Earth Day 2015 at The Growing Experience Urban Farm

Earth Day 2015 at The Growing Experience Urban Farm

"Food deserts" are a significant issue found in urban communities. Healthy food seems like a luxury when you're surrounded by fast food and convenience stores. In a food desert there are few options for fresh and healthy food, especially for individuals dependent on food subsidies, like food stamps or EBT programs. What can we do?

1. End Food Deserts

Food deserts are a significant issue that can't be fixed with just a few community gardens, although that's a good start. In order to fully address a food desert, all options need to be put on the table and every square foot counts when approaching a dense concrete environment. Walls, rooftops, empty warehouses and vacant lots are all potential growing spaces that may sit idle unless innovative growing solutions allow them to be cultivated. Even where there is soil, there is high levels of contamination in much of the urban soil ecosystem. This leads us towards advanced agriculture systems, such as aquaponics and vertical growing systems, that allow for consistent production of healthy and uncontaminated food.

2. Make Healthy Food Cheaper and More Available

Every mile that our food travels adds to the cost, not just of fuel, but also water usage, pollution creation, and food deterioration. These factors all add up to why it's important to grow food closer to where it will be eventually consumed. This also allows for relationships to be developed directly with growers which provides transparency of how the food is grown and better ability to respond to market demands.

3. Organic food lasts longer if harvested the day of.

As mentioned above, our food deteriorates the farther it has to travel to our plate. This is why many commercial growers use chemicals and preservatives to maintain freshness during shipment. By bringing the food production closer to the consumer it can be harvested closer to the time it is consumed and offsetting the need to use excessive post-harvest preservation methods.