As we struggle to come to terms with the Covid pandemic, there is much talk about ‘resilience’ or the ability to ‘bounce back’. Covid has highlighted how vulnerable we are to global shocks owing to our dependency on remote resources and undemocratic corporations, long supply chains and a more-or-less regulated free market economy to supply us with what we need to live. Panic buying and empty shelves at the supermarkets gave us a taste of what happens when the system breaks down.
When it comes to community resilience, a resilient community is one that “has the organizational flexibility and the resources with which they can grow and flourish with time” (Berger R (2016) An ecological-systemic approach to resilience: A view from the trenches. Traumatology 23) Being able to influence the foundations of our wellbeing – our food supply, energy supplies, land availability, housing, transport & social care – is vital in this process.
We also believe that this is central to the development of a more sustainable and just society as we face up to the other challenge of our time – the Climate Emergency.
We’re supporting the Highland Good Food Conversation because locally-produced healthy food has to become a vital part of our future and the time to discuss how we do this is now. We need to reduce our dependency on long food supply chains in a way which helps build a vibrant local and sustainable food market. We need to find ways to encourage people to buy local and support local producers as well as re-discover the ability to ‘grow your own’.
The great thing about the Highlands is that we already have some of the things in place to make this happen – some excellent local producers, strong community groups, a supportive local authority and a growing interest in local food. It has been inspirational to be involved in the Conversation and we are looking forward to taking part in the Conference.