The first people have entered the airspace again after almost a week of non-mobility at this side of Europe. While the large number of grounded people can slowly start to return, also freight transport by air can resume itself. Schiphol is packed with just-in-time deliveries such as consumer electronics and also perishable things like flowers, vegetables and fruit. Albert Heijn reported no immediate problems last week friday in the NRC just after the closure of Schiphol, but there was optimism then about the time it would take to re-open the airspace. Most of the supermarket’s food is transported over land, specific things like tropical fruit salad might get out of stock, the newspaper reported. It might be interesting to see what is not available anymore after a week of silence in the air. This extraordinary situation might further inspire the emerging practice of urban food planning and policy.
Food planning has risen in attention (see also earlier blogs) because of the “new food equation” (Morgan and Sonnino 2010). By this, the authors refer to a combination of factors which together make that food supply matters again as a political issue. They mention amongst others:
– Rapid urbanisation and rise of the number of people dependent on food supply
– Land conflicts and new colonialism
– Climate change effects such as water stress
– The food price surge of 2007/ 2008 and consequent food riots.
Food security, therefore, has become a national security issue again in many countries. So far, however, not really for us, it seemed. The ash coming down in silence might draw extra attention to the logistic miracle of keeping the shelves full with the thirty thousand items or more per supermarket each day. A vulnerability assessment of the food system might not be such a bad idea in the light (or darkness) of an eruption of the second, much larger volcano on Iceland.