Getting Practical About Agriculture

It is time to get realistic about where the food for metropolitan areas is grown. For years, grocery stores have had to import food from sources that are by no means local, and simply put; that is ridiculous.

Considering that the population of Santa Monica has grown from 417 residents in 1880 to an estimation of around 100,000 to date, it is blatantly obvious that the rapid urbanization of the community would have had an important effect on the quality and quantity of food, as well as the way in which it is brought to the area.

Food could be more affordable and of better quality if it were simply grown more locally. The reason that it is not is that the price of land in most metropolitan areas has became worth far more as commercial and residential property than it ever could have been as farmland. It leads to a long process of importing food for urban areas from the not-so-nearby rural farms. It's a complete waste of resources. Instead, the city should confiscate a golf course (or any large body of land) and use that to feed the people at a more affordable price.

A suitable solution to this problem was presented to the American Association for the Advancement of Science by Consultant Roger Blobaum in 1982. During his presentation, Blobaum laid out plans for preserving farmland near urban areas and treating it like a city service similar to transportation or sanitation. In this way, produce could be sold directly to the consumer, avoiding the cost of advertising, shipping and packaging. Not only would this be effective in solving the above problems, but it would also limit the amount of price fluctuation due to the price of oil. If a truck does not have to drive hundreds of miles to bring food to a store, then the overall cost of the said food will drop dramatically, and the over all quality of life would be improved for the community as a whole.

Blobaum acknowledged that not all cities would be able to harvest, but at the time of his presentation it was estimated that there were at least 300 communities in the United States that would be able to grow a large supply of their food within their city limits. In addition to that complication, it is also not likely that grain and livestock would function very well in the shadow of skyscrapers and freeways. But the thought remains that being able to grow a portion of a city's food supply locally just makes sense.

So why not take the loss on selling the land for commercial or residential purposes, instead think about the practicality of having a food source for the city, in the city, maintained by the city? It takes out the complications of trucking, it's better for the environment, and it keeps the quality of the food at a much higher standard especially since it would replace some of the food bought from other nations which has the potential to be lacking quality.

In recent years, farmers' markets have taken over as a way for communities to do these things and solve the problem of shipping food. However, it has not been done on such a grand scale that it can be considered to be functional for the entire population of a city like Santa Monica. It wouldn't be too terribly difficult to imagine a city that cut out the useless importation of food and instead insisted on a more functional, and often times safer source for their food.