Downsizing Your Produce.

I’m a big fan of heirloom vegetables, and I miss the days when you would go to the super market and have multiple choices and varieties in the produce aisle. The graph from Nature & More below shows just how much your choices have dwindled in the last century, and perhaps this lack of choice is a direct link to things like obesity in America. Just because the super market is filled to the ceiling with truck loads of packaged good doesn’t mean they are good for you.

So, I hope there are some farmers out there that look at this image, and decide to grow more heirloom fruits and vegetables skipping the Monsanto engineered crap that floods our stores today.

Look at that, in 1903 there were almost 500 varieties of lettuce available in America. Today there is a whopping 36. It just makes me sad.

Standard Concepts a Green Community.

Sustainable design, urban gardens, community gardens, and social engineering are not new ideas, but this building concept from Standard is a new approach that brings all of these elements together. This building concept is man-made terrace of lush gardens and communal green spaces that encourages interaction with your neighbors.

The greenery on these terrace surfaces is not designed to be used for energy reduction or passive cooling, as it often is with current green architecture (actually that would be a secondary effect, because it would also provide these beneficial energy effects.) This greenery is for eating: and for encouraging interaction with your neighbors. This is a multi-family complex designed around the idea that food brings us together.

The architects describe their live-eat housing complex as being “a cooperative community of 1,000 people living together in terraced cliff dwellings overlooking lush urban canyon. Residents gain equity in the co-op through participation in construction, agricultural, maintenance, education and conservation programs central to the sustenance of the community”. Not bad, I could live in a place like that.

Threaded through the community are food-growing terraces. Each family gets an allotment that allows them to grow, exchange and share their produce with other residents. The terraces are designed to encourage gatherings and social interactions that stem from growing, harvesting, and consuming food. The architects thinking is, this would break the ice that normally keeps neighbors from getting to know each other.

In addition to the terraces with their own private allotments, at the base, there is a community farm that is the focal point of the southern canyon, situated on the stepped terraces that link the levels of the canyon floor. Produce from the Community Farm would also be sold in the market spaces below. The Community Kitchen – next to the child care center and the fitness center – offers regular classes and food tastings focused on nutrition and the benefits of growing produce locally.

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