The Urban Design Lab at Columbia University has a way of putting complex systems into understandable diagram form and then proposing solutions.
In this presentation, UDL (with the help of MIT) began looking at childhood obesity and how the heathcare issues are tied to our food systems. They then found much larger problems existed, and that the key to fixing the healthcare issue was to overhaul the food system.
Take a few minutes to view Regionalizing the Food System for Public Health and Sustainability, a 27 slide presentation with comments at right.
So what's childhood obesity got to do with farming in Meredith? As we build stronger regional food systems, we inherently begin accessing better foods for ourselves, our children and our institutions. As Meredith farms gain capacity, they will be able to provide our local schools, and our kids, with healthy and fresh lunches at affordable prices. The argument that schools can't provide better food to students because they can't afford it has to be overcome at the local level. Food grown locally can arrive at the school cafeteria kitchen the same or next day at a competitive price compared to food trucked in from NYC, Albany or abroad. As we embrace the concepts of regional food systems we build stronger local economies from the bottom up. Collectively, we benefit from the efforts for growing and eating local food. Regionally, it's far easier to tackle the problems of infrastructure, food distribution hubs, and new access models to healthy food at the local level than it is to solve the problems nationwide. Here's a classic case of "Thinking Globally. Acting Locally."