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Thanksgiving 2014: Feeding 9.6 Billion People

FC Logo FinalIt’s Thanksgiving morning, and it’s early. The Macy’s Thanksgiving parade hasn’t even started yet! Some folks are already up and in some stage of production for the big meal that will be shared with family and friends later today. Others are sleeping-in, taking advantage of not having to go to work today.

Locally, K-Mart has just opened its doors to shoppers eager to take advantage of their early, early Black Friday event that started at 6 a.m. Given all of the traditions and the pressures that come with them this Thanksgiving day, most folks are too caught up in what needs to happen next to think about those who are less fortunate, and do not have food or the means to prepare a modest dinner on this special holiday.

Growing up on a farm, I am thankful to not ever have known what it is like to be hungry. However, there are many people in the world that are either starving because of food scarcity, or even here in the U.S, don’t get enough to eat to meet their daily nutritional requirements. As the world’s population approaches 9.6 billion by 2050, agricultural practices and food production will be even more important and challenging than it is today.

That is why I am using today’s post to highlight the upcoming Arizona Region Future City Competition, and this year’s research essay topic: Feeding Future Cities. Middle school students are asked to select one vegetable and one protein and design a way to grow enough of each within their future city limits to feed all of the residents for at least one growing season.

Design considerations should include the city’s size and location, and critical elements needed to grow food including light or photosynthesis, climate, air quality, crop space, water, soil, and nutrients. However, challenges that may impede agricultural operations are less farmable land, water pollution, limited access to water, increased fuel costs that make importing or exporting food more expensive, pesticide resistant crops – just to name a few. Personally, these are tough challenge for even this farm hand.

Feeding the world’s population has renewed an interest in agricultural engineering, and is challenging city planners, world leaders, science and technologists, engineers, innovators and entrepreneurs to think about food production differently.

Just in case you are wondering, there will be future posts on this topic as I explore unique ideas that are being used to feed local and global communities, between now and the AZ Region Future City Competition on Saturday, January 17, 2015.

Happy Thanksgiving!

P.S. For more information about the Arizona Region Future City Competition, go to www.futurecityarizona.org.


About Vi Brown

Vi is principal and CEO of Prophecy Consulting Group, LLC, an Arizona firm that provides business and engineering services to private and public clients. Prior to establishing her consulting practice in 2001, Vi worked with Motorola, Maricopa County Government, Pacific Gas & Electric, CH2M Hill, and Procter & Gamble. As an adjunct faculty member, Vi teaches undergraduate calculus classes and graduate level environmental courses. She is also a professional speaker.


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