Posts tagged with "food deserts":

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The bold proposal to transform the USPS into tool for fighting food insecurity

Graduate students from the Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts and the Brown School at the Washington University in St. Louis have been named the winners of the UrbanSOS: Fair Share Competition. The competition, led by AECOM and the Van Alen Institute, asked entrants to design for the sharing economy while addressing critical urban issues. The winning entry, First Class Meal, proposes to revitalize an underutilized United States Postal Service (USPS) post office, turning it into a resource for storing and redistributing surplus food. The proposal calls for a pairing of mobile technology with the distribution network of the USPS. “We want to connect underutilized capacity within the postal system—building space, trucks and human capital resources—with the desire for increased reach and food storage capacity within food banks and agencies,” explained architecture and urban design master’s candidate Anu Samarajiva in a press release. The project “has the potential to reinvigorate the USPS and more strongly define its role as a community resource while strengthening the existing network of community food providers.” The location of the proposal was the Market Station Post office in downtown Los Angeles. The team chose to center their project in Los Angeles for its active food culture, access to California’s farmlands, and the more than 1 million residents that lack food security. Nonprofits, who lack storage space and distribution capabilities, are the ones working with the large population of those in need. First Class Meal aims to address both of these issues while providing a new use for the many post offices which may be facing closure of consolidation in the near future. The UrbanSOS competition drew 80 teams form 31 countries. The Washington University team received a $7,500 prize along with up to $25,000 in cash and in-kind staff support for implementing the proposal. The competition's other recognized projects focused on producing crowd-sourced resource maps in Ecuador, waste management and temporary housing in South Africa, and pop-up restaurants and markets to serve refugee, residents, and tourists in Athens, Greece.
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Atlanta plans to combat food deserts by hiring its first Urban Agriculture Director

Atlanta has staked a commitment on urban agriculture. The city is poised to hire its first Urban Agriculture Director this fall. Conceived by the office of Mayor Kasim Reed, the position is part of a strategy to eliminate food deserts in south and west Atlanta by promoting agriculture within the city limits. Urban food deserts are determined by a neighborhood's poverty rate, median income, and distance to groceries selling fresh produce. The USDA maintains an interactive map of food deserts, including those in Atlanta, here. Atlanta's Agriculture Director will be an advocate, consultant, policy analyst, and community liaison between gardeners and farmers and the resources they need to establish viable plots. The director will also consult on brownfield remediation, zoning and code inquiries, and any other issues surrounding access to, and use of, land. Interested candidates have until September 15th to apply for the position.
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OMA designs a Food Hub for a Louisville food desert

Kentucky ranks 17th in the nation for household food insecurity, according to Feeding America Kentucky's Heartland, a local charity. In West Louisville, where nearly half of residents live in poverty, a nonprofit developer is hoping to change that with the help of some high-profile architects. Seed Capital Kentucky's plan is an OMA-designed “Food Hub” on an abandoned plot of land once used to cut and dry tobacco. Mayor Greg Fischer last year gave them a 24-acre vacant parcel of land in the West End worth $1.2 million for the project, which he called "a green job-generating machine for west Louisville." The project could create about 250 permanent jobs and 270 construction jobs, according to the Louisville Courier-Journal. WDRB first reported last week that the hub's designers include OMA and local firm GBBN Architects. The Fox affiliate reported Seed Capital Kentucky is $1 million into their $20 million fundraising goal, seeking $46 million in total, including future fundraising phases. That money would go to several programs, including a food bank, retailers, and a biodigester that turns organic waste into heat and energy. So far four organizations are formally on board: KHI Foods, Jefferson County Cooperative Extension, Star Distributed Energy, and the Weekly Juicery. The site, at South 30th Street between Muhammad Ali Boulevard and Market Street, is in a USDA-certified food desert. Seed Capital Kentucky founder Stephen Reily hopes the Food Hub will help alleviate hunger and stoke investment in the neighborhood. "Our vision for this project is one that collapses a lot of those middle men and transactions into one place where they can all work together to help create more fresh, regional food and help our region feed itself more sustainably," he told WDRB.