[permaculture] (fwd) Foodsheds and Food Circles (1995 article)

Lawrence F. London, Jr. lfl at intrex.net
Mon Sep 4 17:07:49 EDT 2006

nbentley at uiuc.edu  nbentley at uiuc.edu
Mon, 3 Apr 1995 08:42:22 -0500

Local Food Security:
Foodsheds and Food Circles

Submitted in four parts:
The Foodshed and The Food Circle
The Foodshed and The Food Circle, cont
More local food security and food systems info and issues
References and Resources

The foodshed and the food circle are two concepts gaining recognition as
models or conceptual frameworks for describing local food systems.

  The foodshed concept, most often attributed to Arthur Getz's in his 1991
Urban Foodsheds article in Permaculture Activist , uses the analogy of a
watershed to describe 'the area that is defined by a structure of supply'.
Getz used the image of a foodshed to answer the question of  "Where our food
is coming from  and how it is getting to us" and to picture how the local
and regional food supply system works.   Inherent in this concept, he
emphasized, was 'the suggestion of a need to protect a source, as well as
the need to know and understand its specific geographic and ecological
dimensions, condition and stability in order for it to be safeguarded and

Today the Madison, Wisconsin area Foodshed Working Group along with an
active coalition of food coops, csa associations, farmer's markets, producer
coops, bakeries and other food processors, a natural food warehouse/
distributor, UWMadison and other active participants is the best example
of a local food system identifying with the foodshed concept.

The Food Circle is a dynamic, community-based and regionally-integrated
food systems concept/model/vision. In effect, it is  a systems ecology.  In
contrast to the current linear producton-consumption system, The Food Circle
is a production-consumption-recycle model.   A celebration of cycles, this
model mirrors all natural systems and is based on the fact that all stable,
biological and other systems function as closed cycles or circles, carefully
preserving energy, nutrients, resources and the integrity of the whole.

The graphic model is a wheel of concentric circles, illustrating how an
integrated  food system flows from  ag inputs and production through
consumption and waste recycling. Starting with the individual at the center
and moving outward through the family and community circles,this model shows
the food system and its parts work,   integrating  political, economic,
communication and other factors. For example, the CSA farmer in the
production sector is directly across the circle from the CSA consumer
members, showing the direct marketing relationship.

end 1 of 4

Nancy Lee Bentley
The Food Circle
PO Box 3083
Champaign, IL 61826-3083
(217) 586-3846
xx200 at prairienet.org

For an info packet on The Food Circle, including
linear and food circle models and a reprint of
EcoCity Journal's "An Introduction to The Food
Circle, please send $7.95 to the address above.

More information about the permaculture mailing list