This was all hot back in 1910 – such an amazing year!



A soft top sporty number for the hipster around town –


How you bought your meat – no health laws here or OH&S. No flies on these guys either!

hvgcjkfpbuv1sg  eaton27scataloguemat

The beginning of junk food? That white sticky rubbish called milk is still available!!


How you bought gas for the car, and got bloody soaked when it rained.



The best name in potty ware of the day – Only Crapp here!

Poster Advertising Vinolia Otto Soap for the ca. 1900

Sea travel was popular

A tragic year for boat travel –

1910_Model B_flying

Air travel was very new – no in flight service here!


Then you were allowed to play with ladies garters when smashed!

95a5e034b94bd6ea20e5e0b3ac080e06 Snake-Oil.1

Medicine in 1910 – self help!? Anything went really, including really bad advertising.

Child laborers Lewis Hine (1)

A good smoke was on the cards too, at  10 or 11 and only 15cents a pack! They all lived well into their 90s too!

491px-Lillian_Russell_2 MUSTcrop1910frenchLesDessousElegantsMars1910page53 copy 4

Eye candy and naughty undergarments from the time, quickly, I need a cold shower!


The cool man about town – Just love the tennis racket holder! Mmmm!


The NEW compact electric vacuum cleaner? I’m amazed the whole carpet didn’t get sucked up the tube,  including the floor-boards and the dog!


The kitchen in 1910 – where’s the dish washer? Oh that’s mum!


Making Jam  in 1910 – I might get some of those frilly things to protect your arms…

The 1910 Bottling Company logo-colour

Blatant Advertising – The exclusive 1910 product will be available on-line again very soon!  Cheers, Steve. For more details


Fireless and Indoor solar cooking, is this now a sustainable gastronomic reality??

Fireless cooking is nothing new, we’ve had a few goes at it over the years… so is it going to be the future of cooking?

Unfortunately most of this information and links are OS based, as we appear to be Luddites in this space (please correct me if I’m wrong)  – given we have more free sunlight in Australia than most and we’ve always been a highly innovative nation, maybe it’s time to catch up with the rest of the world and reconsider how we cook our food?  After all, we are on the global gastronomic map these days!

Chambers fireless cooking gas range

A fireless cooker from the 1920s

While modern cooking stoves are convenient, when it comes to energy use they leave a lot to be desired. The thermal efficiency of an electric hob does not exceed that of a conventional open fire. In both cases almost 90% of the primary energy is lost during the cooking process.

Cooking food could be achieved in a far more energy efficient way, especially if the cooking pot itself is insulated. This is the principle behind the fireless cooker, a well-insulated box that keeps food simmering with only the heat of the cooking pot itself. A fireless cooker doubles the efficiency of any type of cooking device because it shortens the time on the fire and limits heat transfer losses.

In the early twentieth century, fireless cookers were common additions to western kitchens, similar to the refrigerator or cooking stove. Some models even integrated fireless cookers with gas or electric hobs. These functioned by lowering an insulated hood over the cooking pot once the heat had been switched off.

Thermal efficiency comparison of cooking stoves in rich and poor countries

In the previous article, we found that cooking food is an incredibly inefficient process. The thermal efficiency varies from 13% for electric hobs to 23% for gas hobs, and from 5 to 25% for open fires and crude biomass stoves. Cooking stoves also produce considerable levels of indoor air pollution — especially in developing countries but also in the modern kitchens of wealthy households. These results show that in both developed and developing nations, energy efficiency and pollution levels in the cooking process can stand to be improved.

The proposed strategies to tackle these issues differ for poor and rich countries. In poorer countries, most efforts concentrate on improving energy efficiency and lowering the indoor pollution caused by biomass stoves. Rocket stoves, for example, can achieve thermal efficiencies of 45% or more, with only about half of the emissions. However, any type of improved biomass stove still requires wood for fuel, and continues to produce air pollution.

In the western world, the proposed solution is a more widespread use of the best available technology, such as electric induction stoves. However, these devices obtain a thermal efficiency of only 15%, which means that 85% of the energy generated for cooking is wasted. In summary, the present-day approach to improving the sustainability of cooking stoves is not very ambitious.

Why is cooking so inefficient?

To further improve upon the efficiency of cooking, we have to take a closer look at where the greatest energy losses are incurred. For electric hobs and microwaves, the most significant waste of energy can be attributed to power conversion losses. Converting fossil fuels or biomass into electricity produces an energy efficiency level of 20-45% depending on the power plant, which explains why electric stoves are among the least efficient cooking devices.

Gas stove

Gas stoves have the largest heat transfer losses of all modern cooking stoves. Picture: Ashley Bischoff @ Flickr.

The second most significant energy loss for electric stoves, and the most important one for all other cooking stoves, occurs during the transferral of heat from the cooking hob to the food in the cooking vessel. Not all heat produced by the fire reaches the cooking pot, and heat is lost through the walls and lid of the pot, as well as through escaping steam.

The cooking process is similar to heating an uninsulated building with all the doors and windows open

In order to bring water to a boil and to keep a dish simmering, the cooking stove has to continuously compensate for these heat transfer losses. This is similar to heating an uninsulated building with all the doors and windows open. Even the most performable stoves now available — rocket stoves and wood gas stoves — only achieve a maximal thermal efficiency of 40-50%.

Obviously, we could do better. With regards to potential improvements in cooking sustainability, four technologies deserve further attention: pot skirts, fireless cookers, pressure cookers, and solar cookers. While each of these is a solution in themselves, they are especially advantageous when used together.

Pot Skirts

A simple way to start improving cooking efficiency is by using a pot skirt. This device increases heat transfer efficiency between cooking stove and cooking pot. They work with all but the electric stove. A pot skirt is a vertical sleeve, usually of metal, that forces the hot gases from the fire to flow closely around the sides of the pot. Skirts can be insulated on the outside, which brings the additional benefit of decreasing heat losses from  the sides of the pot.

Pot skirt

A pot skirt. Picture: Ecozoomstove.

A pot skirt also reduces the effects of fire assymetry, which can be a problem for both outdoor and indoor cooking. Experiments in rooms with virtually no crossflow of air can show highly assymetric flame patterns, which decrease heat transfer efficiency. Tests on three types of stoves — an open fire, a biomass rocket stove and a gas rocket stove — showed that pot skirts can improve heat transfer efficiency by about 10-20% for a rocket stove, and by about 30% for an open fire. Since heat transfer losses are the main inefficiency for these types of cooking stoves, this is not a bad start.

Pressure Cookers

The rather well-known pressure cooker takes a different approach. A pressure cooker is a sealed vessel which reaches higher water temperatures because of added steam pressure, making it more energy efficient and able to cook food faster. It is either operated electrically (as a standalone device or on an electric stove), or used in combination with a gas, biomass, coal or solar stove. The pressure cooker lowers both power conversion losses (because of shorter cooking times) and heat transfer losses (because it completely eliminates heat loss through evaporation).

Pressure cooker

A pressure cooker. Picture: Wikipedia Commons.

Scientific studies on the energy efficiency of a pressure cooker could not be found. Manufacturers usually advertise energy and time savings of up to 70% when compared to cooking in a normal pot. If we assume these figures to be correct averages (which is probably overly optimistic), then the thermal efficiencies of cooking stoves start to look more promising.

If a pressure cooker is used on an electric stove, the cooking process would reach a thermal efficiency of 22%, which brings it on par with a well-tended three-stone fire. The combination of a gas stove with a pressure cooker would achieve a thermal efficiency of 39%, while the combination of a well-tended three-stone fire with a pressure cooker would obtain 40% thermal efficiency. The best result is achieved via the combination of pressure cooker and rocket stove, which is 62% effective. [1]

Fireless Cookers

While we can see marked improvements with the pressure cooker, these vessels still lose heat through the walls and lid, and these losses are considerable. There are also heat transfer losses between the stove and the pot if the device is placed on a hob. However, if we bring food to a boil and then quickly put the pot in a well-insulated box, the heat transfer energy losses can be minimized to such an extent that the cooking process continues, without any further energy input.


Fireless cooker in a basket. Picture: Solar Cookers International.

This is the principle of the “fireless cooker” or “heat retention cooker”, which is best described as the passive house concept applied to cooking. A passive house is a well-insulated building that requires little energy for space heating of cooling.

The fireless cooker is the passive house concept applied to cooking

The fireless cooker is the key to efficient cooking in poor and rich countries alike. It almost completely eliminates heat transfer loss and reduces cooking time on the fire or hob substantially, thus addressing the two largest energy losses in the cooking process. Fireless cookers can lower energy use by more than 80%, but the precise savings potential depends on many factors. Such factors include the insulation material, the design of the fireless cooker, the required cooking time of the dish, the food itself, and the swiftness with which the cooking pot is moved from the stove to the fireless cooker.

Hooikist natuurlijk bewaren2

A classical fireless cooker. Picture: Natuurlijk Bewaren.

The Partnership for Clean Indoor Air (PCIA) has measured the energy savings of fireless cookers. In their test of 18 types of solid fuel cooking stoves, the energy savings of the fireless cooker amount to an average fuel reduction of 50%, which is the number we will use in this article.

If we combine an electric stove with a fireless cooker, we can double its thermal efficiency. Combined they reach 26%, which is still not very impressive, but at least achieves a higher energy efficiency than a gas stove alone. A gas stove used in conjunction with a fireless cooker obtains 46% thermal efficiency, while a well-tended fire with a fireless cooker attains 50%. A combination of a rocket stove with a fireless cooker is more than 80% efficient. [1]

Thermal efficiency fireless cooker

These numbers could be further improved if we combine the fireless cooker with the pressure cooker. If we use a pressure cooker to bring food to a boil and then put the pressure cooker into a fireless cooker, we can cook at 40%-90% efficiency, depending on the cooking stove used. This compares to a maximum of 23% for our western cooking stoves, and 40% — or at most 50% — for improved biomass stoves.

In its simplest form, the fireless cooker is a wooden, metal or plastic container filled with straw, old clothes, styrofoam, paper or any other insulation material. It can even be a cooking pot wrapped into a sleeping bag. Usually 5 to 10 cm of insulation is applied on all sides, the upper layer often in the form of an easy-to-handle, scaled-down mattress or pillow. A more cost-effective technique to lower energy use is hardly imaginable.

Fireless Cookers in History

In some parts of the world, the concept of the fireless cooker has been known about for centuries. During the middle ages, Europeans used “hayboxes” and holes in the ground filled with straw. American Indians took a slightly different approach to limiting heat transfer losses by enclosing the heat source (fire-heated stones or clay balls) within the cookware. Some American Indian groups used “cooking baskets” for this purpose; tightly wovenwatertight baskets, which could be coated with clay for insulation. Others stone-boiled soups and stews in a hole that they dug in the ground, lined with animal hide.

The fireless cooker became popular in the western world in the years between the 1890s and the 1930s. A Norwegian “self-cooking apparatus” received an award at the 1867 World Exhibition in Paris. It was a simple yet elegant container with four layers of felt for insulation.

Fireless cooker with attributes

A fireless cooker with associated cooking pots. Image: Wikipedia Commons.

During the first decades of the twentieth century, the fireless cooker became a permanent fixture of many American and European households

Initially, the heat retention cooker was mainly used to make food more portable for use by people on the move such as fishermen, hunters and soldiers. Amsterdam trams (streetcars) had them onboard for the driver. However, during the first decades of the twentieth century, the fireless cooker also became a permanent fixture of many American and European households, an appliance often found next to the cooking stove.

The best models were made entirely out of metal lined with mineral wool insulation, and kept the cooking pot and insulating material separated for easy cleaning and durable construction. These devices were also used for cooling.

Built-in fireless cooker 2

Image above: A fireless cooker integrated into a gas hob.

Fireless cooking gas range

Image above: A Chambers Fireless Cooking Gas Range from the 1910s. The insulated hoods were lowered over the burners.

Another innovation from the early twentieth century was the fireless cooking gas range; a combination of gas stove, gas oven and fireless cooker. The device obviated the need to move cooking utensils from the hob to the fireless cooker by making use of insulated hoods — “thermodomes” — that could be lowered over the burners. The food was brought to a boil, the gas was shut off, and then the pot would be covered up by the thermodome. The inverted receptacle was raised and lowered with the assistance of a counterbalance.

How to operate the thermodome

Interestingly, the hood was partially lowered while the gas was burning. The interior thus became hot from the heat which would otherwise escape, ensuring that plenty of retained heat would be available for cooking after the gas was turned off. Later versions worked completely automatically, shutting off the gas and lowering the hood at a preset time.

Another attempt to merge fireless cookers with cookstoves was the deep well cooker (also known as the “thrift cooker”). Old ranges, both gas and electric, sometimes had one of their burners sunk into a hole in the cooktop. This “well” had heavily insulated sides and enclosed a specifically designed pot with an insulated lid and no handles on the sides.

Deep well cooker

A deep well cooker from the 1950s. Source.

With some models, the burners could double as a surface unit. Although they were not really fireless cookers — the pot was on a low fire — deep well cookers reduced heat transfer losses considerably.

Improved Fireless Cookers

The use of heat retention cookers declined in the 1930s, and then resurfaced during World War Two and the oil crises of the 1970s. Today the fireless cooker is mainly promoted for use in developing countries. NGO’s that have introduced the technology are — among others — Practical Action, HELPS International and Solar Cookers International. The designs made for developing countries differ, from the insulated baskets of Solar Cookers International to the styrofoam insulated Wonderbag or ONIL.

Although heat retention cookers can be made cheaply with natural and locally available resources, they could just as well be mass-produced using more sophisticated materials. While it makes the devices less sustainable in production, plastic has made fireless cookers more practical, and superior insulation materials have improved their performance.

The thermal cooker is a compact, high-tech version of a fireless cooker

An important innovation in the western market is the so-called thermal cooker which appeared in the 1990s. The device is based on vacuum technology: the principle behind the thermos flask. The thermal cooker is comprised of a removable cooking pot, with handle and lid, that fits inside a vacuum flask which has a diameter ranging from 20 to 50 cm. The cooking pot is heated on the cooking stove (regardless of type) and then moved to and sealed in the flask. Find an exampe here.

Thermokoker 2

A thermal cooker. The high-tech version of the fireless cooker. The cooking pot (left) is put on the fire and transferred to the vacuum flask (right) once to food has been brought to a boil. Picture: Thermal Cookware

In a thermos flask or thermal vacuum cooker the space between the dual walls of a cylinder is completely evacuated. With virtually no molecules of gas available, heat transfer by conduction and convection are almost eliminated and therefore thermal conductivities are extremely low. Insulation thickness is about one-seventh of that of rockwool and one-third that of petrochemical insulation foams for similar thermal resistance.

The result is a much more compact fireless cooker, which could easily become part of any western kitchen as a standard, built-in device next to the cookstove. Smaller thermal cookers could be used to make hot food portable. Vacuum insulation is also available in the form of insulation panels, which you could use to build a compact yet superinsulated fireless cooker yourself. (But although home production is possible, one would have to adapt to available sizes — it’s not possible to cut the panels as this would destroy the vacuum).

All too often, fireless cookers are pictured as an emergency device aimed at campers, refugees or survivalists. However, a relatively simple device that can double the efficiency of whatever cooking technology you have at your diposal deserves more credence than that. The fireless cooker should be a commonplace item in every kitchen. Aside from its energy saving potential, its use in the western world would also encourage its acceptance in the developing world.

Time Saving

In the beginning of the twentieth century, time savings were the main sales argument for fireless cookers. This seems odd, because the average cooking time doubles compared to the traditional cooking process. Fireless cookers do afford the cook more time, however, by reducing the amount he or she spends in front of the stove or fire.

Photograph of a woman cooking dinner for six

Early twentieth century advertisement for fireless cooking.

Once the cooking pot has been transferred to the fireless cooker, it requires no further attention and the cook is free to do something else, even if it’s outside the house. It’s impossible for the food to boil over, and there is no fire hazard to keep an eye on. Furthermore, a dish can stay hot for up to 6 hours or more, so the timing of the cooking process becomes more flexible.

A fireless cooker also increases the capacity of a cooking stove, whether it runs on electricity, gas, coal, wood or solar energy. You can put a new dish on the fire while the other one is simmering in the fireless cooker. With every fireless cooker you add, the capacity of the cooking stove increases further.

Solar Cookers + Fireless Cookers

This feature is especially interesting in combination with a solar cooker. A fireless cooker increases the capacity of a solar cooker, but it also allows you to cook if there is not much sun available. When a fireless cooker is used to complete the cooking process, a solar cooker requires as little as half an hour of sunshine to cook dinner.

Fireless cookers essentially act as batteries, storing energy in hot food. They greatly increase the usefulness of solar cookers, making them appropriate even on cloudy days and in countries where there is less sunshine. Furthermore, the combination of solar cooker and fireless cooker allows you to prepare a meal that can be served hours after sunset.

Low-tech solar box cooker

A low-tech solar box cooker. Image: Wikipedia Commons.

When viewed alongside all other cooking appliances, the solar cooker is the ultimately sustainable stove. It requires zero fuel and produces zero air pollution. Even if gas or solid fuel stoves could reach a thermal efficiency of 100%, they would still require resources like wood or coal, and they would continue to produce air pollution. The solar cooker is the only cooking device that doesn’t face these issues.

The fireless cooker greatly increases the usefulness of a solar cooker

There exist many designs for solar cookers. The simplest type is the solar box cooker, which is not much more than an insulated box with a glass plate on top. The glass allows solar radiation to enter, heating up the interior, while the insulated walls decrease heat loss. There is not much difference between a solar box cooker and a fireless cooker, and both appliances could be merged into one design. Solar box cookers can also work under cloudy conditions because they are able to exploit diffuse radiation.

Parabolic solar cookers incorporate a more complex design, and use curved mirrors to focus solar radiation on a focal point. They work faster, produce higher temperatures, and have the ability to fry, roast and barbeque food. They are, however, more challenging to build, they require frequent orientation to the sun, they can be dangerous, and they only work in clear weather conditions. Panel cookers — such as the CooKit — incorporate elements of both box and parabolic cookers.

Solar powered tajine

A parabolic solar cooker. Picture: Solar Cookers International.

The solar cooker is not the only way to take advantage of solar energy for cooking. Electric cookstoves or microwaves run by electricity from PV solar panels can also be considered solar powered cookstoves. However, converting solar energy into electricity to convert it to heat in order to boil water is needlessly complex, energy inefficient, and very expensive compared to taking advantage of solar heat in a direct way by using a solar cooker.

Indoor Solar Cooking

Like improved biomass stoves and fireless cookers, solar cookers are mainly promoted in developing countries as an alternative to the use of open fires. The technology is distributed by some 500 organisations, companies, and individuals, united in the Solar Cookers World Network. The promotion of panel and box cookers is mostly aimed at households and refugees, while the more sophisticated parabolic cookers are generally reserved for large-scale cooking in institutions.

The promotion of solar cookers in developing countries has produced improved technology that can be useful all over the world. For example, it is now possible to cook indoors using solar energy. This can happen in two ways: either by focusing a parabolic cooker through a wall aperture and then reflecting the sunlight onto a cooking pot, or by using concentrated sunlight to generate steam which is then transported through pipes to a nearby indoor kitchen.

Indoor solar cooking

Indoor solar cooking. Image: Solare Brücke.

Both approaches were demonstrated in the Scheffler Community Kitchens in India. These cooking installations are applied on a very large scale, for example at the Shirdi Temple where a solar cooked lunch is served to over 50,000 people per day. However, using solar energy indoors can also happen on a much smaller scale, as is demonstrated by the system pictured above.

Solar cookers used in developing countries are usually not the most efficient devices. Improving them with more sophisticated materials greatly increases their usability

Although a remarkable and highly sustainable piece of equipment, most solar cookers used in developing countries are not the most efficient. As Appropedia notes, solar cookers are “solar concentrators where precision and efficiency have been sacrificed for ease of construction and use of readily available materials”.

The performance of these cookers could be enhanced if we built them in a more sophisticated way. For example, low-E window glass makes a solar box cooker much more efficient, as most heat that escapes from the box is through the glass. Solar Cookers International notes that the ongoing development of more efficient models continues to push the practicality of solar cookers into higher latitudes.

Making Cooking Sustainable: “Integrated Cooking”

Combining cooking stoves with solar cookers, fireless cookers, and pressure cookers turns an inefficient process into a year-round sustainable system that dramatically cuts greenhouse gas emissions, fuel use, and air pollution. This holds true for poor and rich countries alike, regardless of which type of cooking stove is used.

Increasingly, NGO’s are betting on a combination of solar cookers, fireless cookers and improved biomass stoves, an approach that is known as “integrated cooking”. [2] In “integrated cooking”, solar cookers are used whenever possible, while the improved biomass stove offers a solution when solar energy is not available. The fireless cooker is used in combination with both, increasing the capacity of the cooking system and maximizing energy efficiency. For an example, see this video.

A similar system in the western world could even utilise electric or gas stoves instead of improved biomass stoves. Because the use of fireless cookers, pressure cookers and solar cookers shortens the use of electric or gas stoves considerably, their low efficiency becomes less of a concern. If the energy use of gas and electric stoves is substantially reduced, it also becomes more realistic to supply this smaller amount of energy by renewable sources, such as wind power.

Integrated cooking

Integrated cooking: combining solar cookers, fireless cookers and improved biomass stoves.

Increasingly, NGO’s are betting on a combination of solar cookers, fireless cookers and improved biomass stoves

Solar cookers and fireless cookers are good examples of the kind of technology that we aim for here at Low-tech Magazine. They can be cheap and easy to make, they are truly sustainable, and yet they are superior to any cooking technology available in pre-industrial times. The extensive use of water power and wind power in historyseems to suggest that solar cooking goes back many centuries, but that is not the case. The first experimental solar box cookers only appeared in the 18th century, and parabolic cookers only showed up in the late 19th century.

Solar cookers and fireless cookers might have a very low-tech image, but they integrate well with high-tech materials. Before the Industrial Revolution, we had no tin or aluminium foil, no vacuum technology, no plastic containers, and no thermally insulated glass. Cooking with fireless cookers, pressure cookers and solar cookers is not a return to the now impractical or defunct gadgets of the past. Rather, it is an innovative approach that optimizes existing knowledge and technology with the aim of radical energy efficiency.

Adapted from an article by  – Kris De Decker

Related Articles:

Notes: [1] This is a rough calculation as I have assumed that the cooking time is equally divided between the cooking stove and fireless cooker, and that the energy use of a cookstove is the same whether it brings water to a boil or merely simmers it. This leads to either an overestimation or an underestimation of the combined thermal efficiency, depending on the technology used. For example, a rocket stove is especially efficient at high power output and much less so while simmering water, so that the combined efficiency of rocket stove and fireless cooker is higher than mentioned.

[2] See for instance “Solar Cooker Project: Best Practices Manual” (Jewish World Watch) and “General Kitchen Management Practices” (Energypedia).

The Enteprise Sausage stuffer and juicer…and how to make Tofu!


Adorable Antique Enterprise Sausage Stuffer in 3 Sizes: Nos 35, 31, 25 (8, 6, 4 Qts) This is such a great collection of those hand operated machines. They’re getting very rare now and hard to find in this sort of condition, and the galvanised iron ones are ever rarer!!

This video (Part 1 of the Homemade Nagari Tofu Series) illustrates the making of soy milk from scratch, using an American antique Enterprise Sausage Stuffer, No. 40, Cast Iron Press (Galvanized), Made by Enterprise Mfg Co., Philadelphia, USA, circa 1880’s
Copyright ©2014 by Toshikazu S. Foley, Ph.D.

This video (Part 2 of the Homemade Nagari Tofu Series) illustrates the making of soy milk from scratch, using an American antique Enterprise Sausage Stuffer, No. 40, Cast Iron Press (Galvanized)
Made by Enterprise Mfg Co., Philadelphia, USA, circa 1880’s


Bring back the horse???

Bring back the heavy horse?

Based on an article by Kris De Decker.

Maybe be replacing tractors with real horse power could be the revolution that agriculture needs, and think of the compost!

Horses and other draft and pack animals revolutionised transportation, war, hunting, manufacturing and agriculture. Work horses formed the backbone of industrial society until the first decennia of the 20th century, mining coal, ploughing fields and transporting goods and people in fast growing cities.

Reintroducing horses in city traffic would be a bad idea – cars might be noisy, dangerous and polluting, but mounts are even worse. In agriculture, however, animal power would bring surprisingly large environmental profits.

“Replacing tractors with horses does not mean going back to the middle ages, nor does it exclude heavy machinery, high yields or high-tech”

For several thousands of years, horses, donkeys, mules, oxen, camels, buffaloes, llamas and elephants were the only means of transportation, next to walking. Animals pulled carts and sledges loaded with goods or people, and trains of pack animals crossed hundreds of kilometres of mountain ranges, jungles and deserts.

The arrival of railways and steam machines in the 19th century raised the need for animal transport over short and medium distances substantially. Railways, steamships and factories generated a lot of extra freight traffic.

Work horses were responsible for the shunting of steam trains and for the hauling of coal to stations and factories. In the mines coal was transported by thousands of horses who never saw daylight. The rapidly growing human population in cities was transported by horse cabs, omnibuses and trams.
Not all of these horses were on the streets at the same time, since the animals worked in shifts. Still, at the end of the nineteenth century, the horse population in cities like London and New York became so large that health problems emerged.In 1890, there were an estimated 300,000 horses in London, which at that time had a human population of around 4.5 million (or 1 horse for every 15 people). In 1880, New York had between 150,000 and 175,000 horses, while the total amount of horses in American cities in 1900 was estimated at 3 to 5 million.


In 1880, the 12,500 horses in a small city like Milwaukee (then 350,000 people) produced 133 tonnes of manure each day – more than 10 kilograms per horse per day. That means that the horse population in London must have produced around 3,000 tonnes of dung per day, of which a substantial amount landed on the paving-stones. On dry days, the muck became dust that stuck to people’s faces and clothes. On rainy days, streets were transformed in open sewers.


Pyrmont Bridge, Sydney about 1904

The Great Horse manure Crisis of 1894

Writing in the Times of London in 1894, one writer estimated that in 50 years every street in London would be buried under nine feet of manure. It seemed that The End of Civilisation As We Know It would be brought about, not by a meteor strike, global sickness or warfare, but by an excess of manure, by the urban equine. Steven Davies, a senior lecturer in history at Manchester Metropolitan University in England, has written about this crisis and drawn some lessons from it, referring to it as the Great Horse Manure Crisis of 1894, the name it is known by in internet discussions.

The 1898 conference:

In 1898 the first international urban planning conference convened in New York.  One topic dominated discussion: manure.  Cities all over the world, including Sydney, were experiencing the same problem.  Unable to see any solution to the manure crisis, the delegates abandoned the conference after three days instead of the scheduled ten days.

The problem solved:

Then, quite quickly, the crisis passed as millions of horses were replaced by millions of motor vehicles.

The change did not happen immediately, rather it happened function by function, with freight haulage being the last.  Motorised haulage did not take over from horse drawn haulage in the US or in Australia until the late 1920’s.

Cars were cheaper to own and operate than horse-drawn vehicles, both for the individual and for society. In 1900, 4,192 cars were sold in the US; by 1912 that number had risen to 356,000. In 1912, traffic counts in New York showed more cars than horses for the first time.

They worked the horses into the ground:

Apart from pollution, thousands of iron horseshoes and wheels must have made a terrible racket, and traffic accidents were no less frequent than they are today. Moreover, being a horse in the city at the end of the 19th century was not an enviable fate. Pulling carriages crammed with people or goods (sometimes with weights of over ten tons) on dirty and slippery cobble-stones was so exhausting that most animals dropped dead after just a few years of work.

“Tractors don’t reproduce, and they don’t fertilise the soil”

While using pack and draft animals for long distance travel might not be such a bad idea (at least it’s good to know that the end of oil does not necessarily mean the end of international trade), reintroducing horses or other animals in city traffic would be plain crazy. However, the principal reason why horse power is unsuited for city traffic – dung – turns out to be a very interesting quality when it comes to agriculture.


Replacing tractors with horses would be a good move since horse manure is a perfect fertilizer for agricultural soil. Since tractors don’t produce excrements, fertilizers have to come from somewhere else. That can be manure from animals which are being raised for their meat, or (mostly) artificial fertilizers. In both cases, it takes additional fossil fuels to fertilize the soil – for transporting animal manure to the fields, or for manufacturing fossil fuel based fertilizers (and transporting them too).

Horses have more advantages over tractors. They reproduce themselves, while tractors don’t. That means more oil saved, and other resources like water and metals, because if you switch to horses you don’t have to manufacture tractors. And while tractors need fossil fuels to operate, horses don’t. Large tractors have engines of up to 500 horsepower, which makes them consume up to twice as much fuel as a large SUV.


(Picture above: the Fordson Model F2, the first mass-produced tractor)

Switching (back) from tractors to horses would make agriculture almost completely independent of oil and minerals – and that could make quite a difference in a world that is (according to many) running out of fossil fuels and minerals. Horses could mean food security, without any need for importing anything. Moreover, horses don’t emit greenhouse gases worth mentioning (contrary to ruminants like cows) and they don’t pollute the air. Horses might be the solution that agriculture needs.


Of course, horses need energy too. No fossil energy, but food. This means that replacing tractors with horses would raise the need for additional agricultural land to grow feed for the animals (land that in turn has to be cultivated by extra horses). Tractors could derive their fuel from agricultural land, too, if we turn food crops into bio-diesel or ethanol. Therefore, to know whether it is a useful strategy to replace tractors by horses, we have to know how many extra acres would be needed to feed the horses, and how many acres would be needed to “feed” the tractors.

“Powering agriculture with tractors requires almost 2.5 times as much (bio)energy than powering agriculture with horses”.

Based on the amount of horses relative to crop area in Northern America in 1920 (when only 3.6 percent of farms had a tractor), as well as the amount of horses operated in 1997 on Amish farms, the researchers calculated that America would now need 23 million horses to cultivate the present 147 million hectares of farmland.

Now that’s a lot of S#%T!!!

Tractor versus horse

Taking into account the annual feeds for work horses (1,300 kg of corn grain, 1,600 kg of alfalfa and 500 kg of harvested roughage) and the national yields for these crops during the past decade, they conclude that the 23 million horses would require 9 million hectare of agricultural land for food, or 6 percent of US cropland. To “feed” the tractors with crops, 7.4 million hectares of agricultural land is needed, or 5 percent of cropland, which makes tractors slightly more efficient than horses.

The cropland needed to feed the horses then rises to 16 million hectare or 11 percent of US cropland (because of the energy needed to produce fodder from crops), while the cropland needed to “feed” and manufacture the tractors rises to 38 million hectares or 26 percent of American cropland. Conclusion: when everything is taken into account, powering agriculture with tractors requires almost 2.5 times more energy than powering agriculture with horses.
To make a fair comparison, however, it should also be taken into account that horses make their own fertiliser without any extra energy input and that they reproduce themselves, while tractors need artificial fertilisers and have to be manufactured (and replaced). The researchers express these energy needs in terms of cropland requirements, to be able to compare them with the other results (they take the view that the fertilisers and tractors are produced with energy delivered by energy crops). They also included the energy needed to turn crops into fodder.

High-tech horses
A Swedish study published in 2002 came to similar results: it concluded that a tractor-based agriculture consumes 67 percent more energy than a horse-based agriculture.  The Swedish also calculated that the energy input in (local) agriculture increased 13-fold from 1927 to 1981, while total agricultural production in 1981 was only 2.4 times that in 1927. Find a link to the full pdf of the Swedish studies here.

Replacing tractors with horses is not without challenges, though. First of all, there are not enough horses or other draft animals around. Currently, there are some 9 million horses in the United States, 220,000 horses in Australia and approx. 58 million world wide.  If we want to reintroduce horses somewhere in the near future – say, when the oil runs out or becomes prohibitively expensive – we better start breeding quick smart.

 Secondly, only a small share of those animals are work or draft horses, one ton muscular beasts with massive hindquarters, who are best suited for pulling weights. If normal riding horses would be used, many more animals are needed.  Even if in theory any weight can be pulled by adding more and more light horses, in practice horse spans that are too large become unmanageable.

“Encouraging people to watch a horse’s ass instead of a computer screen might prove difficult”

Horses are not as low-tech and natural as they seem to be. Heavy work horses like the Percheron (picture here) the Belgian, the Shire or the Clydesdale are the result of centuries of cross-breeding by man. Unfortunately, these breeds are not doing so well.

The situation is not as alarming as it was fifty years ago, when many breeds of work horses were on the brink of extinction. Their numbers have risen again, but the population is still small enough to make them vulnerable to genetic deviations.

Furthermore, most of them are now bred for their looks only, and these characteristics do not always correspond with agricultural needs or even a good health. If draft horses become extinct, it would take many centuries to get them back on the scene (horse ‘technology’ deteriorated before, after the decline of the ancient empires).

Man power

Even if we can breed enough work horses, agriculture would have to change. The advantages of a tractor are speed and convenience. It is easier to steer a tractor than a span of horses, and it goes a lot faster. There is not so much difference in velocity, but because of their larger power, tractors can pull wider and heavier ploughs, so that they don’t have to go up and down the field as many times as a horse span. Using several horse spans at the same time makes up for that, but that also means that you need more farmers.

Horses also need to be taken care of, seven days a week, even when they are not working. And they might drop fertilizer on the field, but they are not evenly distributing it. All of this means that a horse-based agriculture would demand a lot more man power. More people would have to work in agriculture – while today, in industrialized countries, almost nobody works on the field anymore. Encouraging people to watch a horse’s ass instead of a computer screen might prove difficult.

Lightweight machinery

On the other hand, putting tractors in the stable does not mean going back to the middle ages, and it does not exclude heavy machinery, high yields or high-tech. Horses in agriculture are a fairly modern phenomenon. In antiquity and throughout the middle ages, fields were ploughed by oxen. In Europe and in North America horses took over in the 19th century with the introduction of a new generation of machinery that was too heavy for oxen.These machines required much more animal power, but they increased yields and decreased the need for man power substantially. Without tractors.

In the US in the second half of the 19th century, you could see 12-meter wide and 15-ton heavy harvesting machines pulled by spans of up to 40 horses, managed by just 5 or 6 farmers. These were mostly riding horses, since most European draft horses were only imported at the end of the 19th century (these purebred animals were usually not working in the field, but only used to “upgrade” the existing horse population).Today, agricultural machinery is trimmed to powerful tractors.

With 21st century technology, it must be possible to design extremely lightweight machinery that can combine horse power with high yields, high speeds and easy management??

© based on an article by Kris De Decker

Community gardens are a fantastic thing in Australia’s big cities, but has the time now come for allotments!!??


Yesterday I spent a wonderful day at the Community Gardens at Bundanoon, evidently established on an old caravan park site. They’ve also worked hard as group to save a host of local plant varieties, specific to the Southern Highlands and Bundanoon.

But as we know, community gardens are nothing new, I can remember as a child wandering through my grandfathers allotment along the railway line in Crewe in the UK back in the late 50’s. The plots were only small but all year round they were bursting with produce that was swapped for many other useful items of the day.

My grandfathers allotment came into the family during the second world war, when every available patch of unused public land was utilised to grow food for the war effort by the Ministry of Food, and strict rules applied to this food too. Anyone caught selling or plundering someones allotment were harshly treated and made examples of for good reason.

In Australia community gardens are fairly recent arrivals, but going back to when I first arrived in Australia as an immigrant in the early 70’s, there were market gardens close to Sydney, flourishing food markets right in the city and most people had a vegie patch in the burbs and grew a lot of their own Tucker.

In fact, because of the tyranny of distance in my adopted land I found most fresh food was grown and very much distributed locally, and in the country people still jarred and preserved their food too in times of surplus, but inner city living and apartment dwelling begged the question could we not utilise vacant public land to grow food as in Europe and what of all the rooftops in our cities totally unused?? It’s so refreshing too see some amazing roof top gardens now across Australia, and their numbers are growing! Excuse the pun!

As mentioned community gardens have been a traditional land use in Europe and the UK since the early nineteenth century.

As early as 1819 in the UK, and the 1830s in Western Europe, allotments were set aside for the urban working class. These provided a breathing space in the crowded industrial cities and their produce supplemented the food supply of families.

Later, a working class gardening movement in Europe provided an important social and organisational underpinning in the pre-World War One period. It served as a part of the counterculture promoted by the socialist movement within different countries.

Economic hardship imposed by the economic recession of the 1930s, followed by World War Two, brought a renewed interest in community gardening as a means of food production. During world War Two, ‘Victory Gardens’ flourished in most urban landscapes.

It was self sufficiency and sustainability before these words became fashionable.

Post-war decline

Despite a decline in the community garden movement after the Second World War, community gardening persisted until the present day. It is now a popular urban activity. Community gardens are much sought after in in Europe as ‘urban retreats’ (Kleingarten) and in the UK and USA as ‘allotments’.

The demand for garden plots is increasing. With one million believed to be in existence at the present time, the waiting list for allotments in Greater London alone is estimated by the Civic Trust at 10 000. Nationally, the waiting list is reported to be around 100 000.

Germany has more than 500 000 allotments, with around 35 000 each in Switzerland and Sweden.

Community gardens are, in general, established on vacant or unused parcels of land. In the UK Europe and the USA, they are community managed.

Australia’s first

The first Australian community garden was established in 1977 in Nunuwading, Melbourne.

At about the same time, negotiations between community groups and local government paved the way for the Collingwood Children’s Farm, also in Melbourne and a city farm in nearby Brunswick.

The subsequent popularity of city farms and community gardens led to the establishment of similar community enterprises in Melbourne.

A global movement

The origin of city farms and community food gardens in Australia lies in the 1970s, a decade characterised by increasing concern over environmental conditions, greater leisure time and changing recreational activities. The role of these factors in the development of community based urban agriculture has not been measured.

The UK, Western Europe and the USA now have well developed and cohesive city farm and community garden movements. In the UK, community gardens and city farms are backed by the National Federation of City Farms. The organisation has received funding from the Department of the Environment offers valuable support and advisory services to groups seeking to secure access to land.

The Federation was an inspiration to Dr Darren Phillips in setting up the Australian City Farms and Community Gardens Network – later to be shortened to the Australian Community Gardens Network – in the mid-1990s.

City farms today range in size and complexity from small, low-cost neighbourhood enterprises to larger establishments such as Collingwood Children’s Farm and CERES, both in Melbourne, and Fairfield City Farming south-western Sydney. These larger enterprises offer a range of farm and craft-based activities for adults to young children and employ paid staff.

Todays community gardens and allotments in Australian cities

In Britain, if you want to have an allotment of common land to grow vegetables, theoretically you can have one. There is a long history of legislation that comes out of very old commoners rights (and to some extent compensation for their loss with large scale enclosure of land in the 18th and 19th Centuries) and the ‘Dig for Victory’ response to the food crisis of the Second World War.

In Australia, while we also have some strong and culturally diverse traditions of home-grown veg, it has tended to centre on an assumption that you can come up with the land yourself amid all of our space, most likely in your own garden. But that doesn’t work so well for a lot of us in the cities now, jammed into apartments or houses whose extensions have taken up all but a paved courtyard. This space issue, combined with forceful trends about how we value food, its freshness, origins and ancillary impacts, has come together to do a lot of the fuelling of the recent rise of community gardens. You might call it a ‘movement’, but that implies a direction away from the mainstream, whereas what is happening with vegie growing these days is precisely the opposite. Community gardens are ‘in’; while perhaps not the ‘new black’, they are certainly a far more fashionable shade of green.

At the community garden where I am a member, the interest in membership, the time it takes waiting for a plot to become available, and the conditions of use for retaining one have been subject to consistent and continuing growth. Around the corner from me, a community plot started up a couple of years ago that was initially something of a ‘guerrilla garden’ in that some perfectly civil and upstanding members of the local community appropriated some Council land without permission. It then became something of a Council darling – something they could get behind with little effort but with positive effect. The common impression is that had they been asked, Council would have said no if only because of bureaucracy and liability-phobia. But with it appearing almost overnight, the same local government inertia would have made opposing it the path of most resistance.

In Sydney’s Inner West, traditionally our more alternative area, community gardens big and small have been founded and continue to grow. There also, as described by Kirsten at Milkwood, a street in Dulwich Hill has gotten together and done a lot to communally take over the verge for vegies. Back in the East, a North Bondi community verge garden has become the best known of all because it is run (and regularly televised) by  Costa Georgiadis, host of ABC’s Gardening Australia.

It is some very public gardening, and that seems like unmitigated good, right? I would say so, mixing things up in the continuum between public and private, between communal and exclusive. But it is important that we are clear about what sits where. The land ownership, the idea and much of the aesthetic value is public, but the gardening and its produce is necessarily private. Food production is inevitably a calculation of return versus effort. It is owned; it might be by a community, an individual or a corporation, but it is owned.

Sitting somewhere in that continuum up in Randwick, Barrett House tends a vegetable garden on the verge that actively invites people to forage from it. But notably it is explicitly a trial, calling on anyone who might take them up on the offer to only do so cursorily. And notably, these public fruits are coming from a community body, such that we shouldn’t ignore the real start and end of investment and return. Were you to pop along to Costa’s verge and knock off a head of broccoli, let’s not pretend that anyone involved would not view it as theft. These aren’t lemons over the back fence we are talking about, they are vegies, carefully tended crops, the fruits of labour.

Out of all of this, something that interests me a great deal is the fact that everything described above involves the assertion or allocation of some kind of right. And with this it is interesting that a lot of community vegie growing doesn’t really have any particularly sensible framework that we manage those rights in. Usufruct (‘a right of enjoyment enabling a holder to derive profit or benefit from property that either is titled to another person or which is held in common ownership, as long as the property is not damaged or destroyed’ according toWikipedia), a word I have used before with only a passing attention to accuracy, is something that exists in our legal heritage, although not specifically in our law. I am not suggesting that governments should regulate our rights at different levels of community as entitled usufructuaries (holders of specific rights); but the long term sustainability of the social and political structures of community gardens cannot be secured by simply leaving well enough alone to keep moving forward much as we are somehow doing now. We think that these things are ‘democracies’ but ignore the fact that democracy is not a way of managing things, but a way of creating accountability amongst our managers.

My community garden has actually alienated some public land behind a locked gate beyond which only vetted and paying members can enjoy benefits. In it, although I do spend a lot of time just on the community side of things with that involvement itself being the return, my major food focus is on getting my plot to provide for my family on what is essentially your land. On the other hand, our contribution at the start of the local verge garden always left me uncertain of my entitlement to harvest, so I never did and now just enjoy the fact of its existence as a passer-by. My feeling is that it now works with a small enough group to run quite well. But for me it often turns out that there is too much inequality (and/or inequity) in the passive organisation of many community gardens that wrongly supposes some kind of communalism is at work rather than what is strangely best described as oligarchy. Bunches of left-leaners ironically come together and choose a community structure where laissez-faire free-market governance reigns at the expense of socially equitable returns.

At home I tend a small strip of herbs and greens with variable productivity in the common grounds of an apartment block. It is still not exclusively mine, but I certainly know where I stand with it. Personally, and quite reasonably, I prefer to make my investment knowing the conditions attached to the return.

Most recently, two workmates and I had a tiny version of a permablitz. We have made a salad garden, the explicit intention that it will provide lunchtime salad greens (lettuce, rocket, cress, etc), raw veg (radishes, carrots) and fruit (tomatoes, strawberries) for any and all of the ten people in our office (based in an old house and therefore with a garden). The company contributes most costs and as for the other inputs, the opportunity to duck out from some mind-scrambling report-writing to water some seedlings or attend to some weeds is a lot more of a personal return than an investment. I like this, my newest of gardens, the most likely of any that I know to have only winners.

At our monthly community garden working bee, I would typically spend perhaps a couple of hours tending the communal plot from which I very rarely harvest, really just gardening for the hell of it and the social engagement. I then generally come home with less food than I took there. Instead of communal harvests (an exception here) we have common rights to harvest; the difference being that the former would involve shares divided out and the latter involves shares taken – in the process tending to reward takers over dividers. To be honest, the process has alienated me and I increasingly eschew involvement with the communal vegetable plots in favour of areas where I feel more equitably engaged (or personally engaged, as with the aquaponics). Conveniently enough the oligarchy is benign and this can still work.

Community gardens in Australia are, in my view, in their youth; and as is often the way of youth, they are heady with ambition, socialism, fashion following and limited attention spans. And perhaps most importantly, with that insistence of making its own mistakes to learn from. There is no great need for them to get a haircut, or a real job, or settle down and start worrying about just how much gets brought home after tax. There is a good argument for staying young, having fun and not bothering about efficiency. But youth is also capable of philosophy and organisation; and it is important if community gardens want to have long term sustainability, that rights, responsibilities and entitlements are made clear, or at least structures made to allow for this. As people (or just as animals), we are backed up by a hell of a lot of evolution hard-wiring us to appreciate food returns against effort.

These youthful gardens properly enough think that they are going to change the world; educate their communities, challenge corporate agriculture, set up local food systems and feed a brighter future. But they won’t do it meaningfully unless they do it with long-term sustainability, and they won’t do that unless there is some kind of structured understanding of usufructuary rights and firm efforts to build the returns side of the equation to match investments. Which isn’t to posit a dire prognosis – in the meantime they are social clubs, community hubs, hobby centres, and those are good things. Were I to posit a successful future for community gardens, it would be where the very core of society and its history, inclusive of those with no interest whatsoever in personally growing their own veg, was in majority favour, and laws existed to support (or at least defend) them. As it happens, this is the British allotment system in many ways.

So this I know: Community gardens are a fantastic thing in the fabric of Australia’s big cities, and its most recent history; but the time has come for allotments.

Renewed interest

The 1990s and 2000’s brought a surge on interest in community gardens in Sydney and other cities and this interest is still growing.

Having served populations through depression and survived times of affluence, it seems that community gardens and city farms are now finding renewed vigour worldwide.

References –

Let’s create a new TV show called – ‘The Back Yard Food Blitz?’




After reading this study by Zainil Zainuddin, it dawned on me that there is literally millions of acres of back yard land doing nothing around the countryside. Instead of these boring programs like ‘Backyard Blitz’  re laying yet more lawn, flower beds and then paving most of the yard for entertainment with pots of exotic easy to look after cacti, why not turn this space into an Eden of food and and health???


I recently completed postgraduate research on urban food production. The research area was limited to within a 70km radius of Melbourne CBD. The data collection period ran from July 2012 to July 2013. This was deliberately designed to capture inter-seasonal yield. In all, 15 households took part in the research and each participant contributed 12 weeks’ worth of data.

The collective plot size was 1,096 square metres, with a total yield of 388.73 kg worth of fruits, vegetables, nuts, honey and meat. A total of 1,015 eggs were also recorded. The study found that backyard food production was capable of producing a great diversity of edibles from common kitchen garden herbs to less commonly cultivated fruits and vegetables, as well as less commercially available varieties like amaranth, apple cucumber, acorn squash, butter squash, babaco, cape gooseberry, edible canna, elderflower, gem squash, loganberry, nettle, oca, orache, purslane, rat-tailed radish, viola flower, warrigal green, white mulberry and yacon. In total, 101 different types of nuts, fruits and vegetables were generated during the study period.

Another notable feature was the diverse food growing technologies and practices employed by the participants. One exemplary backyard was established in 2008 using permaculture principles. Measuring 80 square metres, this particular backyard featured more than 30 fruit trees in addition to over 70 varieties of medicinal plants and herbs. The total yield from this backyard over the 12-week period was 50.23 kg.

Of the 15 participants, 11 practiced permaculture design principle in their food growing habits. This involved an integrated approach of no-dig, raised beds for food growing, the use of compost and/or worm-farm castings for soil improvement (and the use of animal manure for those engaged in poultry or fowl raising), companion planting for organic pest management and rainwater harvesting.

The type of produce was broadly segregated into 19 categories. “Beans” included a wide variety: broad bean, French bean, string bean, etc. Similarly “Citrus” covered grapefruit, lime, lemon, orange, etc.

Entomophagy, the practice of eating insects as a dietary supplement, is widely practiced in parts of Asia and Africa, but it is not so common in the Western world. One participant raised tenebrio molitor as part of his backyard food production activity.

All participants reported a surplus of between 10 and 25 per cent, which was shared among friends, family and neighbours, or distributed through local swap and share network.

Participants were also asked about their reasons and motivations for growing food in their backyards. Their responses can be broadly categorised into five main groups:

  1. health and nutrition, including taste and freshness,
  2. ecology and environment, e.g. issues like GMO-free and organic,
  3. food security and self-reliance,
  4. cost, and
  5. pleasure and enjoyment including lifestyle and spirituality.

Of the five categories, ‘ecology and environment’ ranked as the top motivation at 80 per cent, followed by ‘food security and self reliance’ at 73.3 percent, while ‘health and nutrition’ accounted for 66.6 per cent.

For the participants who highlighted ‘environment and ecology’ reasons, some of the concerns mentioned were food-miles, GMOs, peak oil, climate change and stewardship. As one of them noted:

You appreciate food more when you know where it comes from and have seen the amazing process of it growing. Home grown has the best flavour and freshness and I prefer to be eating seasonally. I believe there is more health benefits from eating local produce. I love the reward and enjoyment of growing things, of creating an edible ecosystem. Nature is really very generous. It is expensive to buy organic and you can be sure food is sage – GE free and chemical free.

The premise of the study is the capacity of urban backyard food production and its potential to address food security issues in Melbourne. Admittedly, this is a highly selective study and somewhat limited in scope. But with its polyculture and biodiversity, urban food production is a thriving activity with productive outcomes. Food production in urban areas takes many forms and as the study illustrated, it is supplemental and not complete self-sufficiency.

For cities to be resilient it is critical to address the issue of food security/vulnerability. The central concern here is to explore the many possibilities and potential for restoring the food shed closer to where it will be ultimately consumed, i.e. local neighbours.

Check out the full document and findings at –