Urban planning community

+ Reply to thread
Page 4 of 5 FirstFirst ... 3 4 5 LastLast
Results 76 to 100 of 102

Thread: Can (insert your town here) feed itself?

  1. #76
    Cyburbian ColoGI's avatar
    Registered
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Colo Front Range
    Posts
    2,392
    Quote Originally posted by Howl View post
    Why do you think Industrial Agriculture cannot be made to be sustainable both in economic and environmental terms?
    That was not my claim.

    Quote Originally posted by wahday View post
    ... But I think you two are talking about two different scenarios - what it looks like today versus what the future potentials are.

    I generally agree with ColoGl's assessment that there are a lot of variables impacting future directions in almost all sectors of our society right now and so one needs to be careful about becoming too invested in assuming it will go any particular way. At the same time, this is what planners do, yes? We work with communities to envision a desired future. And then the dance begins - work begins to implement the "plan," but circumstances make it such that it doesn't go exactly the way we thought. .
    Putting the ecologist's hat on again, when western societies reorganize in a lower-energy and differently-distributed-temperature-and-water world, we have no way of knowing what that will be or what it will look like.

    But that is a time frame beyond which we can do meaningful planning. Going that far out, all we can do is make efficient built environments happen: well-built, well-insulated and well-sited buildings along ~gridded street networks with short blocks, the grid in cold climates tilted to catch some winter sun. There is nothing else for us to do at those time scales. Maybe utility easement location, but even that is debateable.

    Things like residential design standards (beyond insulation and orientation) are meaningless at those time scales. So too are multimodal facilities, use restrictions, minimum parking, handicap access...and so on. [/hat]

    Quote Originally posted by edssro View post
    IA is a human reaction to maintain profit margins, not populations. Massive populations are maintained throughout the world without industrial practices. The United States is one of several nations that produces more food than it could possibly conceivably consume.
    Well, sure, but the production model arose during a brief time of cheap energy availability, and thus energy replaced labor. In the current production model, profit is a desired end.

    The two - IA and human population - rose together as human population exploded, IA as a 'necessity'. Take away cheap energy and human labor must replace energy for production at such scales. One presumes profit will still be extant when the human population has less energy. It is part of the human condition - you can't wish it away just because of uneven distribution due to the human condition.

  2. #77
    Cyburbian Linda_D's avatar
    Registered
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Jamestown, New York
    Posts
    1,677
    Here's an interesting article on the growing interest in using animals -- oxen, horses, and mules -- on small farms. Draft Animals Return to Small Farms

    There's been growing interest in draft animals here in the Southern Tier for probably a decade, maybe more. I think part of it comes from having large numbers of Amish farmers among us. We have lots of clayey soils in the Southern Tier that don't dry out all that well, and using horses enables the Amish to get into their fields sooner after it rains. Horses and oxen are also excellent for use in smaller woodlots for selective logging where the landowners don't want their property rutted up by timberjacks and other logging equipment.

    With higher energy prices, draft animals become even more attractive, even if they are only used for some jobs.

  3. #78
    Member
    Registered
    May 2011
    Location
    Little Rock, AR
    Posts
    8
    Quote Originally posted by ColoGI View post
    The two - IA and human population - rose together as human population exploded, IA as a 'necessity'. Take away cheap energy and human labor must replace energy for production at such scales. One presumes profit will still be extant when the human population has less energy. It is part of the human condition - you can't wish it away just because of uneven distribution due to the human condition.
    IA and human population did not rise together. IA as we know it did not exist prior to the 1940s, arguably the 1970s, and is entirely a product of crop insurance mechanisms, subsidies, and petroleum based fertilizers. The industrial revolution and associated population boom took place well before that.

    My point is that large-scale IA is not at all a necessity.

  4. #79
    Cyburbian Linda_D's avatar
    Registered
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Jamestown, New York
    Posts
    1,677
    Quote Originally posted by edssro View post
    IA and human population did not rise together. IA as we know it did not exist prior to the 1940s, arguably the 1970s, and is entirely a product of crop insurance mechanisms, subsidies, and petroleum based fertilizers. The industrial revolution and associated population boom took place well before that.

    My point is that large-scale IA is not at all a necessity.
    This is an incredibly ignorant and arrogant statement.

  5. #80
    Member
    Registered
    May 2011
    Location
    Little Rock, AR
    Posts
    8
    Quote Originally posted by Linda_D View post
    This is an incredibly ignorant and arrogant statement.
    I expected more from this forum than an inflammatory statement like that, made without any support. I know I'm new to Cyburbia, but I do not deserve to be called ignorant and arrogant when my posts have been anything but.

    Claiming that IA is necessary to feed growing populations is ignorant.

    Most of the world does not feed itself on food grown on factory farms or via industrial means. The majority of the agricultural crops grown in the United States aren't used to feed people, and the US has a surplus of corn and soybeans for which its constantly looking for new uses (see Ethanol policies). Most of that corn and soybean crop is used for animal products. Animal products are simply not necessary.

    Perhaps we need to be careful how we define terms. Maybe we're not using IA in the same way.

  6. #81
    Cyburbian wahday's avatar
    Registered
    May 2005
    Location
    New Town
    Posts
    3,826
    In the US, movements to develop an industrialized agricultural sector began in the late 1800s and picked up steam in the 1930s with the development and use of synthetic fertilizers. The "goal" as it was articulated by the US government and supported through research and development, was to "free" people from farm based labor, which was viewed as less productive for societal development. IA adopted a classic factory model, with "inputs" (ie. fertilizers, pesticides, etc.) and "outputs" (crops and other usable elements of the process like straw) - a significant shift from smaller scale production which considered more heavily the management of soil health beyond the typical, IA-based NPK inputs.

    Its also worth considering that IA includes not just crop production, but animals as well. Meat constitutes a significant part of our food consumption and of course the crop sector and the animal sector are closely linked as surplus products like corn are used heavily in animal feed (and, of course, animals are usually fed processed "food" instead of the grass they are built to consume). I think we often overlook the role of animal farming when discussing agriculture.

    Personally, I think the movement toward things like organic certification are definitely the right direction. Organic farming is really about maintaining and managing soil health and not about inputs and outputs (and the language explicitly states this), an approach which considers a multiplicity of factors overlooked in conventional factory farming. Its not a perfect system and it will not spur any kind of mass movement to create small scale farmers that can compete with IA farms, but it does provide some competitive advantage. So much of our food supplies are currently linked to IA production that I think any attempt to move away from this system to something else will have to involve the gradual opening up of alternative forms of production that can compete.
    The purpose of life is a life of purpose

  7. #82
    Cyburbian ColoGI's avatar
    Registered
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Colo Front Range
    Posts
    2,392
    Quote Originally posted by edssro View post
    IA and human population did not rise together. IA as we know it did not exist prior to the 1940s, arguably the 1970s, and is entirely a product of crop insurance mechanisms, subsidies, and petroleum based fertilizers. The industrial revolution and associated population boom took place well before that.

    My point is that large-scale IA is not at all a necessity.
    Draft animals, then mechanization then IA. Look at your history of technology increasing production and population rising and demanding innovations.

    And your point is great that it is not a necessity, but the work is very hard and long and with few rewards and lots of risk. So when are you going to start your own farm and ag business so you can work long hours?

  8. #83
    Cyburbian ColoGI's avatar
    Registered
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Colo Front Range
    Posts
    2,392
    Quote Originally posted by wahday View post
    Its not a perfect system and it will not spur any kind of mass movement to create small scale farmers that can compete with IA farms, but it does provide some competitive advantage. So much of our food supplies are currently linked to IA production that I think any attempt to move away from this system to something else will have to involve the gradual opening up of alternative forms of production that can compete.
    Organic is actually more efficient - lower EROEI - when you compare inputs and outputs. But as a large-scale system you need much more...erm...human input and that won't happen until absolutely necessary.

  9. #84
    Cyburbian Linda_D's avatar
    Registered
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Jamestown, New York
    Posts
    1,677
    Quote Originally posted by edssro View post
    I expected more from this forum than an inflammatory statement like that, made without any support. I know I'm new to Cyburbia, but I do not deserve to be called ignorant and arrogant when my posts have been anything but.

    Claiming that IA is necessary to feed growing populations is ignorant.
    As long as you don't care that millions more people would face famine and malnutrition than do today, I guess you can argue that IA isn't necessary. The Earth's population will shortly exceed 10 billion souls, and most of those people are crowding into urban areas where they don't or won't have the resources, ie, space, to grow their own food even if they wanted to, which most of them don't. They depend now, and they will depend even more in the future, on farmers to produce surpluses.

    Where exactly are "masses" of people successfully being fed without industrial agricultural practices? China? India? Brazil? Sri Lanka? Ethiopia? North Korea? Without applying technology to agriculture, you're left with subsistence agriculture which is what it is: farmers producing just enough to feed themselves. What happens then to all the people living in the cities?

    You can argue for the abandonment of meat consumption as a "solution" but good luck with changing tens of thousands of years of biology and culture. It's not happening soon if ever. Moreover, without machinery and without draft animals how, exactly are farmers going to till their fields? Set their women to pulling plows like the poorest farmers have done for centuries in various subsistence agricultural economies?

    I stand by my statement that your post was ignorant and arrogant.

  10. #85
    Super Moderator kjel's avatar
    Registered
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Wishing I were in Asia somewhere!
    Posts
    9,686
    Blog entries
    5
    Quote Originally posted by Linda_D View post
    As long as you don't care that millions more people would face famine and malnutrition than do today, I guess you can argue that IA isn't necessary. The Earth's population will shortly exceed 10 billion souls, and most of those people are crowding into urban areas where they don't or won't have the resources, ie, space, to grow their own food even if they wanted to, which most of them don't. They depend now, and they will depend even more in the future, on farmers to produce surpluses.

    Where exactly are "masses" of people successfully being fed without industrial agricultural practices? China? India? Brazil? Sri Lanka? Ethiopia? North Korea? Without applying technology to agriculture, you're left with subsistence agriculture which is what it is: farmers producing just enough to feed themselves. What happens then to all the people living in the cities?

    You can argue for the abandonment of meat consumption as a "solution" but good luck with changing tens of thousands of years of biology and culture. It's not happening soon if ever. Moreover, without machinery and without draft animals how, exactly are farmers going to till their fields? Set their women to pulling plows like the poorest farmers have done for centuries in various subsistence agricultural economies?

    I stand by my statement that your post was ignorant and arrogant.
    Interesting you mentioned Sri Lanka. I spent 4 months there researching post tsunami recovery and lived in a pretty remote village for half that time. I believe the population is about 20 million or so and the country manages to feed itself for the most part and they do not have IA. I did my research in the south which is the Rice Bowl if you will and it sort of worked on a co-op model. A group of farmers with rice paddies collectively owns the milling station and they negotiate crop prices collectively in the market. Especially in the South, which is the dry region, something called chena cultivation is practiced-essentially it's a small clear cut via slash and burn and seeds is sown on the fertile soil, harvested, and grown again until it is no longer productive. Then the land is left alone to regenerate. These are usually very small plots and are often found on public lands. Most people grow fruits/vegetables/herbs/spices and raise chickens in their yards and most places have a twice weekly market where everyone comes together and sells it much like a farmers market. If you live on the coast your diet is mostly fish and seafood based and if you live in the interior it's tipped a little more towards poultry and meat. Rice and legumes are a staple throughout the country.

    There are some little western style food stores (think convenience store size) in bigger towns that mostly carry dry goods and imported foodstuffs but the native population overwhelmingly sources its food very locally. I loved being able to hike over the sand dune in my backyard to the ocean in the early morning to see what the fishermen's nets had hauled in or going down the road to where the salt lake was and getting a bucket of crabs. We used to pick up eggs at a little roadside stand near the turnoff to our house and buffalo milk yogurt sold in giant clay pots was a local delicacy.

    While this may seem a little idyllic and probably wouldn't work in the US for a variety of reasons some of the ideas are worth pondering.
    "He defended the cause of the poor and needy, and so all went well. Is that not what it means to know me?" Jeremiah 22:16

  11. #86
    Cyburbian ColoGI's avatar
    Registered
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Colo Front Range
    Posts
    2,392
    Quote Originally posted by kjelsadek View post
    Especially in the South, which is the dry region, something called chena cultivation is practiced-essentially it's a small clear cut via slash and burn and seeds is sown on the fertile soil, harvested, and grown again until it is no longer productive. Then the land is left alone to regenerate. ...
    While this may seem a little idyllic and probably wouldn't work in the US for a variety of reasons some of the ideas are worth pondering.
    Surely the slash and burn is not worth pondering, but that's a neat experience, and a cool story , thank you.

  12. #87
    Cyburbian Linda_D's avatar
    Registered
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Jamestown, New York
    Posts
    1,677
    Quote Originally posted by kjelsadek View post
    Interesting you mentioned Sri Lanka. I spent 4 months there researching post tsunami recovery and lived in a pretty remote village for half that time. I believe the population is about 20 million or so and the country manages to feed itself for the most part and they do not have IA. I did my research in the south which is the Rice Bowl if you will and it sort of worked on a co-op model. A group of farmers with rice paddies collectively owns the milling station and they negotiate crop prices collectively in the market. Especially in the South, which is the dry region, something called chena cultivation is practiced-essentially it's a small clear cut via slash and burn and seeds is sown on the fertile soil, harvested, and grown again until it is no longer productive. Then the land is left alone to regenerate. These are usually very small plots and are often found on public lands. Most people grow fruits/vegetables/herbs/spices and raise chickens in their yards and most places have a twice weekly market where everyone comes together and sells it much like a farmers market. If you live on the coast your diet is mostly fish and seafood based and if you live in the interior it's tipped a little more towards poultry and meat. Rice and legumes are a staple throughout the country.

    There are some little western style food stores (think convenience store size) in bigger towns that mostly carry dry goods and imported foodstuffs but the native population overwhelmingly sources its food very locally. I loved being able to hike over the sand dune in my backyard to the ocean in the early morning to see what the fishermen's nets had hauled in or going down the road to where the salt lake was and getting a bucket of crabs. We used to pick up eggs at a little roadside stand near the turnoff to our house and buffalo milk yogurt sold in giant clay pots was a local delicacy.

    While this may seem a little idyllic and probably wouldn't work in the US for a variety of reasons some of the ideas are worth pondering.
    Very interesting. I looked up Sri Lanka on Wikipedia and found some interesting information on it.

    Sri Lanka had a history of plantation agriculture during its long colonial era, primarily producing tea, rubber, and cinnamon for export. One of the legacies of this monoculture was the importation of Tamil people from India as indentured servants, which helped contribute to the long civil war there.

    I think that one of the reasons that Sri Lanka can feed its own people is because it's a relatively rural country. It's population is 18-20 million, but it's largest city, Colombo, is only about 600,000. Smaller cities are closer to food production areas. NYS, which also has around 20 million people, has a metro of around 10 million in the NYC area and most of those people are NOT going to be fed locally, especially when you consider that they live in a huge urbanized area that spreads from Boston to northern Virginia containing many more millions. This is also the case with many cities throughout the world.

    It also appears that there's enough land in Sri Lanka to allow for slash-and-burn agriculture, which may not be the case in the future as the entire population increases or as the urban population grows.

  13. #88
    Cyburbian
    Registered
    Jul 2010
    Location
    BC, Canada
    Posts
    218
    Some thought-provoking sources that I hope to look into, as this seems an interesting question on a number of levels. Glad I read all the thread to realize you all weren't debating the necessity of Iowa! A couple things I wonder about:

    Is the organic vs. IA argument more about scaling up or out with various sustainable, lower-input systems? With soil erosion, nitrogen runoff, monoculture, resistent pests, and disease-resistant bacteria spreading from CAFO's, it seems to me that IA as currently practiced is in need of serious reform or can do some real harm. On the other hand, I have read the studies mentioned showing organic as more efficient per acre, but requiring greater labor inputs (more below). Many family farmers will testify to the improved profitability of their farm after moving to more traditional crop rotations and intercropping and laying off the costly pesticides and fertilizers.

    It seems to me all conversations on "local food systems" must address scale. Is it 100 miles? Is it all of Hawaii? All of Britain? All of the Northeaster US?

    Some bioegions will be much more challenged than others - I can't imagine the Canadian prairies feeding themselves, for example, without moving towards a grain-roots-and-meat diet, storing plenty of food for winter, establishing geothermal greenhouses on a large scale, and/or trading for seal fat! On the other hand, local foodies seem to flock to the Pac NW with its ~240 day growing season, abundance of seafood and crops, and rich soil. I lived in temperate Japan and the seasonal food is wonderful there, although they now import rice.

    Will our ability to import and move food long distances not diminish with increasing energy costs, making us naturally gravitate to more local crops? So that based on price alone imported food will become more of a luxury (coffee, tea, wine) or nutritional need (fresh fruit in winter) than a staple? Might still be hard to compete with California, I don't know.

    In addition to security, what of the economic development benefits of local agriculture? Very successsful economies, such as France and Japan, embraced family farmers rather than using subsidy and USDA-IA collusion as a tool to force "get big or get out!" No doubt this creates a primary product for rural and small town economies, bringing in $ from the cities, supporting families who in turn send kids to school, etc. So why is going more organic (with more labor) a bad thing per se? We could easily turn subsidies from IA commodities to fruits, veggies and family farms. And many young people are finding a career in farming more promising these days. Its a challenging job physically and intellectually.

    Finally, what of evolving consciousness of animal rights? I am not a PETA member, but the condition of animals in American IA as evolved over the last couple decades is simply beyond what I am morally willing to eat (its really bad, if you haven't investigated this), particularly in a country where we have more than enough meat. Polls and ballot initiatives show this consciousness increasing across the developed world.

    I think we have always traded, and will continue to do so. In Japan, where I learned to eat seasonally b/c that's what people do, mountainous regions traditionally imported tangerines from the coast - not only a winter treat but clearly a way to get your vitamin C in winter. But I think the more we can look at local & regional food systems, the better off we can be in a number of ways. And Chilean produce in North America may be a bit much. I look forward to reading some of the reports referenced here to see what is possible in different regions.

  14. #89
    Cyburbian
    Registered
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Honolulu, HI
    Posts
    44

    Scale?

    Quote Originally posted by docwatson View post
    Some thought-provoking sources that I hope to look into, as this seems an interesting question on a number of levels. Glad I read all the thread to realize you all weren't debating the necessity of Iowa! A couple things I wonder about:

    Is the organic vs. IA argument more about scaling up or out with various sustainable, lower-input systems? With soil erosion, nitrogen runoff, monoculture, resistent pests, and disease-resistant bacteria spreading from CAFO's, it seems to me that IA as currently practiced is in need of serious reform or can do some real harm. On the other hand, I have read the studies mentioned showing organic as more efficient per acre, but requiring greater labor inputs (more below). Many family farmers will testify to the improved profitability of their farm after moving to more traditional crop rotations and intercropping and laying off the costly pesticides and fertilizers.

    It seems to me all conversations on "local food systems" must address scale. Is it 100 miles? Is it all of Hawaii? All of Britain? All of the Northeaster US?

    Some bioegions will be much more challenged than others - I can't imagine the Canadian prairies feeding themselves, for example, without moving towards a grain-roots-and-meat diet, storing plenty of food for winter, establishing geothermal greenhouses on a large scale, and/or trading for seal fat! On the other hand, local foodies seem to flock to the Pac NW with its ~240 day growing season, abundance of seafood and crops, and rich soil. I lived in temperate Japan and the seasonal food is wonderful there, although they now import rice.

    Will our ability to import and move food long distances not diminish with increasing energy costs, making us naturally gravitate to more local crops? So that based on price alone imported food will become more of a luxury (coffee, tea, wine) or nutritional need (fresh fruit in winter) than a staple? Might still be hard to compete with California, I don't know.

    In addition to security, what of the economic development benefits of local agriculture? Very successsful economies, such as France and Japan, embraced family farmers rather than using subsidy and USDA-IA collusion as a tool to force "get big or get out!" No doubt this creates a primary product for rural and small town economies, bringing in $ from the cities, supporting families who in turn send kids to school, etc. So why is going more organic (with more labor) a bad thing per se? We could easily turn subsidies from IA commodities to fruits, veggies and family farms. And many young people are finding a career in farming more promising these days. Its a challenging job physically and intellectually.

    Finally, what of evolving consciousness of animal rights? I am not a PETA member, but the condition of animals in American IA as evolved over the last couple decades is simply beyond what I am morally willing to eat (its really bad, if you haven't investigated this), particularly in a country where we have more than enough meat. Polls and ballot initiatives show this consciousness increasing across the developed world.

    I think we have always traded, and will continue to do so. In Japan, where I learned to eat seasonally b/c that's what people do, mountainous regions traditionally imported tangerines from the coast - not only a winter treat but clearly a way to get your vitamin C in winter. But I think the more we can look at local & regional food systems, the better off we can be in a number of ways. And Chilean produce in North America may be a bit much. I look forward to reading some of the reports referenced here to see what is possible in different regions.
    Thanks for your thoughts on this - here's my initial responses:
    1) You are definitely correct in saying that definition of "local" is a big deal - I intentionally started the thread with the question "Can your town...?" but there will always be an issue about the environment that surrounds a particular um... "settlement?" "region?" Here in Hawaii, we like to think that we provide a good model for looking at sustainability issues - but, keep in mind that we have a wide variety of microclimates - we're known for tropical beach scenes, but we also have 13,000 foot summits! So there are a wide variety of growing situations - temp, rainfall, elevation - within our geography. We can grow different kinds of crops that would be impossible in a place like Nebraska. I'm not arguibng for one definition of local - but I think part of this discussion has included strong feelings about the definition of the term.

    2) I'm learning that when we do talk about scale, we probably need to start thinking in terms of systems - some political alliances may make for a particular food system, or perhaps it is the available transport that defines another system... The important thing might be to start mapping those systems (which may not necessarily conform to our current political boundaries) and gain some insights about leverage points that could change the current systems. (Or, as many people have suggested, we could simply wait until oil is too expensive or depleted and let the current system collapse - "Mad Max Grocery Delivery - call 555-1212!")

    3) In the US, we will probably need to begin learning - and implementing - lessons from our friends around the world. and many of those lessons may have some planning roles embedded in them...

    4) and, couldn't agree with you more regarding the treatment of animals within our "Industrial" food system - we will need to find a new way.

    Last thing - Many of our "institutions" in the US sprang forth during and in resaponse to the demands of the Industrial Revolution - My kids - like the majority of Americans - attend an Industrial Model school - Are we really so surprised that our economy has created Indiustrial Ag? Time to change!

  15. #90
    Cyburbian ColoGI's avatar
    Registered
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Colo Front Range
    Posts
    2,392
    Quote Originally posted by docwatson View post
    Glad I read all the thread to realize you all weren't debating the necessity of Iowa!

    A few more stories like this about perverse incentives and externalities, and maybe we will.

    Quote Originally posted by docwatson View post
    A couple things I wonder about:

    Is the organic vs. IA argument more about scaling up or out with various sustainable, lower-input systems? ... On the other hand, I have read the studies mentioned showing organic as more efficient per acre, but requiring greater labor inputs (more below). .
    Right. In this context it is scaling up and replacing with lower fossil energy inputs. Replacing with human labor.

  16. #91
    Cyburbian The One's avatar
    Registered
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Where Valley Fever Lives
    Posts
    7,136

    More

    Here are a few related articles to some of the current hot topics in this thread:

    Big Bad Meat Processors:
    http://www.hcn.org/issues/43.5/cattl...nomic-squeezes

    Food Deserts:
    http://consumerist.com/2011/05/do-yo...od-desert.html

    and

    http://www.ers.usda.gov/data/fooddesert/fooddesert.html

    I'm sure that if someone took the time to overlap this food desert map with a map of heart disease occurance, there would be a significant correlation.

    ALERT: HELLO ALL YOU PHD TYPES OUT THERE, THIS IS A PREEMPTIVE DISSERTATION IDEA!

    Just be sure to cite THE ONE, Cyburbia online forums at Cyburbia.org ok.....
    Skilled Adoxographer

  17. #92
    Cyburbian
    Registered
    Jul 2010
    Location
    BC, Canada
    Posts
    218
    Last thing - Many of our "institutions" in the US sprang forth during and in resaponse to the demands of the Industrial Revolution - My kids - like the majority of Americans - attend an Industrial Model school - Are we really so surprised that our economy has created Indiustrial Ag? Time to change!
    Yes I'm surprised by how much of our ag policy (not to mention housing policy) is rooted in the corporate-government alliances forged during the Great Depression/New Deal.

  18. #93
    Cyburbian
    Registered
    Oct 2004
    Location
    New Orleans, LA
    Posts
    368
    IA as we know it is going to have problems, and really needs to go away. That does NOT mean 'go back to idyllic farms', though - we will have some form of technologically advanced food production in the future. I feel vertical farming to have quite a bit of future, for instance. I did a bit of research indicating that a cycle of fresh greens and tilapia could be farmed in a mostly closed system using aquaculture and aeroculture in an efficient area. If someone can sell hipsters on eating bugs and calling it trendy, the efficiencies of non-soil based agriculture could be increased quite a bit more.

  19. #94
    Quote Originally posted by The One View post

    I'm sure that if someone took the time to overlap this food desert map with a map of heart disease occurance, there would be a significant correlation.

    ALERT: HELLO ALL YOU PHD TYPES OUT THERE, THIS IS A PREEMPTIVE DISSERTATION IDEA!

    Just be sure to cite THE ONE, Cyburbia online forums at Cyburbia.org ok.....
    Great idea! You must be a wise person indeed!

    I tried finding the data to do a study such as you suggest. There are some problems, so no one has been able to do it yet. these include:

    How do you control for poverty and other factors?

    The data on heart attacks are not available for small areas.

    There are statistical problems with what are known as ecological studies.


    But again, I like how you think.

  20. #95
    Cyburbian ColoGI's avatar
    Registered
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Colo Front Range
    Posts
    2,392
    Quote Originally posted by The One View post

    I'm sure that if someone took the time to overlap this food desert map with a map of heart disease occurance, there would be a significant correlation.
    Nothing new here. Harper's had a cover story on this ~a decade ago: "Let Them Eat Fat".

    This is part of the reason why we have Health Impact Assessments.

  21. #96
    Cyburbian wahday's avatar
    Registered
    May 2005
    Location
    New Town
    Posts
    3,826
    Quote Originally posted by Gotta Speakup View post
    Great idea! You must be a wise person indeed!

    I tried finding the data to do a study such as you suggest. There are some problems, so no one has been able to do it yet. these include:

    How do you control for poverty and other factors?

    The data on heart attacks are not available for small areas.

    There are statistical problems with what are known as ecological studies.


    But again, I like how you think.
    Personally, I don't think any of these data holes are enough to not try to do some mapping. The Food Trust in Philadelphia did some amazing GIS-based work on a similar topic, mapping incidence of nutritionally-based disease (diabetes, etc.), income level, and location of supermarkets or other sources of fresh, raw foods in Philadelphia. The results were very powerful (and beautiful maps - if that's the right term) and led to their campaign to attract supermarkets to low income, inner city urban areas. I'm sure their data was not perfect either - stats on disease was probably spotty, for example. But it was enough to suggest whether an exploration of causation was even warranted. It was and they were able to work with hospitals and public health entities to begin collecting more geographically-specific data going forward.

    I say all of this because last week I read an interesting article about non-profits and the importance of really researching and delving into information from one's data sources to better reach and respond to constituent needs. The article stressed that many organizations get stuck thinking they lack data, that they need to collect more, but the author stressed that usually, there is plenty of info to amass some very useful information - one just needs to be creative. Data collection and sampling is never perfect and sometimes you need to proceed a little ways down the road to see if further investigation is warranted. If it is, you can do the work needed to get the necessary data. If not, at least you know that's a dead end.
    The purpose of life is a life of purpose

  22. #97
    Cyburbian
    Registered
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Honolulu, HI
    Posts
    44
    Quote Originally posted by wahday View post
    ...because last week I read an interesting article about non-profits and the importance of really researching and delving into information from one's data sources to better reach and respond to constituent needs. The article stressed that many organizations get stuck thinking they lack data, that they need to collect more, but the author stressed that usually, there is plenty of info to amass some very useful information - one just needs to be creative.
    I'm struggling with the same issue right now - debate over the usefulness of a small scale household survey and what type of info to gather. (And, of course, the more heated debate about the validity of the instruments!) I'd love to read that article - do you have a reference? ...or was it available online?

  23. #98
    Cyburbian wahday's avatar
    Registered
    May 2005
    Location
    New Town
    Posts
    3,826
    Quote Originally posted by MCasey View post
    I'm struggling with the same issue right now - debate over the usefulness of a small scale household survey and what type of info to gather. (And, of course, the more heated debate about the validity of the instruments!) I'd love to read that article - do you have a reference? ...or was it available online?
    Trying to find it again. Haven't succeeded. I was pretty sure it was a link to something by Seth Godin whose blog is ostensibly about marketing, but bleeds over into many other areas. He's a bestseller with books like "Tribes" and "The Dip" which are about more than marketing - building social movements, the changing face of the market, etc. He also talks a lot about non-profit management and marketing. his posts tend to be quite brief, but they usually link you to more in-depth and often very useful info.

    I'll keep poking around and see if I can locate it. The article was brief, but its got me thinking. His main point was, in this age of overwhelming information, we should not be shy about moving forward with what we know. Its easy to get paralyzed feeling that you need more and more data, but as far as non-profits, his point was that we usually have more than enough info to work with and push the inquiry in the right direction.
    The purpose of life is a life of purpose

  24. #99
    Quote Originally posted by wahday View post
    Personally, I don't think any of these data holes are enough to not try to do some mapping. The Food Trust in Philadelphia did some amazing GIS-based work on a similar topic, mapping incidence of nutritionally-based disease (diabetes, etc.), income level, and location of supermarkets or other sources of fresh, raw foods in Philadelphia. The results were very powerful (and beautiful maps - if that's the right term) and led to their campaign to attract supermarkets to low income, inner city urban areas. I'm sure their data was not perfect either - stats on disease was probably spotty, for example. But it was enough to suggest whether an exploration of causation was even warranted. It was and they were able to work with hospitals and public health entities to begin collecting more geographically-specific data going forward.

    I say all of this because last week I read an interesting article about non-profits and the importance of really researching and delving into information from one's data sources to better reach and respond to constituent needs. The article stressed that many organizations get stuck thinking they lack data, that they need to collect more, but the author stressed that usually, there is plenty of info to amass some very useful information - one just needs to be creative. Data collection and sampling is never perfect and sometimes you need to proceed a little ways down the road to see if further investigation is warranted. If it is, you can do the work needed to get the necessary data. If not, at least you know that's a dead end.
    I agree with this too. Its easier to map a food desert than disease rates, and its easier to involve a community in the food source mapping than in the diabetes data. Also, why wait for more data? If there is a problem, begin to address it, waiting for data has never solved any problem.

  25. #100
    Cyburbian The One's avatar
    Registered
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Where Valley Fever Lives
    Posts
    7,136
    Quote Originally posted by Gotta Speakup View post
    Also, why wait for more data? If there is a problem, begin to address it, waiting for data has never solved any problem.
    If you swap out the word facts for data, you have the FOX News mission statement

    Skilled Adoxographer

+ Reply to thread
Page 4 of 5 FirstFirst ... 3 4 5 LastLast

More at Cyburbia

  1. Replies: 2
    Last post: 13 Jan 2010, 10:03 AM
  2. Replies: 10
    Last post: 07 Oct 2008, 11:22 AM
  3. Replies: 22
    Last post: 14 Jan 2008, 12:56 PM
  4. What do you feed your dog?
    Friday Afternoon Club
    Replies: 35
    Last post: 19 May 2004, 5:02 PM
  5. Replies: 1
    Last post: 31 Jul 2003, 1:36 PM