Denmark is a country where the grocery stores sell cucumbers and bell peppers individually shrink-wrapped in plastic, and økologisk (organic) can mean a small bag of vegetables flown in from Chile. But this is not the entire community – I’ve been exploring other parts of the food world, joining the equivalent of a community-supported agriculture group and working with a local community garden. There is progress, but it certainly doesn’t dominate the public consciousness yet.
I want to highlight a few good things about food here. The first is that in many parts of the city, small shops are successfully competing with large chains. It is possible to buy meat, bread, and vegetables from places with single counters and local owners.
The second thing is that local products are easy to find. Here is honey from bees living in a central public park.
And here are Danish apples growing throughout much of the Zealand countryside. Even at a big store there will be Danske æbler for sale, and at a reasonable price too.
A small nation like Denmark is unlikely to achieve food independence, especially with the need for external inputs of fossil fuels and fertilizers. But there is certainly the potential of moving closer to that goal, and doing so in a way that supports local communities and doesn’t require such ridiculous plastic packaging of products. It is fundamentally a question of distributing resources across space and time, and one that can be better constrained at a range of scales. I’ll have more to say – hopefully in a full paper – on this subject soon.