Introduction: The Food Less Traveled
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Introduction: The Food Less Traveled

October 28, 2019

It’s our most essential, basic need in this world. Over top of cars, bills, cell phones, computers, clothes
and everything else that we have in our world. It was James Beard, perhaps one of America’s best-known chefs that called food the common denominator that brings people together. In the summer of 2017, I set out
on a road trip from Mexico to Canada to tell a story of a common denominator and
to share the voices of our collective food community. My name is Caroline Kamm
and I am a graduate student, researcher, and food advocate. Years ago, while I was
doing my research in Belgium, I met a farmer with a powerful point of view. He
had founded a farmers cooperative to tackle many of the challenges that
farmers in the region faced. Farmers were struggling with falling food prices,
competition from abroad, and apathy from politicians. After telling me about all
of these challenges he looked me right in the eye and told me: “It’s a scary time
to be a farmer, but it’s also a little exciting, don’t you think? Since then I
have set out to find other farmers and food advocates
like him, that see the exciting opportunities in the food system. It is
their stories that have the potential to inspire others to make a difference of
their own. This series will focus on eight food and farming initiatives
across North America. Each of them is tackling a major challenge in the food
system through their own unique work. They all recognize that we have an
uphill battle ahead of us, and even so they have committed to making their mark.
When I began this project my initial focus was on local food. I thought about
the experiences that first engaged me with food issues, usually something as
simple as going to the farmers market. But when it comes to food system change
I recognized that we needed diversity of approaches, some big and some small. A
local food system is more than how far your food has traveled, it is about
building stronger and healthier food communities We are so excited to share stories from these eight organizations with the world.
More than that we are striving to put these organizations into communication
with one another, to reveal how their work is in fact a component of a larger
process of food system change. These are the voices of North American food heroes and we want to celebrate the diversity and ingenuity of their work. Join us as
we journey through North American local food. And beyond the single journey we
hope you will join us in our mission of building community around our common
denominator. Food is essential, it is liberating and as you will see in this
series, a better food system is worth fighting for.

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