BY Shelby Klingberg
With over 100 neighborhoods and around three million people, Chicago is known for its diversity and culture. But, many communities in Chicago, specifically southern neighborhoods, are food deserts (see map below). These areas where fresh, affordable produce is difficult to acquire.
Community gardening is an effort that provides a space to strengthen relationships while simultaneously providing physical aid to food insecure people. Community gardens have been rising in popularity and for good reason. These gardens not only provide aid and allow growth for communities, but also help combat climate change and its negative effects.
BY Grace Carollo
Currently, the agriculture industry in the United States presents a wicked sustainability problem both environmental and socially. The combination of increased population, increased demand of/addiction to dairy/meat/processed foods, and government policies connected with big agricultural companies worsens our impact on the environment while ignoring the needs of the poor. The United States runs off both a national and international food system, where the developed nations largely depend on intensive farming (monocropping) crops (corn, soy, rice, wheat) and factory faming livestock, which mostly occurs overseas, to supply the majority of our diets.
BY Jack Klein
By 2050, production of 60% more food than we produce today will be required to support Earth's population, which is going to be an estimated 9.7 billion people. The traditional method of farming (that of harvesting crops in extensive outdoor plots of land) is a main contributor of greenhouse gas emissions, water use, and water quality degradation from nutrient runoff and soil loss. After 2030, climate change’s most important impact will come from the increased frequency and intensity of extreme weather events such as droughts and floods, causing serious negative effects on traditional agriculture.
If by 2050 we have to greatly increase global food production to meet the basic needs of our growing population but the traditional method of food production has proven to be detrimental to our environment, accelerating climate change which in return is expected to gravely affect its resiliency, one question arises: are there any methods of food production that can protect from the increasingly vagarious environment, help meet future global food production goals, all while having a neutral or positive impact on the environment?
One possible solution is the relatively new idea of vertical farming, or building farms up in climate-controlled buildings rather than out on environmentally susceptible land.
Students in Jess' ENV 151 Introduction to Sustainability write blog posts on a sustainability-related topic of their choice.