Urban fruit: An untapped resourcePhoto: Fallen Fruit.
Here's a great local food/art initiative, Fallen Fruit, a map project of neighborhoods where one can collect unwanted fruit in Los Angeles. Humans should be making use of these urban apples, avocados, pomegranates, etc. as much as possible, not raking them up into a garbage bag or compost pile. The folks at LocalEcology have started one for Berkeley, and folks with the Portland Fruit Tree Project collect fruit that grows on neighborhood trees for drop-off at local food banks (check out the links section of their site for other projects like it in Philadelphia, Vancouver, and more). Their harvesting parties look to be very fun and take place on Saturdays, 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m., beginning August 2.
Is there free fruit by you?
Day three of the UN Dispatch-Grist collaboration
The UN Dispatch-Grist collaboration continues today with a discussion of the top user-rated idea on On Day One: 'Eat the View,' by Roger Doiron. This idea was so popular, it even found its way into The New York Times.
Here's what he suggests:
Announce plans for a food garden on the White House lawn, making one of the White House's eight gardeners responsible for it, with part of produce going to the White House kitchen and the rest to a local food pantry. The White House is "America's House" and should set an example. The new President would not be breaking with tradition, but returning to it (the White House has had vegetable gardens before) and showing how we can meet global challenges such as climate change and food security.
Kate Sheppard, David Roberts, and Timothy B. Hurst respond below the fold.
Now’s the time for scapes and green garlic
Food headlines hardly bring comfort these days: tales of lost harvests, hunger riots, agrichemical runoff, tainted pork and tomatoes. A society’s foodways surely reveal something about its quality of life. From studying the industrial-food system, as I do, it’s easy to conclude that we live in a brutal culture: content to destroy the ecosystem, exploit […]
Low-income nabes lead the way in urban farming
The Garden of Hope -- the new community green space I covered this week on Grist -- is just one facet of Brooklyn's community gardening scene.
While writing this story I spoke with Susan Fields of the Brooklyn Botanic Garden's GreenBridge program, which reaches out to neighborhoods all over Brooklyn to encourage and to support many levels of gardening -- from the "Greenest Block in Brooklyn" contest all the way to the Urban Composting Project. "There's a growing focus on urban food production," she told me.
Why mow the grass when you can harvest salad greens?
Lawn grass is the largest irrigated U.S. crop. “Even conservatively,” notes NASA researcher Cristina Milesi, “I estimate there are three times more acres of lawns in the U.S. than irrigated corn.” Wow, that’s a lot of ornamental grass — about 128,000 square kilometers worth, roughly equal in size to the state of Wisconsin. According Milesi, […]
Still more reasons to eat local and lay off the beefPhoto: Elizabeth Thomsen via Flickr.
Increasingly, consumers are trying to reduce the environmental impacts of the foods they eat. But it's not so easy to know what to do, in part because of the bewildering array of food choices the market offers, but also because it's hard to know what food choices carry the biggest impact.
This nifty study tries to clear away some of the murk by tackling a fairly straightforward question: If you care about the climate, which is more important, what kind of food you eat, or where that food is grown?
To summarize the findings: All else being equal, locally grown food is friendlier to the climate than food grown half a continent away. But if you're looking for a single food choice that will help curb your climate impact, your best bet is to stay away from cows!
Sustainability a big theme at the World Science Festival
What do vertical farms, green roofs, soft cars, breathing walls, and Dongtan, China, have in common? They were all subjects of discussion at Friday's Future Cities event in New York City, part of the four-day 2008 World Science Festival.
To a packed house, Columbia University microbiologist Dickson Despommier described his vision for feeding the planet's burgeoning, and increasingly urban, population. The vertical farm takes agriculture and stacks it into the tiers of a modern skyscraper. Instead of stopping at the corner pizzeria for dinner, Despommier suggested, you could pluck a nice head of lettuce, maybe some corn, and some tomatoes for a big salad, all in your own building, on the way to your apartment. You can't get fresher or more local than that.
According to Despommier, the farms will be "grown organically: no herbicides, pesticides, or fertilizers." (Of course, being indoor, there won't be many insects to spray for.) The farms will also require much less irrigation since all water can be re-circulated, and they'll curb the growing pressure to turn forest into farmland.
The vertical farm sounds (and looks) pretty amazing, and certainly Despommier deserves much credit for thinking boldly ... but I was left with several questions.
The NYT on urban farming
Viewed through a wide lens, the world’s troubles seem overwhelming: climate change, pointless war, spreading hunger, surging food and energy prices, etc. There’s a tendency to seek big-brush answers to these vast problems, to ask: what’s The Solution? Failing inevitably to find it — much less implement it — we plunge deeper into despair and […]
Nonsensical nuggets from the prez’s press conference
George W. Bush -- dark green? I kid you not. Here's what he said in his press conference today:
One thing I think that would be -- I know would be very creative policy is if we -- is if we would buy food from local farmers as a way to help deal with scarcity, but also as a way to put in place an infrastructure so that nations can be self-sustaining and self-supporting. It's a proposal I put forth that Congress hasn't responded to yet, and I sincerely hope they do.
I have no idea what he's talking about -- what proposal did he put forward to Congress about local food? But I'm sure the 100-Mile Diet folks are on the phone with the White House right now.
What's next for Bush -- composting?