“Growing food needs to be less about self-sufficiency and more about community-sufficiency.” Farmer Caitlin
Caitlin works at Honey Lane, the registered Organic Market Garden here at CERES. With these words she succinctly underlines a subtle yet powerful shift in story that can be heard from many different pockets of our community at this time… From farmers to spiritual ecologists, from economists to activists, there is a call to move away from the pursuit of the needs of the individual, and towards more integrated communities.
There is certainly a sense of empowerment that comes from being self-sufficient; growing food in your own backyard (if you have one) helps free you from the Australian supermarket duopoly, and connect back with the Earth and cycles of life. As a philosophical approach, it teaches us how to live lightly and sustainably on an already overburdened Earth filled with “consumers”.
But self-sufficiency also implies a person or organisation that needs little or no help from, or interaction with, others. In a new world of interbeing, where systems are complex and interrelated, this way of thinking no longer makes sense. Supporting integrated food systems that have the capacity to have a regenerative effect for all, rather than a beneficial effect for a few, is where we can have the most impact.
In times of increasing risk of food security, instead of asking ourselves, “How can I grow my own food?” we might be better off asking, “How can I grow my community?”