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Plan for a food-insecure future, academic warns

July 9, 2010

From The Vancouver Sun

A city that grows at least some of the food that its people eat will be better able to withstand changes and breakdowns in global food supply, according to post-doctoral researcher Tara Moreau.

“There’s a movement now to design livable areas that have agriculture as one of [their] main components, so that people can live, grow food and eat close to where they work and play,” Moreau explained. “These are systems designed for resiliency.”

And resiliency will be required. Climate change will almost certainly alter the kinds of crops that we can grow commercially, she said. As rising temperatures and carbon dioxide levels, waning fresh water supplies and extreme weather create a new agricultural reality in the coming decades, there will be breakdowns in the supply of food.

“We saw that just recently, in 2008, with rice,” said Moreau, a board member of the Society Promoting Environmental Conservation.

A minor crop failure due to erratic weather sent prices in some Asian countries up 300 per cent and many countries, including China and India, immediately closed their borders to rice exports. Rioting and hoarding spread quickly across southeast and west Asia. The price shock was even felt in Vancouver.

“There are ways that we can rejuvenate the urban environment, using rooftops and converting laneways into productive food growing space,” Moreau said.
From The Vancouver Sun

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