Despite initiatives to increase food accessibility in Evanston, some residents still lack access to affordable, fresh food. ETHS senior Jacob Brodsky’s survey laid out preliminary plans to address the food disparity within the city.
By Nick Francis
Daily North Western
May 7, 2021
The survey focused primarily on urban agricultural solutions residents were looking to implement, and guided Brodsky’s presentation. His slideshow suggested respondents’ input had a common theme of creating “a more resilient food system that isn’t as dependent on large scale operations” — something he said is currently the norm.
The urban agriculture initiatives he laid out ranged from incorporating food-bearing plants on parkways and in parks to integrating urban agriculture into schools. A crucial part of his plan is implementing municipal policy that allows expanded planting in public places.
“Our current food system has a supply chain — it’s too long, which allows for many more problems to happen along the process of distribution,” Brodsky said. “Because of this farmers have to dump milk and let vegetables rot. At the same time, there were record food bank lines across the country (during the pandemic).”
While schools are a great place for gardens, parents typically run those gardens, Brodsky said. That means there is frequent turnover and minimal consistency with who is available to run the garden from year to year.
The solutions Brodsky presented are part of a larger movement, which he hopes will bring about justice for marginalized communities.
“Environmental justice and climate action are intertwined,” Brodsky said. “We cannot equitably make a transition to a more sustainable society without addressing food injustice.”
To manage all urban agriculture projects throughout the city, Brodsky proposed the creation of a city gardener position, who would share some of the city arborist’s responsibilities while allowing both to specialize in their own areas.
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