Posts By AJ Hughes
For Christina Hall, executive director of Orange County Food Access Coalition, it all began in a garden. A community garden, that is, where Hall first learned about food access challenges.
Even though Hall had been involved with social justice issues such as air quality and right to water, it wasn’t until about 10 years ago that the concept of food inequity entered the picture. For this she thanks her daughter, who was in eighth grade at the time.
“They started a community garden after school,” says Hall. “At that point I had a black thumb—I couldn’t even keep a cactus alive.”
She learned how to grow food, but more importantly, her eyes were opened to a widespread lack of food access in Orange County. This spurred her to go back to school in 2010, and two years later Hall earned a master’s degree in urban sustainability (with a focus on community gardens and food justice) from Antioch University. Her hands-on experience complemented her formal graduate education.
“Riverside oranges are a beautiful commodity, and have the best taste ever,” says Riverside farmer Brian Griffith. But in the face of citrus greening disease and unsustainable prices, can the citrus industry in Riverside, California endure?
To get an answer to this question, we spoke with an entomologist and two orange growers. The entomologist is confident that Riverside citrus will survive citrus greening disease (otherwise known as HLB), and both growers are moving forward with realism tinged optimism. At the moment, though, there are no easy answers—only complex ones.
Traditionally, farmers have grown plants in nutrient-rich soil. Now an increasing number of growers rely on hydroponics, which uses a variety of soil-less media in a controlled environment.
But which is better—soil or soil-free?
Seedstock ventured to find an answer to this question by talking to a farmer, a hydroponics expert, a horticulturist and a chef. They each have different opinions, but one thing is clear: while soil-less growing techniques can offer incredible benefits, we still need dirt.
Here’s what they had to say.
8 Academic Programs Focused on Food Justice, Sustainability and Access Grow in Tow with Local Food MovementMarch 13, 2016 | AJ Hughes
College and university academic programs focused on food justice, sustainability, and increased food access are on the rise, with an ever-growing number of students interested in such areas of academia. Ellen Messer, who teaches food policy courses at Boston University, confirms this increasing level of interest.
“It’s been a general trend since the organic and local food trend, and colleges are more aware of that,” she says.
Messer points out that food studies programs, many of which come with a bent toward sustainability and justice, often intersect with a wide range of other academic offerings.
Food banks need fresh produce year-round, but this can prove difficult for those located in harsh winter climes. To address this problem, Purdue Polytechnic students are working on a solution that will provide produce all year long to Second Harvest Food Bank of East Central Indiana.
The solution they came up with is hydroponic growing. Not only would this increase efficiency and productivity of Second Harvest Food Bank’s eight-county operation, but would also enable people who benefit from the food bank to enjoy fresh produce during every month of the year.