1. CLIMATE ACTION CAN POWER OUR RECOVERY
  2. IN PANDEMIC, AN HBCU DOES IT BETTER
  3. A DANGEROUS LACK OF INFECTIOUS DISEASE PROTECTIONS
  4. HOW FAST CAN A BIDEN PRESIDENCY MOVE ON CLIMATE ISSUES?
  5. CRAFTING A BLACK-DRIVEN CORONAVIRUS AND CLIMATE “STIMULUS” AGENDA
  6. Penn to donate $100 million to Philadelphia school district to help public school children
  7. BLACK ECOLOGIES IN TIDEWATER VIRGINIA
  8. WHAT IS “FROM THE SOURCE REPORTING?”
  9. LEADERSHIP IN ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE
  10. THE ECOWURD SUMMIT LAUNCH
  11. National Geographic Virtual Photo Camp: Earth Stories Aimed to Elevate Indigenous Youth Voices
  12. ecoWURD Environmental Justice Summit 2020
  13. TOO MANY NATURAL GAS SPILLS
  14. GREEN IS THE NEW BLACK
  15. BLACK VOTERS ARE THE ECO-VOTERS CLIMATE ACTIVISTS ARE LOOKING FOR
  16. CANNABIS PROFIT & BLACK ECONOMY
  17. THE NATURE GAP
  18. BLACK PEOPLE NEED NATURE
  19. WHAT IS TREEPHILLY?
  20. IS AN OBSCURE ENVIRONMENT COMMITTEE IN HARRISBURG DOING ENOUGH?
  21. AMERICAN ENVIRONMENTALISM’S RACIST ROOTS
  22. “THERE’S REALLY A LOT OF QUIET SUFFERING OUT THERE
  23. “WE NEED TO GET INTO THE SUPPLY CHAIN”
  24. “AN ENVIRONMENTAL LAW THAT GIVES YOU A VOICE”
  25. URBAN PLANNING AS A TOOL FOR WHITE SUPREMACY
  26. HEAT WAVES REMIND US CLIMATE CHANGE IS STILL HERE
  27. Farming While Black: Soul Fire Farm’s Practical Guide to Liberation on the Land
  28. IN PANDEMIC, MAKING SURE PEOPLE EAT & HOW HBCUs HELP
  29. WE’RE NOT DONE, YET – MORE ACCOUNTABILITY IS NEEDED AT THE PES REFINERY SITE
  30. COVID-19 IS LAYING WASTE TO RECYCLING PROGRAMS
  31. THE PHILADELPHIA HEALTH EQUITY GAPS THAT COVID-19 EXPOSED
  32. THE POWER OF NEW HERBALISM
  33. THERE’S NO RECIPE FOR SUCCESS
  34. ecoWURD Earth Day Summit
  35. ecoWURD Earth Day Summit 2020 Press Release
  36. Too Much Food At Farms, Too Little Food At Stores
  37. THE LINK BETWEEN AIR POLLUTION & COVID-19
  38. CORONAVIRUS REVEALS WHY ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE IS STILL THE CRITICAL ISSUE OF OUR TIME
  39. FROM KATRINA TO CORONAVIRUS, WHAT HAVE WE LEARNED?
  40. COVID-19 SHOWS A BIGGER IMPACT WHERE BLACK PEOPLE LIVE
  41. THE CORONAVIRUS CONVERSATION HAS GOT TO GET A LOT MORE INCLUSIVE THAN THIS
  42. MEDIA’S CLIMATE CHANGE COVERAGE KEEPS BLACK PEOPLE OUT OF IT
  43. “WE DON’T HAVE A CULTURE OF PREPAREDNESS”
  44. PHILADELPHIA HAS A FOOD ECONOMY
  45. HOW URBAN AGRICULTURE CAN IMPROVE FOOD SECURITY IN U.S. CITIES
  46. MAPPING THE LINK BETWEEN INCARCERATION & FOOD INSECURITY
  47. PHILLY’S JAILS ARE, LITERALLY, MAKING PEOPLE SICK
  48. ecoWURD Environmental Justice Summit 2019
  49. ecoWURD Environmental Justice Summit
  50. “We Can’t Breathe: Zulene Mayfield’s Lifelong War with Waste ‘Managers’”
  51. “Is The Black Press Reporting on Environmental Issues?” by David Love
  52. “The Dangerous Connection Between Climate Change & Food” an interview with Jacqueline Patterson and Adrienne Hollis
  53. “An Oil Refinery Explosion That Was Never Isolated” by Charles Ellison
  54. “Philly Should Be Going ‘Community Solar'” an interview w/ PA Rep. Donna Bullock
  55. “Is The Litter Index Enough?” an interview w/ Nic Esposito
  56. “How Sugarcane Fires in Florida Are Making Black People Sick” an interview w/ Frank Biden
  57. Philly Farm Social – Video and Pictures
  58. #PHILLYFARMSOCIAL GETS REAL IN THE FIELD
  59. THE LACK OF DIVERSE LEADERS IN THE GREEN SPACE Environmental Advocacy Organizations – especially the “Big Green” – Really Need More Black & Brown People in Senior Positions
  60. PLASTIC BAG BANS CAN BACKFIRE … WHEN YOU HAVE OTHER PLASTICS TO CHOOSE FROM
  61. WE REALLY NEED POLITICAL STRATEGISTS LEADING ON CLIMATE CHANGE – NOT ACADEMICS
  62. EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS IN A MUCH MORE CLIMATIC WORLD
  63. A SMALL GERMANTOWN NON-PROFIT “TRADES FOR A DIFFERENCE”
  64. IS PHILLY BLAMING ITS TRASH & RECYCLING CRISIS ON BLACK PEOPLE?
  65. BUT WHAT DOES THE GREEN NEW DEAL MEAN FOR BLACK PEOPLE?
  66. HOW GREEN IS PHILLY’S “GREENWORKS” PLAN?
  67. The Future of Work in Philly’s Green Economy event recap #ecoWURD #phillyisgreen
  68. Bike-friendly cities should be designed for everyone, not just for wealthy white cyclists
  69. RENAMING “GENTRIFICATION”
  70. FOUR GOVERNORS, ONE URBAN WATERSHED IN NEED OF ACTION
  71. JUST HOW BAD IS THE AIR HURTING PHILLY’S BLACK FAMILIES?
  72. EcoWURD Presents:The Future of Work in Philly’s Green Economy
  73. IF YOU ARE LOW-INCOME OR HOMELESS, THE POLAR VORTEX IS LIKE A FORM OF CAPITAL PUNISHMENT
  74. NOT JUST FLINT: THE WATER CRISIS IN THE BLACK COMMUNITY
  75. DO THE TRAINS STOP RUNNING? THE SHUTDOWN’S IMPACT ON MASS TRANSIT
  76. BLACK WOMEN & THE TROUBLE WITH BABY POWDER
  77. A WHITE COLLAR CRIME VICTIMIZING NICETOWN
  78. IN NORTH CAROLINA, CLIMATE CHANGE & VOTER SUPPRESSION WORKED HAND-IN-HAND
  79. LOW-INCOME NEIGHBORHOODS WOULD GAIN THE MOST FROM GREEN ROOFS
  80. YOUR OWN HOOD: CLOSING THE GENERATIONAL GREEN DIVIDE IN BLACK PHILADELPHIA
  81. THE PRICE OF WATER: LITERAL & FIGURATIVE THIRST AT WORK
  82. THAT CLIMATE CHANGE REPORT TRUMP DIDN’T WANT YOU TO SEE? YEAH, WELL, IT’S THE LAW
  83. RACIAL & ETHNIC MINORITIES ARE MORE VULNERABLE TO WILDFIRES
  84. NO IFS, ANDS OR BUTTS Philly Has a Cigarette Butt Problem
  85. HOW SUSTAINABLE CAN PHILLY GET?
  86. USING AFROFUTURISM TO BUILD THE KIND OF WORLD YOU WANT
  87. UNCOVERING PHILLY’S HIDDEN TOXIC DANGERS …
  88. WILL THE ENVIRONMENT DRIVE VOTERS TO THE POLLS? (PART I)
  89. ARE PHILLY SCHOOLS READY FOR CLIMATE CHANGE?
  90. 🎧 SEPTA CREATES A GAS PROBLEM IN NORTH PHILLY
  91. 🎧 BREAKING THE GREEN RETAIL CEILING
  92. That’s Nasty: The Cost of Trash in Philly
  93. 🎧 How Can You Solarize Philly?
  94. 🎧 “The Environment Should Be an Active, Living Experience”
  95. Philly’s Lead Crisis Is Larger Than Flint’s
  96. Despite What You Heard, Black Millennials Do Care About the Environment
  97. Hurricanes Always Hurt Black Folks the Most
  98. Are You Going to Drink That?
  99. The Origins of ecoWURD
  100. We Seriously Need More Black Climate Disaster Films
  101. 🎧 Why Should Philly Care About a Pipeline?
  102. 🎧 Not Just Hotter Days Ahead… Costly Ones Too
  103. Philly’s Big and Dangerous Hot Mess
Monday, January 25, 2021
  1. CLIMATE ACTION CAN POWER OUR RECOVERY
  2. IN PANDEMIC, AN HBCU DOES IT BETTER
  3. A DANGEROUS LACK OF INFECTIOUS DISEASE PROTECTIONS
  4. HOW FAST CAN A BIDEN PRESIDENCY MOVE ON CLIMATE ISSUES?
  5. CRAFTING A BLACK-DRIVEN CORONAVIRUS AND CLIMATE “STIMULUS” AGENDA
  6. Penn to donate $100 million to Philadelphia school district to help public school children
  7. BLACK ECOLOGIES IN TIDEWATER VIRGINIA
  8. WHAT IS “FROM THE SOURCE REPORTING?”
  9. LEADERSHIP IN ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE
  10. THE ECOWURD SUMMIT LAUNCH
  11. National Geographic Virtual Photo Camp: Earth Stories Aimed to Elevate Indigenous Youth Voices
  12. ecoWURD Environmental Justice Summit 2020
  13. TOO MANY NATURAL GAS SPILLS
  14. GREEN IS THE NEW BLACK
  15. BLACK VOTERS ARE THE ECO-VOTERS CLIMATE ACTIVISTS ARE LOOKING FOR
  16. CANNABIS PROFIT & BLACK ECONOMY
  17. THE NATURE GAP
  18. BLACK PEOPLE NEED NATURE
  19. WHAT IS TREEPHILLY?
  20. IS AN OBSCURE ENVIRONMENT COMMITTEE IN HARRISBURG DOING ENOUGH?
  21. AMERICAN ENVIRONMENTALISM’S RACIST ROOTS
  22. “THERE’S REALLY A LOT OF QUIET SUFFERING OUT THERE
  23. “WE NEED TO GET INTO THE SUPPLY CHAIN”
  24. “AN ENVIRONMENTAL LAW THAT GIVES YOU A VOICE”
  25. URBAN PLANNING AS A TOOL FOR WHITE SUPREMACY
  26. HEAT WAVES REMIND US CLIMATE CHANGE IS STILL HERE
  27. Farming While Black: Soul Fire Farm’s Practical Guide to Liberation on the Land
  28. IN PANDEMIC, MAKING SURE PEOPLE EAT & HOW HBCUs HELP
  29. WE’RE NOT DONE, YET – MORE ACCOUNTABILITY IS NEEDED AT THE PES REFINERY SITE
  30. COVID-19 IS LAYING WASTE TO RECYCLING PROGRAMS
  31. THE PHILADELPHIA HEALTH EQUITY GAPS THAT COVID-19 EXPOSED
  32. THE POWER OF NEW HERBALISM
  33. THERE’S NO RECIPE FOR SUCCESS
  34. ecoWURD Earth Day Summit
  35. ecoWURD Earth Day Summit 2020 Press Release
  36. Too Much Food At Farms, Too Little Food At Stores
  37. THE LINK BETWEEN AIR POLLUTION & COVID-19
  38. CORONAVIRUS REVEALS WHY ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE IS STILL THE CRITICAL ISSUE OF OUR TIME
  39. FROM KATRINA TO CORONAVIRUS, WHAT HAVE WE LEARNED?
  40. COVID-19 SHOWS A BIGGER IMPACT WHERE BLACK PEOPLE LIVE
  41. THE CORONAVIRUS CONVERSATION HAS GOT TO GET A LOT MORE INCLUSIVE THAN THIS
  42. MEDIA’S CLIMATE CHANGE COVERAGE KEEPS BLACK PEOPLE OUT OF IT
  43. “WE DON’T HAVE A CULTURE OF PREPAREDNESS”
  44. PHILADELPHIA HAS A FOOD ECONOMY
  45. HOW URBAN AGRICULTURE CAN IMPROVE FOOD SECURITY IN U.S. CITIES
  46. MAPPING THE LINK BETWEEN INCARCERATION & FOOD INSECURITY
  47. PHILLY’S JAILS ARE, LITERALLY, MAKING PEOPLE SICK
  48. ecoWURD Environmental Justice Summit 2019
  49. ecoWURD Environmental Justice Summit
  50. “We Can’t Breathe: Zulene Mayfield’s Lifelong War with Waste ‘Managers’”
  51. “Is The Black Press Reporting on Environmental Issues?” by David Love
  52. “The Dangerous Connection Between Climate Change & Food” an interview with Jacqueline Patterson and Adrienne Hollis
  53. “An Oil Refinery Explosion That Was Never Isolated” by Charles Ellison
  54. “Philly Should Be Going ‘Community Solar'” an interview w/ PA Rep. Donna Bullock
  55. “Is The Litter Index Enough?” an interview w/ Nic Esposito
  56. “How Sugarcane Fires in Florida Are Making Black People Sick” an interview w/ Frank Biden
  57. Philly Farm Social – Video and Pictures
  58. #PHILLYFARMSOCIAL GETS REAL IN THE FIELD
  59. THE LACK OF DIVERSE LEADERS IN THE GREEN SPACE Environmental Advocacy Organizations – especially the “Big Green” – Really Need More Black & Brown People in Senior Positions
  60. PLASTIC BAG BANS CAN BACKFIRE … WHEN YOU HAVE OTHER PLASTICS TO CHOOSE FROM
  61. WE REALLY NEED POLITICAL STRATEGISTS LEADING ON CLIMATE CHANGE – NOT ACADEMICS
  62. EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS IN A MUCH MORE CLIMATIC WORLD
  63. A SMALL GERMANTOWN NON-PROFIT “TRADES FOR A DIFFERENCE”
  64. IS PHILLY BLAMING ITS TRASH & RECYCLING CRISIS ON BLACK PEOPLE?
  65. BUT WHAT DOES THE GREEN NEW DEAL MEAN FOR BLACK PEOPLE?
  66. HOW GREEN IS PHILLY’S “GREENWORKS” PLAN?
  67. The Future of Work in Philly’s Green Economy event recap #ecoWURD #phillyisgreen
  68. Bike-friendly cities should be designed for everyone, not just for wealthy white cyclists
  69. RENAMING “GENTRIFICATION”
  70. FOUR GOVERNORS, ONE URBAN WATERSHED IN NEED OF ACTION
  71. JUST HOW BAD IS THE AIR HURTING PHILLY’S BLACK FAMILIES?
  72. EcoWURD Presents:The Future of Work in Philly’s Green Economy
  73. IF YOU ARE LOW-INCOME OR HOMELESS, THE POLAR VORTEX IS LIKE A FORM OF CAPITAL PUNISHMENT
  74. NOT JUST FLINT: THE WATER CRISIS IN THE BLACK COMMUNITY
  75. DO THE TRAINS STOP RUNNING? THE SHUTDOWN’S IMPACT ON MASS TRANSIT
  76. BLACK WOMEN & THE TROUBLE WITH BABY POWDER
  77. A WHITE COLLAR CRIME VICTIMIZING NICETOWN
  78. IN NORTH CAROLINA, CLIMATE CHANGE & VOTER SUPPRESSION WORKED HAND-IN-HAND
  79. LOW-INCOME NEIGHBORHOODS WOULD GAIN THE MOST FROM GREEN ROOFS
  80. YOUR OWN HOOD: CLOSING THE GENERATIONAL GREEN DIVIDE IN BLACK PHILADELPHIA
  81. THE PRICE OF WATER: LITERAL & FIGURATIVE THIRST AT WORK
  82. THAT CLIMATE CHANGE REPORT TRUMP DIDN’T WANT YOU TO SEE? YEAH, WELL, IT’S THE LAW
  83. RACIAL & ETHNIC MINORITIES ARE MORE VULNERABLE TO WILDFIRES
  84. NO IFS, ANDS OR BUTTS Philly Has a Cigarette Butt Problem
  85. HOW SUSTAINABLE CAN PHILLY GET?
  86. USING AFROFUTURISM TO BUILD THE KIND OF WORLD YOU WANT
  87. UNCOVERING PHILLY’S HIDDEN TOXIC DANGERS …
  88. WILL THE ENVIRONMENT DRIVE VOTERS TO THE POLLS? (PART I)
  89. ARE PHILLY SCHOOLS READY FOR CLIMATE CHANGE?
  90. 🎧 SEPTA CREATES A GAS PROBLEM IN NORTH PHILLY
  91. 🎧 BREAKING THE GREEN RETAIL CEILING
  92. That’s Nasty: The Cost of Trash in Philly
  93. 🎧 How Can You Solarize Philly?
  94. 🎧 “The Environment Should Be an Active, Living Experience”
  95. Philly’s Lead Crisis Is Larger Than Flint’s
  96. Despite What You Heard, Black Millennials Do Care About the Environment
  97. Hurricanes Always Hurt Black Folks the Most
  98. Are You Going to Drink That?
  99. The Origins of ecoWURD
  100. We Seriously Need More Black Climate Disaster Films
  101. 🎧 Why Should Philly Care About a Pipeline?
  102. 🎧 Not Just Hotter Days Ahead… Costly Ones Too
  103. Philly’s Big and Dangerous Hot Mess

HOW URBAN AGRICULTURE CAN IMPROVE FOOD SECURITY IN U.S. CITIES

 

By Dr. Miguel Altieri | Contributor | Analysis

 

During the partial federal shutdown in December 2018 and January 2019, news reports showed furloughed government workers standing in line for donated meals. These images were reminders that for an estimated one out of eight Americans, food insecurity is a near-term risk.

 

In California, where I teach, 80 percent of the population lives in cities. Feeding the cities of the nine-county San Francisco Bay Area, with a total population of some 7 million involves importing 2.5 to 3 million tons of food per day over an average distance of 500 to 1,000 miles.

 

This system requires enormous amounts of energy and generates significant greenhouse gas emissions. It also is extremely vulnerable to large-scale disruptions, such as major earthquakes.

 

And the food it delivers fails to reach 1 of every 8 people in the region who live under the poverty line – mostly senior citizens, children and minorities. Access to quality food is limited both by poverty and the fact that on average, California’s low-income communities have 32.7 percent fewer supermarkets than high-income areas within the same cities.

 

Many organizations see urban agriculture as a way to enhance food security. It also offers environmental, health and social benefits. Although the full potential of urban agriculture is still to be determined, based on my own research I believe that raising fresh fruits, vegetables and some animal products near consumers in urban areas can improve local food security and nutrition, especially for underserved communities.

 

 

THE GROWTH OF URBAN AGRICULTURE

Urban farming has grown by more than 30 percent in the United States in the past 30 years. Although it has been estimated that urban agriculture can meet 15 to 20 percent of global food demand, it remains to be seen what level of food self-sufficiency it can realistically ensure for cities.

 

One recent survey found that 51 countries do not have enough urban area to meet a recommended nutritional target of 300 grams per person per day of fresh vegetables. Moreover, it estimated, urban agriculture would require 30 percent of the total urban area of those countries to meet global demand for vegetables. Land tenure issues and urban sprawl could make it hard to free up this much land for food production.

 

Other studies suggest that urban agriculture could help cities achieve self-sufficiency. For example, researchers have calculated that Cleveland, with a population of 400,000, has the potential to meet 100 percent of its urban dwellers’ fresh vegetable needs, 50 percent of their poultry and egg requirements and 100 percent of their demand for honey.

 

CAN OAKLAND’S URBAN FARMERS LEARN FROM CUBA?

Although urban agriculture has promise, a small proportion of the food produced in cities is consumed by food-insecure, low-income communities. Many of the most vulnerable people have little access to land and lack the skills needed to design and tend productive gardens.

 

Cities such as Oakland, with neighborhoods that have been identified as “food deserts,” can lie within a half-hour drive of vast stretches of productive agricultural land. But very little of the twenty million tons of food produced annually within 100 miles of Oakland reaches poor people.

 

Paradoxically, Oakland has 1,200 acres of undeveloped open space – mostly public parcels of arable land – which, if used for urban agriculture, could produce 5 to 10 percent of the city’s vegetable needs. This potential yield could be dramatically enhanced if, for example, local urban farmers were trained to use well-tested agroecological methods that are widely applied in Cuba to cultivate diverse vegetables, roots, tubers and herbs in relatively small spaces.

 

In Cuba, over 300,000 urban farms and gardens produce about 50 percent of the island’s fresh produce supply, along with 39,000 tons of meat and 216 million eggs. Most Cuban urban farmers reach yields of 44 pounds (20 kilograms) per square meter per year.

 

An organic farm in Havana, Cuba, that produces outputs averaging 20 kilograms (44 pounds) per square meter per year without agrochemical inputs. Miguel Altieri, CC BY-ND

 

If trained Oakland farmers could achieve just half of Cuban yields, 1,200 acres of land would produce 40 million kilograms of vegetables – enough to provide 100 kilograms per year per person to more than 90 percent of Oakland residents.

 

To see whether this was possible, my research team at the University of California at Berkeley established a diversified garden slightly larger than 1,000 square feet. It contained a total of 492 plants belonging to 10 crop species, grown in a mixed polycultural design.

 

In a three-month period, we were able to produce yields that were close to our desired annual level by using practices that improved soil health and biological pest control. They included rotations with green manures that are plowed under to benefit the soil; heavy applications of compost; and synergistic combinations of crop plants in various intercropping arrangements known to reduce insect pests.

 

Research plots in Berkeley, Calif., testing agroecological management practices such as intercropping, mulching and green composting. Miguel Altieri, CC BY-ND

 

 

OVERCOMING BARRIERS TO URBAN AGRICULTURE

Achieving such yields in a test garden does not mean they are feasible for urban farmers in the Bay Area. Most urban farmers in California lack ecological horticultural skills. They do not always optimize crop density or diversity, and the University of California’s extension program lacks the capacity to provide agroecological training.

 

The biggest challenge is access to land. University of California researchers estimate that over 79 percent of the state’s urban farmers do not own the property that they farm. Another issue is that water is frequently unaffordable. Cities could address this by providing water at discount rates for urban farmers, with a requirement that they use efficient irrigation practices.

 

In the Bay Area and elsewhere, most obstacles to scaling up urban agriculture are political, not technical. In 2014 California enacted AB511, which set out mechanisms for cities to establish urban agriculture incentive zones, but did not address land access.

 

Curtis Stone, owner of an urban organic farm in Kelowna, British Columbia, describes major challenges of urban farming.

 

One solution would be for cities to make vacant and unused public land available for urban farming under low-fee multiyear leases. Or they could follow the example of Rosario, Argentina, where 1,800 residents practice horticulture on about 175 acres of land. Some of this land is private, but property owners receive tax breaks for making it available for agriculture.

 

In my view, the ideal strategy would be to pursue land reform similar to that practiced in Cuba, where the government provides 32 acres to each farmer, within a few miles around major cities to anyone interested in producing food. Between 10 and 20 percent of their harvest is donated to social service organizations such as schools, hospitals and senior centers.

 

Similarly, Bay Area urban farmers might be required to provide donate a share of their output to the region’s growing homeless population, and allowed to sell the rest. The government could help to establish a system that would enable gardeners to directly market their produce to the public.

 

Cities have limited ability to deal with food issues within their boundaries, and many problems associated with food systems require action at the national and international level. However, city governments, local universities and nongovernment organizations can do a lot to strengthen food systems, including creating agroecological training programs and policies for land and water access. The first step is increasing public awareness of how urban farming can benefit modern cities.

 

MIGUEL ALTIERI is a Professor of Agroecology at the University of California, Berkeley and a Contributor to The Conversation.