Food Series: Community Food Webs: Building Out the Parallel System with Ken Meter

[T]he purpose of any food system is that it should build four key strengths in each community where it operates: health, wealth, connection, and capacity.”
~ Ken Meter

By Pete Kennedy

With the accelerating deterioration in reliability and quality of the industrial food system, it’s imperative to build out a parallel food system—one that produces healthy food for a region, state, or community. The parallel system will have short supply chains, laws and infrastructure geared toward greater self-sufficiency, neighbor-to-neighbor commerce, and a spirit of collaboration among members of the community.

Ken Meter, our guest for this Food Series audiocast, describes that process (and structure) as building “community food webs.” Meter has had a 50-year career as a food systems analyst, integrating market analysis, business development, systems thinking, and social concerns. Throughout his career, he has worked on inner city and rural community capacity-building. He has provided consultation and local economic analyses to promote local food networks in 144 regions, 41 states, two provinces, and four tribal nations.

Ken serves as president of Crossroads Resource Center, a nonprofit organization that works with communities and their allies to foster democracy and local self-determination. He is also the author of a recent book, Building Community Food Webs, capturing success stories in the build-out of food systems in states and communities throughout the U.S.

Building community food webs is complex, and progress is often incremental; still, there are people around the country doing the work of building resilient systems for the production and distribution of food at the local level.

Money & Markets

In Money & Markets this week, John Titus and Catherine will cover the latest events and discuss the financial and geopolitical trends Solari is tracking in 2023—and the growing pushback against corruption. Post questions at the Money & Markets commentary here.

Related Resources:

Building Community Food Webs by Ken Meter, Island Press (2021)

Crossroads Resource Center

Ken Meter: Building a Local Food Economy” (video, Part 1 of 3)

Other Resources:

Weston A. Price Foundation (WAPF)

Food Freedom Foundation (FFF)

Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund (FTCLDF)

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