The role for social enterprise in creating a sustainable food system
By Ed Mitchell 14th May 2010
Transition Matlock have come up with an intriguing and playful way to understand and map the various patterns and actors in a local food system of the future. It’s a game/jigsaw/visualisation/talking point.
(If you want to get straight to it, proceed directly to the TT Matlock page with the jigsaw, explanation and pieces.)
It has essences of Rob Hopkin’s soon to come ‘pattern language for Transition’ (more on pattern languages on wikipedia), and bit of Cambridge’s Carbon Conversations toolkit. And a jigsaw of course. And some sheep probably.
How does it all fit together? What is the role of the local community? How does it fit with the various growing projects and small business that exist to grow and sell food in a local economy? How do we communicate this in order to discuss it and build a shared mental model of how things might work in 2040?
Here is the jigsaw Helen created for the workshop at School for Social Entrepreneurs, East Midlands Business of Transition even held on 24th April 2010.
Running a food co-op is a delicate job, and there are lots of TT food projects with shops, hubs, school visits, CSAs, urban gardens, local food buying clubs, local food guides, you name it, we’re exploring it
TT Matlock are well positioned to consider this. They recently set up a highly successful CSA where they become shepherds as well as new business managers, and now they’ve come up with a way to visualise a food system. It’s great. Here’s some explanation from Helen:
When we begin to imagine what a typical weeks menu would like in 2040, and create a weeks menu plan in which local food is the majority of our diet with fair trade products the occasional luxuries, we see the gaps that exist in our existing local food supplies. We see the need for new small scale businesses to emerge to supply local food such as local cheeses, local bread, local salami’s etc to our towns and villages.
We need to build a new local food economy, so that local food is delivered from local extensive farms ie farms with mixed range of livestock, mixed arable and vegetable production, to the local community. New on-farm food processing enterprises may emerge, suppling local food products made locally with local ingredients and sold in local shops.
To relocalise our food system we could to set up new forms of local food enterprises – moving away from the mass market industrialized food system – to small scale co-operative food enterprises that bring together small scale producers with retailers and consumers.
In my jigsaw, the community is the central circle. Each individual piece, in the article below, can be clicked on to expand the size and read the details.
Out from the circle emerge local food projects, encouraging the community to seek out and buy food from local producers and therefore encouraging local retailers to stock local food.
The outer layer of the jigsaw are the new social enterprises that have been developing in recent years, in many instances developing out from the local food projects.
How very interesting. And useful. And they are sharing all the pieces of the puzzle on their website and looking for comments. Thank you Helen for sharing this with us, and good work all!
Visit the TT Matlock page with the jigsaw, explanation and pieces.