Food production and consumption is a major part of US populations. Today, most people live in cities which makes it more difficult to find healthy and humane ways to feed all of us. This proves to be vital challenge for everyone including designers and planners as well. Our current food system that we have been using for generations has become the source for many of the social, economic, and environmental issues we face today regarding the food we generate and consume.
It is critical for us to take charge and come up with new and improved solutions on how to solve the issues that arise from our current food system, including the increase in poor health conditions and the negative environmental impact (gas emissions). The question is how do we fix this when most people don’t even realize how serious this issue is?
In order to understand our current food system, I conducted a thorough research on three different food products: lettuce (vegetable), chicken (meat), and milk (dairy) The packaged lettuce is a Kroger brand classic garden mix that costs .
49 per bag and is purchased from local farmers including those from California. They even have instore farming where you can pick your own produce. The chicken comes from heritage farms and costs $5.65 per package of four ounces of chicken tenderloins. The chicken is hatched, raised, and harvested in the US. The package is distributed by Kroger Company in Cincinnati, Ohio. Finally, the milk comes from a farm in Storrs, Connecticut that is funded and run by the Mountain Dairy Company.
The one gallon (3.78 L) costs about $2.18. The company does not use any artificial growth hormones and use only fresh products, not pasteurized. When looking at these products, and many others such as beef, we can see that most of our food products go through unsustainable and inhumane processes that only diminish our health and the health of our surroundings. There are many ways that we as designers and planners can help fix this issue including the implantation of local farming into our designs of landscapes and structures as well as improving the design and the use of mobile farmer markets.
By integrating local farming into the design of our buildings and recreations (parks, etc.) we will be able to provide not only the ability for people to learn more about what they put into their body, the effect it has on them and the environment, and how we can do better when it comes to our food system. In a TED Talk, Paul Myers, a founder of Farm Urban, has demonstrated the positive outcomes of integrating aquaponics, a form of local farming that combines the use of conventional aquaculture with hydroponics, to a community accessed sight where people could learn more about it and become familiar with its process. He states that the “reason that kids don’t eat healthy food is because they don’t know it” (YouTube (TED Talk), 14:34). We as humans must be engaged with a process in order to understand how it benefits us. That is why the implementation of more local farming we benefit us for the long run. This includes designs such as roof gardens, farming in parks, and even mobile farmers markets. Farmers Markets are a great source for getting local grown and fresh food products, but the issue is, however, is that farmers markets can be hard to get to since many people live much farther away in order to access them. “Not only will it help make local produce affordable, it will provide an additional outlet for our farmers” (Ashley Stilson). With mobile famers markets, these people are then able to access fresh food for a cheaper price and by using the skills that designers and planners have, we can then create more effective and better-quality trucks that use as mobile farmers markets.
It is our duty to help create a more effective and healthier food system in order to fix the negative outcomes on our social, economic, and environmental standings. By implemental the use of more local farming we are one step closer to creating a better and effective food system that will help us strive in more ways than one.