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a hypothetical question on contamination

 
pollinator
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Location: Denver, CO
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So, the soil in big cites is pretty contaminated. I am not talking about sites near active smelters, or about Rocky Flats. Just the usual city contamination with some lead, hydrocarbons, plastics, pesticides, and herbicides. Maybe some arsenic and chromium from CCA treated lumber.

The inner city residents tend to be poor, and unable to leave.

My focus is creating sustainable cities.

So, the question becomes: Would it be better for city residents (who are exposed to this contamination all the time anyway) to just go on living on junk food, which is all they can afford? Or should they add some fungi and organic matter to the soil and start raising food?

After all, the agribusiness food from Mexico, South America, and China probably is not tested for heavy metals and other contaminants. Not to mention all the systemic pesticides.
 
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I worked inner-cities for almost twenty years as an educator. I say used raised gardens with organic soil on top and containers and grow healthy foods. Even if nasty chemicals become part of the food (as though--as you implied--most affluent people aren't eating food with nasty chemicals in it) it allows for new perspectives about healthy eating and working the land and sustainability. Doritos do not.
 
Jen Van
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What are you feeling at this point? If you don't mind me asking, what is your location? Are you using the knowledge of the area to guide you planning? What is the population?
 
gardener
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Gilbert Fritz wrote:.

So, the question becomes: Would it be better for city residents (who are exposed to this contamination all the time anyway) to just go on living on junk food, which is all they can afford? Or should they add some fungi and organic matter to the soil and start raising food?
.



I know of many poor city residents who grow things in 5 gallon buckets. Things like tomatoes and peppers. But they were still addicted to junk food.

My impression and experience with people who live on junk food is that they often think of 'organic' as strictly a rich persons trend. Telling them information about the bad stuff in processed foods generally does not make them want to change their life style, that information has been around and is not really new, it just makes them feel bad or scared. Giving people real information in a way that is educational for them is really tough. To make education able to transform people's lifestyles is even more difficult.

You asked would it be better for city residents to go on living on junk food because that is what they can afford? Another answer is no, it would be better if there was healthy affordable food available that those people would actually desire.

In my city the farmers market association has made a circuit around the city, so during the growing season the farmers have a market every day in a different neighborhood. That gives people who can't drive the ability to buy cheap and fresh produce right down the street from their homes.
The way cities (around here) are laid out, often times there are no grocery stores in a neighborhood so people will shop at the convenience store. The traveling farmers market is not a perfect solution obviously, but it does get better food circulating through the city, and keeps growers in business.

You asked should they add some fungi and start growing food? Sure, if they want to. That is what I have done and it's very enjoyable. If they don't want to or can't, then you will have to convince them or help them.

It would be great if every piece of lawn in the city turned into a garden, but even with that, the high density urban areas would need good food coming in from broader acres to sustain the population.
 
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