EDITORS NOTE

Plant a seed, grow a future How The World Works is a grand statement of what Popular Mechanics is about. Or, rather, it was. Over the years, our South African edition has adopted the slogan The magazine for curious minds and, lately, Be the first to know. In spite of those catchy slogans, we’re still very much about demystifying this world of ours, though there are some mysteries that defy explanation (appropriately, the voting for the new ANC leadership was in progress as we put this issue to bed). You’ll have noticed, too, that the opening section of Popular Mec...
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Plant a seed, grow a future How The World Works is a grand statement of what Popular Mechanics is about. Or, rather, it was. Over the years, our South African edition has adopted the slogan The magazine for curious minds and, lately, Be the first to know. In spite of those catchy slogans, we’re still very much about demystifying this world of ours, though there are some mysteries that defy explanation (appropriately, the voting for the new ANC leadership was in progress as we put this issue to bed). You’ll have noticed, too, that the opening section of Popular Mechanics is devoted to How your world works. Note the your: it’s been a significant part of our mission to ensure that we stay in touch with what you are doing, using, discussing and tweeting. And, sometimes, to stay ahead of the conversation. In the pursuit of the significant and the important, we’ve covered some ground that to long-time readers might have seemed a little foreign. Still, what could be closer to home than your daily bread? Indeed: that’s why in July 2016 we covered the science of the loaf, from soil to sourdough baking. We take “bread” a little more figuratively in this issue’s big local story, which concerns food security. The final report of the 1996 World Food Summit defines Food Security as existing when all people, at all times, have physical, social and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food that meets their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life. You might think that this is something that the public sector should be seized with and, to an extent, you may be right. The country’s ongoing drought crisis, for instance, has implications for food security that make the idea of showering every other day seem trivial by comparison. Yet, if we leave it up to someone else to find solutions on our behalf, we’re missing a trick. We know this because Popular Mechanics people are not only curious, they’re resourceful. That’s why I believe Growing Stronger is such an important story for us. It points the way to a future we can all be more involved in shaping. Does that mean we all return to the land? Of course not. The inexorable push to the cities continues. We need to find sustainable ways to co-exist in our increasingly crowded urban areas. The examples we’ve studied show that urban agriculture has a place – sometimes a most unlikely place, like a rooftop. What’s particularly intriguing, we’ve found, is that the current initiatives are being driven by the youth. Being hands-on people, we can only applaud those who are eager to get their hands dirty – this can be literally so – in the interests of shaping the future, which after all belongs to the youth.show less