It was 3:30 a.m. and I was wide awake, making a presentation at an online symposium and answering questions about wartime food. Suddenly my screen went blank and I was offline. My WiFi had quit. Thankfully it happened after I had finished my presentation and was in the Q&A.
It was the middle of the night because the Future of Food Symposium 2021 was zooming from Coventry University in England, which is eight hours ahead of where I live. But I am pleased to be part of any conference showing how food production and consumption can become more ecological, healthy, and fair for all.
The topic on the table was how populations can feed themselves well during crises, and I told the story of World War II British food systems that were transformed to help win the war for Britain and the Allies. I painted the late-1930s picture of bold plans by a Ministry of Food, and soon the participation from millions of citizens, that minimized food waste, helped the nation produce more food domestically, and encouraged everyone to share scarce edibles so that everyone could be fed.
The story has strong lessons for today -- for radically improving our own food systems and for mobilizing citizens to eat in ways that will help beat the climate crisis. My book on this will be available late in 2021 as Mobilize Food! Wartime Inspiration for Environmental Victory Today. Sign up for my newsletter and you'll be one of the first to know when and where it will be available.