Since transporting our foodstuffs thousands of miles is both a waste
of energy and a source of pollution, as much as possible should be grown
locally in the countryside surrounding the eco-city.
More importantly, local farming makes our towns and cities resilient. When
climate change starts devastating crops, countries will feed themselves
first and only export food if they have any left over. And as fuel
prices rise, so too will the costs of transporting food over long
distances. In the future we won't be able to rely on imported food
like we do now.
The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago. The second best time is now.
- Chinese proverb
And we should be moving away from large scale agribusiness. By
planting crop mixtures, rotating and combining crops and livestock,
smaller, more diverse farms produce more output per acre than enormous
fields dedicated to a single crop.
Rooftop gardens can also be used for food production, from simple
container gardening, through green roofs, to hydroponics where plant
roots are suspended in a liquid growing medium instead of soil.
But not all of the countryside surrounding the eco-city should be
used for farming.
By building eco-cities at higher densities, and by making more
efficient use of farmland, we can leave more of the surrounding
countryside as wilderness.
And we should be encouraging wildlife into the cities themselves.
Plants and trees should be everywhere, in courtyards, streets and on
rooftops. Eco-cities should be green cities.
Producing energy from farm waste, rubbish and sewage makes a good
deal of sense.
Using precious farmland or devastating natural eco-systems to grow
crops for biofuel makes no sense at all.