Realizing the Vision

Utne Reader Visionaries share their latest projects, ideas, and visions for the future.

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Food Solutions

10/11/2012 8:59:15 AM

Tags: Raj Patel, Generation Food

 Generation Food still; cucumbers
Still from the Generation Food campaign launch video.


Raj Patel headshotRaj Patel is a writer, academic and activist. He has degrees from Oxford University, the London School of Economics and Cornell University, and is both a Visiting Scholar at UC Berkeley's Center for African Studies, and is an Honorary Research Fellow at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, in Durban, South Africa. He is the author of Stuffed and Starved: The Hidden Battle for the World Food System, and the New York Times and international bestseller, The Value of Nothing. He has also published widely in the academic press, with articles in peer-reviewed philosophy, politics, sociology, science and economics journals. He was named an Utne Reader Visionary in 2009. 

This was re-posted with permission from Raj Patel's website. 

It has been months in the making, but I’m really pleased to be able to announce my next big project – Generation Food.

Everyone knows we live with a broken food system, but often it is easier to focus on the bad news rather than the good. In fact, we are surrounded by communities that already know how to feed the world for our generation, and for generations to come. From Malawi to Michigan, people and organizations are building better ways to eat today so that all of us can eat well tomorrow. This knowledge demands to be shared and spread.

Changing the food system couldn’t be more urgent. All signs point to that conclusion, whether you consider the droughts, floods and fires caused by climate change, the rise in global food prices, or that the health effects of our current food system is predicted to shorten children’s lives. Better, SMARTER ways of growing food, and feeding the world are needed, now.

That’s why we’re developing a new documentary, book, and multimedia project, Generation Food. We want to show how ordinary women and men around the world are overcoming obstacles and “setting the table” for themselves, their communities, and generations to come. Generation Food is our way of sharing the resilience and wisdom of these communities with you, and yours with them online, on screen, on paper and in person.
Generation Food still; carriesStill from the Generation Food campaign launch video.

Our Team 

Led by documentary-making legend and award-winning director, Steve James, of Hoop Dreams and The Interrupters, and best-selling author Raj Patel, of The Value of Nothing and Stuffed and Starved, our team of fourteen researchers has worked for over a year to find some of the most inspiring stories from across the world.

From a climate-change-ready farming system in Cuba, to a way of cooking and eating that transforms women’s lives in Malawi, there are amazing experiences to share across the table, and across the world.

Stories That Matter 

In the Peruvian highlands, for instance, indigenous farmers have lost a quarter of their growing season to climate change. In response, communities haven’t just invented better ways to farm the 700 native varieties of potato at 11,000 feet, but also have markets with sliding-scale prices, to make sure that no one goes hungry for lack of money.

It is through sharing surprising ideas and deep knowledge that we can build the foundation for global food stability for generations to come. We are eager to launch Generation Food’s online content platform to share peoples’ ideas for action. We want to start filming a documentary. We want to work with communities around the world, including yours.

[Editor's note: after announcing Generation Food, Patel and James raised over $60,000 toward the project through Indiegogo. Watch the campaign launch video below. You can find out more about the project through the Generation Food Project website, and follow on Twitter: @FoodGeneration and @_RajPatel.]  


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Stacia Nordin
10/16/2012 6:43:35 AM
So glad to hear the focus on what is already working which needs to be scaled up. We are in Malawi and agree with you there are many great things going on here, but more people need to hear about the solutions that are right at their fingertips, that each of us have a role in creating our sustainble homes, communities, nations and world.

Emily Dale
10/15/2012 1:39:31 PM
Community-Supported Agriculture (CSA) has been proven to be a viable alternative to corporate agriculture, which is monocultural. Acquisition of non-GMO seeds is an imperative, and each community should create a seed bank for this purpose. Activists should engage local politicians to approve this approach and openly participate in it. After all, their lives are at stake as well.

10/11/2012 6:15:32 PM
This is a great thing to do but I'm afraid Capital will displace rural people in favor of agro-business models of monoculture for profit.There has to be a political model and a agricutural method that can fight Capital so people of moderate means can feed themselves and others.

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