05 food Systems

I knew about the energy loss and ecological degradation that are results of large-yield industrial farming but the research that shows that the larger farms get, the less food produced per hectare (and subsequently, that the amalgamation of farmland is counterproductive) was astounding to me! Particularly the British Columbia study (referenced on page 163 of Hough’s Cities and Natural Processes) that describes how a greenhouse that can be seen as 7-9 times more productive than field cropping can actually require 10-20 more ecological footprints per kilo of harvested tomatoes. This is incredible, and I would love to take some time to look further at the study. It emphasizes to me the importance of a very deliberate definition of terms and setting of values/metrics for one’s work (e.g. growing area vs. yield, in this case, misrepresents the true cost of agricultural production). I hope to be able to do a parametricized sort of microcosm study of the site for our studio to assess the way that different types of food systems affect ecological footprint. A methodological question I have, however, is whether the ‘footprint’, or the measure of how big a hemisphere that encompasses all of the land needed to support a site, is the best measure of resource efficacy. I will look into this further.

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