The idea of “resiliency” in systems comes from ecology. Resiliency is the ability to resist disruption and the ability to recover from disruption.
There are many ways to build these concepts into our food system, and at SFC we are working on three strategies.
1. Shorter, more localized supply chains
Shorter supply chains are more resistant to disruption, and localized buying helps keep economic power in the region. If you buy your groceries from a farmers’ market, there are very few disruptions that can interfere in that supply chain, as the food is going directly from the farm to you.
SFC has been working with Central Texas retailers and institutions (schools, hospitals, etc.) to expand their purchasing to include local products. Typically, institutions and retailers have 2-3 suppliers for all their products, which can mean an extremely fragile system. Adding in local products builds a more robust network of suppliers.
2. Less corporate consolidation
USDA regulations require meat processing facilities to have an inspector on-site whenever meat is processed. This doesn’t guarantee safer food and can be burdensome to smaller processing plants with limited funding and physical space. SFC just added our name to the list of organizations advocating for the PRIME Act, which would change USDA regulations, making it easier to run smaller meat processing facilities. Policy change work is key to checking corporate irresponsibility in our food system.
3. Greater use of ecologically based practices.
SFC supports farmers who contribute to a resilient food system by using regenerative practices that treat their land like an eco-system. To recover from disaster or change, the land must have the capacity to renew natural resources. This work can be challenging, so we provide training, connect farmers to financial resources, and advocate for policy change.
At SFC, we envision a world free from exploitation of farmers, land, and farmworkers. We want a world where we are confident the workers who grew and processed our food did so in safe conditions. We are working toward ensuring our community is safe and well-fed, in a system that will not only sustain us now, but that will make us stronger and more resilient for years to come.