4 Ways to Make Food More Sustainable in Big Cities

Although market based sustainable food solutions have been developed with the aim of reducing poverty, feeding the masses, lowering industry's carbon footprint while keeping water and soil resources healthy here are five ways you can make your city more food sustainable today. 

1. Forage for food. There's even a map for that

Fallenfruit.com, developed by photographer Ethan Welty and Caleb Philips, a research scientist, takes avid forages and novices alike around the globe and to their own backyards.

You'll have the scoop on where to find apple trees in Madison, WI, golden plums in the foothills above Boise, Idaho to a patch of mint in Iowa City, Iowa.

Ditch the car and discover these tasty treasures on foot or bicycle and you'll lower your carbon footprint even more, not too mention the money you'll save on fuel. Maybe there is such a thing as a free lunch!

2. Petition schools to offer vegetarian meals

 

According to the Cornell Policy Review, three giant multinational companies with a combined annual revenue of roughly $43 billion in 2009 dominated not only the U.S. food service contracting industry but the school lunch program as well. Those three companies, Aramark, Compass Group and Sodexo, along with five other companies, hold 75 percent of school contracts.

That position of power gives them control over what student's meals as well. By banding together as parents and patrons within school districts to demand menu and contract changes, perhaps that can change.

Earlier this week, a school district in Queens, NY made headlines by becoming the first in the nation to adopt an all-vegetarian menu.

Perhaps more districts can make healthy food changes as well.

3. Chicken as a pet? You bet

Dogs make great companion animals but check your city ordinance to see if you can have chickens in your yard instead.

Backyard chickens have many benefits. Chickens are excellent pest and weed control, provide children an opportunity to build skills by taking part in their care and of course: provide food for the family with an abundant supply of eggs!

Chicken manure is a concentrated fertilizer with high levels of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium.

There are concerns, however, about the safety of backyard chickens and steps should be taken to make sure their environment remains clean to avoid the presence of pathogens or Salmonella.

4. Grow your own

Living in an apartment doesn't mean you can't enjoy a bounty of fresh grown herbs and vegetables. Not only will you eat healthier but you'll save serious cash.

Peas, potatoes, tomatoes, carrots, radishes, cucumbers, eggplants, and summer squash are a few vegetables that are pretty easy to grow.

Get started here, here, or here.