P2P food system as a major environmental and social solution?
I'm new to the group. Have been interested in P2P-Commons ideas for some time though.
I'm an Ecology student and particularly interested in agriculture. Both from a social standpoint, and an ecological standpoint.
So, existing practices in agriculture often focus solely on maximizing profit. And that focus excludes other externalities. There are several major issues with the dominant mode of food production.
Large levels of chemical input, domination by "cash crops", developing countries producing only expert crops and not food for people to eat locally, etc.
I think that agriculture can be better be done with a few novel principles. These principles are embodied in concepts like permaculture, agroecology, aquaponics, etc.
We can do agriculture in ways that have diverse benefits. Such as increased soil carbon uptake, increased farm biodoversity, as well as returning something of a humanistic heart and an ecology-valuing ethic into it.
One of the links above claims that agriculture and land use is a bigger threat to wildlife than climate change. Which I think is accurate. And now consider we are going to add another 3 billion humans on to the planet by 2050. What will our land use impact look like then?
Well, I think that we can shrink this footprint drastically, and at the same time make the fundamental human activity of growing food one that is regenerative and actually friends with ecology/biodiversity.
There is a good argument that we can bring a significant proportion of food production into the area of in and around urban areas: http://www.anthropocenemagazine.org/2016/10/can-local-food-feed-an-urban-world/
With new systems such as aquaponics, we can produce with less water, less size footprint, less resources of all sorts.
So, perhaps an alternative system is possible. It could be organized with a platform that allows direct P2P exchange on local markets. Perhaps the idea can be popularized to attempt to eat your entire diet based on local sustainable food, which can be done as simply as using an app.
This connection would also help prospective growers enter and sell food with much lower barriers to entry. Maybe all you've got is an apple tree and a squash plant in your backyard. But those will produce a surplus, and we can incentivize that local and environmentally benign mode of food production for those who would like to enter and earn a small amount of money doing so.
You can boost the practices of the producers in such a market by amassing a common pool of resources and knowledge, on farming in local conditions, using certain techniques, on issues like carbon sequestration or habitat creation, etc.
Local seed markets could reinvigorate our ancient traditions of active plant breeding and adapting diverse strains to our local conditions. Hierloom and local cultivars could make a big comeback.
Such a system, in my view, could be a major first step towards truly developing an alternative economy. If we can grow and trade our own food in this way, what else? Perhaps energy? Or goods in themselves?
A P2P Local Food Market, hosted on a coop platform, using a common resource of knowledge and practices... Not only does this have the potential to be broadly beneficial, both environmentally and socially, and return autonomy and connection to our own resource base as humans, it could also be a major cirst step starting point towards creating other horizontally networked modes of production and cooperation in other domains.
Sorry to go on at such length here, but I had to get the idea out of my mind fully! Does anybody have any thoughts on this?