Published Jul 13 2009 by Energy Bulletin
Archived Jul 13 2009

Food & agriculture - July 13

by Staff

Click on the headline (link) for the full text.

Many more articles are available through the Energy Bulletin homepage

Newsom's fresh idea: mandates on healthier food

Heather Knight, San Franscisco Chronicle
He's already banned spending city money to buy bottled water and mandated composting citywide. Now, San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom is taking on something as basic as water and trash: food.

Newsom on Wednesday issued an executive directive he hopes will dramatically change how San Franciscans eat.

All city departments have six months to conduct an audit of unused land - including empty lots, rooftops, windowsills and median strips - that could be turned into community gardens or farms that could benefit residents, either by working at them or purchasing the fresh produce. Food vendors that contract with the city must offer healthy and sustainable food. All vending machines on city property must also offer healthy options, and farmers' markets must begin accepting food stamps, although some already do...

(9 July 2009)
These initiatives are influenced by the food & agriculture recommendations from San Francisco's peak oil report, released in March 2009
- Convert vacant and underutilized public and private properties to food gardens
- Vastly expand urban agriculture programs and services. SO

A Geodesic Greenhouse — Year-Round Gardening at 6000 Feet
Peak Moment Television (video)
A Geodesic Greenhouse — Year-Round Gardening at 6000 Feet" with Breigh Peterson and Kris Holstrom is now online at (Peak Moment Conversation 147).

In Colorado it's cold for much of the year, but inside this cozy dome greenhouse, the plants are growing happily. Take a grand tour with Buckhorn Gardens manager and permaculturist Breigh Peterson: the greenhouse structure with its interplay of light and water, warmth and air; curving raised beds of vegetables and flowers; fish tanks moderating the temperature; vertical trellises and shelves to use vertical space. Outdoors a huge garden of row crops and a young orchard are complemented by free-roaming chickens and ducks. (

Peak Moment: Community Responses for a Changing Energy Future is an online television series showcasing individuals and communities transitioning towards local-reliant living for our lower-energy future. 147 programs are online at and are cablecast on about four dozen community access TV stations nationwide. Peak Moment Television is produced by Robyn Mallgren and Janaia Donaldson, Yuba Gals Independent Media of Nevada City, California.
(30 April 2009)

Announcing the Release of ‘Can Totnes and District Feed Itself?’

Rob Hopkins, Transition Culture
We are delighted, after many months of work, to finally announce the release of a major piece of groundbreaking research developed by Transition Town Totnes, Transition Network and Geofutures, with support from Landshare, entitled ‘Can Totnes and District Feed Itself: exploring the practicalities of food relocalisation’. You can download the paper here. The report is a key part of the Totnes EDAP, taking Simon Fairlie’s Can Britain Feed Itself paper and applying it to Totnes and District. Such studies are starting to emerge in different places, Stroud have done one, Sustainable Frome (a Transition initiative) have started using GoogleMaps for food mapping, and Transition Norwich have done a ‘Can Norwich Feed Itself?’ study using a different methodology (which I will post when I have a link). This Totnes study is, we think, the most comprehensive look at this question thus far, and is the first step in developing a national project and tool around the ‘Can Britain Feed Itself’ question.

...As an interesting aside, when I showed an early draft of this to my supervisor at University of Plymouth, he looked at me across the table with a serious look and said “but Rob, this is how wars start”. After being somewhat taken aback, I responded that actually, it was when communities entered periods of food insecurity and economic meltdown without having done this thinking sufficiently in advance that wars tended to start. ‘Can Totnes Feed Itself’ is not about isolation, exclusion and the putting up of barriers, rather it is about the building of resilience, the building of surge protectors into our highly networked and highly vulnerable world. This paper holds not the seeds of a return to feuding feudalism, but rather the seeds of a more localised, resilient and skilled world where we have a far stronger relationship with our food from, as Tim Lang so poetically puts it, “from farm to fart”.
(10 July 2009)
The link to download the pdf is here.