By James Haralson
In an effort to enjoy tasty food in an environmentally sustainable way, people all around the world are creating innovative food production systems. Global residents are banning together to increase the presence of community gardens and to re-examine how food is packaged.
In New Orleans, the Holly Grove Market and Farm (HMF) aims to promote sustainable practices by supporting local farmers and increasing the “accessibility of fresh produce” for New Orleans’ residents. According to HMF officials, the organization is made up of an urban farm, local produce market, and community garden space.
HMF’s farm provides training for residents who are interested in starting eco-friendly gardens or practicing sustainable cooking methods. Along with that, HMF’s market features locally grown produce for residents’ purchase.
NOLA Green Roots is another local organization that utilizes gardens to promote sustainable practices. The non-profit organization provides the community with training on how to construct gardens and grow “fresh fruits and vegetables at a low cost.” The residents who participate in this training range from youth to senior citizens.
NOLA Green Roots also provides the community with an opportunity to have fresh produce delivered to their homes. According to the organization’s web site, residents can join an individual garden or the NOLA Green Roots network.
In Seattle, the Parks Urban Food Systems (PUFS) focuses on improving “access to healthy food, opportunities for active recreation, and environmental awareness.” Similar to the educational programs of HMF and NOLA Green Roots, PUFS teaches the Seattle community “stewardship through food system programs.” Residents can volunteer at community gardens, “adopt-a-park” events, and urban forest restoration projects.
All over the world, governments and organizations from Spain to Canada are coming together to promote the consumption of locally grown produce in hopes of improving the quality of food and the environment. Along with that, many countries are focusing on improving the way these foods are transported to customers.
In 2011, the Canadian government provided funds for research into “novel-packaging technology,” which experts argue would increase the overall shelf life of fresh produce. Canadian government officials also hope that this new packaging technology can improve access to international markets. In a 2011 “Food Production Daily” article, Canadian government officials were optimistic that this new packaging has “potential benefits that extend beyond the Canadian agri-food sector and into manufacturing industry through increased production of the packaging.”
“The support provided by Agri-food Canada is allowing Innovative Food Systems Corp. to develop this Canadian born produce packaging system to a new level that provides food safety and security,” Innovative Food Systems Corp. CEO, Dr. Perry Lidster, told Food Production Daily.
In Spain, Isabel Bombal, Director-General of the Ministry of the Environment and Marine Affairs, made an announcement at the 3rd annual Environmentally-Friendly Foods and Gastronomy conference stating that Spain now had 61 more eco-friendly industries than it did 20 years before. Bombal also announced that the government was providing protection for farmland, which is being used to produce “high-quality food product ranges” in Spain.
Whether it’s the growth of eco-friendly community gardens in New Orleans, or protecting farmland over 4,700 miles away in the heart of Spain, residents are banning together to promote healthy and sustainable produce, and are also coming up with innovative ways to improve the sustainability of the transport these foods.