For most of human history, food was produced within walking distance of where it was consumed—a way of life in which people maintained a direct connection with the land and their food. Urbanization and the industrialization of food production have rendered this a distant memory for most of us.
Too many households abound in areas that have little or no access to healthy fruits and vegetables. Most of our food is grown from genetically modified and hybrid seeds, sprayed with chemicals and shipped to us from around the world. Quality food is the most important part of being healthy and we are not getting it, despite the fact that we live in the richest country in the history of the world.
Consumption of fast foods is killing us. We're eating 31 percent more packaged and processed food than fresh fruits and vegetables. We are consuming more packaged food per person than people in nearly any other country. And food insecurity is growing.
Americans spend considerably more on healthcare than any other country. Yet, too many of our children are unhealthy. Our elderly are sicker for longer periods of time. We are paying more money for the nutrition- depleted food we are consuming.
Urban agriculture and development of local food systems is a way to bring city dwellers closer to their farmers and provide an abundance of natural, nutritious food. In the city of the future, wholesome food will be a right for all, not just a privilege for the few. Urban farmers will lead the way.
Location: Garden of Happiness, Bronx, NY
Featuring: Karen Washington
In 1988, Karen Washington began planting trees and flowers in a vacant lot across the street from her home. Nearly 30 years later, the "Garden of Happiness" has both beautified and created a sense of hope for her neighborhood. The garden also strengthens the community's rich culture by letting members grow seasonal foods from their home countries that reflect their culinary traditions.