By Patrisia Ramirez, Justin Kohls, Frank Pascual, and Lonette Sims
(May 2012)

The current conventional method of growing food was developed in order to increase food security around the world. After World War II many chemicals that had been produced for the war were now modified and used as chemical pesticides and nitrogen fertilizers (Ikerd, 2008). Applications of ammonium nitrate replaced the natural cycle of animal-centered fertilization and allowed farmers to double their yield and eliminate the practice of crop rotation (Ikerd , 2008). Fritz Haber, a Nobel prizewinner for his development of nitrogen fertilizer, credited himself with the ability to improve agriculture and the existence of forty percent of the present population (Pollan, 2006, p. 43). With this said we would expect for world food security and malnutrition to be a thing of the past; however, this is not the current situation.

In the United States, sixteen percent of households with children are food insecure, and around the world there are 925 million people hungry (Nord, 2009). New technologies and agricultural practices have emerged in the last two decades to combat the mass amounts of hunger and malnutrition around the world. Vacant lots and factories are being converted into urban farms and gardens and local farmers are promoting their sustainable practices to help ensure local food security. Schaumburg has developed many community gardens and host a farmers market throughout the year. The potential exists for even more: brownfields in Schaumburg could be developed into safe areas for urban gardening to not only to beautify the city, but to also increase local food security.

Next page: Schaumburg’s Agricultural Heritage

Banner photo credit: The Volkening Heritage Farm at Schaumburg’s Spring Valley Nature Sanctuary, July 2010 (M. Bryson)