Foodshed Nomad: Sustainability and Identity Through Local Participation

The Situation

Sustainable development seeks the provisioning of basic needs (i.e., health, food, shelter, and transportation by virtue of water and energy resources) for current and future generations of people and other species (Brundtland Commission 1987).  Sustainable development abides by the triple bottom line: economic vitality, social equity, and environmental protection. The modern consumerist lifestyle has failed to deliver lasting well-being, as indicated by: (1) destitute human populations, (2) rampant food insecurity even in the US and especially New Mexico, (3) the current recession, (4) billions in health care costs entailed in the epidemic of obesity and diabetes attributable to consumption of industrial food (Schlosser 2001), (5) adverse circumstances created by shareholder corporations (Speth 2008), and (6) the extreme concentration of wealth among few (Alperovitz 2005).

In the US, the unsustainable status quo is due largely to the worldview put into practice by descendants of immigrants to the New World from Europe.  Along the way, Western culture abandoned its sense of being indigenous, abiding rather by Bacon’s view of people separate from nature and Descartes’ view of nature as machine. Failure to replace lost indigenous ways perpetuates an economy rife with environmental and social externalities that compromise well-being of people and planet.  Thus, the cultivation of well-being calls for the active and conscious construction of personal, collective, and institutional identities that allow the consumerist model of ownership to be replaced by a model of participatory relationship (Thomas Berry 1988).