ifoam'96 ifoam'96
Book of Abstracts
11th IFOAM Scientific Conference
11-15 August 1996, Copenhagen, Denmark
EcoWeb Denmark


De-Contaminating Urban Food Security. P2; 8

Bellows, A. C.

Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey (USA)

How does a concerned public mobilize for adequate food supply, affordable food prices, and food »safety« in urban industrialized areas? Social stability demands a public's access to adequate, affordable, and safe food. Resolution of these issues, however, occurs at the local level. Through various kinds of food activism, local publics, especially women, buffer themselves from centralized policies that can result in uneven distribution or excessive prices of food. These central policies can be socialist or capitalist. In either case, it is local activism that defines food needs and problems and the local strategies necessary to safeguard local food security. This includes concerns about contaminated food supplies caused by urban, industrial, and agricultural pollution. How does the concerned public mobilize?
First, urban gardeners, even in the most densely populated cities, can produce their own food stuffs in response to macro economic forces that impact food price and supply in local markets. Second, urban food activists expose the links of contaminated food and impaired health in their communities and by developing alternative local food strategies. Third, women now have the ultimate social responsibility for and knowledge about food procurement and preparation as well as family health care (and in central Europe, community health care)and most often develop alternative strategies to safeguard community food interests.
This presentation focuses on urbanized southwest Poland. The site offers the opportunity to view critical issues in food security change from problems in supply to problems in price over the last 10 years. Evolving local strategies and protest to address contamination are models for replication. US cities experience grave hunger problems and poor food supply infrastructure that typically delivers high priced, poor quality goods. From the US perspective (and others), there is much to learn in southwest Poland about local strategies to define and achieve food security