Skip to main content

October Walnut Creek Mayor's Message

Oct 02, 2015 08:30PM ● Published by Jennifer Neys

Walnut Creek Mayor, Bob Simmons

by Bob Simmons, Mayor of Walnut Creek

As was the case for most cities, development in the last half of the 20th century had the effect of moving the sources of our food far from our city.  Urban agriculture is the growing of food in urban areas.  It brings sources of food closer to people who need food, and it often means healthier food. For the last six months, Walnut Creek has been studying adding community gardens to some of its parks.  This is important work, but we also need to study how to encourage business to grow food indoors. 

The technology around indoor agriculture is changing very rapidly, and the need is great.  By 2050, there will be about 9 billion people to feed, with no new land for agriculture, and climate change will cut current yields by 25%. Indoor agriculture has tremendous potential for 21st century agriculture, and it may be our best choice. 

One version is the ‘vertical farm’. This can involve new construction or simply the conversion of old, warehouse-type buildings into agricultural production. Some versions involve the growing of vegetables and fish in a system whereby waste from the fish can be converted into fertilizer for the plants. One design involves a three-level structure which can be placed on any large body of water.  The top level collects rainwater and solar energy, the second level involves hydroponic agriculture, and the bottom level involves offshore aquaculture. 

The indoor agricultural technologies use less land, thereby allowing our existing land to be used for other purposes.  Second, they use less water.  One estimate is that a head of lettuce grown using aeroponics requires 1% of the water a head of lettuce grown in the field does. This allows outdoor agriculture to focus on tree crops, which are more difficult to grow indoors. Third, crops grown indoors are less likely to be attacked by insects, critters, and field-borne diseases. Fourth, it is more productive. Indoor agriculture can produce crops year-round, thus increasing productivity of the farmed surface by a factor of 4 to 6, depending on the crop. Fifth, it means local jobs and is safer and easier than picking many of the field crops is. Sixth, it can be placed in urban or residential areas, reducing farm-to-table distance. Seventh, it is not subject to climate, whether it’s drought, high winds, or too much rain; therefore, it is more reliable and enhances food security.

Areas where population density is much greater, or land is not as arable, are moving quickly in this direction. There are other reasons why we aren’t moving ahead more quickly. First, the cost of building a structure and the cost of utilities are higher than land-based agriculture. Second, there is a lack of public demand, largely influenced by the lack of awareness of the need for change.  This means there is insufficient political support for making the critical investments that are needed. Third, there is a substantial, solid, grounded degree of support for not making any change from the current, land-based approach. As with any new technology, it just takes time for it to be accepted and implemented, and it will probably require some level of public investment if we wish to assure a food-safe future.

 

Community October 2015 Why Indoor Agriculture?
  • Rockridge Ice Cream & Gelato Tour

    09/24/2017
    03:00PM — 04:00PM

    Satisfy your sweet tooth this this one-hour guided walking tour that helps kids of all ages explo...


  • About Abstraction: Bay Area Women Painters

    09/24/2017
    03:00PM — 05:00PM

    Opening Reception: Sunday, September 24, 3-5pm $5 Admission, wine and hors d'oeuvres hosted by t...


  • About Abstraction: Bay Area Women Painters

    09/24/2017
    03:00PM — 05:00PM

    Opening Reception: Sunday, September 24, 3-5pm $5 Admission, wine and hors d'oeuvres hosted by t...


  • Lyrical Dreams

    09/24/2017
    04:00PM

    - All three composers on this program write in a lyrical, expressive style, and all three pieces...


  • THE SUNDAY PAPER

    09/24/2017
    04:00PM — 07:00PM

    With former and current members of Tower Of Power, Cold Blood, Sly & The Family Stone, Santana an...


  • Walnut Festival Twilight Parade

    09/24/2017
    06:00PM — 08:00PM

    The Walnut Festival fun begins at 6 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 16 with the Twilight Parade on North Mai...


It looks like we don't have any events for this date. You can always add an event.

It looks like we don't have any events for this date. You can always add an event.

  • Volunteer Gardening

    09/27/2017
    09:00AM — 12:00PM

    It takes a lot of effort to maintain six acres of lush garden space, and as a small, nonprofit or...


  • MONTHLY MOSTLY BLUEGRASS EXTRAVAGANZA

    09/27/2017
    07:30PM — 10:00PM

    Hosted by the Armando's House Bluegrass Band Bruce Campbell - bass Rick Horlick - mandolin L...


  • Happy Hour & A Half

    09/29/2017
    04:30PM — 06:00PM

    Live music with GARAGELAND RODEO No cover charge Beverage discount Doors open 4:00


  • TREMOLOCOS

    09/29/2017
    08:00PM — 10:00PM

    Tony Zamora – vocals, guitars, bass (Los Lobos) Roberto Rodriguez III – accordion, vocals Willy...


 

 

 

September 2017
Oasis Veterinary Pet Adoption Connection

 

Loading Family Features Content Widget
Loading Family Features Article

 

Interested in advertising or becoming a community sponsor? Contact us at 925-335-6397 or email us at info@ourcommunityfocus.com