In our Optimist View a couple of weeks ago, we discussed the critical changes that have come from previous pandemics. Food system security is an issue that demanded attention before the outbreak of COVID-19 and the virus has only exacerbated the need for real changes in our food systems.
Global pandemics disrupt the effectiveness of our food chains in a system where climate change is already putting pressure on food production. Revolutionizing our food systems to emulate the structure of a microgrid is one great solution for creating resilient food chains.
Food microgrids are not just beneficial for food security. These systems reduce transportation costs and emissions and help people move back towards eating in a more sustainable, seasonal way. They also more easily support regenerative farming technologies that maintain environmental health and boost output. Lastly, they are economically beneficial for small local farmers, rather than large and unsustainable corporations.
Much in the same way that decentralized computer grids allowed for the development of cell phones and the way we get our electricity is transitioning from large centralized power plants to smaller decentralized renewable plus storage based networks, our food systems need to localize.
We’ve seen small craft breweries take over beer markets and the number of farmers markets has grown by 6 percent since 2014. Even large retailers like Whole Foods are turning to local suppliers. The growing farm to table movement is also a manifestation of localizing food systems.
Technologies like indoor farms, vertical farming, and lab-grown meat will also help facilitate this transition and make it easier to grow foods in difficult climates.
Basing our food systems around a microgrid design builds community, increases food supply resilience, benefits the environment, and boosts local economies. We at The Optimist Daily love to share stories about improving our food systems. Microgrids are another great solution for strengthening our food chains and our communities.