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Read this first

These writings are simply a perspective from my own vantage point. My perception has come about from direct experience, countless conversations and by placing myself in a diverse flow of new media. I have rarely partaken in corporate media so I may seem ignorant or misguided to those who 'know better' for watching the nightly news.

I am simply writing what appears to be true to me. I am not an academic and do not claim to be an accomplished expert in any particular field. If this information resonates with your own sense of truth then I hope that this book can offer further clarity and guidance for participating in the emerging foodscape.


Preface

Today we are bearing witness to possibly the most revolutionary series of global events in memorable human history. These events are culminating into a collective shift that will likely touch and deeply affect each and every one of us.

This shift is already well underway in many parts of the world and each day we are all accelerating towards a tipping point that may make our current way of life a mere memory in what will seem like the blink of an eye.

It seems inconceivable, because whilst humanity has endured events of enormous proportions during our lifetimes, most of us have remained relatively unscathed and unchanged. Throughout our lives we have watched from the safety of our cushy living rooms as world events of extreme proportions have been taking place in an increasingly rapid succession. Our television screens have been like telescopes enabling us to observe whilst feeling far removed and disconnected. However, have you noticed lately that there is a growing uncertainty and a kind of 'change in the air' in the real world just outside your own front door?

If you're not sensing this air of change, then take a look at the evidence which clearly shows that people all over the world are quite conscious of it. The steady unravelling of the financial systems that underpin our economy, the recent admission by the Obama administration that we are nearing peak oil, the growing awareness of climate change, and the most chilling event of the continuing devastation of the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

While corporate media is hyper-focusing on sports, drama and banal entertainment, there is a growing groundswell of street level movements which are rising spontaneously, simultaneously and in ever growing numbers. These self organised groups are responding to real world issues that are directly impacting their lives.

Everyday people, like you and me, are waking from the hypnotic state that the mass media culture of modern living has held us under. Average Joe's are starting to see cracks in the 'system' within their own realities and are now looking around for sense and meaning. This questioning stance is allowing new kinds of dialogue among peers from which higher levels of clarity are emerging. Through these conversations the web of connectedness is being built which unifies us into cooperative and coordinated movements of dissent.

These movements are typically focussed on correcting social behaviours in all sorts of arenas such as the environment, energy and economy.

In my opinion the best way to address these issues is to focus our attention on creating social activities that enhance and regenerate our natural ecosystem. The one aspect of our lives which has the greatest impact on our ecosystem and which is common to us all is food. Food underpins everything in terms of how we interact with environment, energy and economy.

I believe that by focussing our collective efforts on the tasks of building new interconnected localised food systems, we are being most responsible and effective in handing the torch on to our children.

The crux of the matter is that our food systems are largely at cause of many of the global issues that we are facing. Long distance supply chains consume inordinate amounts of resources. Massive monoculture crops alone are one of the greatest contributors to environmental depletion, poisoning of our soil and spiralling diet related health issues. By addressing our food systems, we are applying energy and action to the most strategic leverage point of all.

This book is being written to provide insight into our existing dominant global food systems as providing a practical understanding of the emerging renaissance of human scale food systems which bring hope for a better way of life.

This book is also an invitation for you to participate in the peoples advance toward more just, sustainable and truly fulfilling local lifestyles that offer hope for our future generations.

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Contents.

1. The cycle.

2. Where have we been?

3. Where are we now?
- systems, environment, economy, energy, health

4. What are we facing?

5. How can we respond?

6. What is our vision?

7. What are our objectives?

8. What are our resources?

9. Who are our allies?

10. What is the game plan?

11. How do we coordinate?

12. How do we protect ourselves?

13. How do we interface with existing authorities?

14. How do we deal with setbacks and disappointments?

15. Why bother?

16. Getting started.

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This is as far as I have written so far. Before continuing on I would like to check in to see if this type of book will be valuable and useful.

Please suggest other chapters or provide considerations.

The other thing we could do is make it a wiki book, so that a bunch of us could compile it together. Let me know if you would be interested in that.

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Comment by Pete Russell on August 9, 2010 at 12:15pm
Thank you Anja. Makes sense.
Comment by Anja Richards on August 9, 2010 at 3:19am
Hi Pete,
I read a fascinating book about the history of the world since the beginning which had a very interesting style. It was written in the third person but each time/location setting followed a person, or a couple or a family and described what their live was like - a range of people read this book and all found it spell binding.
Giving a personal perspective in little vignettes really worked.
This might be usefull when a group write a book together - perhaps each contributor could write about imaginary person/people and describe their experience of each idea/location etc
I'm sorry I can't remeber the name of the book
Comment by Pete Russell on August 5, 2010 at 10:38pm
OK guys. The wiki for EAT THIS is live. Check it out at http://ooooby.wikispaces.com/ and sign up to help write a really good book.
Comment by Pete Russell on August 4, 2010 at 9:15am
That's how I want to live too Mum, and Kat does too I'm sure.
Comment by Karen Russell on August 3, 2010 at 10:13pm
Pete, I am really excited about your book! Going Wiki seems like the only way to go! There are so many people out there with brilliant ideas that just need a forum. I loved reading Kate Flint's comment about local life in France. That's how I want to live!
Comment by Michael Hogan on August 3, 2010 at 8:30pm
Going wiki will no doubt give you lots of material to work with, and the services of a ruthless editor will be invaluable. Best advice I ever got for my (non-fiction) essay writing was very simple and helpful, and kept me from rambling on:
1 Tell your readers what you are going to say
2 Say it
3 Tell your readers what you said
Comment by Pete Russell on August 3, 2010 at 6:49pm
OK. Let's go wiki and see how it evolves. I'll check out some good wiki options and let you all know once we're ready to roll.
Comment by Earl Mardle on August 3, 2010 at 4:56pm
Pete

I'd vote for a wiki version.

There are plenty of people with possible perspectives and skills that could add something to this and if you took on the role of editor/facilitator as well as contributor and structural designer, it could produce something really valuable.

Reading the material you have written so far my main suggestion would be a good, fierce, editor. Your style is fairly open and discursive but by the time people get to wanting to read this kind of book, they will have little time and few resources to spare. Cutting to the chase will be a key requirement.

To echo James comments; you need to think about who this is for.

Is it a book to convince someone of your position, to help them manage their realisation that the crap is already in the fan (like the Peak Shrink for example) or a practical guide to functioning and surviving in the throes of it when jobs and incomes are evaporating and serious change has become mandatory?

My bet would be the second or third options would be more likely to get an audience, if not immediately.
Comment by Giulio Sturla on August 3, 2010 at 4:27pm
Hey Pete, this is really good and I was thinking in an Ooooby book telling the history from the beginning, the process and the main focus.
Count with my help
Comment by freda wells on August 3, 2010 at 12:14pm
Great title! I'd love to see this book written.

Re James' question about 'present time or future possibility', Bernard Leitaer's book The Future of Money is a good example of a structure using both - the last few chapters are dedicated to describing various future scenarios. Looks like you've got this covered with the chapter 'what is the game plan'.

I think this part is particularly important, and addresses what Judith Williamson (a prof of cultural history in UK) refers to as 'the paralysis of our collective imagination'. In her case she's talking about our inability to picture the solutions to climate change, given the media feeds us images of the negative impacts, not the solutions. So I think the collective imagination would benefit from describing the pathway to future possibilities!

I'm happy to help in any way (research, sending coffee beans, etc.)

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