Tag Archives: food security

Students Help an Urban Farm Rethink Its Future


(First published on State of the Planet on Jan. 25, 2016.)

In the Fair Haven section of New Haven, Conn., rates of obesity and diabetes are high, and access to healthy fresh food can be limited. For some residents of this low-income neighborhood, New Haven Farms is just what the doctor ordered.

The small non-profit agency grows vegetables on several plots around the city, and conducts classes in basic nutrition and healthy cooking. New Haven Farms grew out of a program run by the Fair Haven Community Health Center, which serves the largely low-income, Hispanic neighborhood. Doctors actually prescribe the program as one way to help patients at risk from diet-related diseases like Diabetes 2 learn a healthier lifestyle.

Last fall, a team of students in the Earth Institute’s Master of Science in Sustainability Management program traveled to Connecticut to study the New Haven Farms operation and come up with ways to expand its growing capacity and the number of people it serves. This “Capstone Workshop” was one of several conducted by teams of students in the MSSM program and serves in place of a thesis, giving students a hands-on experience consulting for a real-world client. This video tells the story of what the New Haven Farms team did.

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Making Sense of Climate’s Impact on Food Security

From warmer temperatures to natural disasters such as flooding and drought, changing patterns of climate are having billion-dollar impacts on our food-growing systems. But scientists are struggling to find ways to measure and predict what may happen in the future—and to translate that into policies to help feed a bulging world population.

“Agricultural risks are growing, including climate change,” said Cynthia Rosenzweig of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, an Earth Institute affiliate. “At the same time, a consistent approach is needed to enable the agricultural sector to analyze these issues.”

She spoke Friday at a panel on food security at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Boston. Also on the panel were Thomas R. Karl of the National Oceanic And Atmospheric Administration’s National Climatic Data Center, Paul R. Ehrlich of Stanford University, and Felix Kogan of NOAA.

Cynthia Rosenzweig, GISS, Paul Ehrlich, AAAS 2013

Cynthia Rosenzweig of the Goddard Institute for Space Studies and Paul R. Ehrlich from Stanford University answer questions at a panel on climate and food security held at the 2013 annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Rosenzweig detailed a new effort to mesh climate science, agricultural expertise and economics to help make better forecasts, titled the Agricultural Model Intercomparison and Improvement Project—“AgMIP.” The multi-disciplinary effort involves scientists, economists and food experts on five continents.

“What’s been done over past decades is a whole cornucopia,” she said. “It’s hard to compare studies, and it’s hard to understand what all the studies are actually projecting. We need a consistent approach, and we need to set it up long-term.”

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Filed under Climate, Sustainable development