Geraldine Gilbert

Principal sustainability advisor - food

Geraldine Gilbert

Latest from Geraldine

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  • Sensemaking [1]
  • Signal of change [11]
Sensemaking / Two maps and the onward-march of transparency
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Cities will almost certainly never be able to feed themselves from within their own boundaries; however it certainly makes sense to make the most of all sensible opportunities to grow (the right kinds of) food in urban areas, to help improve food and nutrition security with a local, low-impact, low-waste, fresh and nutritious supply - which is where innovative commercial and techy innovations might have lots to bring, whether for growing underground or on rooftops or up walls or in warehouses or by the home kitchen sink. Forward-thinking cities should make sure planning rules support and reward that contribution and innovation in appropriate places and ways.On the flipside, food-growing has many other benefits beyond the purely commerical, that are good for urbanites in other ways (eg the health and wellbeing impacts of gardening, putting fingers in soil and being in green spaces, or of understanding where food comes from). This is what less techy, more community-based projects tend to focus on. Planners should clearly also support these initiatives and spaces, whether or not they produce significant amounts of food (for sale or otherwise).But there might well be a way to bring the best of both approaches together to get the maximum benefits for city-dwellers and the city landscape, and build more sustainable and effective food systems. Growing Communities, a successful London-based community-led trade model, has an interesting "food zones" model to try to work out a realistic approach to sourcing food for urbanites. http://www.growingcommunities.org/start-ups/what-is-gc/manifesto-feeding-cities/explore-food-zones/ In the end, clearly everyone has a role to play in improving urban food security AND city landscapes AND the urban population's health and wellbeing, in low-carbon, low-impact ways - whether it's businesses, planners or communities. The best would be for everyone to get together and map out who can do what! 

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