The food system is broken. This we are aware of. There are many reasons why, and there are many causes. One that I’d like to focus on is our societies general disconnect with the natural world. Seemingly from the dawn of industrialization, the commodity has become separate from the nature of its production. Many of us grow up under the presumption that food simply exists. We’re aware someone makes it somewhere, but the most important thing is that it’s on the shelf and not far behind, that it’s affordable. We did not grow up with the need to consider the origin of our food as generally speaking anything in the grocery store, or at a restaurant is safe to eat (I mean, someone makes sure this stuff isn’t poison, right?).
The points I mean to make are two things:
1. The ease of filling our stomachs has greatly decreased the need to consider our food sources, and..
2. Many of us have grown up without many significant experience with the natural worlds resources, making it much easier to be less emotionally connected to the provisions it gives us daily. In this mindset, it’s much easier to equate food with supermarkets, not forests.
By taking our thoughts back to our common humanity, our basic need to eat, and the earths historic role in feeding us when we nurture it properly and work together, we can find the solutions to our common need to feed ourselves and our family good wholesome food. DeLind describes the need to think of civic agriculture in terms of engagement with a common place, both in and out of economic market systems, perhaps encouraging a wave of societal appreciation for the full capabilities of the well nurtured and collectively-cared-for natural world.
So where does my involvement in the food forest come into this picture? In the small area that the food forest will occupy, I’m a little doubtful that it will make a massive impact with the food it produces. My goal in being a part of this project is to create an experience for the UMBC community, using the food forest as an interactive reminder of what the earth can provide for us when we cultivate it in a certain way.