Urgent Evoke

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Local food shortage near me - not lack of food but lack of healthy, locally grown food!

I know that food shortages exist to far more severe extents in other countries but Alchemy's mission said to look at one's own community so I have focused my attention on my experiences here in Hackney, East London.

I am compassionate about everything food - sourcing, growing, preparing, learning about, cooking, and of course eating! For the last for years I have turned my back on supermarkets and embraced locally grown fruit and veg and locally reared organic meat. My veg is delivered from the oldest organic veg box scheme in the UK (www.riverford.co.uk), and I buy the rest of my weekly shopping from local farmer's markets - in summer we use the tiny square meter above that serves as a shelter above our front door as a urban garden (this necessitates climbing out of the bathroom, but it is the only outdoor space we have)! However most people in my area eat imported non-organic fruit, veg and meat, processed ready-meals full of additives, and huge amounts of deep-fried "crap" (pardon my language).

Have a look at the following statistical data for a brief insight into how unhealthy food and lack of access to locally grown, sustainable food sources are contributing to health deprivation in Hackney!

Health in Hackney

Hackney is one of the most health deprived areas in the country. The majority of the borough falls within the top 30-40% of health deprived areas in the country and rates poorly on most health indicators.

Average life expectancy is 77.7 years which is below both the London and England averages despite some narrowing in this gap over recent years. Hackney also has high levels of infantmortality (6.5 per 1,000) which disproportionately affects Black and Ethnic Minority groups.

Local residents are much more likely to suffer poor health than residents of other areas, with above average rates of limiting long term illnesses. In addition the local population has the highest incidence of schizophrenia and the second highest incidence of tuberculosis in Inner London.
Amongst Hackney’s residents the main causes of death are circulatory diseases and cancers, aprofile which is broadly similar to that of the country as a wh***. However, Hackney has an above average incidence in the borough of particular causes of death. Most notably the incidence of hypertensive disease and tuberculosis are far higher in Hackney than in England as a wh***.

Obesity and being overweight increase the risk factors, such as blood pressure, associated with strokes and coronary heart disease - two major causes of mortality within the borough.The rate of obese and overweight individuals is lower in Hackney than in England for men. Women living in Hackney however, exceed the England rate both for being overweight and for obesity.

Source: Compendium of Clinical and Health Indicators, National Centre for Health Outcomes Development, 2002

Sustainability in Hackney

Indices of deprivation ranks Hackney as being the fifth most deprived local authority in thecountry and the second most deprived in London. Despite this, the borough has many positiveattributes and is working towards becoming a sustainable community.

See: http://www.hackney.gov.uk/xp-boroughprofile.htm

To read more about how I hope to improve access to home-grown, healthy food for my neighbours please read my ACT 2 blog!

Views: 51

Comment by Nick Heyming on March 22, 2010 at 4:37pm
Starting at home is always best. We have the same issue here in California, living in one of the most fertile areas in the world and still importing fruit from as far away as thailand and chile daily...
Comment by Riko Kamachi on March 26, 2010 at 1:22pm
Wonderful post, what you have said seems to echo how I see the same issue in my own city, for much the same reasons. It seems it is growing to be a real problem in urban areas.

I'd love to see your "urban garden" :)
Comment by Bongumusa on March 26, 2010 at 1:56pm
I am so impressed. Keep up with good work. Please wait something coming on Saturday.


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