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  #81  
Old Posted Apr 21, 2011, 6:30 PM
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Keeping Urban Farmers Safe


April 20, 2011



Read More: http://sustainablecitiescollective.c...n-farmers-safe

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Representatives from the Environmental Protection Agency (E.P.A.), URS, and City of Chicago outlined how to safely farm an urban garden on top of a contaminated site at a national conference on brownfields. As Amy Yersavich, Ohio E.P.A. explained, “urban gardens aren’t going to come and go. They are here to stay so we need to focus on making them safe.” In fact, in many cities like Detroit, San Francisco, and New York City, urban gardening on all types of sites is “moving forward with leaps and bounds.” She has noticed that even Rustbelt states are transforming their brownfields into urban gardens. “Everyone wants fresh, healthy, local foods.”

- For residential urban gardens, it’s important to look at whether the backyard used to be part of an industrial brownfield site. “A backyard could have been a brownfield in the past, or nearby some defunct facility.” Yersavich said residential gardens may have also been sites of historic “burn pits,” used early in the century to burn garbage. In addition, lead paint flakes can spread to yards. In a test of 30-35 new pilot urban gardening sites in Cleveland, Yersavich said the E.P.A. was most concerned about testing for metals (arsenic, lead); polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (the result of incomplete combustion in burn pits); volatile organic compounds (VOCs); PCBs, and other metals, herbicides, pesticides, and dioxins. Furthermore, there are often site-specific issues.

- She said in most sites tested most plants had “limited uptake of contaminants” but more research is needed. She said if someone is concerned about what’s in the soil, they should avoid planting leafy green vegetables, carrots, and other root vegetables. Beyond the food that is consumed from these sites though, the E.P.A. is concerned about the potential health impacts for someone touching, inhaling, and accidentally eating contaminated soils every day. “We are creating stringent soil standards to determine acceptable exposure rates.” While these standards may end up “ruling out many potential brownfield sites,” at least gardeners will be kept safe.

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  #82  
Old Posted Apr 27, 2011, 3:26 AM
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There are a couple of these urban farms within walking distance of my apartment here in Hollywood. I would love to see more of the asphalt parking lots being turned into local gardens... if it could only be more profitable than parking.
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  #83  
Old Posted Jun 17, 2011, 3:17 PM
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The allure of food: It’s not just a lifestyle. It’s a life.


17 Jun 2011

By Hazel Borys

Read More: http://newurbannetwork.com/news-opin...E2%80%99s-life

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All the recent talk of Agrarian Urbanism has sent me down a tangential thought process. The difference between life and lifestyle. Lifestyle has come to mean how we spend our money on the weekends – or maybe squeeze in after work – before we get back to the grind. Things that often have more to do with entertainment than community. Over the last 50 years or so, shopping and golf have become central national pastimes. What if, instead, life became a little more organic again? Innately, life is internal. Lifestyle is external. However, in my parent’s generation, in a more agrarian time, they were one and the same. We were more connected – by necessity – to what sustains us.

- Yesterday, Andrés Duany said something that particularly struck me. That, in the next generation, the market square is likely to replace the shopping square. When my parents were kids, this was certainly true. The farmer’s market was a gathering place that was not only fully integrated into both local urbanism and culture, but was also essential to life. Most cities had at least one in each quadrant, although sadly the few historical examples that survived have become regional destinations. Now you’d be hard pressed to find a community-based economic development plan without a farmer’s market, in both rural and urban settings.

- Agriculture is making its way back into our lives as we search for the organic, the connected, and the communal. As we search for meaningful daily rituals and seasonal celebrations. As we search for slow food, localism, community, economic resiliency, environmental stewardship, health and fitness, and just plain fun. And in a time in which we’re seeking to wean ourselves off of petroleum for a wide range of reasons, localism seems like a viable path forward.

- The movement isn’t just North Americans trying to do penance for their love affair with the car. Garden Cities examines Ag Urb urban designs in Edinburg, Scotland, Vancouver, BC, Southlands, BC, Dumfries, Scotland, Hertfordshire County, England, Santa Gloria, Mexico. US examples include Dade County, FL, Onondaga County, NY, St. Bernard Parish, LA, Londonberry, NH, Calhoun County, FL, Sandy Point, NC, Cloud Rock, UT, Goodbee Square, LA, and Flower Mound, TX.

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  #84  
Old Posted Jun 22, 2011, 3:03 AM
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Urban farms do more harm than good to the environment


June 16, 2011

By Edward L. Glaeser



Read More: http://articles.boston.com/2011-06-1...ons-local-food

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ALL THAT is grassy is not green. There are many good reasons to like local food, but any large-scale metropolitan farming will do more harm than good to the environment. Devoting scarce metropolitan land to agriculture means lower density levels, longer drives, and carbon emission increases which easily offset the modest greenhouse gas reductions associated with shipping less food.

- But while neighborhoods benefit from the occasional communal garden, it is a mistake to think that metropolitan areas could or should try to significantly satisfy their own food needs. Good environmentalism is smart environmentalism that thinks through the total systemic impacts of any change. Farm land within a metropolitan area decreases density levels and pushes us apart, and carbon emissions rise dramatically as density falls.

- In 2008, two Carnegie Mellon researchers analyzed the reduction in carbon emissions that might come from moving to local food. They found that American food consumption produces greenhouse gas equivalent to 8.9 tons of carbon dioxide per household per year. Food delivery represents .4 tons of that total; all agricultural transportation up and down the food chain creates one ton of carbon dioxide per household annually.

- We must weigh the environmental benefits from shipping less food against the environmental costs of producing and storing local food in a state that doesn’t exactly have ideal conditions for every kind of produce. One recent UK report found that the greenhouse gas emissions involved in eating English tomatoes were about three times as high as eating Spanish tomatoes. The extra energy and fertilizer involved in producing tomatoes in chilly England overwhelmed the benefits of less shipping.

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  #85  
Old Posted Jun 30, 2011, 3:23 PM
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Crops out of concrete: Farming Hong Kong's urban island


Read More: http://www.cnn.com/2011/WORLD/asiapc...ion=cnn_latest

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On the roof of a 21-story office building in Hong Kong's eastern district sits a grassy patch of hope that agriculture can thrive even in one of the world's most congested spaces. The rooftop is managed by local entrepreneur Osbert Lam, who spends his afternoons amid the rows of planter boxes teaming with long beans, tomatoes and herbs that occupy his urban farm. Juxtaposed with the Hong Kong skyline, his rooftop stands out like a dab of verdant paint on a canvas of concrete, and is just one of the growing numbers of farms sprouting atop the city's skyscrapers.

"There are a lot of empty, leftover rooftops that could easily be transformed into fields," said Lam, who started the Eco-Mama rooftop farm just six months ago. For just $15 per month, Lam rents out toolbox-sized planter boxes to businessmen, elderly couples and families alike, and even runs horticulture classes. He uses imported soil from Germany to fill his planters and lets the humid, subtropical climate do the rest.

"I found that the veggies loved the environment on my rooftop," Lam, a 50 year-old father of two, said. "Here, there is good sun from the South, good air from the East and we're above the crowded streets." And that's precisely the premise behind urban farming: integrating farming practices into the urban ecological and economic systems. This is done through direct interaction with the urban environment and incorporating resources, such as using organic waste for compost or utilizing portions of urban structures for farming projects.

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  #86  
Old Posted Aug 1, 2011, 1:53 PM
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Emanuel widens city's gate to urban gardening


July 27, 2011

By Monica Eng

Read More: http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/l...,4917552.story

Quote:
Urban farmers were delighted Tuesday when Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced a proposed ordinance that could make growing and selling fresh produce in Chicago much easier. In December, some of the biggest local names in urban agriculture had protested a previous proposal that they felt would stunt the growth of city gardens with cumbersome rules on plot size, high-end fencing and produce sales in residential areas. Erika Allen, head of seven nonprofit Growing Power farms in Chicago, predicted at the time that her group's work "would be over" if the zoning ordinance passed.

- The new ordinance would expand limits on community garden plot size to 25,000 square feet (about half an acre), allow limited produce sales in residentially zoned areas, relax rules on fencing and parking for large commercial urban farms, and allow aquaponics (a system of cultivating both fish and produce) outdoors in hoop houses. The measure is expected to be introduced Thursday to the City Council and could be voted on in September. Proponents of urban farming say it has the potential to transform the city's estimated 14,000 empty lots into productive and attractive spaces.

- "This shows a vision that the most needy neighborhoods can be the key to revitalizing our city by cleaning up spaces, providing jobs and growing good food," said Ken Dunn, a critic of the previously proposed ordinance. Dunn, who runs the one-acre City Farm in the old Cabrini-Green neighborhood, said he believes Emanuel's approach to urban agriculture marks a sea change from the last administration. "Mayor Daley told us that people moved to the city to get away from farms, not to have farms in the city," Dunn said.

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  #87  
Old Posted Aug 23, 2011, 1:36 PM
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The Potential for Urban Agriculture


Read More: http://thecityfix.com/blog/new-repor...n-agriculture/

PDF Report: http://www.urbandesignlab.columbia.e...ulture_nyc.pdf

Quote:
.....

To understand the capacity of New York City’s crop production, UDL’s report aims to answer how much land could be productively used for agriculture and how much crop could realistically be grown in the given land. When it comes to the benefits of urban agriculture in New York City, the study also considers factors like food security, storm water runoff and sewer overflow mitigation, urban heat island effect, energy consumption, waste reduction, as well as opportunities for composting for agricultural purposes.

Urban agriculture can play a critical role as productive green urban infrastructure. Urban agriculture can serve as an critical environmental service to the city through stormwater runoff mitigation, soil remediation, and energy use reduction.

Urban agriculture can play an important role in community development. Urban agriculture can be a means of transforming underutilized or neglected space into a public resource, providing opportunities for social interaction, greater community cohesion and self-sufficiency, and engagement for young people in underserved neighborhoods.

There is a substantial amount of land potentially available for urban agriculture in NYC. UDL identified almost 5,000 acres of vacant land likely to be suitable for farming in the five boroughs of New York City, the equivalent of six times the area of Central Park. But this is only a portion of the potential agricultural sites. UDL also identified more than 1,000 acres of New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) green space, underutilized open spaces, and Greenstreets.

Intensive growing methods adapted to urban spaces can result in yields per acre which greatly exceed those of conventional production techniques. Employing high-yield or “biointensive” production techniques characteristic of urban agriculture can make the best use of available land.

While urban agriculture cannot supply the entire city with all of its food needs, in certain neighborhoods it can significantly contribute to food security. Areas with low access to healthy food retail, high prevalence of obesity and diabetes, low median income, and comparatively high availability of vacant and other available land are where urban agriculture could have the greatest impact on food security.

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  #88  
Old Posted Sep 14, 2011, 9:03 PM
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Could cities rely 100% on urban agriculture for their food?


Read More: http://www.smartplanet.com/blog/citi...their-food/915

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While urban agriculture has gained in popularity throughout U.S. cities, food imports from all around the world overwhelmingly feed our cities. But could that ever change? A recent study by Sharanbir Grewal of The Ohio State University found that it’s possible for a city to be 100% reliant on food grown and raised in the city to meet basic food needs. And at the very least urban agriculture could be doing much more to feed the city. Grewal studied Cleveland, Ohio, a Rust Belt city hit hard by foreclosures during the Great Recession that resulted in vacant properties scattered throughout the city.

In the first scenario, Grewal found that if Cleveland converted 80% of its vacant lots into farms it could produce 22% to 48% of the city’s demand for fresh produce (vegetables and fruits) depending on the type of farming. It could also produce 25% of poultry and shell eggs, and 100% of honey. In addition, if Cleveland used 80% of every vacant lot and 9% of every occupied residential lot, the city could generate between 31% and 68% of the needed fresh produce, 94% of poultry and shell eggs, and 100% of honey.

And it gets even more impressive. In the most ambitious scenario, if the city turned 62% of every industrial and commercial rooftop into a farm, in addition to 80% of vacant lots and 9% of occupied residential lots, the city could meet between 46% and 100% of its fresh produce needs, 94% of its poultry and shell eggs and 100% of its honey.

The study says: “The three scenarios can attain overall levels of self-reliance between 4.2% and 17.7% by weight and 1.8% and 7.3% by expenditure in total food and beverage consumption, compared to the current level of 0.1% self-reliance in total food and beverage by expenditure.” Growing food in the city would also keep $29-115 million in the local economy.

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  #89  
Old Posted Sep 14, 2011, 9:30 PM
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So it could produce 100% the amount of food at 1000% the price?
I don't really think that's the end game we should be going for.
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  #90  
Old Posted Sep 26, 2011, 2:38 PM
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Great thread! Definitely I share the main idea of this thread. And what about "urban agriculture"? Urban agriculture provides a great way to reclaim a more natural, more traditional, more ecological, and much healthier way of life in the middle of all the urban chaos. Do you know what does is it? What is the "urban agriculture" in your locality?
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  #91  
Old Posted Nov 29, 2011, 4:14 AM
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Confronting climate change and poverty, a new crop of city farmers comes of age in Africa


November 28, 2011

By Jocelyn C. Zuckerman

Read More: http://www.onearth.org/article/the-constant-gardeners

Quote:
.....

Three years ago, for the first time in human history, the number of people living in cities worldwide outnumbered those living in rural areas, and the United Nations projects that by 2050, up to 65 percent of the global population will be urbanized. The rate of urban migration is particularly high in sub-Saharan Africa, where 15 million people abandon the countryside every year to move to the cities. Climate change will exacerbate the trend, as extreme events -- like the drought currently devastating the Horn of Africa -- become more frequent and more intense. Climate models predict that in the years to come, sub-Saharan Africa’s arid and semiarid areas will increase by up to 350,000 square miles, an area equal to the size of the country of Nigeria. Longer, hotter dry periods and unpredictable rainfall already are making it harder for farmers to know when to sow and harvest their crops, and in this part of the world, where high-tech irrigation is all but unheard of, the challenge is especially acute. Less arable land -- and fewer farmers -- also means less food: the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has estimated that yields from rain-fed agriculture here could be cut in half by 2020, and the Washington-based International Food Policy Research Institute predicts that, as a result of climate change, output of staple crops like cassava and wheat could plunge by as much as 22 percent by 2050.

- Hungry people and crowded cities, of course, make a combustible mix. Think of Paris in 1789, or St. Petersburg in 1917. As recently as 2008, the skyrocketing cost of staple foods, fueled in part by speculation in agricultural commodities markets, led to riots in no fewer than 36 countries, 21 of them in Africa. The good news is that urban gardens like Wangui’s are making a difference. And, as I realized when I rounded a corner and crashed into 34 of the things, scrunched in tight between a concrete wall and a row of connected shanties, this isn’t just some boutique trend. In Kibera -- which the Kenyan government designated a "temporary residence" for Nubian (Sudanese) soldiers after World War I and which since has drawn hundreds of thousands of squatters from other ethnic groups -- some 5,000 households currently are growing vertical gardens. (The average farming household maintains five or six of the sacks.) And in cities across the developing world similar efforts are under way, with the poor making use of everything from used grain sacks to old tires for planting and cultivating micro-farms. The United Nations Development Program recently reported that an astonishing 800 million people worldwide are now engaged in urban agriculture, producing from 15 percent to 20 percent of the world’s food.

.....



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  #92  
Old Posted Nov 29, 2011, 3:09 PM
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Originally Posted by M II A II R II K View Post
Could cities rely 100% on urban agriculture for their food?


Read More: http://www.smartplanet.com/blog/citi...their-food/915






That'll look a helluva lot better than the crap that is here now!
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  #93  
Old Posted Dec 6, 2011, 4:31 PM
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Farm-On-Wheels On A Mission


September 21, 2011

By Sindy Li

Read More: http://popupcity.net/2011/09/farm-on...p-Up%20City%29

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Each time after discovering new ways of urban farming in different cities, it’s hard to imagine there could be better and more beautiful concepts of urban agriculture. But the development of this long-term trend goes on! Filmmaker Ian Cheney came to New York in 2009 realizing how difficult it was to have a place to grow food. So he planted his mini farm in his old Dodge and the Truck Farm was born! The good thing about the Truck Farm is that it doesn’t require any rooftop or land and it can go everywhere to chase the sun.

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=abEek9BDYs4" target="_blank">Video Link
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  #94  
Old Posted Feb 20, 2012, 3:16 PM
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Transforming a derelict city building into vertical gardens for nearby residents


February 20, 2012

By Kaid Benfield

Read More: http://switchboard.nrdc.org/blogs/kb...ld%27s+Blog%29

Quote:
Aspiring interior designer Lucie Sadakova has come up with a striking concept to bring more green space and nourishment into a scruffy part of London. And, despite being in a sense all about an outdoor activity, it is in fact an interior transformation, a proposed adaptive reuse of an old building way past its prime.

One of the things I love about the ever-fascinating website Inhabitat is that it brings me into contact with cutting-edge ideas, frequently green ones. Yet it stimulates my environmental imagination in a radically different way than does my usual world of urbanism, which is more about perfecting pragmatic, tried-and-true concepts and bringing them to scale. Inhabitat isn’t about the tried and true but the new and provocative. Its predominant aesthetic is unabashedly modernist. Many ideas it presents may never be brought to scale: but I like it that they take me away from the familiar.

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  #95  
Old Posted Feb 21, 2012, 5:16 AM
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thats cool, i wonder how well things will grow with probably not too much light
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  #96  
Old Posted Feb 21, 2012, 11:20 PM
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Nation's largest public Food Forest takes root on Beacon Hill


February 16, 2012

By Robert Mellinger

Read More: http://crosscut.com/2012/02/16/agric...n-Beacon-Hill/

Quote:
Sandwiched between 15th Ave. S. and the play fields at the SW edge of Jefferson Park in the Beacon Hill neighborhood of Seattle are seven acres of lonely, sloping lawn that have sat idly in the hands of Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) for the better part of a century. At least until this spring, when the land that has only ever known the whirring steel of city mowers will begin a complete transformation into seven acres of edible landscape and community park space known as the Beacon Food Forest.

The end goal is an urban oasis of public food: Visitors to the corner of 15th Ave S. and S. Dakota Street will be greeted by a literal forest — an entire acre will feature large chestnuts and walnuts in the overstory, full-sized fruit trees like big apples and mulberries in the understory, and berry shrubs, climbing vines, herbaceous plants, and vegetables closer to the ground.

Further down the path an edible arboretum full of exotic looking persimmons, mulberries, Asian pears, and Chinese haws will surround a sheltered classroom for community workshops. Looking over the whole seven acres, you'll see playgrounds and kid space full of thornless mini edibles adjacent to community gardening plots, native plant areas, a big timber-frame gazebo and gathering space with people barbecuing, a recreational field, and food as far as you can see.

The entire project will be built around the concept of permaculture — an ecological design system, philosophy, and set of ethics and principles used to create perennial, self-sustaining landscapes and settlements that build ecological knowledge and skills in communities. The concept of a food forest is a core concept of permaculture design derived from wild food ecosystems, where land often becomes forest if left to its own devices. In a food forest, everything from the tree canopy to the roots is edible or useful in some way.

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  #97  
Old Posted Feb 22, 2012, 7:21 AM
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Planting the seeds of a food revolution

http://thedependent.ca/featured/plan...od-revolution/

Quote:
“We’ve got lettuce, Tyee spinach, bunches of arugula, French Breakfast radish, rainbow chard. We’ve been selling for two months now, mostly greens. Our tomatoes and peppers just went in,” says Seann Dory, project manager at SOLEfood Farm, a social enterprise in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside that employs neighborhood residents to build, plant, maintain and harvest what’s become a productive urban farm on a half-acre parking lot outside the Astoria Hotel at Hawks Avenue and Hastings Street.

The farm started under the umbrella of United We Can, another non-profit looking to build a path out of poverty through green-collar jobs and sustainable economic development. SOLEfood secured startup funding through grants from the City of Vancouver and private companies looking to fund community projects. It then struck a deal with the landowner to pay property taxes on the lot in exchange for being able to farm it.

and a local blog for urban farming which is mentioned in the article above - they turned a parking lot in the DTES into a garden

http://1sole.wordpress.com/


1sole.wordpress.com
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Old Posted Feb 24, 2012, 6:36 AM
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a video on urban farming in vancouver:

http://www.cbc.ca/video/watch/Shows/The Nature of Things/The Suzuki Diaries/ID=2196555823

community gardens in detroit:

http://www.cbc.ca/video/watch/Shows/The Nature of Things/The Suzuki Diaries/ID=2196555822
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Old Posted Mar 14, 2012, 7:24 PM
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A 'Vertical Greenhouse' Could Make a Swedish City Self-Sufficient


March 12, 2012

Read More: http://www.good.is/post/a-vertical-g...elf-sufficient

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The future of urban farming is under construction in Sweden as agricultural design firm Plantagon works to bring a 12-year-old vision to life: The city of Linköping will soon be home to a 17-story "vertical greenhouse." The greenhouse will serve as a regenerating food bank, tackling urban sprawl while making the city self-sufficient. Plantagon predicts that growing these plants in the city will make food production less costly both for the environment and for consumers, a key shift as the world's population grows increasingly urban—80 percent of the world's residents will live in cities by 2050, the United Nations estimates.

- The greenhouse is a conical glass building that uses an internal "transportation helix" to carry potted vegetables around on conveyors. As plants travel around the helix, they rotate for maximum sun exposure. Hassle says the building will use less energy than a traditional greenhouse, take advantage of "spillage heat" energy companies cannot sell, digest waste to produce biogas and plant fertilizers, and decrease carbon dioxide emissions while eliminating the environmental costs of long-distance transportation. And growing plants in a controlled environment will decrease the amount of water, energy, and pesticides needed. The greenhouse, which will open in late 2013, is already serving as a model for other cities.

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Old Posted Mar 20, 2012, 10:39 AM
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After the last few years of legal and political wrangling, it seems like large(er)-scale farming is about to get off the ground in Detroit near Indian Village on the east side:

Quote:

John Hantz, CEO of Hantz Farms LLC, stands in front of a small vegetable garden at his home in the historic Indian Village neighborhood of Detroit.
(John T. Greilick / The Detroit News)


Urban farming idea slowly sprouts in Detroit

By Laura Berman | The Detroit News

March 20, 2012

John Hantz has inched ahead with his plan to create a for-profit farm in Detroit, where profit's often viewed as a dirty word.

But nature may be Hantz's most effective advocate, as the city's urban landscape reverts to primal weeds and decaying timbers.

City officials and Hantz both say they're on the cusp of signing an agreement within the next two weeks. If City Council approves the deal, Hantz, a financial services magnate and Detroit resident, will buy about 200 acres of vacant land on the city's east side, in an area surrounding Indian Village.

...

That simple idea has gained enough traction over four years that city officials now routinely embrace the concept, even as they hash over the particulars.

To allay fears of moths, flies, rodents, pesticides, rotting apples and hogs wallowing on Woodward, the would-be farmers revised their proposed crops. Now on the table? Oak trees and other hardwoods.

...

Last fall, acquiescing to official skittishness, Hantz Farms planted 900 oak tree seedlings on an acre-and-a-half, trees that won't be harvested for two decades.

That project, while modest, proves his point: The remaining neighbors are no longer dumping on the property, and are taking greater pride in lawns and homes. Tires and debris are gone. "You can see more pride of ownership there now," says Brian Holdwick, executive vice-president of the Detroit Economic Growth Corp., which is managing the city's land sale.

"Compared to a pile of tires, it's a 10," says Hantz, who has restored eight or nine homes in the Indian Village neighborhood where he lives.

...
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