Friday, March 2, 2012
Urban agriculture projects for the 99% - Request for recommendations
There are many areas of overlap between the climate change, local food, and economic justice movements. Their agendas come together as part of an urgently needed transition to a renewable energy economy. Projects that embody these overlapping goals while creating income at the grassroots level can attract more participants and spread more quickly than those that don't. Some virtuous projects, such as white roof painting and rooftop water catchment, will appeal to a minority of dedicated activists but their crossover into the general population will be limited. For new approaches to become standard practices, they'll either have to be required by law, or offer enough tangible benefit to motivate average citizens. A workshop at the Brooklyn Food Conference in May will review such projects. We've found several but are looking for more.
Please recommend urban agriculture and sustainability projects that meet these criteria:
- Offer enough benefit – either in income, savings, or production – to appeal solely as a business proposition, without reliance on their social or environmental benefits
- Advance climate change response, and promote economic and social justice
- Increase community resilience by improving food and energy security
- Suitable for non-profit groups within low income communities to become local partners or customers of the project, or set it up independently themselves
- Suitable for cooperative businesses or small business entrepreneurs
Raising the bar a little higher, can anyone recommend projects that:
- Don't require a high cash investment to start
- Rely on appropriate technology, low tech design or DIY practices
- Are being used in developing countries but can be applied to US cities
In addition to projects in urban agriculture and food production, those in the areas of energy conservation, renewable energy, recycling, or transportation services are welcome.
A report from the workshop will be distributed to potential allies among nonprofits, advocacy groups and the OWS community. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
More about the workshop
at the Brooklyn Food Conference
With the end of cheap oil, transportation costs will rise. Let’s localize the food system by supporting urban ag projects that are: simple and easy to start; provide economic opportunity in low income neighborhoods; support the goals of OWS and climate change activists; and increase food security. We’ll showcase several existing NYC projects.
Our food is now shipped an average of 1,500 miles from farm to table, but with the end of cheap oil, transportation costs will go up. How can we speed up the localization of the food system? Let’s look for NYC urban agriculture and business projects that can spread widely and quickly because: they’re relatively simple and inexpensive to start, can provide economic opportunity in low income neighborhoods, and support mutually beneficial partnerships.
The goals of local food advocates, Occupy Wall Street supporters, environmentalists, and neighborhood organizers overlap as part of the urgently needed transition to a renewable energy economy, with more secure local and regional food systems.
We’ll look at Victory Chicken, Wholeshare, Vokashi, Spring into Action, East NY Farms, the BLK Projek, and others, and how to spread their good ideas.
It is critical for local food and agriculture activists (as well as policymakers) to understand that while better taste and nutrition are important marketing points, regionalizing our food system rapidly is essential because the price and supply of oil will become increasingly volatile in the near future, and long-distance food costs may increase significantly.
Some urban agriculture business models that are more likely to spread widely and become future standard practices are those that are easy to get started, and offer the prospect of income for low income individuals and neighborhoods. Collaboration between these urban ag projects and nonprofit groups serving those neighborhoods have high potential. Hopefully participants will recommend other projects in addition to those showcased, and improve on the hypotheses presented in the workshop.