People are often dependent on distant, unhealthy food sources. This reduces ties to the local landscape, further eroding the stability of the food system.
Healthy food with a connection to place is a fundamental need. Productive rural areas maintain a stable land base for a wide-range of crops, with value-added production used to process and store foods off-season and greenhouses and cold-frames used to extend the growing season. People in towns and cities can garden in backyards and community gardens, supplemented by urban farms. In Portland, a project called Growing Gardens teaches low-income people vegetable gardening skills and helps them install their first garden.
Wildlands represent material abundance for people living in rural and remote areas. It is the pickup truck full of firewood that will warm a house through the coldest fortnight of the year. It is the basketful of chanterelles gathered in the autumn forest that will turn a simple meal into a gourmet feast, or provide a little extra money in a cash-poor economy. The wild is berries and mussels, halibut and abalone, deer, seaweed, and salmon. People in some southeast Alaskan villages consume an average of more than a pound per day of wild foods.
All of these are gifts from the wild, which must be harvested with care and forbearance so the fount of these gifts may flow on undiminished. Our harvest binds us in a reciprocal tie to the wild, caring for it so that we may in turn be provided for.
Traditional First Nations uses of core reserves and other wild areas, including food and medicine gathering, ceremonies, and spiritual quests, should always be respected. Subsistence Rights ensure that people can meet needs for food, water, and spiritual connection within their ancestral lands.
For those just beginning to become native to their places, subsistence rights imply secure access to nutritious, affordable food, whether from harvesting in the wild, growing one's own garden, or eating local produce.
Protect the ability of people to access food and other resources from nearby wildlands, provided that care is taken to maintain the health of these ecosystems. Enhance regional food systems, drawing on the entire landscape to reconnect people with place and provide a nutritious diet.
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