A Story of Vulnerability
In August 2005 Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast off the coast of the United States. This had unforeseen and radical consequences on the price of food. Around 2,900 oil rigs were shut down, disrupting 95% of oil production in the Gulf of Mexico. The impact of this lasted several months. While to the casual observer this may not sound terribly remarkable, the impact had far reaching consequences which impacted millions of people. The price of gasoline surged around 40% in a matter of days in some places throughout the U.S.
Mexico the home of corn, produced most of its own corn based products for centuries. In 1994 and the passing of NAFTA Mexican farmers found themselves in competition with heavily subsidized U.S corn farmers. U.S based farmers often sold corn into Mexico at around 20% less than it costs to produce. This forced many Mexican farmers off the land as they no longer found it profitable to compete with U.S corn producers. With corn production being diverted into ethanol due to the lack of oil supply after Hurricane Katrina, the Mexican market lacked sufficient supply of corn to meet demand. The price of corn became inextricably linked to the price of oil, as many of the inputs such as fertilisers, fuel and pesticides used to produce corn rose in lock step with the rising price of oil. When the price of oil reached $140 a barrel the price of corn went through the roof, causing food riots in Mexico.
The story of Mexican food riots and shortages is a cautionary tale which can happen anywhere. With a variety of geopolitical and resource constraints affecting the ability to provide food for local communities, it is important we start to become learn how to grow and produce our own food and become more self-sufficient in general.
Urban Property Transformed – A Story of Resilience
Kane and Fiona Hogan located in Oxford, North Canterbury on the South Island of New Zealand have created a half acre urban garden which has become a cultural and abundant food hub for the local community. The couple has created a source of abundant food with a sophisticated greenhouse and productive garden beds which provides a cash crop that cover costs and helps pay urban gardeners to go out and mentor people to produce edible landscapes and community resilience.
The project Kane and Fiona have developed has become a catalyst for interactions with community which is helping enrich the neighborhood. Nearby elderly people have become engaged with the project which is building the knowledge base within the local community providing social contact for them. Part of the model Kane and Fiona are working towards begins with simplifying their lives. By reducing outgoings they don’t have to be striving and working hard in jobs they don’t enjoy. They try to work in gentle way doing work we love and reduce our requirement for money.
Jordan Osmond the filmmaker of Urban Abundance, suggests, “this model of a hub is a really great example of the kinds of changes that need to be made in urban areas. The idea to use revenue from the business to find volunteer work helps create food resilience, builds community, provides affordable healthy food, and works towards making the town less reliant unsustainable imported goods that are shipped from all over the world.”
This film was produced as part of the Living the Change project, a series of 12 short films and 1 feature-length documentary that explores solutions to the problems we’re facing today. To find out more, go to Living the Change
To view the other films and find out more about the project visit: http://happenfilms.com/living-the-change
Check out this inspiring story of change….