wish you were here: liveblog from the Association for Community Design Annual Conference

Jess Zimbabwe's picture

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:

  1. Mapping project by Potteiger and his students show historic patterns of full-service grocery stores moving out of central Syracuse.
  2. 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.
  3. In the U.S., there are more people in prisons than working on farms.
  4. Buffalo has 657 acres of vacant land and an overweight rate that is three times the national average.
  5. The Massachusetts Avenue Project is opening an aquaponics project that will grow 3000 tilapia (plus produce fertilized by the tilapia's poop.)
  6. 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.
  7. The town of Chester, Pennsylvania hasn't had a grocery store for over 40 years (but they are getting a new soccer team).
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. In an informal study of 40 Rochester corner stores, one was found to carry fresh produce.
  12. 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.


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