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Sunday, July 26, 2015

Food Hubs and Transportation

Our system is vulnerable to interruptions. It is especially vulnerable to interruptions in food supply. Currently we import food from as Far away as China and Chile, India and Africa. That's okay. But what happens if our traffic gets disrupted? What happens when in some future moment there is a massive drought in the West and the wells run dry? We can feed and electrify our lands now. The concepts are there. All that is needed is the execution. One of the projects I'm working on is supporting DC's efforts to create food hubs. this blog entry is based on that effort:

Food Hubs and Food Security

The following image is from a brochure on Food Hubs in DC by Sabine O’Hara:

And she writes:

"Food security demands a diversified food system that includes urban communities as locations for food production, food preparation, food distribution, and waste reduction/reuse. The Urban Food Hubs concept of the College of Agriculture, Urban Sustainability and Environmental Sciences (CAUSES) of the University of the District of Columbia (UDC) tests the feasibility of small-scale urban food systems that include these four key components."

It's possible to produce food everywhere, and set up means to get it to everyone.

"The heart of the CAUSES Urban Food Hubs are high efficiency food production sites that utilize bio-intensive, aquaponic, and hydroponic production methods. Co-located with these urban food production sites are commercial kitchens that serve as business incubators and training facilities for food processing and nutritional health related activities. Given their location in urban neighborhoods, the Urban Food Hubs also focus on waste reduction and reuse through composting, water management, and related approaches to minimizing pressure on urban land and infrastructure systems. In addition to improving food security, the Urban Food Hubs thus also contribute to job creation and urban sustainability in its economic, social/cultural, and environmental/physical dimensions." [www.thesolutionsjournal.org]

The goal here is to encourage a system that is fair to both cities, that are often currently food deserts and to rural areas that are usually money deserts, subject to abusive extraction and constant looting, and yet could be in a symbiotic relationship with the cities were it not for our centralizing organizations.

At one private Grocery chains acted like Food hubs. But conglomeratization and buyouts have led to them failing in that role. In my area Giant has become a giant company operating out of Holland. Safeway also a conglomerate. And they aren't even interested in serving under-served areas. They mostly seem to compete for the same yuppy upper middle class neighborhoods.

We obviously need an alternative, and reformed, system. And I'm working with friends to build one.

From Her Article: Key Concepts

  • Food security demands a diversified food system that includes urban communities as locations for food production, food preparation, food distribution, and waste reduction/ reuse.
  • The Urban Food Hubs concept of the College of Agriculture, Urban Sustainability and Environmental Sciences (CAUSES) of the University of the District of Columbia (UDC) tests the feasibility of small-scale urban food systems that include these four components.
  • The Urban Food Hubs are centered on high efficiency food production systems including bio-intensive, aquaponic, and hydroponic production, commercial kitchens that serve as training facilities, and business incubators.
  • In addition to improving food security, the Urban Food Hubs contribute to job creation and urban sustainability in its economic, social/cultural, and environmental/physical dimensions.
Further Readings:
http://www.thesolutionsjournal.org/
Got Food? How Local Food Systems Can Build Resilience for Turbulent Times
Safeway:
"AB Acquisition LLC, and Safeway completed a merger that created one of the largest food and drug retailers in the country, with over 2,200 stores in 33 states and the District of Columbia, and employing approximately 265,000 people. With Safeway stores in 19 states"
http://www.safeway.com/ShopStores/Our-Story.page

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