“We’re Over: Breaking Up the Long Distance Relationship with Your Food,” was the title of my undergraduate thesis. My thesis was about local food and designing Urban Agriculture (UA), so I came up with this concept of “Breaking Up” that everyone would be able to relate to and understand. Most of us are currently in a long distance relationship with our food. We wouldn’t want our partner taking advantage of us or making us more physically or emotionally unhealthy would we? It’s the same with our food.
The average piece of food travels 2000 km (1242.75 miles) from where it is grown to where it is consumed. The long travel time not only affects the health of the food by diminishing the nutrients in fresh produce, but most produce is sprayed with additional chemicals to help it look falsely appealing and fresh when it reaches your grocery store. It also affects the social aspect of our local communities by obscuring the connection between who is growing our food and who is eating it. This is why local, sustainable food is so important. If our food travels short distances from local farms or community gardens, then it supports local, often organic growers, is better for the environment, and people can become more educated and connected with where their food is being grown.
Urban Agriculture has grown into a world wide farming phenomenon, and it won’t stop because, well… we all need to eat. My research on the subject has opened my eyes to all of the negative things that are going on in the food industry today, but it has also given me inspiration and hope for what can be done to fix many of these problems. So, I thought why not inform everyone on the best tools, resources, books, and guides available to make it easier to design Urban Agriculture in your community.
With this said, I am starting a UA series. Through all of my research I gathered tons of interesting information that I am excited to share with you all. Once a week I will post an article with beneficial resources, advice, and inspiration to help you start considering the design and implementation of UA spaces.
Here is a list of topics:
1. Top Books on Designing UA
2. The Best Products for Designing UA
3. Top 10 Successful World Wide UA Projects
4. Design Resources for UA (Software, Guides, etc.)
5. Top Inspirational Movies & Campaigns for Designers about UA
6. Why Landscape Architecture can help the Global Food Problem
7. Urban Ag Events & Campaigns
8. Current & Future UA Projects
9. UA & Landscape Architectural Firms
+ More to Come!
Is there a topic within Urban Agriculture that you would like me to cover? Please feel free to leave suggestions in the comments below.
Look for the first in the series next week!
Image Credit: Courtesy of April Philips and Wiley
Graphic by Author