Building Resilience Requires A Revolutionary Transformation

According to the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future, a resilient food system is “able to withstand and recover from disruptions in a way that ensures a sufficient supply of acceptable and accessible food for all.” But what we need is more than that. We need a food system that is strong, impermeable, and interconnected. One that mimics nature, honors balance, and promotes regeneration.

Achieving this vision will require a revolutionary transformation. We must recognize and respect the interdependence of our environment and health, and dismantle capitalism. Getting there requires honoring sweat equity, subsidizing the cost of regenerative food practices, transforming urban environments into areas of food production, and ensuring the health of humans, animals, and the earth.

COVID-19 has amplified existing issues in the food system, including problems with food supply chains and food insecurity. It has visibly exposed the cracks in a system that exploits and extracts, and increased the urgency for redesigning our food system. 

To redesign our food system, we must look back, not forward. We have generations upon generations of Indigenous knowledge to learn from. We must heal our relationships with Indigenous people and lands. We must decolonize our food system and honor sacred biomimicry. There is no need to reinvent the wheel. We can learn from existing practices, and provide compensation to those who share their knowledge and wisdom. 

Moving toward this vision will take time and commitment. In the short term, building resilience requires integrating nutrition and food security efforts, looking to public-private partnerships for solutions, leveraging and increasing funding, and planning for future disasters. 

In the long term, we must look beyond recovery and work toward creating a justice-centered, people-centered, and environment-centered food system. Now that is a system we can get behind.

Ariel Hamburger is a Community Health Program Specialist with the County of San Diego’s Health and Human Services Agency. Ariel's focus on food equity within the County is critical to acheiving an equitable food system, helping to establish the Live Well San Diego Food System Initiative.

Naomi Billups the Public Health Nutrition Manager for the County of San Diego's Health and Human Services Agency. Naomi has been instrumental in improving San Diego's food system through developing county led food initiatives, and driving essential funding to communitiy organizations.

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