I'm watching local Rochester-area advocates respond to
presentations by three panelists on the subject of "Community Food Supply and
Environmental Justice" at the Association for
Community Design annual conference. We're here hosted by the Rochester Regional Community Design Center.
The panelists are:
And the respondents are:
Inspiring/Sobering Facts from the Panel and discussion:
- Mapping project by Potteiger and his students show historic
patterns of full-service grocery stores moving out of central Syracuse.
- Research by Sandy Lane shows the connection between
proximity to "corner store" type of groceries and lack of access to
full-service grocers with low infant birth rate.
- In the U.S., there are more people in prisons than working
- Buffalo has 657 acres of vacant land and an overweight rate
that is three times the national average.
- The Massachusetts Avenue Project is opening an aquaponics
project that will grow 3000 tilapia (plus produce fertilized by the tilapia's
- The Massachusetts Avenue Project has a 100% high school graduation
rate and college attendance rate among the high school seniors who work with
them. These students will all be the first person in their family to attend
college. (This generated applause from the audience.) Buffalo has a 45% high
school drop-out rate.
- The town of Chester, Pennsylvania hasn't had a grocery store
for over 40 years (but they are getting a new soccer team).
- The Community Design Collaborative uses design as a tool to
overcome the perceived or real obstacles that developers encounter in trying to
locate grocers on infill sites.
- Foodlink, which operates as a food bank in the Rochester
area, several years ago came to the inclusion that meeting emergency food shortage
needs would never solve the problems of hunger, so they changed tactics and
starting looking to create jobs and opportunities around food.
- After finding high rates of lead in the soil, SWAN began
working with kids to build earthboxes to allow healthy gardening. Unexpectedly,
they learned that the boxes allowed a quadriplegic in the neighborhood who had
never been able to garden before to do so.
- In an informal study of 40 Rochester corner stores, one was
found to carry fresh produce.
- Some scientists believe that we might be about to see the
first generation since the civil war of children who will not live as long as
their parents due to obesity and food insecurity.
Jess Zimbabwe is the Executive Director of the ULI Daniel Rose Center for Public Leadership.