Would you eat something if its package said, “Ingested in large quantities, this may kill you?” Though packages don’t have such dire warnings that is the case with a lot of food sold in mainstream stores these days.
The 2012 documentary Edible City: Grow the Revolution, directed by Andrew Hasse and produced by Hasse and Carl Grether, discusses the major problems with contemporary agricultural practices. Though these practices allow for increased production, they don’t result in healthy food and even with the increased production, some people in first-world countries still don’t have enough to eat. Besides farmed foods, processed foods, filled with petroleum-based artificial colours, flavours and preservatives, cause all kinds of health problems.
The film provides a snapshot of what cities like San Francisco and Oakland, California, are doing to remedy these problems. They’re creating organic community gardens and stores to offer more healthy choices to their citizens in the hopes that these simpler systems will be able to sustain the cities if the world does experience further economic depression. They’re following the example of Cuba, which lost access to petroleum for agricultural and other purposes after the fall of the Soviet Union and had to return to their organic farming roots.
As well as offering better food choices to people, these initiatives offer other benefits to citizens. First, all the revenue from locally owned gardens and stores goes back into the communities, which they can use to build up the programs further. Second, youth gain the opportunity to learn about ecological horticulture and some are able to get paying jobs with the gardening groups and organic stores.
These associations hope to expand their practices beyond the scope of their own cities. To do so, they must keep advocating about the importance of their projects. Their aim is to get people to see themselves as active producers, not just passive consumers.
Considering starting your own community garden or co-operative store, or just want to learn more about the cause? Watch Edible City here:
Read about another project taking place in San Francisco’s Contra Costa County, White Pony Express, which operates with the goal of reducing food waste.
image: jimw (Creative Commons BY)