Carolyn Steel on how food shapes our cities, and an expedition into a city’s bowels

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Much food for thought in that talk by Carolyn Steel, and an excellent historical overview of how cities, especially in the west, have grown in relation to modes of food production and distribution.

Are urban dwellers really more carnivorous than their rural counterparts? Are urban dwellers in the developing world as far removed from food production as those in the north/west are?

On the other side of any city’s metabolism is something we pay even less attention to than where our food comes from – where does it eventually end up, along with our other waste products? How does a city like New York manage to keep itself relatively clean, and unflooded, given the rivers of sewage that must surely be flushed down the drain every day? This fascinating (if disgusting to some) story from the New York Times a couple of days ago chronicles a remarkable expedition through the bowels of the city, through a different kind of wilderness, below our feet.

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