Background Biographical Information
Dr. Lisa Trocchia (Lisa Trocchia-Baļķīts) is an Italian-American and multi-generational Appalachian. She and her husband divide time between Appalachian Southeastern Ohio and a small mountain village on the island of Crete. Prior to her experience in higher education, Lisa taught in public and private schools and conducted food and sustainability workshops with adults in community education settings. She served as a board member and held key leadership positions in non-profit organizations focused on food access issues, environmental resilience, sustainable community development, and the arts. She has international corporate business experience and as a local food entrepreneur, started several successful community-based food micro-enterprises. Lisa spent years growing vegetables for the local farmers market, sustainably harvesting wild foods, and crafting herbal medicinals. Formerly a professional baker, she remains active in the kitchen. Lisa is involved with food networks and food policy work on the local, state, and national level and is an advocate for peace and environmental concerns, food justice, mutual aid, and equity. Dr. Trocchia was a volunteer with Lesvos Solidarity/PIPKA, a refugee camp in Lesvos, Greece, and continues to appeal for refugee justice.
“It is in difficult times that values-based networks become visible. In the capitalist construct, the individualistic narrative of “survival of the fittest” is valorized. Yet, when faced with immediate and complex challenges, it becomes clear our most basic human instinct is mutual aid. Survival has always depended upon cooperation. From my perspective as a food systems scholar, the kind of transformative change capable of shifting whole systems toward resiliency and equity will come from a form of mutual aid--the interconnection of values-based food networks, specifically, the praxis of community-based values expressed within the social ecology of food systems.”
Community-based Food Systems and Transformative Change
“It’s never too late to start investing in the critical infrastructure and relationships that support food justice and make long-term food security possible for everyone. The food system is complex and adaptive. It’s important to remember that doing what you can in this moment to support the farmers, food and beverage producers, food retailers, and restaurants in your region creates values-based value chains. By cultivating these authentic relationships, with attention to equity, the transition to a community-based food system emerges. Organizing and interlocking these food systems bioregionally, regionally, nationally, and globally will enable real transformative change. It is in this way that values and community-based food systems will create equity and justice, resilient economies, healthier people, and a regenerative natural environment.”
Food Systems and Complexity
“When it comes to food, there are separate elements: production, distribution, aggregation, processing, marketing, retail, preparation, consumption, and the recovery of waste. Each has inputs, outputs, individuals, technologies, and ways of doing things that are dependent upon and interconnected with all the others. Taken together, they form the food system. A disruption in any one domain, on any scale, effects the others. Further, the food system as a whole cannot function outside the influences and actions of political, economic, social, and environmental systems. Because of this, all social and environmental issues can be said to intersect with the food system. This is why strategies for any type of change are related to food systems change and must address complexity to be successful and sustainable. There are no single solutions. Even problems that require an immediate response are always tied to broader compound root conditions. The most difficult problems communities face involve this level of complexity but can be effectively addressed through cross-sector collaboration applying a food systems lens. "