A recent success story in New Orleans for urban farming and school-aged youth, Grow Dat has sold their produce through at their City Park farmstand, at farmers markets, through online ordering/home delivery services and now with this CSA method. GDYF is a well-regarded project that has produced very real outcomes in a challenging funding and food environment. The success of Grow Dat’s project work along with their constant advocacy for urban farmers has truly risen all boats.
I find that our Canadian colleague Wayne Roberts can say it so well:
The local food discussion needs more content and edge. It can’t just be the distance between the farm and the supermarket. What if the used plastic has to go to China to be recycled, or if the pesticides have to be imported from Alberta?
…All of these factors mean that we need a space to continue discussing and developing pilot policies. As with many things in food, we don’t need a quick and forceful decision; we need discussion, pilots, and learning, and then good decisions that can grow with fairly widespread support.
I easily could have pulled out more quotes from this short interview, but I’ll let the writer get credit on the site. Needless to say, I heartily recommend that you buy Wayne’s book and follow his feeds such as on LinkedIn and look for him on all of the many social media and websites that he is found. I have my copy annotated already.
This is an excellent snapshot of some of Canada’s work to deal with food insecurity as well as a short list of some great actions being taken to expand past emergency food to assert food sovereignty and skills such as seed-saving, foraging and many others. Glad to see Food Share and The Stop in here- two Ontario groups that I admire greatly and watch closely for ideas to bring to the U.S.
Eight stories that will give you food for thought
Food insecurity, which has only been measured specifically and consistently on the Canadian Community Health Survey since 2005, can mean a sliding scale from worrying about next week’s grocery budget, to buying mostly canned goods instead of pricier milk and vegetables, to skipping meals entirely. All three scenarios are a problem; the latter two have significant health consequences.
Perhaps the most striking finding of the study is the fact that happiness was more strongly correlated to green space than socioeconomic status. Participants living on blocks with 10% fewer green areas than the average were more likely to report stress and depression. Following this logic, a ‘poor’ resident living in an area with more trees and open space would report being happier than a ‘rich’ resident living in an area without access to green space.
Another study, this one by the University of Exeter in the United Kingdom, uses 18 years of survey data from over 10,000 participants across the United Kingdom. Its analysis shows a strong correlation between access to green space, self-reported well-being, and even physical health. The researchers even found that the sensations associated with living close to green space yield similar feelings and levels of satisfaction to getting a new job or getting married.
I might recommend that some of you utilize these suggestions within your market or grassroots food community efforts. Often, these type of collaborative public space efforts can extend the food community vibe into new arenas and into becoming a “beloved institution” beyond the hours of the bell or the garden fence.
Goats for grazing is a super idea for the many open, untended sites we have in New Orleans and throughout the U.S. This is a simple fundraising idea for an New Orleans entrepreneur that wants to use goats to graze public and private green space. She has already been contracted to use goats on a park in the city (Brechtel Park) starting in 2014 and needs support to get her business prepared for the work ahead.
I see she also sees this as public art, which I’d have to hear more about to understand I guess, but the goat grazing is by itself an idea that I can certainly support. Maybe you can too?
…To comment further on the public art point, I’d rather this be seen chiefly as a serious farming and open space issue that helps urban people see that livestock can safely serve many roles in the larger natural survival loop, even in our ordered urban environment.