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Our society is continually becoming more disconnected from nutritious food, active lifestyles, and the natural world. This leads to physical and mental ill-health, the community fabric frays. Reconnecting to food, people and the natural environment helps to preserve natural resources, strengthen communities and increase our physical and mental health and wellbeing (Claridge, et al. n.d.)

... positive attributes of community food systems can have on local communities.

On this premise, this essay will examine the positive attributes of community food systems can have on local communities. In how reconnecting people with growing their own food will allow all areas of society to have access to fresh and nutritious food. Resulting in a healthier diet and lifestyle and how this can affect people on an individual basis. By analysing the positive attributes of community food systems, this essay will establish if it does result in a stronger social sustainable fabric. How it compliments social sustainability or if it hinders its process. This essay will not only focus on the positive outcomes within the local community’s health and lifestyle, but on the ripple effects it has on economic and environmental sustainability. Which will lead to its effects on what collective communities would have on their region and nation.

... if it does result in a stronger social sustainable fabric.

Key words Community, Food, Social, Sustainability, Health



Sustainability? Since its emergence into our global concerns its definition has much been debated. Professionals and academics have continually argued its definition and in more present times so has the media. Due to this on-going debate its meaning has become blurred, more so in the public’s eye. We can all agree that sustainability will not be achieved by one, but by the masses, but if the majority of the population within a town, a country or even the world, do not have a basic understanding on how this can be achieved, how can we achieve this? Sustainability has such a broad multi-focal agenda with terms “triple bottom line” and “sustainable development” (McKenzie, S. 2004) . Sustainability also needs to be defined whenever it is used within its context. However, in order for sustainable applications to become sustainable human intervention needs to be of the same mind set. No sustainable application will succeed without human intervention on some level. But our mind set, in the western world, is not one of sustainability. Within this subject matter we are plagued by our own capitalise society, the idea of recycling is far from our minds (Fig.1). With social intervention and educating the masses on the positives sustainability has, our mind set begins to change. The public are aware that sustainability is positive for our environment, but whose environment?

Where are these improvements? What change am I making? Introducing sustainable applications on a local level, particularly social sustainability with and environmental topic, can this be achieved through community food systems? (Fig.2). The

Fig. 2: Eagle Street Farm in Greenpoint, Brooklyn (Roden, G 2012)

American National Research Council (2010) as cited in Hodgson, Campbell and Bailkey (2011) stated, hybrid urban agriculture and direct marketing strategies provide opportunities for community involvement, social interaction among ethnically and age-diverse communities, and health and environment-stewardship education. Direct marketing strategies in particular can foster connections between farmers and consumers and can contribute to community economic security. On this premise, the essay will begin to dilute particular areas of social sustainability and

Can a community’s food system serve as an indicator of social sustainability?

Fig. 1: Brighton Beech Polluted with litter (Beech Litter Brighton, n.d.)

community food systems and the positives impacts they have. Can a community’s food system serve as an indicator of social sustainability? Are there initiatives and programs within the community food system movement that contribute in essential ways to social sustainability? If so, and if we examine the nature of their contributions, will we increase our p4


understanding of how social sustainability is developed and strengthened? (McBride 2007) The essay will also look into the contagion effects upon economic and environmental aspects of social sustainability and community food systems. “As many of the worst excesses of environmental degradation occur in areas of high poverty and low social cohesion, it is argued that an increase in social capital through development will lead to an improved environment.� (McKenzie, S. 2004) Even though beginning with social sustainability, all three of the principles need to have equal consideration in order for our land to become sustainable. In educating through social applications about environment issues we create a healthy economy. In order to understand how community food system can better our society, I will be reviewing the historical concepts and how they infleuence this topic, from Howard, Migge, Le Corbusier and Frank Lloyd Wright. In comparison to Todmorden (Incredible Edible) which is a modern example of this which will be a case study, along with the decline of Detroit.



“ The landscape of any farm is the owners’ portrait of himself.”

(Nassauer, 1995, p198)



For some time now I have seen friends, family and people of the public begin to turn their hands to growing their own vegetables and fruit. There is an air about this movement that it is fashionable, and as it has gained its approval by our society it begins to flourish. Aldo Leopold poetically expressed the powerful social identification of the landowner with the look of the land in 1939: “The landscape of any farm is the owners’ portrait of himself.” (Nassauer,1995) However being a fashionable concept, these tend to get regurgitated, similar to the clothing world following its 20 year cycle (Higham, 2009, p174). Urban Agriculture and its principles have been apparent for some time now, with Ebenezer Howard in 1898 with his publication of ‘Tomorrow, A Peaceful Path to Real Reform’ highlighting some his core design principles. Howard understood the social opportunities that drew his society to the city, but was also aware of the health benefits of the country, from this he drew a simple conclusion, congeal the two aspects. Howard’s Garden City (Fig.3), would be divide into two main elements urban and agricultural, agricultural utilising 5/6th of the city and urban utilising the rest. Although each house would have its own plot of land to sustain a


family of five vegetable consumption, allowing the excess produced by the agricultural lands to be sold for profit (Howard, 1902, P2-16). Through building on the principles of Howard’s Garden City, Landscape Architect Leberecht Migge developed a term “City-Land-Culture”. “What is “City-Land-Culture”? City-Land-Culture means nothing more than the expert cultivation of the outskirts of the city; more precisely, of all the land that lies between the major transportation line (rail, traffic arteries) that are about one-half to one travel-hour distant from the centre.” (Haney, 2010, p147). Migge’s concept was to rid the city of its segregation from its agriculture and to become once again intrinsic with our agricultural nature. Whilst Howard congeals the Town and the Country together, Le Corbusier cultivates Howard’s concepts into an entire new city concept on a much larger scale similar to Migge. Le Corbusier understands the fundamental issue with society and urban agriculture, the simple fact of upkeep. Le Corbusier concept was to develop a housing scheme based on the “honeycomb” principle (Corbusier, 1924, p215): “There would be a farmer in charge of every 100 such plots and intensive cultivation would be employed. The farmer undertakes all the heavy work. The inhabitant comes back from his factory or office, and with the renewed strength given him by his games, starts to work on his garden. His plot, cultivated in a standardized and scientific way, feeds him for the greater part of the year. There are storehouses on the borders of each group of plots in which he can store his produce for the winter.” (Corbusier, 1924, p217)

Fig. 3: Howards Garden City Concept (Howard,1902, p14)

Frank Lloyd Wright also believed in the concept of urban agriculture, he appreciated the beauty within a healthy relationship between man and his environment, “an aesthetic organic, as of life itself, not on it; nobly relating man to his environment” (Wright, 1958, p9). “…Wright’s vision of the ‘living p7

city’ (Fig.4) could best be summarised as integrating agriculture into dispersed suburban settlements, creating a new landscape. As an idea it transgresses the distinction between urban and suburban, and also helps to articulate a vision of a city driven by ecological intensification, where food growing stands equal to traditional development in the built environment.” (Doron, 2005, p3)

These impressive ideas soon where pushed aside as WWII came upon us, a deperate need arrived for food so a simple solution was created, ‘Victory Gardens’. In the US alone 20 million gardens apeared producing 9 to 10 million tons of fruit and vegetables. This was the most succesful time for community food production, born in a crisis of need, are not here again? As the ecomonic boom accelerated after WWII the city and suburbian expanded which pushed the agricultural seen further away from our cities. Did we forget how to grow food? or did it just remind us of appalling times , which we wanted to distant ourselves with?

Fig. 4: Frank Lloyd Wright Vision of the “Living city”

Community Food System concepts have come and gone throughout the years and yet none have truly flourished. Although along with the common concept of productive landscape, social cohesion is also a common denominator throughout these texts. As Howard states in his love of the country “ Buts its fullness of joy and wisdom has not revealed itself to man. Nor can it ever, so long as this unholy, unnatural separation of society and nature endures. Town and country must be married, and out of this joyous union will spring a new hope, a new life, a new civilisation.” (Howard, 1902, p48) So in re-connecting ourselves with our land can we look to create a society that is socially sustainable? Are the principles of Urban agriculture this easy to implement? And if so why has this application not been researched in a more thorough manner to perfect this sustainable application? Or is that too simple? As Howard, Corbusier, Migge and Wright all discuss the importance of social involvement. However, they do not stress the importance of this point, as the concept of urban agriculture is plausible but one cannot design social cohesion they can only hope for it.

Fig. 5: Victory Garden Poster (War Foord Aministration, n.d.)



OISD defines social sustainability as: “…social sustainability blends traditional social policy areas and principles, such as equity and health, with emerging issues concerning participation, needs, social capital, the economy, the environment, and more recently, with the notions of happiness, wellbeing and quality of life.” (Colantonio, 2009, p16)

Social sustainability gained formal and international repute following the World Commission on Environment and Development (WCED) report to the United Nations (UN), which stipulated that sustainable development required concerted attention to social, ecological, and economic conditions (WCED, 1987). However, social sustainability is the least developed of the three constructs and often is posited in relation to ecological or economic sustainability (Mckenzie, 2004). This opinion is shared with Nicola Bacon, Tricia Hackett & Lucia Caistor-Arendar (2011) “Social sustainability is largely neglected in mainstream debates.” Also affiliated with this hypothesis is The Oxford Institute for Sustainable Development “ a practical level the tools, instruments and metrics to foster sustainable urban development currently available are biased toward environmental and economic sustainability” (Colantonio and Dixon, 2009,p7). Whether this hypothesis is authoritative or not, academics or intuitions do not repudiate this topic. They are far from this; they are enthralled and passionate about this topic and has an authoritative nature about it. “Combinding equity and health with new issues regarding social involvement, captial, the economy, the enviroment. More recently notion of happiness and wellbeing has become ever more apparent.” (Colantonio, 2009,p7) The Young Foundation argues that social sustainability should be seen as, “...Social sustainability combines design of the physical realm with design of the social world....”(Bacon,N. Hackett,T. and CaistorArendar,L. 2011,p7) Meckenzie (2004) states, “Social sustainability is: a life-enhancing condition within communities, and a process within communities that can achieve that condition.” (Mckenzie, 2004, p12) Social sustainability comes with two siblings, environmental and economic sustainability, almost its two older brothers within the debate of sustainability. Although being neglected as a major issue within the sustainability debate since sustainability was a hot topic, social sustainability is proving to be a topic that is not only highly important to regional, nation and the world communities. It is also proving that it can influence its older siblings and make these issues more effective with the assistance of social applications.

The “brown agenda” utilises elements of this concept through the combination of economic development and the nurturing of ‘social capital’ in order to reduce or control our environmental destruction. As majority of the atrocious precedents of environmental degradation manifest themselves in areas of high poverty and low social cohesion, it is argued that an increase in social capital through development will lead to an improved environment. Such a prospect is attractive from an environmental perspective, but the notion that sustainable development always functions to the advantage of third or fourth world citizens has been critiqued by theorists such as Banerjee, who argues that “Sustainable development, rather than representing a major theoretical breakthrough, is very much subsumed under the dominant economic paradigm. As with development, the meanings, practices and policies of sustainable development continue to be informed by colonial thought,...” (Mckenzie, 2004, p3) The interrelationship between the environmental, social and economic aspects of sustainability is commonly represented by one of two models. The first model features three concentric spheres. The ‘economic’ and ‘social’ spheres are portrayed as dependent on the health of the environmental sphere. Enviromental Society


Fig. 6: Three concentric spheres (Western Australian Council of Social Services, n.d., cited in Mckenzie 2004, p4)


More recent but still widespread mode of thinking is that the three spheres of influence are best represented equally. This is portrayed in the ‘overlapping circles’ model.



guidance. As there is no effective form of guidance or education on this matter then there will be no movement in order to allow our world to become sustainable. I agree with Mckenzie, in that defining sustainability is beyond a difficult challenge, and even more difficult within area of multi-culture as each culture interprets in a different way. Maybe it’s time to stop writing about what we should do and just get on with it?


Fig. 7: Overlapping Circles(Western Australian Council of Social Services, n.d., cited in Mckenzie 2004, p5)

The assumption that any community that utilises the ‘overlapping circles’ model should not disregard social sustainability and to treat it as a parallel architect within sustainable development. Unfortunately this has not been the case within practice. The major issue in defining sustainability is that we define it within a particular context, which continually varies, rather than its wording. A comprehensive definition may be able to defined through interdisciplinary input and a collective obdurate view of the alliance between nature, society and the economy. In Phillip Sutton’s words, ‘[s] ustainability is not “about” the integration of ecological, social and economic issues, nor is it “about” widespread consultation nor is it “about” improving quality of life. It’s about maintaining or sustaining something. To understand the concept … you need to identify the focus of … concern. (Mckenzie, 2004, p5) Nevertheless in order for our world to begin to become sustainable there needs to be some form of public p11


“…Town and country must be married…”

(Howard, 1902, p48)

The basic function of a community food system is to provide food for its inhabitants and its surrounding inhabitants, size permitting. Despite this, community food systems have developed at a rapid rate and attracting more attention to their benefits. No longer is food production its basic function, it has become a complex application in tackling elements of sustainable development. It has begun to tackle issues such as crime, reducing discrimination, supporting local economies, improving diets and mental health (Howe, Viljoen and Bohn, n.d.). Due to its higher degree of attention and its place on global stage of sustainable development more academics and institutes are defining its new hybrid function. Garrett and Feenstra (n.d., p2) state “A “community food system” is one in which sustainable food production, processing, distribution and consumption are integrated to enhance the environmental, economic, and social and nutritional health of a particular place.” University of Michigan (2009, p4) have a similar opinion, ‘A food system in which everyone has financial and physical access to culturally appropriate, affordable, nutritious food that was grown and transported without degrading the natural environment, and in which the general population understands nutrition and the food system in general.”

of in all of our surroundings. Community food systems social success is also aided by the fact majority of these projects are on the streets rather than behind closed doors. Neighbours usual share equal responsibility for the success of project and the fruits of their labour (Smit, 2001, p12) . Not to apply a simple economic value but to remember that we are social creatures and social interaction is most important above all. Was this Howards (1902) vision in that “…Town and country must be married…” in order to create social cohesion. Even though community food production creates a foundation for the community to interact with each other, as in the efforts in solving any problem within today’s world they will always be obstacles. In this case crime and discrimination are two issues that reduce social cohesion.

Even though community food systems have developed this hybrid process of dealing with elements of the three areas of sustainability, social sustainability is still the least developed of the three constructs. (Mckenzie, 2004, p6). As neither of these two academic definitions stresses the importance of its social elements, as without the initial social cohesion of the community in order to Fig. 8: Goals of a Community Food System create these food systems, there would be none of the additional benefits. However, Hynes (1996) states that the reduction Garnett (1996, p25) describes what the effects of crime can be helped by the use of community community food systems have upon a community, “food gardens. As urban areas with high crime levels have growing projects can act as a focus for the community used community gardens as active rehabilitation to come together, generate a sense of ‘can-do’, and help areas by offering alternatives to criminal activities. create a sense of local distinctiveness – a sense that each Kings College, London conducted research that, the particular place, how ordinary, is unique and has value.” view of a garden prevented crime and vandalism on high crime rate housing estates (Nicholson, 1995). As Garnett alludes to the fact that these systems are Also vacant land can attract illegal activities such as, reconnecting us with our land, allowing us to see our trespassing, vandalism and arson, which agriculture community’s overall value and to see the importance can prevent as the land would be occupied and p13

monitored by the community (Mogk, Kwiatkowski, Weindorf, 2010). This statement is also back up by Jane Jacobs (1961) theory of “eyes upon the street” being that if local residents have a view of the street, or a view of any potential criminal activity, there is a lesser chance of criminal activity occurring. Reducing discrimination is another obstacle that needs to be overcome, which Garnett (1996a, p29) suggests community food systems can. Through involving the usual groups of who are discriminated, women, ethnic minorities and the elderly, in a social and productive activity. Food systems also offer an invaluable opportunity to grow through cultural significance, creating a platform for people to learn about each other’s cultural identity.

agroforestry) include: enriched biodiversity, habitat for wildlife, microclimate modification, reduced temperatures, increased humidity, improved air quality, reduces vulnerability to disasters, landscape enhancement, sense of well-being, site for physical exercise, shade and shelter from sun and rain, and noise reduction.” (Carter, 1995, ch 4.2)

The issue of wildlife protect has never been so evident, especially bees, as bees are becoming more extinct and migrating to the cities we need to create heavens to protect these species. Agriculture can contribute to the survival of bees as they can help pollinate certain fruit and vegetables such as strawberries. If more action is not taken on this issue it could result in the loss of £1.8 billion pounds per year for the people of Britain (Breeze, Roberts, We all underestimate the power of our day to day social Potts, 2012). “Producing food in the city conserves interactions and that we should focus more on what we biodiversity” (Carter, 1995, ch4.2) do with our lives than how we achieve it. The process in how something is established is more important than Economic Sustainability the outcome, as if wasn’t for the process then there would be no outcome. “The economic importance of urban agriculture has received little attention to date. Scholars have Community food systems are, through the application tended to regard it as a subset of rural agriculture of growing food, born usually out of poverty or or the informal sector, or as merely a temporary deprived areas, a community congeals together through phenomenon. The available data suggest, however, their intrinsic need for food. Through this need the that the economic benefits of urban agriculture are various vernacular of our multi-cultural societies is at least as great as the nutritional and environmental broken down and social cohesion begins to strengthen. benefits.” (Smit, 2001, ch.7 p14) Through this strengthening of communities the application of the “food system” is strengthened and Which is hard to consider when food is the largest sustained allowing for the benefits of environmental single element of any urban economy in third and economic sustainability to form. world countries and one of the main elements in developed countries. Urban agriculture is a higly competitive business which provides incomegenerating opportunities for people with low skills Environmental Sustainability and little capital. Urban agriculture is an innovative “In most low-income countries, rapid urban application which can exploit the waste of cities, by population growth and unmanaged expansion are utilising wastewater, solid waste, vacant lots, bodies degrading the environment of not only cities, but also of water and rooftops (Smit, 2001, ch7, p14). Due their surrounding regions. Urban farming can not to our current economic crisis vacant land is ever only reduce the negative environmental impacts of more apparent and going into decline, which urban urban growth, but can even help improve the urban agriculture can reduce its detriment to its value. environment. The environmental health benefits of This is solved by “ either by paying competitive rent urban greening (including crops and particularly or through usufruct use, and maintains the land in p14

good condition for the owner” (Smit, 2001, ch 7 , p14). As I have eluded to the fact that social sustainability is evidentially more important than its counter parts, regardless of its continual down play. It has become apparent that they are all relative in combatting our sustainable development programme (fig.1). As discussed prior in the example from Breeze, Roberts and Potts (2012) in the “Reviving British Bees” paper agriculture can affect all elements of sustainability. As through the establishment of urban agriculture it will allow different cultures to participate in a social activity, once established this will attracted wildlife (bees) increasing biodiversity which prevents the ever apparent future costs of £1.8 billion that bees assist to our agriculture process, along with the production of fruit and vegetables. Nevertheless I still argue the fact that social sustainability needs to be established first in order for its counter parts to have a platform to establish themselves (fig. 7). As if human intervention does not happen within sustainability applications (i.e. urban agriculture) and social cohesion does not occur the application will tend to fail.

Social Platform for Sustianable Development:



“ sustainability needs to be established first in order for its counter parts to have a platform to establish themselves.”




Fig. 9: Social Platform (By Author)



“if you eat, your in!” “The answer would appear to be yes and the language seems to be food!” (Warhurst, 2013)

In, 2008, difficult times on the edge of our ever unsure economic climate Pam Warhust and her friend Mary where discussing how they can improve their windswept town Todmorden (Yorkshire Post, 2013). Just like many other towns within the UK, Todmorden was suffering greatly from the downturn within the economic crisis. So they came up with a basic concept to combat these issues of economic and whilst being mindful of the environmental issues and how they could make a difference by small interventions. Their concept was “food”. They decided on not seeking planning permission, funding or government support, just to implement their ideas with a little faith and hard work. With their concept of “food”, their ethos was: “..people working together for a world where all share responsibility for the future wellbeing of our planet and ourselves. …to provide access to good local food for all, through, working together, learning – from field to classroom to kitchen and supporting local business” (Incredible Edible, 2008)




Fig. 10: Incredible Edible Concepts (Warhurst, 2013)

Since they developed their concept, incredible edible has been replicated in 37 locations across the UK and in over 20 different countries. The reason why this concept has been so successful is due to its basic natural concept, “if you eat, your in!” (Warhurst, 2013). Restoring social fabric has always been at the forefront of incredible edibles mindset and creation as Pam Warhurst (2013) describes:

“Can you find a unifying language that cuts across age, income, and culture that will help people themselves find a new way of living. Seeing space around them differently, think about the resources they use differently, interact differently. Can we find that language? The answer would appear to be yes and the language seems to be food!” (Warhurst,2013). As discussed earlier Garnett (1996a) supports this opinion in harvesting the cities that food can break down the cultural barriers and bring communities closer together.

Fig. 11: Incredible Edible Concepts (Warhurst, 2013)

The evidence speaks for itself in the community garden projects through incredible edible Todmorden. Even though pessimistic views on the project, the thought vandalism would occur, Warhurst stated “…..In the first two years of Incredible Edible incidents of anti-social behaviour in public places dropped by 18 per cent and they have continued to drop year on year ever since.” (Yorkshire Post, 2013) As a result of the continually improving social fabric, economic stability began to occur through many different projects such as educational program in schools, produce sold to local businesses, markets, and surprising through tourism. Evidence supporting the improvements of the towns economic growth was found after a report carried out by local students, found that 49% of all food traders bottom line had increased (Warhust, 2013). Through their development of their green route (fig.10), compromising of various agricultural plots they have cultivated, wildlife has been attracted to the area. p17

Mainly insects and more prodominatly bees, which as Breeze, Roberts and Potts (2012) state creating heavens for bees is fundamental to assisting agriculture to develop further. Whilst also preventing more of our societies economic expenditure. B



y Rd Burnle

Incredible Todmorden GreenRoute




Follow the edible Green-Route Signs throughout the town

Before you set off For wheelchair access an alternative path to the canal can be used as marked on the map. The Green-Route is approximately 2km’s long. Please take extra care when crossing roads and walking along the canal. Finally, please be considerate of our community and place all rubbish in the bins throughout town.

Bus Station



Rid ge




ley R

Methodist Church


Todmorden Train Station







Town Hall





Roc hd




Hippodrome Theatre




Rd Halifax








Heath Centre


ale Rd









Myrtle St




Indoor Market

Outdoor Market


The Todmorden Green-Route - Spring 2012



6. 7.





Library YEAR







11. Fielden Wharf

Golden Lion Pub












Unitarian Church



Things to look out for: 1. Bee Store 2. Incredible Bag 3. Green-Route Map 4. Lion Garden 5. Butterfly Garden 6. Bee Peaceful Garden 7. Bug Hotel 8. Bee Art 9. Waggle Dance Garden 10. Pollen Plot D

11. Bug Hotel 12. Soap Garden 13. Italian Plot 14. Tea Garden 15. Bee Knowledge Wall 16. Apothecary Garden 17. Dr’s Orchard 18. To Bee or not to Bee 19. Roof Garden 20. Picnic Area

21. Pollination Street 22. Food Roof 23. Bee Peaceful Garden 24. Bee Inspired Walk



Look out for signs along the route to help you find your way



The Map



Fig. 12: Green Route Map (Incredible edible, n.d.)

Along with this important area of improving life for our wildlife come many other benefits such as, utilising waste of our urban environments (Smit, 2001, ch7, p14). Utilising vacant plots of land (Smit, 2001, ch7, p14).“… microclimate modification, reduced temperatures, increased humidity, improved air quality, reduces vulnerability to disasters, landscape enhancement, sense of well-being, site for physical exercise, shade and shelter from sun and rain, and noise reduction.” (Carter, 1995, ch 4.2) All of these benefits born out of the community food system developt by incredible edible, would not have been possible if it werent for their ‘can do’ attitude. Their insight to a need for social cohension, within Todmorden, and there understanding of how food can bring cultures together. Also their determination to ‘get on with it’ and to aviod the “...suspension created from the planning process...” (Doron, 2000, p263) by not consulting the local council. “...where not asking any permission where just doing it.” (Warhurst, 2013). This insight into understanding their own people, seeing what they needed and doing it, is a process unknown to western culture as we have to have permission by a process that applies to the masses not the individual. p18


The Community food system “… is an act of faith in a sea of despair” (Gallagher, 2010,p53)

Through the comparison of the city of Detriot’s ‘raise from the ashes’ story from the use of community food systems, is demonstrates that community food systems can be applied to any scale of society and be effect in many different ways. Detriot’s success also allows us to see that community food system can be enormously successful in social, economic and environmental, and ultimatly has underpinned the city for further development.

involved in these projects came back the next year.” (Gallagher, 2010, p52) “Farming inside Detroit has spread from almost nothing in the year 2000 to a widespread and significant phenomenon by decades end.” (Gallagher, 2010,p53)

Fig. 14: Eastern Market in Detroit on Saturday. (Mitchell 2012)

Fig. 13: Derelict Homes of Detroit. (Stenning 2012)

Detroit’s hidden demise began as Hitler declared war on Europe, the beginning of WWII. Even though this brought much growth to the city as it already had a foundation with manufacturing, to build airplanes which brought an increase for housing. This growth quickly dissipated after the war due to the government’s worry that, like the atomic bomb dropped on japan, its enemies could wipe out majority of America’s manufacturing industry. So the city’s industry was moved across the country as did its inhabitants, which pulled Detroit into an uncontrollable spiral of economic and social crisis (France, 2008,p189). As crisis brings demise it creates opportunities, from 1972 due to vacant plots of land vegetation began to grow throughout the city and by 1997 the level of vegetation had dramatically increase. With the increase in vegetation within the city began to attract fauna mainly ring-necked pheasant and also peregrine falcons, raccoons and opossum. Due to nature coming back to the city it has inspired others to farm for themselves; which began to really take off around 2000 (France, 2008). By 2009, the garden resource network, within Detroit was “… helping 517 family gardens, 46 school gardens, 244 community gardens … and 82% of those

Even though Food production within Detroit is slowly becoming known as its saviour, with increasing it economic wealth and its “…gross city’s tax profit in the last 20 years came to $563 million dollars” (Gallagher, 2010, p53). However not all projects within Detroit focus on the economics that food production can bring, Edgeton Community Garden, in Detroit started by William Gardner in 2009. Here is produces various vegetables which he takes some to the local eastern market (fig.10), $30 worth, to sell. However Gardner reasons for establishing his community garden was not financial “It’s not really a business. Mainly the produce is for the neighbours and they come and pick, so it’s pretty cool.” His other reasons, shared with other community gardeners, “It beautifies the neighbourhood,” neighbours “tell me how nice it looks”. Even though community food production has its ripple effects on economic aspects and the environment, the common goal still stands to congeal and restore the community in a healthy social fabric. The core of community food systems is its planning is founded on hope that the community will gather in a healthy and invigorating activity (Gallagher, 2010,p53). This is how Detroit is being reborn. p20


“Can a community’s food system serve as an indicator of social sustainability?....”

(McBride, 2007)

The original aims of this essay was to discover how community food systems improve social sustainability. How reconnecting people within growing their own food could improve their way of life. Its ripple effects on environmental and economic sustainability and can a community’s food system serve as an indicator of social sustainability? Through the research it has come apparent that the findings do answer the aims but a way not as straight forward as one would have thought. As the effects of community food systems are clearer within areas of low environmental and economic sustainability, or in times of great need. Within these situations we as a society revert back to our basic needs allowing communities to congeal through their intrinsic need for food. Through this need the various vernacular of our multi-cultural societies is broken down and social cohesion begins to strengthen. Through this strengthening of communities the application of the “food system” is strengthened and sustained allowing for the benefits of environmental and economic sustainability to form. This is evident in both case studies ‘Todmorden’ and ‘Detriot’, though two completly different scales of decline both adopted the same method resulting in a stronger social fabric. Through the strenghting of the social fabric and our intrinsic need is satisfied, the indirect effects begin to occur, through the form of environmental and economic positives. Community food systems encourage wildlife to inhabit its surrounds, improves our air quality, beautifies the landscape and more importantly improves our sense of well-being. The economic benefits from this application are vast from selling produce at a local level to global corporations, teaching skills. Mainly it creates a platform for reusing our waste in a productive manner, as reducing the cost of our waste will not only help our economy in the short term but in the long term, helping us sustain our current resources. There are many examples that show, through community food systems, environmental and economic sustainability is improved. The most apparent example is that of our bee popluation decline, by establishing community food systems bee’s can inhabitat and help polunate more produce in our lands. Allowing more habitats to develop helping our enviroment to repair itself and saving our UK economy £1.8 billion per annum, as this would be the cost of polunating our lands if our bee

population parished. The thought that community food systems could serve as an indicator of social sustainability seemed unequivocal. However there isnt an accurate indicator or measuring apparatus of social sustainability there are indications, crime, health, and community statistics. The indicator of true social sustainability is found within us, the sense of ‘well-being’ of ‘happiness’ when we feel this way this has been influenced by various interventions from our surroundings. Community food systems is a large part of these indications it is part of a few foundations that provide a community a stage to break down barriers and bring communties together. Helping us restore our social fabric that our economic growth forgot about, our need for greed, our capitalist society pushing forward our economic growth and leaving our society behind. The community food movement came out of necessity mainly due an economic downturn. However we can no longer wait for this necessity to occur, we need to act rather than react, we need to reconnect ourselves our food. In order to preserve natural resources, strengthen communities and increase our physical and mental health and wellbeing (Claridge, et al. n.d.). This can only be achieved through initiatives and programs within the community food system movement, to educate the masses on the positive attributes this has. Along with the determination to implement the program to create interest within the general public to begin education on the matter. . We need to begin to take our fate into our own hands, and take responsibility for our and our ancestors actions which have brought us to this situation. This will not solve the issue only help to improve it, as our societies, way of life, economic and environments are in a constant state of flux. This will allow us to work towards a foundation to become stable and continue to learn about ourselves and our environment. Once social cohesion has begun we can then begin to rebuild, strengthen, and sustain our way of life. There is no getting away from it “if you eat, your in!” (Warhust,2013) p22

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Landscape Architecture Y3 Essay  

Throughout this essay the writer explores the relationship between Community food system and its direct effects with the social fabric of to...

Landscape Architecture Y3 Essay  

Throughout this essay the writer explores the relationship between Community food system and its direct effects with the social fabric of to...