Towards Food Security and Community Empowerment – WEST

Food security depends upon the availability and access to food. While climate change and the COVID 19 pandemic pose difficulties for achieving food security, the world has always been challenged to provide adequate and nutritious food for its entire population. This presentation will offer possible solutions to food insecurity that are based upon a Prout approach to economic development. Prout (Progressive Utilization Theory) is a socio-economic system that meets human needs by decentralizing and democratizing economic activity. Through the lens of local Prout-based projects, presenters will discuss how strengthening local food systems, including production, distribution, and consumption networks, can help communities achieve self-sufficiency. By facilitating the collaboration of diverse stakeholders in the community, these local initiatives mobilize residents to increase the availability of food instead of depending upon outside sources.

Charles Paprocki will discuss Carbondale Spring, a people’s movement in Carbondale, Il (USA), that is helping to provide food security to the most marginalized populations in the city. Maitri Ersson will present a case study of the Kailash Ecovillage, a successful urban project she initiated in Portland, OR (USA). Francisco Dinis, who works with the Prout Research Institute in Portugal, will talk about their sustainable agriculture project in Covilha, Portugal that organizes farmer’s markets throughout the region and is currently starting a producers cooperative.  Steve Phillips will discuss his work with over 100 growers in Maui and their efforts to move Hawaii towards greater food self-sufficiency through increased local production and distribution networks.


Charles Paprocki (unavailable)

Charles Paprocki is the co-author of a five volume history of western civilization called The Untold Story of Western Civilization. The history is part of a trilogy called History, Ideology and Revolution. He has been a political and community activist his entire life. During this time he has spent many years working with troubled teenagers, prison inmates, welfare recipients, and migrant workers in the human services system. He also owned a graphics and advertising agency in New York City where he combined his skill and knowledge to create social marketing campaigns. He was one of the core leaders to create the Universal PreK program in New York State and the local food movement in Illinois. His last work was to manage an organic farm in southern Illinois. He has consulted with international NGOs on management strategies and participated in the Earth Summit in Brazil and the Social Summit in Denmark. He is now retired and living in Carbondale, Illinois. He is a volunteer with the Carbondale Spring Food Autonomy project.

Maitri Ersson

Maitri lives in Portland, Oregon, USA. In 1990, Maitri became involved with New Day School, a neohumanist preschool in Portland. She worked as the financial manager for 17 years and currently serves on the board of directors of the school. In 2007, Maitri, with her husband, founded Kailash Ecovillage, an intentional community focused on sustainable practices, such as rainwater and solar power harvesting, extensive recycling to include human excreta, food production for the community and sustaining harmonious and supportive relationships among members of the community.

Francisco Dinis

In 2007, Francisco visited Mondragon, the successful network of cooperatives in the Basque region of Spain. The visit served as practical experience of the effectiveness of community-lead economic development. Eventually, he became involved with the Ananda Valley eco-village, the Prout Research Institute of Portugal (PRIP), and co-founded Bioeco, the Association of Biological Agriculture and Agro-ecology.

Francisco has been a collaborator and presenter for conferences on “Economic Democracy” and “Systems Change and Sustainability”. He is the organizer of study circles for activists throughout Portugal (Lisbon, Covilha, Fundao, and Porto) as well as Economic Democracy in Action Encounters. He is also participating in the research to develop a Block-Level Planning strategy for the Cova da Beira region.


Steve Phillips

Steve Phillips is the Hawaii representative for PROUT (the Progressive Utilization Theory), where he promotes local self-reliance, a cooperative-based economy and the divine nature of all beings. He has worked for cooperative businesses on the mainland for 22 years. He moved to Maui 12 years ago and has worked for Down to Earth Natural Foods and Kapalua Farms. Steve has a passion for local food. Nine years ago he and his wife Ana started Local Harvest with the purpose of building the local food supply. He now oversees four businesses that work toward that purpose: Local Harvest, Island Fresh Delivery, Napili Farmer’s Market and Sattvic Kitchen.