This is the poster for a local film screening on the future of food production I was involved in whilst producing the alternative food systems film. It was run by the local transition network group (http://www.transitionnetwork.org). The Transition Network aims to create community resilience to changing environmental and social conditions. It aims to bring together communities to create practical solutions on a local level to current global issues.
This film night, we watched a few short films about alternative food production systems and a feature length BBC documentary.
The film we watched was called ‘A Farm For The Future’ (Found here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nhVWNwCRpKg) and was originally aired on BBC TV.
The film focussed on the modern food systems hidden reliance on oil. From pesticides and fertilisers used on modern crops, to fuelling the engines of tractors, trucks, ships and planes which transport goods, to the packaging used to sell foods in stores. Fossil fuels have become a foundational structure to the way we procure our foods in modern society. Oil is used in almost every step of the chain in our modern food system.
We live in a society which believes it has something called ‘food security’, but when the system of procuring food relies on a finite resource, running out rapidly, how can we expect this system to stay secure the film asks?
The documentary then delves into exploring what a farm in the future might look like, a farm which no longer can use fossil fuels as a main technique to fuel food production.
An alternative system of growing, called ‘Permaculture’, is explored in depth. Permaculture is an abbreviation of ‘Permanent – Agriculture’. The idea, simply, means growing food in a sustainable method, which uses techniques copied from natural systems. These natural systems are based on characteristics of bio-diversity, which naturally defend crops from pests and re-fertilise the ground without much machine/human intervention. This is in contrast to dominant farming methods which focus on ‘monoculture’ production, where chemicals made from oil become dependent on for fertilisation and pest defence. Machinery becomes necessary with monoculture production too because of reliance on ploughing fields, rather than letting plants follow their natural cycles on the soil.
The film, concluded, that it will be necessary to change the systems of food production away from fossil fuel dependance, towards dependance on the natural systems – principled in Permaculture methods of food production. Also, it stated that local food production is going to become more and more necessary as peak oil comes closer. These issues are going to be touched upon in the final film.
Luckily, at this screening, the organiser and my good friend Jo Barker (who I interviewed during filming), asked me to be on a panel of three people for the audience to address questions to. This request took me by surprise, but I immediately said yes for the new experience! It was quite daunting at first to be in front of such a large crowd hanging on your words, but I found it a great experience which has given me more confidence to speak publicly in the future. It was good to be able to interact with a group of the public to see what sort of ideas and questions they had surrounding food production.