Envisioning a Resilient Neighborhood Food System

Over the past eight years, the PROUT Institute has collaborated with neighbors on building networks and projects to enhance food resiliency at the neighborhood level. Participation in this initiative is motivated by the need to make a constructive response to global challenges facing agriculture, by a belief in the benefits of localized food production, and by a desire to reorient culture to become more wholesome, nurturing, and community oriented.

In addition to the engagement of several neighborhood households, labor assistance has been contributed by participants in our Community Transformations programs, Permaculture courses, Community Supported WWOOFing, and neighborhood work parties. We collaborate with Jan Spencer, who is modeling suburban permaculture on his property and leading local permaculture efforts

We are also attempting to develop the potentials of both individual properties and to build a network of neighborhood resources. An introduction to this idea was presented at the neighborhood association general meeting, shown here: Cultivating the Garden District.

In this process, we are building systems that integrate:

  • building soil fertility
  • installing greenhouses
  • producing vegetable starts
  • organizing work parties and collaborative gardening
  • developing capacity for food preservation, storage and distribution
  • emphasizing production of storage crops
  • designing perennial food forests
  • envisioning progressive land use policy

Establishing food resilience requires building the social fabric of the community through using food as the medium of exchange of resources, skills, labor and relationships. We seek to empower the community to develop and sustain these collective efforts as the basis for resilient adaptation to climate change and economic uncertainty.

We also envision a food forest cultivated by the community that provides edible food for public gleaning, restores habitat, and gets used to teach the community about the potential of food forests in food production.

See also: Mapping the River Road Food Culture Ecology – From Soil to Community