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Farmers spend too much time driving trucks, not tractors

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Next week thousands of the most plugged in advocates, writers, business people, scientists, techies, farmers, and consumers of all stripes will converge in Austin, Texas, to think, share, and take action on the most pressing environmental and public health issues of our time. It's the annual SXSW ECO conference—my first ever—and I'm honored to have been invited as both a panelist and moderator.

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How can architects help address challenges like violence, vulnerability, livelihood, and health? The question inspires Rogue Architecture, a studio and website based in the U.K., to study participatory design interventions around the world, and sometimes participate in the interventions themselves—like this one, which helped start an urban agriculture project in a Caracas, Venezuela barrio.

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Four years ago, a group of residents in the small English town of Todmorden decided to adopt an ambitious goal: by 2018, the whole town would become completely "food independent," growing and raising all of the food it needed itself, through the Incredible Edible Todmorden project.

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