Governments all over the world will be spending trillions helping people and businesses impacted by COVID. The sheer amount they are about to invest has the potential to re-make how we live, hopefully for the better.
Here is my non-exhaustive list of “spade ready” food projects that can virtually be launched tomorrow and focus on promoting ecological resilience and human dignity.
- Greenhouses for Long-Term Care Homes: Create construction jobs while letting residents enjoy the smells and tastes of edible gardening and vitamin D. There is ample evidence for the physical and mental health benefits of partaking in nature.
- Agri-Corps: Create action teams that help farms up their sustainability game by creating wildlife and pollinator buffer areas, improving migrant worker residences, geothermal heating for greenhouses etc. Skip the endless and inefficient grant applications, just have farmers schedule an appointment and let the Agri-Corps team make recommendations and implement them.
- Produce Street Vending: Looking at you mayors, this one is virtually free to implement. Enable folks to start small businesses by opening up public property (sidewalks, subway stations) to produce vendors through a simple, cheap licensing system.
- Subsidize Food Trucks: We’ve all read about how restaurants are struggling. How their future is uncertain. Why not shift some power from landlords to food entrepreneurs? Provide grants/loans for restaurant workers/owners to start a food truck business and make the licensing program easier.
- A Garden for every School: Fund a program that would create a garden at every school that wanted it in the country. Ideally this would include a greenhouse so that they can grow year round.
- Enshrine the Right to Farm: Every person should have a right to grow food. If you don’t have a yard, you should be able to get an allotment garden space. Let’s build enough to make this happen. There is a ton of open space under government control that can be freed up for urban farming (hydro corridors, underused parks etc.)