On Monday January 24, Sustain Ontario hosted a screening of The Economics of Happiness, a film that describes one more persuasive reason to support local economies – they makes you happier, and it can make everyone else happier too. The film builds the argument that globalization of food, work and culture has people all over the world feeling disconnected and allows money to flow out of formerly thriving communities, contributing to poverty, social isolation, and ill health.
Though the subject matter had the potential to become quite heavy, optimism about creating sustainable economies and food systems was in full effect at the event. The panel discussion following the film allowed us to hear homegrown success stories about inclusive food systems from local chef Joshna Maharaj and Eric Rosenkrantz of Matchbox Seed Co. The director Helena Norberg-Hodge rounded out the panel, and provided further discussion of issues raised in the film, including the connections between North American demand and developing world emissions and the numerous and far-reaching impacts of losing farmland.
One of the most interesting and exciting parts of the night was having the chance to see the infographics and videos about Ontario’s food issues created by Sheridan College Bachelor of Applied Illustration students. This artists did an outstanding job of capturing complex issues, such as the different impacts of organic and factory farming or the complex health impacts of our food system, and distilling them into short videos or one-page infographics like the one above. These films and illustrations are just the kind of creative tools that can be used to make the problems in our current food system crystal clear and, fortunately, help make some of the solutions even clearer.
Take a look at the infographics and videos here!