown vegies, neighborhood fruit
  • WeFarm is a unique peer-to-peer knowledge sharing platform for smallholder farmers. WeFarm users can ask and answer farming questions and share farming tips, via SMS or online, enabling farmers in rural areas without internet access to share information without having to leave their farm. WeFarm is built around the principle that rural farming communities in developing countries have generations worth of knowledge to share, but lack the tools to do so. It is therefore one of the few SMS and farming informations service based around peer-to-peer, crowdsourcing of knowledge. Users ask a wide range of questions regarding farming techniques and share information around business ideas, or how to improve livelihoods. W

Policies[edit | edit source]

A People’s Food Policy, a series of (UK) articles

Urban agriculture incentive zone in San Francisco

Quotes[edit | edit source]

"Eaters must understand that eating takes place inescapably in the world, that it is inescapably an agricultural act, and that how we eat determines, to a considerable extent, how the world is used." Wendell Berry [3]

Video[edit | edit source]

More video:

GIY Together we Grow on youtube

Farmin' in the HOOD on youtube

What's wrong with our food system, Birke Baehr on youtube

Queen of The Sun: What Are the Bees Telling Us? (Trailer), 2011, on youtube

See also[edit | edit source]

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

Interwiki links[edit | edit source]

Wikipedia: Allotment (gardening), City farm, Community food security, Community gardening, Community-supported agriculture, Community-supported fishery, Foodshed, Food bank, Food cooperative, Food rescue, Garden sharing, Gleaning, Guerrilla gardening, Local food, Seed bombing, Seed library, Seed saving, Seed swap, Seedy Sunday, Slow Food includes Criticisms section, Terra Madre

Solar cooking wiki

External links[edit | edit source]

  • 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


This page includes Creative Commons Licensed content from the Sustainable community action wiki on Wikia.
The list of authors can be seen in the history, link via drop down menu at top left of page.