The author of this book set out to write her PHD on the topic of food sovereignty in Aotearoa. Food sovereignty is essentially the right of people to have healthy and culturally appropriate food, produced sustainably, with control of their own agricultural systems. Priority is given to local economies (as opposed to big multi national corporations), with local control and the sharing of information.
The dilemma is that often ethical, free-range food is expensive, so only the wealthy can afford it. Food sovereignty at a community level means access to good, locally produced food at an affordable price. Supporting local growers through farmers markets, seed saving and sharing, community gardens, distributing excess food that would otherwise be wasted are all ways that communities can take initiatives.
The interviews that were carried out for the research mostly focused on food sovereignty in Whaingaroa (Raglan) around 2015. The ideas and reflections from the participants are varied, and often conflicting. There is clearly no right answer to the paradox of food/shelter and water as a measure of wealth vs the conventional monetary view of wealth, as everyone brings their own views, experience and attitudes to their community. There are some great initiatives that are operating in Whaingaroa and further afield.
It would be interesting to have an update on the attitudes and experiences of the people interviewed, given that since this research was carried out the focus on climate change and globalisation has become more prominent.
The book will be of interest to the growing number community groups looking at Permaculture systems within their own communities. (I am involved in a local group in Paremoremo, and this book will be shared with the members).
Reviewer: Rachel White
Te Rā Aroha Press