One of the economic impacts of climate change and peak oil on low-income families is rising food prices. Economists are predicting that 2011 could bring a critical spike in food prices driven by global climate-related crop failures. The urban agriculture and food justice movements are sprouting up gardens all over the East Bay that can supplement our food supply with affordable and healthy local produce. However, outdated zoning codes currently make it illegal for many urban gardeners to sell their produce, even to neighbors.
Bay Localize’s Green Your City program (formerly Green Your Hood) demonstrates how cities can meet basic needs of food, water, and energy locally and sustainably. The Green Your City program has been invited by members of the food justice movement to help lead a strategic campaign to change outdated codes to allow urban farmers to sell their safe and healthy produce locally, from within their neighborhoods. We predict this strategic change will help East Bay residents weather spikes in food prices, create microbusiness opportunities for the underemployed, and increase consumption of healthy fruits and vegetables.
Bay Localize brings a respected history of collaboration and expertise to this campaign. After winning an award from the American Planning Association for our research on the potential for rooftop gardening in Oakland, and publishing the widely used Use Your Roof Guidebook, the Green Your City program assisted Oakland Food Connection in East Oakland and Glide Memorial Church in San Francisco in setting up their own successful rooftop garden programs serving largely low-income African American populations. In 2010 Bay Localize co-hosted educational garden workdays with Urban Tilth in Richmond and Laney College in Oakland, as well as with People Organized to Win Employment Rights (POWER) in San Francisco.
See the Financial Times, January 31, 2011, “The Global Food Crisis,” http://www.ft.com/foodprices.