Monday, May 12, 2008

One more Iron in the Fire...

Even though I have been ill the past couple of weeks I have had a lot of time to continue thinking about the food crisis. Of course my thinking has led to more questions than answers, but out of these questions I have begun to notice the emergence of another, perhaps even complementary research agenda that is linked to patterns and pattern thinking.

As a result, I have been putting together some thoughts to paper. Of particular interest is the differing impacts that policy orientations regarding global versus regional food systems will have on achieving long-term sustainability. I'm interested in looking at the patterns of failure and success of each and how the range of social, environmental and economic variables will effect or be effected by these patterns. Likewise, I'm interested in the application of agroecological/permaculture principles as pattern based systems thinking in constructing sustainable food systems. This of course would be a huge departure from the compartmentalized approach that appears to dominate traditional ag sciences.

Considering the dynamic nature of these systems it seems apparent that effective information systems are needed in tracking changes in data and thereby shifts in the functioning of systems as elements within the systems will shift over time and across spatial dimensions. Will I build this? No, I will not, but there are tools out there that can be useful in analyzing some of these questions and the work Yishay is doing on the PlaNet software project for patterns could be a great integrator.

I'm still trying to figure out if I can manage yet another area of interest at this time, but in some ways I can see the benefit of pursuing three parallel tracks in that each feeds into the other and in some ways provides an integrated perspective on the application patterns in the realm of system dynamics.

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