When discussing food issues, it’s easy to become overwhelmed by the terminology – permaculture, monoculture, aquaponics, biointensive – what do they all mean? At the Sustainable Food Trust, we don’t think language should be a barrier to engaging people in these important issues, and that’s why we were delighted to discover the Lexicon of Sustainability.
The Lexicon of Sustainability is a multiplatform project based on a simple premise – that people can’t be expected to live more sustainable lives if they don’t know the most basic terms and principles that define sustainability. They combine film and photographs of farmers across America, with words and descriptions to illustrate specific terms, resulting in a collection of beautiful and educational images and short films.
Filmmaker and photographer Douglas Gayeton, and producer Laura Howard-Gayeton, have crisscrossed the United States to learn this new language of sustainability, from its foremost practitioners. Their unusual ‘crowd-sourcing’ approach allows the public to suggest ideas and even host shows of the work, which has helped to transform their grassroots project into an international organisation with volunteers across the globe. Anyone can host a Pop-Up show, spurring dialogue about how individuals and communities can work together to strengthen local food systems.
By illuminating the vocabulary of sustainable agriculture, and the conversation about America’s rapidly evolving food culture alongside it, the Lexicon of Sustainability educates, engages and activates people to pay closer attention to how they eat, what they buy, and where their responsibility begins for creating a healthier, safer food system in America. Anyone can become a lexicon contributor, by adding new words and definitions.
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