a sustainable food system is one in which the health of the environment is sustained and enhanced for use by all beings and by future generations. Sustainable methods entail working with nature to replenish soil and other rexources through recycling, composting, and use of animal nutrients. Ecologically sustainable production means creating farms that are "self-sustaining organisms" where "production...increases soil and water quality" and growers "take advantage of local environment and resources [like] local crops and seed." Ecological sustainability may involve organic and bio-dynamic methods, and more importantly is characterized by a philosophical relationship with the land that is non-exploitative and regenerative.
a sustainable food system is one in which accurate knowledge about the food system is easily accessible and widely distributed, and people have the resources and ability to communicate that knowledge. In order to act effectively and responsibly, people must be well informed. The term "education" appeared many times in many contexts in teh responses of conference participants. School programs were seen as a promising vehicle for long-term extension of the community's understanding of food issues. There was concern that information be available from multiple and decentralized sources, and that local/indigenous knowledge not be displaced by the discourse of expertise.
a sustainable food system is one in which "food is grown, harvested, processed, marketed, sold, [and] consumed as close to home as possible.". An emphasis on locally grown food, regional trading associations, locally-owned processing, local currency, and local control over politics and regulation is found within a proximate system. A proximate food system will have "grocery stores close to home which carry local items with little or no corporately owned products to compete", and would provide "specialty items that characterize the bioregion."
define economically sustaining
a sustainable food system is one in which local farmers and area businesses are profitable, capable of supporting a good standard of living for workers, their households, and the community in genera. Given the vital importance of food, producers and other workers in teh food system would b eguaranteed living wages and ample benefits. To assure that farmers and farming communities survive, farming must be as economically lucrative as is off-farm labor. This can be achieved by raising the remuneration to farmers and farm workers, reducing the number of work hours necessary to keep the operation intact, and increasing benefits, such as healthe care and vacation time. In order to support self-owned small and medium scale family farms and businesses, "producers [should be] paid ]a\ fair price for their goods by reducing the number of intermediaries between them and consumers." Paramount among participant comments was that the pricing of agricultural products must reflect the cost of production. Farming would also be a career path that many people had the opportunity to follow, for, a sustainable food system would "support more people financially rather than fewer."
a sustainable food system is one in which people participate directly in teh operation and governance of multiple components of the food system in ways that are more complex and influential than simple market transactions. Most people now particpate in the existing food system through their purchase of foodstuffs in sotres and restaurants. But this provides only weak and indirect influence over the structure or operation of the food system. Participatns felt a much more complex engagement with elements of the food system from "seed to consumption" was required for sustainability. This was perceived in two ways. First there was a clear desire that all people, children to older adults, ought to have the opportunity to grow and process food themselves. Second, there was a more generalized sense that enhanced participation in the food system implied becoming activated as a citizen-eater: someone who is involved in democratic, decision-making processes.
a sustainable food system is one that guarantees just conditions and ethical treatment for all workers and all beings affected by the food system. Participants in the working groups emphasized that the food system should be characterized by justice for producers both within the United States and in other countries. A just food system would assure that people everywhere had the opporutnity to support themselves adn to thrive through work in farming and in the food sector. For this to happen, people musth ave access to land to farm. Conditiosn of employement in agriculture and the food sector should be safe, enabling, and hospitable. Justice also includes equity, such that there is "universal access to good food". An ethical food system would also be respectful of species integrity, provide for humane treatment of farm animals, and treat the earth with respect.
define sustainably regulated
a sustainable food system in one in which regulations enhance environmental resources, protect a diversity of small and medium-scale famr an dproduction units, and provide safe and just working conditions while promoting production of healthful and nutritious food. Absentee land ownership adn speculation in real estate value encourage unsustainable practices, yet are encouraged by current regulations and policies. Also larger factory-farm operations are seen to be given privileges that small, diversified farms do not receive. Instead, government agencies should provide "direct monetary rewards" to farmers using sustainable practices. Further regulatory structures might consider applying tariffs to food based on distance traveled, zoning laws should be "favorable...to promote/protect mixed land uses," and NAFTA and GATT should be turned around.
a sustainable food system in one in which food is recognized as a sacramental medium for honoring and nurturing the spiritual well-being of all creation. To achknowledge the sacred dimension of food is to acknowledge the symbolic and spiritual values that food and food-based relationships should convey. This means valuing food beyond its economic exchange value and caloric/nutrient fucntionality. Sacred aspects of food reflect expression sof the human community in which people "spirutally feed each other" adn affirm the gifts of life flowing from both human community and the rhythms of the earth. A sacred understanding of food resists the commodification of living things.
a sustainable food system is one in which both the food itself and the manner in which that food was produced contrivute to the health of eaters and producers.
Considerable evidence indicates that some food now available is either not itself as healthy as it might be or is consumed in quantities that are not healthy. In a sustainable food system the production and consumption of food would preserve and enhance the ehalth and well-being of both workers and eaters. Quality, whole, nutritious foods would be avaialble to all. Cooking would be for both sustanance and pleasure. Freshness and taste would be valued, and both productiona nd consumption would contribute to maintenance of emotional as well as physical wellness.
a sustainable food system is one in which diversity is encouraged in the farm ecosystem, within agronomic methods, for crop and animal varieties, and for consumer choices att he market-place. this is reflected as unique crops and animals are preserved, a "diversity of food is distributed and produced locally," and "small-scale production, distribution, and marketing is encouraged." A diverse food system "relishes blemishes,", invites increased opportunities for children, youth, adult and seniors from many cultures and socio-economic backgrounds, and increases participation of consumers.
define culturally nourishing
a sustainable food system is one in which the production, preparation, and consumption of food are respsected for their capacity to express the cultural manifestations of self and community. In a sustainable food system, eaters are aware of the ways in which consumption can be an affirmation of their own status as subjects, of their community relationships, and of their cultural contexts. Responsible food production and preparation are viewed as art forms and the associated food professional are accorded appropriate respect as bearers of cultural continuity and creativity. Sustainable food systems will be culturally diverse and will support the sould foods of a range of regional and ehtnic communities.
a sustainable food system acknowledges and respects the seasonal nature of agricultural production and utilizes this seasonality to provide information and to enhance the association of food with place. Part of eating locally is eating seasonally, and eating "in tune owith the seasons [to] enhance sustainability." Within a sustainable food system, "new community celebrations...incorporating seasonal dimensions" would be established, and attention would be given to being "temporally tuned=[to] seasons, ligth and dark, birth and death.":
define valute-oriented (associative) economics
a sustainable food system is one based on an economic system that privleges values such as environmental sustainability, relationships between farmers and consumers, fairness and equity, and strong communities over the profit motive. Throughout the discussions of the working groups, a pervading and recurrent theme was the need to redirect the economic system to reflect values other than merely the ability to comete in the market with greatest efficiency in order to generate the greatest profit. Participants talked about associative economic systems, which value sustainability, justice, equity, beauty, culture, self-determination, and other ideals. The food system can be a starting point for associative economics, in that it "creates the conditions for alternative and associative economies" by devising many ways for people to have access to food, be it through purchase, trade, barter, or growing ones own.
a sustainable food system is one in which farmers, consumers, processors, adn other pariticpants in the food system have a relationship with each other, either through direct contact and / or through networks emphasising responsibility, communication, and care for each other and the land. While the dominant agri-food system is characterized by anonymity, a relationally-oriented system would focus on "more direct face-to-face contact between producers adn consumers", risk -sharing, "tamed consumerism", and the establishment of mutural support networks.