|IDEA BY:||Robert Celik||LOCATION:||Canada||CATEGORY:||Business|
|IDEA BY:||Robert Celik|
Food deserts are emerging in many North American urban centres. These are areas in which people do not have easy access to affordable and fresh produce. As a result of this poor food access, there has been a significant increase in micronutrient deficiencies in people’s diets. In addition, increasing obesity rates are tied to low-income families sourcing their food from gas stations and convenience stores. The current food system is incapable of equitably feeding our society. At the same time, urban areas house a significant volume of unused green spaces, such as backyards and empty fields. These dormant green spaces are forgotten components of our landscape. In the city of Chicago, for example, researchers identified 70,000 vacant lots. My idea will maximize the usability of urban green spaces to not only provide locally sourced food but also to create economic empowerment and livable communities. How does the platform work? First, suitable sites for urban agriculture are identified on a database, which allows urban farmers to connect with property owners. The farmer gets exclusive rights to cultivate the plot of land and the homeowner receives a percentage of the harvest. Finally, the urban farmer can sell the produce at a local farmers market or directly to restaurants. There is currently a large supply of urban farmers, however land cost is a huge barrier to entry. By acting as gatekeepers and connecting these individuals with property owners we can capitalize on the trend of local food production. Urban Patches creates local jobs that do not discriminate based on socioeconomic background. This idea also coincides with at least 11 of the 17 UN Global Goals For Sustainable Development. Please see the photos for a step-by-step process of how Urban Patches works.