How urban farming can end hunger: Meet Mobile Loaves & Fishes and Urban Patchwork Neighborhood Farms
BY SHELLEY SEALE
10.18.11 | 01:45 pm
Urban farming is pretty big in the grassroots-friendly city of Austin. We have dozens of farms within city limits and many more in the surrounding areas, an abundance of farmers markets from which to choose (and some great farmhouse delivery services that bring nature’s bounty straight to your home).
But eating real, organic food that hasn’t been processed, sourced from local farmers and artisans, isn’t granola or trendy. Our grandparents would have simply called it food; it’s only been since World War II that the mass-produced, processed, packaged grocery items, junk food and fast food have exploded and become so commonplace.
Besides being healthy for those of us who prefer to eat from locally produced foods, urban farming is quietly doing something even grander. It’s working on ending hunger in America.
Urban agriculture is the practice of cultivating, processing and distributing food in or around a village, town or city—and it’s turned into a revolution. The documentary Urban Roots chronicles the movement in Detroit, one of the most blight-ridden cities in the U.S. Detroit has lost more than half its population since the 1950s, going from close to two million to around 900,000 people in the space of decades. With the urban flight and relocation from the rust belt came thousands of abandoned buildings and vacant lots—more than 100,000 of them. Urban food pioneers have transformed many of those into farms to feed the community, taking the abandoned tracts of land and growing food on them to feed the community and combat hunger.
“Feeding a person for one moment isn’t really doing anything about getting rid of the systemic issues,” says one urban farmer in the documentary. People in Austin agree, and we have several similar such operations in our own backyard. You may not know about these people, but trust me—you should….read about Urban Patchwork, Genesis Gardens and more at http://austin.culturemap.com/newsdetail/10-07-11-18-48-how-urban-farming-can-end-hunger/