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Pondy Food System

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  • Topics: Culture & Society, Energy, Food & drink, Knowledge & learning, REconomy

Dreaming of a Pondy Food System we see….

 

  • A food culture deeply connected to the natural world: the local soil, water and biodiversity.
  • Knowledge about local, natural food and recipes is maintained, celebrated, and evolving.
  • Awareness about local and seasonal food is raised through workshops, education, farm visits, citizen forums, performing arts, and increased exposure in restaurants and canteens.
  • Education is not just through books and the mind, but involves all the senses: touch, taste, smell, hearing and sight.
  • People are cooking that which is abundant around us, (re-)discovering indigenous plants and herbs, as well as species of fish. Health improves due to reduction of toxins, improved nutrition, increased diversity and more attention being paid to what we put in our mouths.
  • Young people get involved in farming, processing and preparing natural foods.
  • Entrepreneurs building businesses to serve the local food economy, growing into healthy companies, sustaining livelihoods of farmers, fisherfolk, staff, managers and technicians.
  • Fair trade that do not exploit suppliers nor buyers, in fact a sense of shared purpose helps us overcome our polarised positions and build solidarity. Common commercial practices include advance bookings, risk sharing (eg. from weather / emergency)
  • Organic food is no longer a niche product, but the norm. Chemical food is an exception. Agriculture extension services focus on ecological approaches.
  • Application of technology to make operations run as smoothly as possible, eliminating waste of resources, time and supporting local relationships. Software will help collaborate in logistics and delivery, in matching local offers and needs, and in peers finding each other.
  • Information sharing ensures transparency and visibility, including on sensitive topics such as price fixing. This helps build trust and confidence.
  • A seal / label for local produce helps distinguish it from far away sources. A charter of practices helps inform our choices and set boundaries.
  • People involved in the system meet each other for shared cooking and eating (“FOOD CIRCLES”)
  • Markets that act as a place for learning about food, its origin, its qualities, its use.
  • Markets also help us see our role in the wider system, and start acting with a “whole system perspective”.
  • Scholars from various disciplines are jointly studying pathways towards localisation, helping us see what works and what doesn’t. Students from local colleges are involved in collecting and analysing data that helps our food system see itself.
  • Packaging is reduced to the bare minimum. “Pondy plastic-free” is a popular citywide slogan.
  • Subtle energy harnessed in plants, is safeguarded during careful processing, so that it remains available to end users / consumers.
  • Waste is circulating back to growers. Every vandi that picks up produce, returns with clean urban compost.
  • Sewage is cleaned before it reaches the ocean, so that no toxic chemicals are left in the fish we catch off our shores. Coral reefs attract visitors /divers.
  • Alternative economic models, less dependent on cash and debt are tested and tailored to our context. These include local tokens in stead of Rupees, models of exchange such as barter, time banking and gift.
  • Anchor institutions such as hospitals, colleges or government departments sign up to source only local food and invest in the local economy.
  • The Ashram and Auroville are involved and participate in Food System activities.
  • New forms of institution emerge, bringing together uncommon allies, such as consumers and producers in the same organisation, or health care professionals and cooks, etc. 
  • Connections with other local food systems across the world help in sharing insights, questions and inspiration.