empty grocery store shelves in Whitehorse. Supermarkets carry only an illusion of abundance. Grocery stores at any given time in any North American city are stocked with only about 3 days worth of food. If transportation routes to a city are cut off due to natural disaster, unusual weather, terrorism, fuel shortage or whatever, people living in that place will face a major food crisis.
"If that is not sobering enough, consider that there are a mere five corporations behind 90 percent of the US food supply." Americans typically pay the lowest ratio of income-to-food in the world (9.4% of disposable income), but that's because the industrial food system hides the real costs. The effect of industrial agriculture on the environment is not factored into the cost of food. Neither are social and health costs. The "cheap-food diet has rendered two out of three Americans overweight and strains the healthcare system to the breaking point." The solution? Growing food in cities.
Edmonton author Jennifer Cockrall-King found exciting examples of urban agriculture in cities across North America as well as in Europe and Cuba. So much of our population is urban and it just makes sense to grow food where we live. Vegetables, mushrooms, fruit, honey, nuts, eggs and fish can be easily produced in an urban environment. (Exactly the kind of ingredients that contribute to a healthy diet.) For people who do not have time or space for gardens of their own, there are more and more urban farmers offering ultra-fresh, very local produce.
Food and the City: Urban Agriculture and the New Food Revolution, published in 2012 , pulls together a lot of information that hasn't been collected into one book before. I hope that it will inspire even more innovations in urban food production. I also hope that there will be future, updated editions complete with colour, rather than black and white, photos. See Cockrall-King's website here.
Readalike: The Omnivore's Dilemma (Michael Pollan) and Fast Food Nation (Eric Schlosser).