Our 70-Year-Old Food System Is Broken

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DanGibbs_HometownFarmsOur food system has drastically changed over the last 70 years. For over 10,000 years humans have farmed where they lived and enjoyed the benefit of eating vine ripened produce that was full of flavor, vitamins, minerals and other phytonutrients that help us fight diseases and strengthen our immune system. Now, the majority of vegetables and berries that comes from our current farming and distribution system is empty and only has a fraction of the beneficial nutrients it used to have.

Almost all produce that is grown in the US or imported is harvested about two weeks early so it can ripen on the way to market. The problem is most of the nutrients in our vegetables and berries are received in the last two weeks on the plant. With our current system, our produce starts with substantially less nutrients than we were receiving in the past. UC Davis, one of the top Agricultural colleges in the country, did a study and reported that most produce will lose 35% to 70% of vitamin C and most other phytonutrients within 7 days of harvest. When you combine harvesting the produce early with the travel time it takes to market, most people are getting only a fraction of the nutrients they used to but are still consuming the same amount of calories. Therefore we must eat more to get the same amount of nutrients we used to receive in the past.

According to John Hopkins, Bloomberg School of Public Health, “66% of US adults are over weight or obese”. Our children’s obesity rate is climbing at an alarming rate. How many of our kids, mothers, fathers, brothers or sisters will need to be diagnosed with diabetes, heart disease or some other deadly disease before we realize that our current food system is not working.

Our farmers are great people and are trying to make improvements, but the current system does not make it easy or cost effective to make the most of those improvements. Our current farming and distribution system not only provides us hollow food but it also wastes a tremendous amount of energy, water, and other natural resources plus it also creates some of the worst pollution in our country. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) 70% of the pollution in our rivers and streams comes from farming. Why would we want to continue with a farming and distribution system that is a little over 70 years old and has given us these types of results? I believe there will always be food in our country but more families will go hungry and their health will be affected. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) said a record 40 million Americans, or 1 in 8, may not be able to eat without government assistance.

Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health completed a study called “How Sustainable Agriculture Can Address the Environmental and Human Health Harms of Industrial Agriculture”. The conclusion of this study stated “The industrial agriculture system consumes fossil fuel, water, and topsoil at unsustainable rates.”

Home Town Farms has one solution called Retail Farming. Retail Farming is simply the ability to efficiently grow large quantities and varieties of organic fresh vegetables and berries in city and suburban areas where you sell it; allowing the freshest, best-tasting, local vine-ripened organic produce to be sold at non-organic everyday pricing.

Retail Farming utilizes vertical hydro-organic growing system created by Israeli, Dutch and Spanish companies. These systems have been used for more than 50 years on millions of acres all over the world, outside the city and suburban areas. Moving these vertical growing systems into the city and suburban areas drastically reduces the amount of natural resources needed to grow the same amount of food. These systems are great for the environment; they use up to;
85% less water
90% less fuel
90% less carbon footprint because of reduced fuel consumption
80% less fertilizer
70% less land
Retail Farming can work in any city or suburban area, even deserts. Retail Farming could allow every family in America to have access to nutritious high-quality locally grown vine- ripened organic vegetables and berries at affordable prices.

We can talk about change or take action and improve our broken food system. The quality of our food supply and the energy we use to grow it is the foundation of our people and country. Food is not just another business or industry; if we do not use our energy resources more efficiently and improve our food distribution system we will repeat history and become another great nation with a tragic end. America is better than that and Home Town Farms is another example of how innovation can keep America great and healthy.

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