There is still much to do learn regarding embedding sustainable food consumption within the city in its wider context but there are certain things which are beginning to happen for example an urban growing programme such as harvest can start to make better use of some of the land in urban areas if food is seen as a priority. In Brighton, much of this land to 280 RICS COBRA 2012 10-13.
September 2012, Las Vegas, Nevada USA date has been local authority land and existing gardens but with increased research and innovation and using the Planning Advisory Note there is the as yet unexplored potential to develop this to private or commercial land and buildings. In addition the community composting scheme provides invaluable resources from existing city dwellers to ensure nutrients are fed back into the land and thereby continue to make it rich and fertile and Seedy Sundays encourage the swapping of seeds. The development of resilient new food systems in the city may add to its productivity. In reducing transport and packaging costs the growing of food within the city may help to conserve the fossil fuels. With its wide remit for education, harvest has not only tried to teach people to be better at growing but additionally encourage people to eat more healthily and respect biodiversity, it aims to add to, not replace an existing agricultural supply of food currently delivered to the city and can therefore assist in the increased demand which comes from the rising population.
The Harvest project works with schools providing education on growing and on healthy foods, individual projects such as the scrumping project, regularly presses fruit at schools to demonstrate to children the pleasures of drinking fresh juice without additives. The wide extent of new community allotments encourage people to become more active and lead healthier life styles, the more people engaging in growing the more opportunities to cook from fresh and to understand fully the implications of eating high levels of meat, fat and sugar.
Coherence between food, energy, environmental and health policies sits at the very heart of the project and policy influencing is a key out-put being achieved by academic evaluation critical appraisal and understanding of the key drivers behind the project. Certain plants which can be grown in cities may well become established as local products whilst it is still accepted that vast amounts of food will still be brought in to the city. Harvest produces via its web site a central place to co-ordinate activities regarding local food. In addition, increasing green roofs, balconies and green walls and creating green pathways through cities can increase bio-diversity. This paper aims to encourage researchers in the Built Environment to critically evaluate existing literature and ideas on ‘sustainable communities’ so that this research can be extended to contribute to the developing urban form.