Some folks are attracted to “system dynamics” because its tools enable us to practice thinking about human support systems in new ways.
Lord knows we need new ways of thinking...perhaps more so regarding our food system than elsewhere.
Why? Hawaii is stuck at the end of the American 'food chain' (heh) and the systems we've inherited are not well-suited for sustainability in these tropical islands.
Worse, many otherwise thoughtful studies, such as RMI's "whole system" food map for Hawaii Island, focus on competing in the existing scheme, whereas we're better served using these tools to re-invent our Hawaii food system.
Notice that RMI's work assumes there's lots of biofuel crops in Hawaii's future (has this been decided?), and the 'levers' it identifies--such as cheaper land and labor-- are real snoozers!
In contrast, the recent work by the Sustainable Food Lab helps to surface a much more insightful sense of 'levers' that focus on ways for communities to overcome the limitations of the existing food system...by changing the game.
That's what sustainable food is all about for Hawaii, IMHO...Changing the game.
Here's what we know from sustainability science and ecological footprint studies so far. Hawaii will need to:
- grow, process, prepare and store our food fairly close to where we live
- anticipate some fairly dramatic changes in our growing environment due to climate change
- focus on nutrition as a way to bolster our immune systems
- innovate in the 'business model' so that "feeding ourselves" is more of a social enterprise
- do all this with zero energy or chemical imports and zero net emissions
In other words, Hawaii will need many fairly small "Dream Farms".
...in which case, we're gonna need some 'systems thinking' that helps us see all the interconnections and leverage points.
`Akua save us if we go off half-cocked with a plethora of ag initiatives before we undertake this vital prior task.