All processes and facilities that provide food for human consumption come under the heading of food system. This covers the entire production chain from agriculture, food processing and trade through to planning the menu. It can be a farm with a farm shop, a CSA, a school farm or intentional community that undertakes food processing and marketing and offers customers the chance to experience or take part in courses. Such a food system depends on the cultivation of relationships. Examples were given by contributors to the specialist forum:
Patricia Flores, the South American IFOAM coordinator, described how in Peru with the support of biodynamic advisors, small farmers have been able to rediscover their connection to the land and so build up their production of healthy food. Anna Perret from the Jura in Switzerland, runs projects to develop sustainable food systems and organises trips out for consumers. An authentic connection to the origin of vegetables, bread and wine comes about on farms in bakeries and in vineyards. "If children are taught to cook they learn the skills to change the world", said Heidi Leonhard (lecturer in sustainable cookery) and pointed out how the themes of sugar, sweets and fair trade (where does chocolate come from) can be woven into the baking of brownies. Using the motto "connection creates future" Margarete Hinterlang from the school farm of the Freien Landbauschule Dottenfelderhof, Germany, connects children and young people to daily life on the farm. Fodder preparation, mucking out and weeding are part of the 'lessons'.
The 100 participants showed great interest in this afternoon event. This was demonstrated by the fact that afterwards many remained behind in animated conversation.
You can read an extensive report in the 2019 Conference Documentation which is due to appear in June.