Following is my reply to Greg's e-mail on socialagriculture yahoo group. I am not sure are you reading e-mails from that group so I wanted to post it here. If this is not appropriate place to post it, please delete this. Thanks.
Hi Greg, first I want to thank you personally for the work you gave to Minciu Sodas lab and to me personally, it had a big positive and encouraging impact on me and also on Minciu Sodas. Second, I want to answer some of the questions you have posted. I will try to give my best but please consider that I am not an native English speaker and also I don't really have enough informations about your ideas regarding My Food Story & Origins wiki concept and final goals you want to achieve.
Greg: Can this first modest step in collecting stories become a positive force for change in a world of global food production and consumption? I certainly hope so despite the many challenges that lie ahead.
Sasha: Personally, I didn't see how can this make a significant impact on the global food network. But because of my work and research in this area I found great and important and deep touching stories about food, and it gave me a whole new perspective. For instance it is really interesting for me how many real educated persons in USA are going back to food production in a whole new paradigm, in a organic, local and sustainable way. I was impressed with the professions turned back to farming: medical doctors, artists, clasical musicians, lawyers, managers, scientist etc. I feel that really encouraging. Also the stories of poor people who are uplifting their lives from misery using agriculture. Fair trade is also very important issue because the majority of the global have nots are rural. The connection between producer trader and consumer in a fair trade setting gives us a great example of the possibility to work together for our collective and personal betterment. The CSA movement in USA had also have a importance to me, I was not aware of how an interesting and potentially powerful social " technology" it is. Can it be promoted in other parts of world? Especially trough the South? Can there be international CSA?
Greg: There's clearly many more steps to go before we can really collect and connect the stories of producers and consumers around the world. However, even this initial project has created many new connections. So many people have an interesting food story if we find the time to ask, listen, and learn.
Sasha: Yes, I agree. As I said I learned much researching this issues for MyFoodStory.
Possible steps Edit
Greg: I'm interested in hearing your suggestions of how we might:
- improve upon the kernel of stories at origins.wikia.com,
- put them in a context that connects with the experiences of people
who may know food primarily through supermarket shelves, and
- invite the participation of other groups that care about the global
issues while maintaining the very personal and real qualities of the stories.
- .I am not sure how that can be done.Maybe we can add more stories? Add photos to accomplish the stories? Add some more background information for example in the fisherman story ,add some data about the lake, local conditions, economic and social situation and background?
- .Maybe make a comparation of this fisherman with a fisherman working on the USA coast or better yet on some of the great American lakes. What are the similarities and differences. How is the fish getting to the end consumer?To the restaurants? What is the culture of fish eating? What is the cultural background of fish cousin? Comparing the fish eating habits in that African area to areas in the developed worlds? Etc.
- .For that the project has to be promoted but the mean to do it depends on other factors that I have no knowledge of like: what kind of organizations, what is the best way to promote the project (word of mouth,press release,maybe "green" advertising,link exchange etc.)
Greg: Pictures always help tell the story. Photos with audio might be my first choice for how to make things more accessible and more real for everyone.
I would be most interested in seeing stories related to the existing stories. For example, who is buying fish from the fishermen? Who processes the fish? What are their stories? What food sources have started replacing the missing fish? Where is that food being raised?
Greg: Should we promote particular conventions for each of the stories, including for example the location of the storyteller and where they buy/sell their food? What types of incentives might be used to reward the editors who make the story accessible to a larger audience? Should we highlight one area each month or each week as a way of focusing attention? Should we pick a "story of the month" (maybe eventually a story of the day) to receive virtual applause and perhaps even a small gratuity?
Sasha: Yes, I think that would be interesting, it would add to the reality of the stories. You know, to our researchers (editors) in Africa and other parts,because of the general poverty there money is of big importance, so that is as always a good reward. But there are also other possibilities I think, like opening other work opportunities paid and not paid also. Also giving some more place to develop creativity within this research,although it is indeed a really self directed research. Maybe the possibilities can open further in ways that can not been sen from this point of view. That would be good idea I think, to highlight an story.
Best Regards, Sasha Mrkailo
Mapping out a plan Edit
Thanks for the comments. I moved your initial posting to this discussion page and thought we might collectively try to put together a kind of RoadMap for the origins wiki. Also added some of my responses to your notes. Generally I find a structured discussion like this to be more effective for me than trying to follow postings across newsgroup.--Gregwolff 01:27, 23 April 2007 (UTC)