Population Growth and Urban Migration
Agricultural Statistics and Projections
Facts about Lettuce
- 29 hormone disruptors
- 9 neurotoxins
- 10 developmental or reproductive toxins
Food Deserts and Food Security
- 23.5 million Americans—including 6.5 million children—currently live in food deserts.
- In 2011, the USDA found that nearly 6 percent of all US households did not regularly have the food they wanted or needed because of access-related problems.
- 88 percent of the over 520 food retailers in Washington, DC are unhealthy “fringe” food retailers that primarily sell food that is fast, readymade, boxed, canned, or processed—all of which are generally high in salt, fat, and sugar and have limited, if any, nutritional value.
- In fiscal year 2012, the USDA spent $106 billion—two-thirds of its budget—on fifteen domestic food-and-nutrition-assistance programs that provide food or benefits to purchase food for millions of children and low-income adults.
- Singapore is working to increase its food security—the amount of food it produces compared to the amount it consumes—from 7 percent to 50 percent by expanding its vertical farming efforts.
“The food you eat can be either the safest and most powerful form of medicine or the slowest form of poison. ~ Dr. Ann Wigmore, the “Mother of Living Foods”
“If you look the right way, you can see that the whole world is a garden.” ~ Frances Hodgson Burnett, author of The Secret Garden
“Globalized industrialized food is not cheap: it is too costly for the Earth, for the farmers, for our health.” ~ Vandana Shiva
“South Central Los Angeles: home of the drive-thru and the drive-by. Funny thing is, the drive-thrus are killing more people than the drive-bys
.” ~ Ron Finley
“I can’t think of any other career that involves so many [skill sets]—you have to be a chemist, biologist, entomologist, pathologist and soil scientist. You have to understand water, weather, land and mechanics. You have to be good at marketing, really organized, and really able to track things effectively and manage people. And it’s risky and capital intensive
.” ~ Jim Leap, Central Coast farmer mentor
“Twenty years ago, research showed that you could grow lettuce in just red light. If you add a little bit of blue, it grows better
~ Cary A Mitchell, Professor of Horticulture at Purdue University
“We anticipate that the 10 MILE FARMS indoor growing technology will bring positive attention back into the farming industry, and our production model will make agriculture attractive again.”
~ Craig Ellins, cofounder of 10 MILE FARMS
“We believe it is important for cities to understand urban agriculture as a food-producing and community activity, one that is sometimes a for-profit business, especially as urban agriculture is incorporated into sustainable development goals
~ Mary K. Hendrickson and Mark Porth, authors of Urban Agriculture: Best Practices and Possibilities
“We cannot just stack greenhouses on top of each other and get a vertical farm
~ Dr. Dickson Despommier, professor at Columbia University and author of The Vertical Farm
More About Food Deserts
A food desert is an area with restricted or no access to stores that offer the fresh, affordable foods we need to maintain a healthy diet and active lifestyle. Instead of such stores, these districts often contain many fast food restaurants and convenience stores. “Access,” in this context, may be interpreted in three ways: • Physical access to shops can be difficult if the shops are distant, the shopper is elderly or infirm, the area has many hills, public-transportation links are poor, or if the consumer has no car. Healthy options are unavailable. Carrying fresh food from grocers is also a challenge for individuals who must take transit or walk long distances. • Financial access is difficult if the consumer lacks the money to buy healthy foods (generally more expensive, calorie for calorie, than less-nutritious, sugary, and fatty “junk foods”) or if the shopper cannot afford the bus fare to remote shops selling fresh foods. This limits individuals to cheaper local fast-food outlets. Other forms of financial-access barriers come in the forms of the inability to afford storage space for food, or, for the very poor, homelessness, or living in temporary accommodations that do not offer good cooking facilities. • The consumer’s mental attitude or knowledge about nutrition and food preparation can be major barriers limiting access to fresh produce and other healthy food choices. Consumers may lack cooking knowledge or have the idea that eating a healthy diet is not important.
Food deserts disproportionately affect socially segregated groups in urban areas, specifically single mothers, children, and the elderly living in underprivileged urban neighborhoods. Families and individuals without a car are also at a higher disadvantage in terms of their access to healthy food in food deserts.
Many grocery stores that once existed in urban neighborhoods have moved out of these areas and relocated in the suburbs at the same time as former residents. The low-income earners and senior citizens who remain find healthy foods either unavailable or inaccessible as a result of high prices and unreachable locations.
Food Desert Locator
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has developed a Food Access Research Atlas to help state policymakers, local planners, and nonprofit organizations target the neighborhoods that need the most assistance when developing food-access initiatives and projects.