FREMONT, CA: It has been evident that some regions have a surplus of food production, whereas some face starvation. The urban food hub is a solution for tackling the uneven concentration of food, balancing out the resources that are crucial for basic sustenance. The system is made up of four essential integrated components—production, preparation, distribution, and closing the loop with waste and water management. Each of the four components creates and provides opportunities for business development, training, and improved resilience. Business development is enhanced through high-intensity food production in urban areas on spaces such as green roofs, raised bed gardens, and plant factories. Values are added to the food preparation sector from locally grown food and improve public health. Innovative food delivery models will widen access to high-quality, affordable food via farmers markets, food trucks, and community-engaged agriculture. Waste management practiced sustainably through advanced composting systems, reduced stormwater run-off, and green infrastructure improvements.
Entrepreneurs are given training and technical support to put into motion the business plans. These ideas for startups range from a health-focused business that increases nutrient yield, offers health assessment, and nutrition counseling. It also includes growing microgreens and herbs for star restaurants, ethnic crop production for authentic menu-based restaurants and grocery stores, and native plant seedlings grown for urban parks and rain gardens.
The urban food hubs model will focus on forming a network of local systems that are interconnected. It will improve food security, overall nutritional health, job provisions, and resilience in urban neighborhoods that have deficits in all aspects of healthy food. The food hubs in urban areas are powered by best-in-the-field technology and are therefore competitive in an environment of concentrated land-use pressure. Some tangible benefits of these urban food hubs include a reduction in food-related illnesses and structured stormwater management. Some less concrete benefits include enhanced neighborhood aesthetics, stronger civic-body engagement, and neighborhood safety. The urban food hubs can build the capacity and the infrastructure for improved access to safe food, quality health, and economic development in underserved communities.
As urbanization progresses globally, food and water security issues cannot be dealt with without solutions that include urban communities — reimagining the urbanized tech hubs as an all-inclusive form of a sustainable food system near to the majority of consumers who live-in metropolitan cities.