Humanity, it seems has always struggled to find a balance between human comfort and other factors, such as environmental and political factors. Sometimes even when our intentions are good, they are not enough to meet basic human needs. A common worldview of many living in the United States is that a lack of food is a third-world problem, but this is some- what of a falacy. Food availability varies greatly from one part of the US to another.
Many issues can contribute to a lack of food. For example, out west water shortages sometimes create crop shortages. Cities such as Los Angeles have to rely on outside sources for water now. In other areas, food deserts might be a rural issue of distribution, or an urban issue that is politically or economically charged. In the era of COVID-19, food shortages are caused by an increase in demand. One thing is for certain, areas where food is scarce, and especially where healthy food is scarce, tend to form in clusters, each with its own unique cause.
Its been a topic of discussion within architecture for some time now, the issue of how to integrate agriculture with a cityscape, mostly in order to cut down on transportation time, and to save precious undeveloped land from turning into farmfields. However, one subject that has not been looked into much is how we an integrate the concept of the urban farm with the issue of locational food shortages, also known as a “food deserts”, which is later discussed in more depth.
How can we create an urban atmosphere where food is healing physically, emotionally and economically? Where the concept of farming reverts back to an activity that is carried out together by families, but in a modern atmosphere? Can we design in a way that is educational in relation to the topics of farming, healthy living, and sustainable practices? Lastly, how can we make this concept into an architectural language that is accessible to different groups of people, and economically feasible while keeping a low environmental footprint?
Ling, Kelsey M., "Sowing the seeds of Growth: a Study on Schenectady, NY’s Food Desert" (2020). Architecture Theses. 121.