Food Security

Among its other well-documented drawbacks, the industrial agriculture system, with its lack of genetic diversity, highly concentrated production and reliance on long-distance transportation,  presents a point of particular vulnerability for the United States.    “Food security” is an issue starting to enter the public consciousness, and is attracting the attention of those not naturally predisposed toward sympathy with the local food movement.   The symbiosis between national security and local food is hardly new:


And New York City, a leader in today’s locovore movement, has a long history of focusing on the national security (and poverty alleviation) benefits of urban farming:

Manhattan Victory Garden: First Avenue and 35th Street

We have a long way to go before State and local laws and policies again recognize the security and economic importance of urban agriculture, and appropriately facilitate roof-top and other urban farms.   The Battery Roof-top Gardener encountered inexplicable and frustrating bureaucratic interference in the development of the Battery Roof-top Garden, ranging from a supposedly green local authority objecting to the possibility that (heaven-forbid) planting might be visible from the street, to those claiming that vegetables should not be grown on a roof because lower Manhattan is not “zoned for agriculture.”  There is some good news, however.  Last week New York State Governor David Paterson issued an executive order requiring, among other things, State agencies to give preference to local food suppliers.  The Governor’s order makes it clear that the State’s policy is to protect farmland, promote and facilitate sustainable local agriculture and guarantee access of urban dwellers to fresh local food.  It’s a start.  See the Governor’s Executive Order at the link below:

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