Citizens should lead

A link to my reviews of 3 new books that may inspire some to get thee to city hall or at least remind us of the possibilities of better design of urban places.

I think every food system organizer (really, every organizer) needs to know Jane Jacobs, and one other new book that I am still working my way through may help those of you not interested in reading about her life story or diving into her classic The Death and Life of Great American Cities. Vital Little Plans is a collection of many of her shorter pieces and her talks, including some of what she wrote on her way to publishing Death and Life. One of the editors (Storring) works at Projects For Public Spaces (PPS),  a consulting firm well known for its market technical assistance, Placemaking tools, and workshops. (Exciting news: They should be announcing their 2018 Public Market Conference location very soon too.)

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Readers will find classics here, including Jacobs’s breakout article “Downtown Is for People,” as well as lesser-known gems like her speech at the inaugural Earth Day and a host of other rare or previously unavailable essays, articles, speeches, interviews, and lectures. Some pieces shed light on the development of her most famous insights, while others explore topics rarely dissected in her major works, from globalization to feminism to universal health care.

Buy it near you at an independent bookstore.

The Circular Economy | The UnSchool

Closing the loop on production, consumption, design, and the economy

The circular economy is a smarter and more effective way of producing high-need things with high-value in the economy and with much less waste, pollution, exploitation, and other negative impacts.

By taking this class you will get a 360 degree perspective of what the circular economy is, how it applies to different levels of decision making, and theories and practices that have gone into making it work today — biomimicry, cradle-to-cradle & sustainable design strategies, and product service system models.

Source: Enroll in Course for $45

Bring your food waste to the library for composting

Food waste collection programs are being phased in at New Orleans public libraries.

I’m glad they also mention Greenmarket and their innovative compost collection program. What is significant about the NYC market program is that Greenmarket does not occupy their market spaces constantly, so managing programs like composting require added logistics for the staff.

In data collection terms for markets, this program can be measured for its ecological, economic, social and intellectual capital benefits.

Bring your food waste to the library for composting: Yes, really | NOLA.com

From field to fork: the six stages of wasting food 

I foresee “Ugly Food” events at farmers markets or even “Ugly Food” sections of vendors tables with people crowding around them. It will certainly be great for markets to lead the way by showing how much food we are wasting or by teaching folks how and when to use bruised or less pretty fruit and veggies.

“Americans chuck out two tons of food per second – be it at the farm for being ‘ugly’ or at the table because we’re too finicky.”

Source: The Guardian story

Impact of climate change on agriculture may be underestimated — ScienceDaily

“The changes in cropping that we quantified with remotely sensed data were stunning,” Mustard said. “We can use those satellite data to better understand what’s happening from a climate, economic, and sociological standpoint.”

The study showed that temperature increases of 1 degree Celsius were associated with substantial decreases in both total crop area and double cropping. In fact, those decreases accounted for 70 percent of the overall loss in production found in the study. Only the remaining 30 percent was attributable to crop yield.

“Had we looked at yield alone, as most studies do, we would have missed the production losses associated with these other variables,” VanWey said.

Taken together, the results suggest that traditional studies “may be underestimating the magnitude of the link between climate and agricultural production,” Cohn said.

That’s especially true in places like Brazil, where agricultural subsidies are scarce compared with places like the U.S.

“This is an agricultural frontier in the tropics in a middle-income country,” VanWey said. “This is where the vast majority of agricultural development is going to happen in the next 30 to 50 years. So understanding how people respond in this kind of environment is going to be really important.”

VanWey said a next step for this line of research might be to repeat it in the U.S. to see if increased subsidies or insurance help to guard against these kinds of shocks. If so, it might inform policy decisions in emerging agricultural regions like Mato Grosso.

Source: Impact of climate change on agriculture may be underestimated — ScienceDaily