A Food Crisis Is Coming, But Urban America Already Has It Solved – COLORLINES

 

Community gardens are bringing better food closer to home.

Community gardens are bringing better food closer to home. Photo: Getty Images/David McNew

 

A Food Crisis Is Coming, But Urban America Already Has It Solved by Imara Jones. Click to read the whole article. Below is a snippet.

A Better Way: Urban Farms

One response to America’s susceptibility to oil shocks is to move food production closer to where people live. Drastically reducing the distance between consumers and their food would lower costs substantially. Lower prices could soften the blow of price hikes and ensure that food remains at levels that most Americans can afford. It would also have positive health impacts, putting downward pressure on illnesses caused by poor diets, decrease health care costs and improve the quality of life of millions.

Moving agricultural production to cities and suburbs would also dramatically alter the business of farming. Rather than leaving it concentrated in a few large companies based in far away places, food production would be spread throughout a larger segment of society. A greater share of consumers would be more active in generating the nutrients that sustain them. Farms would have to shrink and people would eat less meat. Cattle feedlots that can hold 150,000 animals at one time would not work in urban areas.

Overall, municipalities would develop a direct relationship with their food. As Bed-Stuy Farm shows, this both improves the wellbeing of residents and the community as a whole. But whatever happens the way Americans get their food in the future is set to change.

Sparked by the urban farm movement, a predicted growth of cities, and impending resource crises, futurists are thinking of additional ways to bring agriculture to cities. Vertical farms, for instance, would place the growth of fruits and vegetables in sky scrapers. Several hundred feet high, these buildings would mix people and agriculture. Certain floors would be dedicated to raising food, others to housing people.

Another idea is converting empty warehouses into hydroponic farms. These massive soil-less greenhouses could produce a range of products using far fewer resources. There is even a proposal to convert the roofs of supermarkets into greenhouses. This would create a closed-loop food production system where produce is picked and sold in the same place. The bottom line is that a lot of research energy is going into how we can do things differently.

But the future is actually now. As we seek ways to feed in new ways, policy makers should start by getting behind a homegrown solution already inaction: urban farms. Grown out of crisis, the example of these neighborhood agricultural centers are life rafts that could help us weather the oil-shock-induced difficulties that lie ahead. Despite the choices futurists and leaders make, the rest of us will have to do what those in America’s most challenged communities have known for years: learn how to create, not just consume.

Imara Jones is a New York based blogger who writes about economic justice for Colorlines.com.

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One Response

  1. I can’t help but think that we are going back in time. Food production was local, with local farms, fresh milk delivered to your door. Then big agribusiness too over and put all our locals out of business. Think of all the farmers who were bankrupted and destroyed by the Agribusiness Industrial Complex that was allowed to get bigger and bigger all for profit.

    I think the title of this article is a little too “happy ending” ish and this is not going to be a solution for everyone. Farms have become housing developments, there’s not enough land to grow food for our area anymore.

    It’s an interesting post but I do feel that Capitalism made this problem but the Capitalists themselves won’t be the ones who will have to solve it. Ugh.

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