Posts Tagged ‘Health’
Screenshot from the People’s Community Market YouTube clip.
From the article “Building A Grocery Store In A Food Desert, With Funding From The Community” by Ariel Shwartz.
In San Francisco, you can’t walk five blocks without bumping into a farmer’s market or boutique grocery. Take a quick trip over the Bay Bridge to Oakland, though, and you’ll be confronted with areas that lack any sort of access to fresh food. So-called food deserts are a common problem in communities throughout the U.S., but in the neighborhood of West Oakland, one local organization is banking on the community to alleviate the problem by funding a startup grocery store.
The vision for the for-profit People’s Community Market sprung out of a decade’s worth of community food activism from People’s Grocery, a nonprofit organization that in the past has launched projects like the Mobile Market, a fresh food truck that drove around the neighborhood, and the Grub Box, a local community-supported agriculture box for residents. Despite the success of these initiatives, they weren’t enough to fulfill the food needs of West Oakland, which sees 70% of grocery expenditures from residents each year (about $40 million) going to other cities. A lack of fresh food also contributes to the 48% of residents that are obese or overweight. “The feedback from the community was continuing to affirm that, while smaller projects were important, they weren’t adequate for servicing needs,” explains Brahm Ahmadi, the founder and CEO of People’s Community Market and the former executive director of People’s Grocery.
So Ahmadi and the board of People’s Grocery decided to build a full-fledged grocery store that’s tailored to the community. That means that the 15,000-square-foot store will be tinier than many grocery stores–transactions are generally smaller than in suburban areas because people have less money to spend (meaning they make smaller purchases more often) and they come via public transportation or on foot so they can’t carry loads of groceries. When it opens […] People’s Community Market will carry just 40% of the inventory of traditional grocery stores, with a focus on fresh food–produce, seafood, dairy–and quality prepared items. People’s Community Market will also become a community hub, providing a sit-down cafe space, education programs from local nonprofit health partners, and social activities–jazz nights every week, barbecues after Sunday church, sitdown dinners, and customer appreciation events. […]
The grocery store has secured two-thirds of its $3.6 million budget from the California FreshWorks Fund, a collaboration between the California Endowment and a number of partners that aims to bring fresh food to the state’s food deserts. But there’s a hitch: FreshWorks will only offer up the loan if the grocery can raise the rest of the money ($1.2 million) first. That last chunk of cash will come from the community via a direct public offering–a system where People’s Community Market sells shares of the company directly to California residents. Initially, the startup hoped to raise private capital, but found that a lot of investors weren’t attracted to the grocery business–the margins are tight and investments aren’t that lucrative. Crowdfunding was considered, but except in rare cases, companies rarely make over a million dollars on sites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo. “We decided to shift directions to a community investment campaign,” says Ahmadi. He stresses that this is “not crowdfunding or donation. It is a real investment.” People’s Community Market has already raised $200,000 thanks to the large donor base from People’s Grocery. […] “Our thinking is that if we can make significant progress and show momentum, a number of angel [investors] in a wait-and-see position will come in and help close it out,” says Ahmadi. If People’s Community Market can raise the money it needs, the store could be operating by the end of next year. It’s not soon enough for West Oakland residents. Says Ahmadi: “They want the store open right away.”
>> Read the full article on Fast Co.Exist.
>> You can learn more about the People’s Community Market on their website, or see their YouTube clip.
Posted in Models by Kate Archdeacon on November 3rd, 2011
Photo: Roots of Health
From “Working With the Community to Foster Deep Roots of Health” by Molly Theobald:
Roots of Health, an organization based on the island of Palawan in the Philippines, views maternal and reproductive health as concerns that impact the well-being of entire communities.[…]
Roots of Health and its staff of young nurses and teachers, work directly with mothers and children, to bring reproductive and maternal health, nutrition, and education into the community.[…]
Roots of Health is also providing families with the tools they need to improve their nutrition.
One of these tools is a vertical garden—a large plastic drum with 40 holes cut evenly around the sides. These holes create an area for planting that is more than six times greater than the top surface of the container. The drum is filled with compost-enriched soil and planted with seeds such as eggplant, chili, pumpkin, okra and various indigenous leafy greens such as alugbati and pechay. Straw is used on the top surface as a mulch to help the soil retain moisture and nutrients.
The soil used in the vertical gardens is a homemade mixture of soil, charcoal, which acts as a conditioner, limestone, to reduce the acidity, and compost, to add additional nutrients to the soil. In this way, the vertical garden is its own self-contained and fertile growing space, producing healthy and nutrient rich harvests that are isolated from ground pollutants and pests.The organization prefers to use the plastic drums because the plastic stands up best in the humid, tropical weather, explained Marcus Swanepoel, Media and Program Manager for Roots of Health.
The drums cost approximately $15 USD each and the organization provides them to families in exchange for a small deposit. The vegetables grown in these vertical gardens not only help to improve nutrition for mothers and their children, they are also helping to diversify the diets of the entire community. Each drum produces enough food to supplement household diets, with surplus left over to be sold within the community. And households have really made the vertical gardens their own, adds Marcus. “I know some families that have set up poles on the top of the drums in order to grow beans—that isn’t something we taught them to do. They are doing it all on their own.”[…]
Read the full article by Molly Theobald, or visit the Roots of Health website.
Source: Australian Design Review
From Maitiú Ward’s “Interview: Healthabitat’s Paul Pholeros“:
Since 1999, Healthabitat has completed 184 projects in remote and impoverished communities, improving the condition of 7308 houses for over 42,000 people. Formally established in 1994, the organisation has a history that stretches back to 1985, when its three directors Dr Paul Torzillo, Stephan Rainow and Paul Pholeros first met in the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara Lands, north-west South Australia, where they had been thrown together to work with a team of local Aboriginal people to help improve local health and housing conditions. Since that first meeting, the trio has gone on to orchestrate a slew of research programs, lauded not only for the wealth of hard data they have produced, but also for genuinely improving conditions.
For a number of years, Adrian Welke of Troppo Architects has been working with Healthabitat in the design and construction of health buildings in remote areas. It was with Welke that Healthabitat first starting exploring the potential of prefabrication as a means of delivering high quality buildings, efficiently.
Welke’s most recent project with Healthabitat is a prefabricated wet room unit, designed to be ‘clipped on’ to the back of existing residential buildings. Containing shower, laundry and toilet, the unit addresses the top three of the nine healthy living practices – ‘washing people’, ‘washing clothes’ and ‘waste removal’. As a prefabricated unit it is also a very efficient means of delivering what are traditionally the most expensive components of a residence (the laundry, toilet and bathing areas). In keeping with Healthabitat’s modus operandi, then, the project focuses resources in areas where they are likely to have the most impact, and after a successful prototyping stage, units are now rapidly being deployed to indigenous communities across Australia.
Read the full interview by Maitiú Ward.
Healthabitat’s Housing for Health program recently won the 2011 World Habitat Awards. Read more here.
Hosted by our wonderful South Australian Ambassador Maggie Beer, our first-ever South Australian schools tour visits established Kitchen Garden Schools throughout Adelaide that have been running the Kitchen Garden Program for several years and are now reaping the benefits. Join Maggie to view kitchen and garden classes in action, speak to Foundation staff and school staff, and enjoy a delicious gourmet lunch. This is an inspirational day that showcases the beautiful and productive school gardens as well as the home-style kitchens, and gives participants a chance to get closer to the Program in action. The tours are suitable for staff from interested schools and new Kitchen Garden Schools, as well as our Subscribers and interested members of the public.
8:45AM – 4:45pm, 10 Nov, 2011
Program Schools: $44.00
Kilkenny Primary School, Jane Street
West Croydon SA 5008
Click through to register for the tour.
Source: Sustainable Bristol
From “Will Business embrace Lunchtime Allotments?” by Paul Rainger:
Growing your own is all the rage. With long waiting lists for allotment space, we’ve seen veg beds spring up in parks, guerrilla growers taking over derelict land and even veg growing on supermarket roofs. The beneficial effects of reconnecting which nature through growing are well studied, from healthy eating itself, through to general improvements in health, happiness and even productivity at work. So, could leading business embrace Lunchtime Allotments as the next must have staff perk?
Will tomorrow’s young generation of more values-led employees see an hour lunchtime break to tend their veg as another key differentiator between good and bad employers, just as secure bicycle parking and showers are for many today? One company in Bristol, Arup, are already leading the way in the city. Staff in their city centre Bristol office haven’t let lack of space get in their way. They have simply taken over the nearby wide grass verge by the main bus lane.Now beans and courgettes pass by the window of the traffic heading up to the train station. You can even follow their adventures on [their blog http://ovagrown.blogspot.com/].
What if every business played its part in greening our city? Not the bland corporate shrubbery we see today, but the real veg growing of Lunchtime Allotments like this. Businesses would benefit from the improved productivity, health and wellbeing of their staff. And in these times of recession in the public sector, it may now be the best way of achieving the truly edible city.
Read the original article by Paul Rainger on Sustainable Bristol
Posted in Movements by Kate Archdeacon on September 14th, 2011
From “Yorkshire’s revived river Aire is a lesson in people power” by Peter Lazenby:
News that Britain’s once foully polluted rivers are achieving levels of cleanliness and wildlife occupation not seen since the industrial revolution is to be welcomed. But credit for this cannot be claimed only by the government’s environment agency and anti-pollution legislation. Behind many of the improvements lies people power – the mobilisation of individuals and organisations to force polluters to clean up their act. In the 1980s and 90s, that is exactly what happened in my part of the world, industrial west Yorkshire.
The river Aire starts out as a healthy river in the Yorkshire dales, springing from beneath a limestone cliff known as Malham Cove, where falcons nest. By the time it wound its way through Bradford and Leeds, some 50 miles downstream, it had received the industrial waste of textile, chemical and engineering industries, plus the domestic waste of more than a million people. The pollutants killed off the river’s oxygen supply.
In the 1980s, a group was formed called Eye on the Aire. Its volunteers brought together more than 30 organisations with an interest in the river. They included community groups representing people living near its banks, conservation and environmental organisations, sporting groups such as rowing clubs, local councils and companies such as Tetley’s brewery, which had a riverside location. For a decade the group campaigned to press Yorkshire Water to install an extra level of filtration at its sewage works – tertiary treatment. The system involves the filtering of already treated sewage effluent through pebbles and increasingly fine layers of sand. It took a decade to win the campaign, which included the harnessing of government influence and action by the environment department.
Yorkshire Water installed the tertiary treatment at a cost of millions of pounds. The effluent it produced was often as clean as the fresh river water into which it passed. The effect was near miraculous.In the late 1990s, more than a decade ahead of much of the rest of Britain, otters, heron and other wildlife began to return to the river Aire in the heart of industrial Leeds. Salmon appeared in the lower reaches, blocked only by weirs and other obstacles. Water passes will eventually allow them to reach spawning grounds in the Yorkshire dales where they have not been seen in more than two centuries.
There was an economic spin-off. The Aire in Leeds had been part of a comprehensive canal and river transport network in the days before rail. Its city riverside was littered with semi-derelict warehouses and factories not used in decades. No one wanted to invest in and develop buildings adjacent to a stinking open sewer. The restoration of the river to life changed all that. Today the Leeds waterfront thrives with homes, restaurants, bars and markets. The Aire hosts an annual water festival.
The driving force behind the return to life of the river was Eye on the Aire, an organisation made up of ordinary people with determination and a belief in their cause. We should remember their example in the face of future struggles.
Read the full article by Peter Lazenby for the Guardian
From “Information Technology: Coming to a Food Policy Near You” by Mari Pierce-Quinonez:
There are currently dozens of smartphone and internet apps designed to bring good food to tech-savvy consumers. You can now type in your location, the type of food you want and immediately get both directions to the best restaurant to go and the story behind the food they’re serving. If buying food in bulk to cook at home is more your thing, beta versions of a wholesale purchasing app is now available by invitation. Or if you want to grow your own, there are applications to aid you in planning your garden, sites to find a yard if you don’t already have one, and mobile apps with maps to fruit-bearing trees on public property. But the food system is more than foodies finding their next fix: the modern tech-movement goes beyond consumer-oriented apps. Food advocates and academics are using technology to connect the food system dots and are making good food policy decisions easier.
In the past, federal policymakers kept track of their own program-specific data: how many acres of farmland they had preserved, the nutrition status of the US population, the amount of vitamin D available in a particular type of milk. By moving everything online and opening this data up to everyone, all sorts of sophisticated policy recommendations can be made. The USDA’s Food Environment Atlas was released last year to much fanfare for the interactive maps that could show the state of the national food system. Much more exciting was the fact that this data was all available for download, and the site continues to act as a datahub for food policy advocates. Advocates and technophiles are using this data to produce reports and visualizations that help rally support as they begin to mobilize around the 2012 farm bill.
Read the full article by Mari Pierce-Quinonez over on Projects To Finish Someday.
A new urban food growing campaign is being promoted on our companion site, Sustainable Bristol.
Images via Bristol Local Food organisers of the Dig Bristol Get Growing Campaign
The Dig Bristol ‘Get Growing’ Map promotes alternatives to traditional garden or allotment growing, as part of the city-regions’ campaign to get more people involved in urban veg production.Do you want to get mucky in a Community Garden? Or learn to look after chickens at a City Farm? Ever wanted to pluck your own apple from a Shared Orchard? The Bristol ’Get Growing’ Map has put all this information in one easy to use online map, making it simple for people to find peaceful city sanctuaries and social garden spaces on their cities’ doorstep.The Dig Bristol urban growing campaign is run by Bristol Food Network, an umbrella group, made up of individuals, community projects, organisations and businesses who share a vision to transform the Bristol city-region into a sustainable food city.
Source: PostCarbon Institute
The Economics of Happiness is a project of the International Society for Ecology and Culture (ISEC).
“Going local” is a powerful strategy to help repair our fractured world—our ecosystems, our societies and our selves. A central paradox defines our time: although the economy is growing, we are working longer and longer hours and our new comforts and luxuries have not brought us happiness. While the ever-expanding global economy is creating immense wealth for the few, it is leaving the majority worse off. Climate change, unstable financial markets, growing inequality, senseless war, fundamentalism: people know something is fundamentally wrong. Across the world they are coming together in the spirit of resistance and renewal. A movement is growing to re-create more just and sustainable communities and re-invent economies based on a new paradigm – an economics of happiness.
The Economics of Happiness describes a world moving simultaneously in two opposing directions: while government and Big Business push for a globalized economy based on high technology and increased trade, people all over the world are working from the grassroots to nurture smaller scale, ecological, local economies. We hear from a chorus of voices from six continents including Samdhong Rinpoche, the Prime Minister of Tibet’s government in exile, Vandana Shiva, Bill McKibben, David Korten and Zac Goldsmith. The Economics of Happiness restores our faith in humanity, and challenges us to believe that it is possible to build a better world.
Watch the trailer and visit the website for more details www.theeconomicsofhappiness.org
Image from video ‘More people, more trees’, part funded by the International Institute for Environment and Development
More people, more trees by Camilla Toulmin
This is the name of a new video, part-funded by IIED, which shows two decades of progress in addressing soil erosion in Burkina Faso and Kenya that have significantly improved rural livelihoods and farm productivity.
Twenty years ago, we noticed that some new projects across dryland Africa were attracting a lot of interest for their positive impacts on restoring degraded soils and building more resilient cropping systems. I had recently set up the Drylands programme here at IIED, and was working in partnership with Oxfam’s then-newly established Arid Lands Information Network (ALIN), led by drylands expert, Ced Hesse. We produced a video and booklet — Looking after our land — under the direction of Will Critchley from the Free University of Amsterdam. It showed the growing evidence that simple, low cost soil conservation measures can empower local farmers to restore their lands and improve the fertility of their soil.
Nearly twenty years on, Ced Hesse has been with IIED for more than 12 years and we were keen to find out whether the dryland projects had been a ‘flash in the pan’, or the foundations for a better way of managing soils and landscapes. We asked Will Critchley to go back to look at two of the six original sites from Looking after our land — one in Machakos District, Kenya and the other on the central plateau of Burkina Faso.
Sometimes you can be disappointed going back to places you knew long ago — but this time there was no need to worry. In both cases, both soils and plant cover have been clearly restored, with greater investment in trees of all sorts. By following a participatory approach, in which people learn together about better ways to care for their soils, much has been achieved. Many farmers now harvest enough grain to meet all their needs, with extra to sell.