Can Community Values Reinvent the American Food System? We Cannot Shop Our Way out of This

By Meghan Barrier.

Published by Food Studies: An Interdisciplinary Journal

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Article: Electronic $US5.00

The American food system is in the midst of a crisis. Prescriptions involving different ways of consumption will not change how the system offers rewards or how production is structured. We cannot shop our way out of this. The industrial food system has “progressed” to a point of regression: too often, people are offered fancy packaging and mixtures of chemicals in lieu of real wholesome good food. The result is unnecessary health risks at a high price; socially, environmentally, economically and politically. Citizenship needs to be reignited to demand policy change to support and encourage food, and national, security. This paper will explore whether community values can offer the roots for a paradigm shift and reinvention of the American food system.

Keywords: Community, Food Security, Organic Food, Local Food, Food Industry, Food Policy, Food Crisis, Community Gardens, Civic Agriculture, Sustainable Food Communities, Citizen

Food Studies: An Interdisciplinary Journal, Volume 1, Issue 2, pp.33-46. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 714.312KB).

Meghan Barrier

Graduate Student, Government and International Affairs, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, Blacksburg, VA

Meghan received a B.S. in marketing and international business from Penn State University. After serving an AmeriCorps term of service developing NYC community gardens for the New York Restoration Project, Meghan worked the harvest season at the Waterbear Mountain Organic Farm in Floyd, Virginia to re-establish a direct connection with her food sources. Meghan then enrolled in the Masters of Public and International Affairs program at Virginia Tech to deepen her knowledge of the political economy and social justice implications of food production. Her research and studies at Virginia Tech brought her to connect climate change with food production. And, in February, Meghan received a prestigious fellowship (C2C–Campus-to-Congress) from the Bard Center for Environmental Policy for emerging leaders in climate change. Meghan completed her master’s thesis entitled “Growing Interdependence: Reimaging the Power in Food, Community, and Democracy”. For her commitment to public service and social justice, Meghan received the Government and International Affairs Founding Faculty Award for graduating student demonstrating the ideals of community engagement, public service, and social justice. She is continuing her public service work as an interpretive park ranger at North Cascades National Park, in Washington State, educating visitors about the impact of climate change on the Park’s wilderness and our connection to the changes.