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The Urban Food Community

or People & Produce in Central Vallejo

California Polytechnic University San Luis Obispo, 2019

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{Senior Research Project}

Abstract

As American food travels 1,500 miles from farm to plate, it delivers increased access to some but also the loss of affordable, fresh, local, nutrient-dense produce for others. Concurrently, urban food sources offer plentiful cheap, low-nutrient, highly processed, unhealthy food options in accessible locations near to residential neighborhoods. To affluent populations, healthy food can be both accessible and economically feasible, but marginalized or impoverished neighborhoods can struggle accessing the food options their families need. By framing today’s complex food issues as a design problem for the landscape architect, local food accessibility can be approached as a community-driven system that doubles as a resource hub to meet other community necessities. The issue is addressed in the City of Vallejo, California, a highly diverse, coastal, post-industrial community now recognized for high crime, employment need, and pockets of high poverty, especially in children. Project goals are addressed through the productive, educational, community building, sustainable economic potential of a shared urban agricultural space.

 

Dilemma

How can the City of Vallejo develop needed high quality, equitable, and healthy community spaces for underserved areas of the local community, especially for at-risk youth and low income families?

 

Thesis

A model community agriculture space that integrates healthy and low-cost production, job training, economical development, and diversified youth programming in a safe and flexible learning environment will provide a sustainable resource for developing social and economic opportunity for younger and underserved community members.

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