Monday, November 22, 2010

Smart City Governments Grow Produce to Feed Their People

Great news! Smart thinkers are alive and well in city governments. Baltimore, MD, Bainbridge Island, WA, Des Moines, IA, and Madison, WI, are examples of forward-thinking cities who have replaced the lawns, shrubs, underutilized parks, plazas, street meridians, and parking lots with fruits and vegetable gardens. Many believe it makes more sense to spend resources to grow edibles in this economy, rather than ornamental plantings.

It is the job of municipal policy makers to continually strive to create programs to increase quality of life for their citizens, and this plan ensures the health, safety and welfare of citizens as much as other city government-provided services, and fosters a sense of community. This "Public Produce" promotes healthy eating, and bolsters food security by providing passersby with access to low or no-cost fruits and vegetables.

Davenport, IA, is taking this plan to the next level by converting an underutilized one acre parking lot into a space filled with orchards, gardens and grapevines. $370.000 has been allocated for construction, with ongoing maintenance supplied by volunteers from United Way, Big Brothers Big Sisters and local students and business owners. One restaurants owner will grow and harvest hard-to-find ingredients for his authentic dishes in this space.

I just love a story with a happy ending.

Next time you're driving around where you live, make note of an under-utilized space in your community, and suggest this plan to improve your area at your next city hall meeting.


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