Saturday, February 5, 2011

TED Talk by Carolyn Steel, A Food Urbanist

TED talk: How food shapes our Cities by Carolyn Steel (16 minutes - October 2009). Carolyn is a "food urbanist."

"If the city looks after the countryside, the countryside will look after the city."

For anyone interested in some historical background of how cities such as Rome and London were designed around food supply routes, and how smart city planning today should also be planned around food access, don't miss this delightful talk by this delightful lady. If you like listening to her as much as I did, I also recommend this article she wrote on her blog about Dutch farms and her book webpage containing excerpts and audio files.

Carolyn Steel MA (Cantab) Dip Arch RIBA
The question of how to feed cities may be one of the biggest contemporary questions, yet it's never asked: we take for granted that if we walk into a store or a restaurant, food will be there, magically coming from somewhere. Yet, think of it this way: just in London, every single day, 30 million meals must be provided. Without a reliable food supply, even the most modern city would collapse quickly. And most people today eat food of whose provenance they are unaware.

Hungry City by Carolyn Steel
A UK Guardian book review of her book Hungry City: Our Recipe for Disaster.
"Wal-Mart currently dominates the global grocery trade with profits reckoned by the UN at the start of the century to be 'bigger than the gross domestic product of three quarters of the world's economies'. Today those profits have doubled. Five companies control 90 per cent of the global grain supply. The world tea market is in the hands of three. Eighty-one per cent of American beef belongs to four giant processing companies."