I am a co-founder and director of a fast growing food distribution business in Australia. We bring frozen food from a variety of countries in Europe and distribute nationally through supermarkets, convenience and food service outlets.

Recently we felt a blow from the economic crunch which resulted in an exchange rate shift knocking our margin from a positive to negative.

Sitting in the boardroom last October listening to the other directors and myself speculating about when the exchange rate would correct itself, I experienced an almost surreal moment of clarity. If the exchange rate didn't correct or if the market didn't absorb the price rise then it could take only about 60 days before we may have to bow out of the arena. That would mean 20 fewer shipping containers of food reaching supermarket shelves that month. That is almost 1 million meals per month gone in a single blow. And we are a relatively small operator. So think about that, 1 million meals gone.

Things have eased now with the exchange rates, however that does not discount the fact that we were indeed close to the edge.

When I think about all the other food importers that held their breath as we came so close to the edge of a potential economic landslide, the practical realities become apparent. One of the first results from an economic collapse is that food stops moving. That becomes a real problem for you and me within about 5-7 days.

Looking at what an economic collapse means in today's centralised world, we soon realise that we are much more vulnerable today than we were in the Great Depression of the 30's. In the 30's a vast majority of a broad variety of food was grown and produced within a days horse ride which meant that contingent food trade arrangements could be formed in a reasonably short period of time. Today however the food network is spread over such great distances and in massive mono-cultures so in fact no one is close to a source of a variety of foods.

What do we do about this?

* Build local food growing networks.
* Establish community stores where food can be collected from community members and redistributed by way of trading and bartering.
* Identify the members of community who have a deep knowledge of food gardening and ecology.
* Educate, educate, educate on food growing and maintenance.
* Plant lots and lots of seedlings.

So that is why Ooooby was born.

Please add comments on what else we can do about rebuilding local food systems.

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