The Urban Food Revolution: Changing the Way We Feed Cities

The Urban Food Revolution
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Languages Add links. Producing food in the neighborhood makes people healthier, alleviates poverty, creates jobs, and makes cities safer and more beautiful.

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The Urban Food Revolution is an essential resource for somebody who has lost confidence in the global industrial food system and wants practical advice on how to enroll in the local food revolution. Peter Ladner has served two terms as a Vancouver City Councilor. New Society Publishers.

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Your email address will not be published. Notify me of new posts by email. At this time of the year, we just don't have the sun to dissipate the water into the air, and the soil is so saturated from all the rains we've had in September. Remember we had the 50 millimetres [2 inches] of rain on Aug.

We just have never been able to recover from that. The only thing that has happened is that as we moved into October, the crops are deteriorating every day. It's cabbages. It's broccoli. It's brussels sprouts. It's cauliflower. It's corn. It's beans. It's carrots. It's beets. Right through the whole library of fresh vegetables that everyone will want to enjoy on this Thanksgiving.

They've been going to the high spot of their fields, taking risks, taking chances, trying to rescue a few potatoes here and there. It's all but over. Even the high places on the fields, you just don't have enough room to harvest and get turned around in the slop and the mud to go back and make another pass. It could be close to three quarters of a million dollars before the dust settles.

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This is serious -- unprecedented. We have no knowledge of where we're going to end up. This is the worst this farm has ever experienced, and we've been in existence since Family farms that have been around since the early s -- will they be able to go through and carry on? The repercussion of this is not just for one season. It's going to last for a while to come. We have a crop insurance program, but it's in dollars.

That's a big hit for agriculture. Those dollars are not going to take a tip off the iceberg for us. They'll barely cover the cost of land rental and partial fertilizer and maybe a little bit of seed.

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It's just not going to be enough to help farmers get around the corner and have another season. Being at the mercy of the weather is the fate of farmers throughout history. Actually, not all farmers. A few miles away, hundreds of acres of greenhouses sitting on agricultural land keep humming away, raising peppers, tomatoes and leafy greens year-round regardless of the weather. The difference between Bill Zylmans's fate and the greenhouse harvests is the control over weather conditions offered by technology.

Ever since the invention of the plow, technology has been helping farmers. The earliest known use of technology to protect plants dates back to the Roman Emperor Tiberius Caesar 14—37 AD , whose doctor told him he needed a cucumber a day to preserve his health.

So he had moveable garden beds built that could be brought inside during bad weather and put outside on winter sunny days under a frame glazed with transparent mica. The development of cheap artificial light -- especially the LED lighting that's taking over from sodium growlights -- has made the use of indoor lighting for growing a lot more affordable and easier than hauling around mica frames and waiting for sunny days.

The renowned "B.

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The widespread adoption of GMO seeds, pesticides, herbicides, fertilizers and antibiotics has revolutionized agriculture. The harm from the collateral damage to natural ecosystems and rural societies from these technological advances is still being tallied, a measure of the mixed blessings that come from technology in agriculture. While genetically modified seeds may end up costing the planet more than the benefits they deliver, that legitimate fear shouldn't let us forget that without technological advances, most of us wouldn't be alive today. As the writer P.

O'Rourke once famously pointed out: anyone who doubts the benefits of technological progress should think about one word: "dentistry. Tech advances on large-scale farms are beyond the scope of this book. Such advances include the sophisticated GPS field maps that allow computer-controlled application of fertilizers that can be customized to subtle changes in soil type across a farmer's fields.

But there are many ways technology is going to increase food production for smaller-scale growers in and around cities. Self-proclaimed "lunatic organic farmer-entrepreneur" Joel Salatin is very clear about the advantages technology can bring to even the most down-to-earth farming practices.

8. The Urban Food Revolution: Changing the Way We Feed Cities

How on earth would she be able to find a place that allowed her to have both? Your information is safe and will never be shared. Save On Your Purchase by Sharing! Food fraud, or the act of defrauding buyers of food or ingredients for economic gain-whether they be consumers or food manufacturers, retailers, and importers-has vexed the food industry throughout history. Planning in Divided Cities. Include archived stories. He is also a director of The Natural Step Canada.

One example is the moveable electric fence system he uses to contain chickens and cattle on different parts of his property. The fences let the animals feed themselves and, at the same time, fertilize the pastures with manure -- so Joel no longer has to buy and transport feed and fertilizer.

For him, it's about efficiency: "The weak link is not making better use of the resources we already have. Greenhouses offer one of the most effective technological boosts for producing more food on less space with fewer resources. One acre of hydroponic greenhouse can produce , pounds of food per year; that's 10 times what a one-acre field could produce -- and there's no wasted fertilizer. Hydroponic and aeroponic technology has increased yield potential fold while using 30 times less water than outdoor growing.

Those impressive efficiencies have led to booming greenhouse industries around the world -- without the genetically modified seeds, pesticides and herbicides that have played such a big part in the Green Revolution.

How we're going to change the way you eat!

The pressure to produce more food in smaller and unconventional spaces has led to vertical farming -- adding height to the traditional one-story greenhouse. MacArthur Foundation to build "a five-story vertical building totally off the grid with renewable energy, where people can come and learn, so they can go back to their communities around the world and grow healthy food.