Sunday, October 12, 2008

Urban Farming at its Best

It is amazing in this day and age how big of a problem food scarcity is.

No, I'm not suggesting that the local market has run out of cheetos or any of your other favorites. But the fact is that too many people who live in this country are unable to acquire the healthy foods that they need. Ironically, this contributes to a secondary, but not unrelated problem: obesity.

The problem lies in that it is often cheaper to buy fast, greasy food than it is to buy healthy food. As strange as it may initially sounds, food scarcity and obesity are interrelated problems.

This weekend I came upon a news story about a former NBA player, Will Allen (view it here). He has recieved a MacArthur Genius grant for his work with an urban garden in Milwaukee. Will's non-profit organization, Growing Power, not only grows food, but concetrates on developing food distribution networks to distribute the food to community members that truly need it.

On top of all of that, the work Growing Power is doing is eco-friendly as well. They are using compost piles to heat their greenhouses, and have developed multitiered planting systems that have plants on the top and aquaculture fish tanks on the bottom. The water from the tanks flows up to the plants which filter the impurities out of the water before it flows back into the tank.

I am a big supporter of community agriculture projects, and this is one of the most innovative that I have seen. Hopefully Will's examples will encourage others to start similar programs.

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