Dominic Muren is editor at IDFuel, The Industrial Design Weblog, and after two years of toy making in Chicago, will start study for an MID at University of the Arts in Philadelphia this fall.
Despite the current worries about oil, water rights, or energy needs influencing wars, one thing remains constant: Food reigns eternal. Taking care of people's food problems can go a long way to making other problems -- like energy shortages, or poverty -- a lot more manageable. But as technology economies blossom around the world, the once universal knowledge of growing food from plants is being taught to fewer and fewer children. The Growing Connection is working to change that, by putting the seeds for basic agricultural understanding back into the student population. Through this collaboration of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization and the American Horticulture Society, schools around the world -- Chicago and Ghana, Nebraska and Mexico -- become "vegetable growing electronic pen-pals". Each class learns techniques for growing plants using the Earthbox, a self contained growth box which simplifies watering and fertilizing, and shares their successes with their partner school online.
This is an important program for building understanding and commonality between different cultures, and with the impending peak oil price crunch on shipped-in produce, this may be much more important than the developed world gives it credit for.
One Latin country has had its own Peak Oil crisis. See how they have coped:
Lessons from Cuba
(Cuba specific begins at slide 30)
Lesson Number 1:
- Food is not a commodity;
- Land is not a commodity;
- Human beings and their labor are not commodities.
- You can't learn all that you need to know from prices.
- It's your responsibility to act accordingly.