In the Spirit of IMA: Mammamiaaa's Social Food Forum

Last month, a group representing diverse European social food projects convened to discuss the value of social food projects and how to refine and expand this kind of work. What is a social food project?

“Our starting point is that agriculture and food are not just about production and consumption. They are about relationships and care, too, – care for each other, care for the land, care for living systems.

These social and ecological relationships to do with food although damaged by modernity, are being re-made by what we are calling social food projects. Such projects are about about care, not just consumption. They are about hospitality and connection – between people, and with place. They are a medium of solidarity among diverse cultures.” (Social Food Forum Green Paper, Mammamiaaa, April 1, 2019)

This is just the kind of thinking the Institute of Mindful Agriculture is working with in the Hudson Valley. The Hudson Core Group was a “multistakeholder” group who helped develop the social food project prototypes, RollingGrocer19 mobile market, the RollingGrocer19 shop at 6 S. 2nd Street in Hudson. To address the unique food needs and desires of Columbia County’s rural communities, the New Lebanon Core Group has begun to convene. While there is certainly a need for applying the physical, chemical, biological mechanics of agroecology, perhaps one of the biggest challenges in systemic transformation is organizing ourselves in the spirit of care- trust, listening, understanding, kindness, self-awareness, showing up and making space matter.

It is interesting to see the theme of ‘hospitality’ picked up at this European gathering. This was a core theme of our recent workshop on agriculture, environmentalism, and belonging, having heard the idea connected with practicing justice in food and farming from Orland Bishop at November 2018’s Biodynamic Association Conference, “Transforming the Heart of Agriculture”.

We’ll be following mammamiaaa’s work and the work of the projects gathered together on the Social Food Atlas. Similar work is coming together in the Hudson Valley connecting the idea of public goods to agricultural production and food consumption. We’ll report on the blog soon.