Urban Oases: Using Aquaponics and Community to Reduce Food Insecurity in Baltimore City
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Food insecurity describes a “…lack of access to adequate food [caused by] a lack of money and other resources.” In Baltimore City, the food insecurity rate is 21.3 percent. This figure is two to three times more severe than in any of its surrounding counties5 and is nearly double the national average of 11.1 percent5. The effects of food insecurity include increases in chronic disease, premature and preventable death, poor physical and mental health, vastly inflated healthcare costs, developmental problems, and disproportionately negative outcomes for racial and ethnic minorities. This paper explores the causes of food insecurity, the successes and failures of past interventions, and presents a solution to the problem: the formation of Urban Oases – a nonprofit harnessing the power of aquaponics technology to reduce and end food insecurity in Baltimore City. This policy proposal is thereafter evaluated for its effectiveness, costs, and benefits. Through this evaluation, it is demonstrated that this proposal’s benefits outweigh its costs. The paper concludes by recommending to Governor Larry Hogan that Urban Oases and its aquaponics technology be used to address the issue of food insecurity in Baltimore City.