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Archive for November 26th, 2011

The Nativity Fast began on November 15th for Byzantine Catholics, but Advent only begins for Latin Catholics this Sunday. Here is the classic Advent hymn:

Icon by Daniel Nichols

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Urban Farming in Youngstown

There has been much talk of late about economic disparity, the huge and growing rift between the affluent few and the rest of us. While this wealth gap has drawn a lot of attention, less is paid to the health gap: obesity, diabetes, heart disease and other diet-related health conditions are far more prevalent among the poor and working classes than among the rich and upper middle classes.

There are many reasons for this, but one that cannot be ignored is the scarcity of affordable wholesome food in many urban areas. And when one considers that organic food is generally about twice the cost of conventional, one wonders if we are heading toward a world of wealthy and healthy people, the ones who can easily afford to pay more for quality food, surrounded by fat unhealthy junk food eaters.

While one may hope that as organic agriculture progresses prices may come down to a competitive level (and watch for agribusiness to escalate its attack if this occurs) another solution is being explored in many cities: why not convert the vacant lots of our devastated industrial towns to farms and garden spaces, so local folks can eat better?

Youngstown, Ohio, is a place that has faced near-apocalyptic blight, as its population dropped from 170,000 to 70,000 in thirty years. But visionaries see the possibilities as vacant houses are demolished and large areas of potential agricultural land are created. Here is one such initiative: http://www.growyoungstown.org/urbanagri.html

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