Posted on | July 6, 2015 | Comments Off on FOOD is NOT where it’s needed
We will present on the 8th June at “Our common Future” conference under the
session “Perceptions of Climate Change” at UPMC, Paris France
Check it out:
Food production is in crisis and social groups who are already feeling the effects are those that will most likely be hit hardest by the continued effects of climate change. Addressing their needs is often complicated and it’s not necessarily about taking solutions that we already have and applying them in different places and to different social groups. The societies culture, the locations, their current situation’s, the openness to new ways of doing things all play into the ability to respond and implement successful solutions. We have found that a participatory approach – where we understand and work with the local leaders to shape the solution is beneficial. Yet there are many challenges along the way. In our presentation, we will use the case study of “Farm in a box” to take a look at “what’s working” and “how to better plan” project development within rural/urban communities. The project, “Farm in a box”, based just outside the metropolis of Shanghai aims to provide a food source for “small communities”: who are in need of nutritious food resources. This project works with a small residential school for disabled and orphaned boys, where their food supply is dependent on charity.
The project team, in collaboration with the community leaders, designed and implemented a food system that starts to address some of the challenges faced by local communities given the effects of climate change. The project is local, provides a variety of nutritious food, optimizes growth using organic and local resources, and empowers the community to lead the project. The vision for the project is that it can be scaled and applied to many in need communities that have food shortages, such as children in residence, migrants due to man made or natural disasters. The project was inspired by the knowledge that some 40% of rural children in China do not have access to sufficient nutritious food. These children have been found to be stunted as a result of maternal and childhood malnutrition. Under nutrition is devastating. It blunts the intellect, saps the productivity of everyone it touches and perpetuates poverty. Unicef 2009. This situation has recently been highlighted in China as a recent government study into residential schools identified that over the past 10 years these residential children have lacked sufficient food for healthy development. Taking action on under- nutrition is the single most important, cost-effective means of advancing human well being (leading group of economists: The Copenhagen Consensus). These same groups are often the ones most heavily impacted by and vulnerable to climate change. The project uses a participatory methodology and it is the lessons learned from this approach that will be discussed and presented: as navigating between participatory methods and tyranny is an issue that has received much attention within participatory research and community engagement literature. In this case “participatory development” is used with the aim to engage the community in beneficial new ways of doing things and to empower the same community to take responsibility and project leadership. During the presentation we will discuss future planning that may help to avoid some of the “perceived tyrannical” effects and outcomes and better prepare “project” teams for successful outcomes.