The second and third aims of the Legume Laboratory is improve knowledge in growing food and look at where future food production may come from. The rise of community gardens and the possibility of their adding to local food security falls within this scope. With this in mind I decided to share these stories I found about local food security and how community garden organisations may assist.
Both stories are on the same website and both relate to the Food Justice Seminar held in Sydney last week – The Community Food Movement: Sydney Environment Institute’s Seminar Explores Movement’s Needs and The Community Food Movement: Seminar Highlights Disconnect between Local Government & Food Security.
I agree that although the local community gardens are run by well-meaning, enthusiastic people, if they are to play a significant role in securing food and providing to those needing assistance, greater precision and use of accumulated knowledge in production and distribution of produce is needed. The involvement of local governments in taking an interest in food security would assist, but linking in and learning from other similar organisations is a necessary leap that must be taken.
There is almost always antipathy towards biotechnology in such organisations – sometimes I think that distrust in commercial entities muddies the thinking on the usefulness and safety of the technology they use. This relates directly to the first and second aims of the Legume Laboratory. Understanding the usefulness of the technology and the possibility of using it to assist community ventures and feed local communities could challenge the commercial dominance of future food. There are issues with the cost of research to make new findings, the lack of community resources to fund research and the consequent private funding needed, in turn resulting in a patent system with enough security to lure private funding. These are big problems with the commercial system, not the technology.
Perhaps with a greater alliance between the community organisations and universities we can develop our own technology to meet these aims.