Happy to be gathering, even online, with the Canadian Association of Food Studies over the next few days (May 12-14) for its 2022 Conference for idea-sharing about food issues. Below is my summary 'Abstract'.
Transition to food systems that are more just and sustainable has been achieved before, and can be achieved again. My presentation will examine the case of Britain in World War II and its crisis-oriented food policies that aimed to ensure all domestic citizens could feed themselves through an uncertain time. The presentation will demonstrate parallels to today’s crises of climate and inequality, and draw four lessons from wartime to help our societies attain food access, ecology, and health.
The presentation will explore major wartime shifts in British food procurement, production, and consumption, through programs that required citizens to grow more of their own, reduce food waste, and more fairly share foods made scarce by wartime conditions. It will discuss citizens’ involvement, agency, and attitudes toward the shifts, and results for the war effort and for personal and communal well-being.
It will also examine historians’ analyses of the food shifts as helping win the war against fascism and, unexpectedly, improving public health and social equality.
Based on research for my new book Mobilize Food! Wartime Inspiration for
Environmental Victory Today (in press, to be published June 2022), this case study
demonstrates that food systems can be transformed to help populations face a crisis.