Speakers: Cynthia Rosenzweig (NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies), Dickson Despommier (Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health), Ted Caplow (BrightFarm Systems)Presented by the Green Science & Environmental Policy Discussion Group and the Environmental Sciences Section
Reported by Christine Van Lenten | Posted September 11, 2009
Worldwide, population growth is increasing the demand for food at the same time that climate change is altering agricultural patterns and suppressing some crop yields. Large-scale commercial agriculture uses chemicals intensively and has ruinous environmental impacts. Long-distance food transport boosts our carbon footprint. And food safety problems related to commercial agriculture are a growing concern.
As more people move from rural to urban areas, cities have an ever-greater stake in securing adequate food supplies and in mitigating climate change. Together, all these factors point to a provocative question: Should food be grown on a commercial scale, using sustainable practices, in cities?
On May 27, 2009, three speakers explained the advantages of shifting agricultural practices toward more sustainable, city-based models, and described projects that could serve as models for more widespread strategies. Among projects discussed: a bioregion approach to mitigating climate change that would link NYC consumers and Hudson Valley farmers; sustainable vertical farming, in and on high-rise building; and “building integrated agriculture” that delivers substantial environmental, social, and commercial benefits.
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