You spoke and we listened. After years of planning and community assessments the Bountiful Cities Apprenticeship Program launched March 14th of this year with three apprentices. For this pilot year we are focusing on hammering out the curriculum and gathering our instructors as well as the sites that the apprentices will visit to gain those hands-on experiences and skills.
Apprentices started the year attending the Come to the Table Conference hosted by Rural Advancement Foundation International. That opened up some good discussion on the ideas of “Land Hunger,” food security, and the USDA’s hand in how food systems function. Land Hunger was a term used to describe the drive freedmen had to acquire land that they had heretofore been barred from. They would squat on the land and take any means necessary to acquire it. Land is integral to growing food. Access to land is one of the number one barriers that new emerging farmers continue to face. It is how wealth has been built in the country for generations. Land is also how we determine rights, voting, and the like via districting. And with more and more farm land being developed and turned into subdivisions, farmers and those who want a secure food future are becoming more land hungry.
This brings us to the idea of Food Security. One speaker defined food security as, “All people, at all times, having physical and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food that meets their dietary needs and food preference for an active and healthy lifestyle.” This is a very in depth concept of the term and brings into question how many individuals can truly say they are food secure? With this definition of food security the numbers for food insecurity are staggering. The apprenticeship program is designed to help foster more food security in our community not only by giving community members the skills needed to grow food in their areas, but also to share these skills throughout the community.
Finally, the USDA is shaping our food systems through subsidies for certain crops. But they also provide grants and insurance for farmers. It is a very complicated and complex issue and is too much to get into right now. Hopefully, with our apprentices learning about these complex systems they can help envision ideas for change in the future.
If you are a community member or organization involved in food systems and would like to share what you do with our apprentices, please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org