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Published on December 30, 2007

Author: Moorehead


Creating Vibrant Communities through Ecologically Sound Food Production Theme: Social Transformation Research Domain: Ecological Diversity and Resilience :  Creating Vibrant Communities through Ecologically Sound Food Production Theme: Social Transformation Research Domain: Ecological Diversity and Resilience Alex Kaufman, PHD Candidate Faculty of Environment and Resource Study, Mahidol University Email: Background: Post World War II (Asia):  Background: Post World War II (Asia) The Cold War led to the strategic importance of Asia US technical advise from the 50s, promoted development of infrastructure in the rural areas through agricultural aid “Green Revolution” transforms rural economies Extraction of commodities for local manufacturing and export Period of sharp economic growth through the 80’s and 90’s Prior to the Asian Economic crisis of 1997, the King warns that Thailand should follow a path of moderation: Sufficiency Economy Economic Development and Ecosystems:  Economic Development and Ecosystems Fishing, aquaculture, agro-forestry and commodity based agriculture increase to meet urban demands Results: reduced fish stocks, deforestation and pollution from agro-chemicals Diminished capacity of ecosystems to provide essential services: food, clean water and cycling of waste Self-sufficiency and stability of rural communities decrease as a result of the ecological transformation (UNEP 2007) A Global Supermarket:  A Global Supermarket Modern economic development in its current form creates a loss of community identity, culture and traditional livelihoods As modern society absorbs rural communities, local residents are forced to extract natural resources and engage in monoculture, aquaculture and other means of paying for basic requisites The constant demand for resources to sustain city life and provide input for industry erodes the self-sufficiency of local communities and degrades the environment Rural areas serve as a ‘supermarket’ which provides nourishment for the inhabitants of the city and fuels industry Rural-Urban Divide:  Rural-Urban Divide The growth in urban areas has increased the demand upon rural areas for food production (60% of the world population: city based by 2050) Food production consolidated through agro-industry Monoculture degrades ecosystems services and human livelihoods Rural farmers are experiencing a diminishing quality of life (Shiva 1991; UNEP 2007) Slide6:  POLLUTION WASTE WATER CHEMICALS URBAN ZONE RURAL ZONE WATER DECREASED QUALITY OF LIFE POLITICAL SOCIAL ECONOMIC TENSION ECOSPHERE FOOD ECOSYSTEM SERVICES CONCEPTUAL FRAMEWORK: RURAL-URBAN FOOD PRODUCTION CYCLE FEEDBACK FEEDBACK INPUTS INPUTS OUTPUTS Food Production and Ecosystem Integrity:  Food Production and Ecosystem Integrity Transformation of rural ecosystems in order to meet high levels of food demands in the urban areas Production methods have a detrimental impact on rural ecosystems (monoculture, aquaculture, livestock) Degraded ecosystems provide low quality food to all stakeholders Urban areas remain put in place technological barriers to support their lifestyles (air-conditioning, heating, water-purification, etc.) (McNeely and Scherr 2003) Loss of Community Identity:  Loss of Community Identity Economic pressures force rural communities to engage in natural resource extraction, monoculture, aquaculture and other means of paying for basic requisites, once freely available in their community Subsequent loss of community-identity, disintegration of culture and traditional livelihoods Modern economics, science and related technology transform indigenous livelihoods - vernacular societies no longer preserve their natural resources through spiritual beliefs and traditions (Goldsmith 1996) - local watersheds and neighboring land no longer considered a commons (Hardin 1968) Indigenous Agriculture:  Indigenous Agriculture Early societies highly conscious of food chains: sacredness of biodiversity Insect control and soil fertility were organic processes: sourced locally/naturally Water was part of the commons (Hardin 1963) Ecologically sound and self-sufficient: ‘indigenous technology’ (Ramakrishnan 2006; Shiva 1991) Indigenous Agricultural Practices (Low Impact):  Indigenous Agricultural Practices (Low Impact) (Shiva 1991) Shiva 1991 Holistic Systems: “ecoagriculture”:  Holistic Systems: “ecoagriculture” Mechanized agriculture is expensive and unhealthy to humans and the environment New approaches: organics, polyculture, biodiversity reserves, ecological management (Westra 2000) NTA: New Theory Agriculture: 30/30/30/10 (Impaeng Network and Sufficiency Economy) Agriculture which mimics natural systems (McNeely and Scherr 2003; Sathirathai and Piboolsravut 2004) Bioregions and Communities:  Bioregions and Communities Healthy farms, biodiversity reserves, and habitat networks form bioregions (McNeely and Scherr 2001; McGinnis 2005) Farming communities delineated by natural watersheds and landscapes with a respect for ‘The Commons” Self-sufficiency through regional trading networks: (Chumporn Cabana) and organics (Green Net) Vital and healthy rural-urban communities through bioregionalism (Gray 2007) (UNDP 2007, Hardin 1963) Objectives:  Objectives To survey the importance of healthy food to modern society To study communities which have improved ecological integrity and quality of life through healthy food production To critically examine how new paradigms based on self-sufficiency (sufficiency economy, GNH, GPI) are linked to food production Develop an appropriate tool which can be utilized to measure the impacts of food production on ecosystem services, and quality of life Test the functionality of this tool in several communities Hypotheses:  Hypotheses Bioregional management of food production will lead to healthy food, and vibrant communities Healthy food production translates into healthy ecosystems and an improved quality of life in rural and urban areas (Gray 2007; McGinnis 1999) Slide15:  Email contact: Is this sustainable rural development?

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