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  #41  
Old Posted Jun 8, 2010, 4:05 PM
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Denver busts urban farming’s yuppie stereotype


7 Jun 2010

Read More: http://www.grist.org/article/2010-06...r-urban-farms/

Quote:
When we were still in Seattle, preparing for this project, a few friends asked if this was a tour of 'yuppie urban farm projects.' Isn't that who participates in the urban farm? they generalized. I will now suggest that they take a few laps on their fixed-gear bikes through Denver. This year, the nonprofit Denver Urban Gardens (DUG) will support the construction of its 100th community garden. We only had time to visit four of them in the two days we were in town, but we got a kaleidoscope of ages, ethnicities, socio-economic strata, and motivations: the suburbanites in formerly rural Aurora, African and Asian refugees in East Colfax, school students all over the place, and upper-middle-class professionals in Rosedale.

Faatma Mehrmanesh rides the John Deer tractor in style. Her long hair fills a woven cloth hat. Turquoise headphones rest on top so she can rock to the tractor's slow roll over the soil. She's preparing the plot for its first planting: the growing season starts late here at the base of the Rocky Mountains. Through the dust thrown up around the tractor, I see the boxy outline of office parks and new residential developments bordering this property, the 30-acre historic Delaney Farm. Driving out here from Denver, you see the classic 20th century progression of urban development: from dense city to industrial warehouses and trucking yards, to big-box retail centers and the modern-day suburban house farm in the town of Aurora. At Delaney, the beige, paved banality opens to green grasses, faded white farm buildings, and row crops colored by a few individuals weeding, harvesting, or watering.

"Even some of my friends just drive by and think this is a site that's about to be developed. They don't even know we're here growing food every day," says Faatma.



Faatma Mehrmanesh rocking the John Deere at Delaney Community Farm in Denver.(Michael Hanson photos)

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  #42  
Old Posted Jun 9, 2010, 6:17 PM
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The Future of Urban Agriculture


June 3, 2010

By Rob Goodier



Read More: http://www.popularmechanics.com/tech...op-agriculture

Quote:
A trail guide in Costa Rica might stop to flick the thorns on an acacia shrub. The thorns are wide and hollow and grow in pairs, like a demonic two-fingered peace sign. And when the guide agitates them, ants scurry out. This particular ant, Pseudomyrmex ferruginea, is a hard-biting acacia defender. It protects the plant from other insects, bigger animals and well-meaning trail guides. In return, the acacia feeds the ants a protein from its leaflets and nectar from its stalk. The acacia and its ant army are a textbook example of mutualism between species. And they represent the principle behind a new concept for urban farming: bug-like greenhouses perched on the roofs of skyscrapers.

- They are rooftop farms, and they could represent a future segment of agriculture. Like their biological analogs, the greenhouses tap into the buildings below them, giving and taking in a kind of mechanical symbiosis. By recycling air and water, the two drink together, breathe together and regulate each other's temperature.

- Natalie Jeremijenko, an aerospace engineer and environmental health professor at New York University, came up with a rooftop design to solve these common problems for urban farming. Her fixtures may be more economical than other urban farm concepts because they take up real estate that otherwise goes unused, and unlike other urban farm designs, they can pack in the plants, because everything, from the integrated systems to their bubble shape, is a slave to efficiency.

- Not all roofs can support the hundreds or thousands of pounds of soil and water that a farm needs. That was a major obstacle in Viraj Puri's hunt for a rooftop to cultivate. Puri runs Gotham Greens, a startup that's trying to become New York City's first commercial rooftop farming operation. Finding the appropriate site is the first thing he mentions when listing the challenges. "You have to look at the structural composition of the building and line that up with what your operations are going to be," he says. Jeremijenko's design sidesteps this issue with legs. The steel stilts splayed out underneath distribute the structure's weight to the building's load-bearing walls. And the farms weigh less because they grow in hydroponic, soil-free trays.

- The curved shape of the farms optimizes sun exposure and doesn't require moving parts or grow lights, unlike many greenhouse designs. "The building doesn't have to rotate to follow the sun," says Jeremy Edmiston, principal at SYSTEMarchitects in Manhattan and co-designer of the Urban Space Station, as Jeremijenko calls the design. "There's enough change within the shape of the building to allow for variations."



Photo credit: (Rendering courtesy of Jeremy Edmiston, SYSTEMarchitects)

By bringing agriculture into the city, these farms conserve energy normally used to transport food.






"The roof is a great, sort of untapped site that gets maximum light," the architect Jeremy Edmiston says.






The legs distribute the farm's weight to load-bearing walls to prevent a roof collapse.






Curves optimize the plants' sun exposure and improve air circulation.

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  #43  
Old Posted Jun 12, 2010, 6:37 PM
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Kansas City pioneers new models for urban farms


11 Jun 2010

Read More: http://www.grist.org/article/Kansas-...r-urban-farms/

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Seven women in ankle-length floral dresses bend at the waist in rows of kale, arugula, and kohlrabi. Their hands effortlessly scoop and pick and cut the stems and pull the weeds. The low sun is already hot coming through the hazy white sky that makes the Kansas City downtown in the distance look like a mirage. Low-slung brick buildings of the Juniper Gardens public housing project line one side of this seven-acre farm. It's hard to know which is more out of place, more of a mirage: the city, the farm, the dried-out yards of the apartments, or the farmer women from Burundi, Somalia, Burma, Bhutan, or Sudan. The Catholic Charities of Northeast Kansas City started the city's Farm Business Development Program in 2006. The area sees many refugees from Africa and Asia, and some of the women receive classes and support at the Catholic Charities center.

Rachel Bonar directed the women's programs there in 2005. She heard the women asking for a garden, since most of them farmed or at least gardened in their native homes. So they started a community garden at the office. "Almost immediately, we realized that these women are really good at growing food," says Rachel. "So the next year we partnered with Kansas City Center for Urban Agriculture and began this farm." The New Roots for Refugees Farm is part community farm and part Farm Business Development Program. The business program acts as an incubator farm for 14 women. Once accepted into the program -- and after at least one year with a community garden plot -- the farmers receive a quarter-acre plot. For the first year, everything is paid for, including seeds, tools, water, and marketing. Rachel even sets up two CSA members who pay to support the plot's crop. Gradually, the farmers take on more responsibility.

In the winter, the farmers take courses in planning, production, marketing, and farming/market-oriented English instruction. In their second and third years, they begin paying for things like seeds (purchased on site from the seed store), marketing, and tools. They organize their own CSA member shares (between three and seven, normally). Rachel and the organization still shuttle them to and from the farmers markets on the weekend, but the women are on their own selling the produce. On Saturday morning, we followed them from the farm to a market in Brookside, an upper-middle-class neighborhood south of downtown. Six New Roots farmers sell here, mixed in with the grass-fed beef booth, the artisanal bread-and-cheese gang, and other organic produce vendors. The women looked elegant and proud in vibrant dresses and evening shoes. Their produce was immaculate and some exotic, native to their homelands but able to be cultivated here.



A woman tends her 1/4-acre plot at the New Roots for Refugees Farm, Kansas City (Michael Hanson photos)

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  #44  
Old Posted Jun 18, 2010, 2:53 PM
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The Goat Lady vs. Goliath


June 6, 2010

By Barbara Mahany



Read More: http://www.chicagotribune.com/featur...306,full.story

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- If this parcel of paradise doesn't stand to be steamrolled should Urbana City Hall complete a ring road that has been on and off the books for the last half-century. This is no mere saga of a few endangered farms. Nor simply a wail for the loss of 85 acres of the world's richest farmland. This boils down to a battle for urban-fringe farming in a nation just beginning to shift its focus away from decades-old sprawl and toward the preservation of land for local food sourcing. And it extends beyond this college metropolis.

- Two lanes of asphalt, penciled straight through a field of alfalfa, are the least of it. The road, called Olympian Drive and already partway there (it dead-ends in a cornfield not a mile and a quarter away), comes with a price tag of at least $30 million, depending when shovels sink into soil. The project had been shelved for some 13 years, until last summer when the scent of stimulus funds swept through the air, like hay from a hayloft.

- The three-mile span would hitch up the ends of a ring around Champaign and Urbana. And it would cut in half the alfalfa field that feeds the Prairie Fruits goats, roll right past the patch of the farm where long tables are set for sumptuous feasts and bulldoze the bucolia that is the heart of the heartland. "They'll destroy it in essence," says Cooperband, looking out through rows of Winesap apple trees to where the road would run. "People who come out here are stunned that this beauty exists here."



Leslie Cooperband, 50, checks on goats herds grazing on her farm located on the edge of Champaign on Tuesday, May 4, 2010. The Prairie Fruit Farm & Creamery is bordering a proposed roadway, a project opposed by local farmers. (Zbigniew Bzdak, Chicago Tribune / May 2, 2010)

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Old Posted Jun 18, 2010, 5:13 PM
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Heritage Foods’ Patrick Martins wants to put slaughterhouses back in the city


16 Jun 2010

By Erik Hoffner

Read More: http://www.grist.org/article/Patrick...k-in-the-city/

Quote:
Summary

Patrick Martins, CEO of a sustainable meat company, says that Americans should embrace slaughterhouses in their cities. Martins says it is an issue of humane treatment of animals in addition to being better for the environment to eat locally. He encourages people to change laws to allow the processing of animals in more urban areas.

Martins says, "We should not wait for, or expect, rules to change. We must force those changes by acting ourselves. If four slaughterhouses were opened in the Bronx that met all rules and regulations, however draconian, the government would be forced to reckon with this movement. Action creates change."



Rare breed: Patrick Martins moves old-school meat.

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Old Posted Jun 21, 2010, 1:45 AM
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At Hillsboro's Intel, the community garden is a company perk with a purpose


June 18, 2010

Katy Muldoon



Read More: http://blog.oregonlive.com/pdxgreen/...he_commun.html

Quote:
Tomatoes climb toward the sky. Spinach bolts over raised-bed walls. Podding radishes, already 4 feet tall, boast peppery seed pods bound for the salad bowl. All of it grows in an unlikely spot -- at the edge of a sprawling parking lot on Intel's Jones Farm campus. The 32,000-square-foot employee community garden, its 81 beds planted for the first time this spring, joins a handful of plots nationwide outside such companies as PepsiCo, Toyota and Aveda. Employees plant, weed and putter before work and after, during lunch breaks and on weekends.

Think of company gardens as perks with a purpose. "Happy employees are productive employees," says Dave Karlson, site manager at Google's data center in The Dalles, where workers have tilled, seeded and harvested a small communal plot for several years. "Gardening is a great way people can get away from their desk for a few minutes and check on their tomatoes." Intel employees thought so, too. About a year ago, several suggested that the technology company allow them to transform a weedy swath into an organic vegetable garden.

The notion fit nicely into Intel's Great Place to Work program, which offers everything from on-site dry cleaning and free coffee to college scholarships and reimbursement for adoption-related expenses. The program's goal, says Bill MacKenzie, communications manager: "Make employees feel happy and appreciated." In Hillsboro last week, as charcoal clouds raced across the sky at the end of a work day, Jeanie Jarvis looked, at the very least, content.

She drove the few miles to the garden from Intel's Ronler Acres campus, where she works as a buyer. Dressed in jeans, a T-shirt and polka-dot rubber boots, Jarvis pulled on gloves, grabbed a bucket and got to work. Dodging raindrops and sun, she inspected the eggplant and edamame beans she'd planted, and yanked weeds from around a 20-foot-by-20-foot raised bed she gardens with co-worker Sara Running.

Despite a spring so soggy it turned typically uncomplaining gardeners into whiners, the paths between Intel's beds were mud-free. Maybe it's just good drainage, or maybe it's because the company garden was planned, plotted and planted with the sort of precision you might expect from folks who build intricate microprocessors.



Jeanie Jarvis works at Intel, but is also a master gardener and helped initiate the garden at the Jones Farm plant.

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  #47  
Old Posted Jun 21, 2010, 7:32 AM
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farm....



photo credit: Akira Suwa; Inquirer Staff

source: http://www.philly.com/philly/living/...od__pride.html

Tue, Jun. 15, 2010

Keystone Gardens: Deep-rooted sources of food, pride
By Vernon Clark

Inquirer Staff Writer

In the morning sunshine, Darlene Marcus walks between the rows of garden plots at a massive green oasis in North Philadelphia, as she has during growing seasons for about 20 years. Marcus pointed to the vegetables starting to sprout at Glenwood Green Acres, the largest community garden, and one of the oldest, in Philadelphia; 90 rectangular plots on this 3.5-acre stretch. In a city with about 400 community gardens, Glenwood Green Acres - which spans Glenwood Avenue from 18th to 19th Streets and is bounded by railroad tracks - is held in a special class by the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, which provides a variety of services to community gardens. Glenwood Green Acres, on the site of a former whiskey factory, is one of nine Philadelphia gardens designated as Keystone Gardens.

Eileen Gallagher, a spokeswoman for the Horticultural Society, said the designation was for gardens distinguished by their large size, longevity, and commitment. The society gives them support and counseling so they can be self-sustaining over the long term. The nine Keystone Gardens are an average size of one-quarter to one-half acre, officials said. The gardeners keep their produce and share it with neighbors and neighborhood groups. They contribute a portion of their produce to the City Harvest program, which was established by the Horticultural Society. City Harvest has received more than 55,000 pounds of produce since its founding in 2006, Gallagher said. The Neighborhood Gardens Association/A Philadelphia Land Trust, a nonprofit group, is dedicated to the long-term preservation of community gardens and open space in low- and moderate-income neighborhoods.

In South Philadelphia, Ed Mitinger, 49, a leader at Southwark Community Garden, another Keystone Garden, walks through the 60 plots of flowers and vegetables on about an acre at 311-33 Christian St. Mitinger, who also manages a natural-foods store, said Southwark had been in operation for 33 years. Besides focusing on plants, the Southwark garden aims to beautify the area, Mitinger said. One wall facing the garden consists of a large mural of mirrors arranged in an abstract design. "You get to enjoy some of the more expanded areas of the garden, whether you want to have a picnic here on a cool evening or read the Sunday paper," Mitinger said.

Last edited by bucks native; Jun 21, 2010 at 7:44 AM.
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Old Posted Jun 21, 2010, 7:36 AM
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.....to market

source: http://www.philly.com/philly/living/...trademark.html

Tue, Jun. 15, 2010


Philly Homegrown aims to make locally grown food city's new trademarkBy MICHELLE SKOWRONEK
Philadelphia Daily News

skowrom@phillynews.com 215-854-5926

Something was cooking yesterday at the Reading Terminal Market, but it wasn't just DiNic's roast pork. The Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corp. launched the Philly Homegrown project inside the market to get more people to buy locally grown food. Philly Homegrown was created to help the region become known for more than just cheesesteaks, said Jeff Guaracino, vice president of communications for GPTMC. The effort includes a website, www.visitphilly.com/food, where visitors can find out where to buy locally produced food and which restaurants serve it.

A study by the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission (DVRPC), released in January, found that there are 45,000 farms in the region's foodshed, an area within a 100-mile radius of Philadelphia. "Philadelphia has great public markets," said Paul Steinke, general manager of the Reading Terminal Market. "And we look forward . . . to trying to recruit new visitors to our markets because we always appreciate people leaving with full bags."

Philly Homegrown will gauge the success of its effort by monitoring restaurants that use local food and by keeping track of the number of unique visitors to its website, said Meryl Levitz, president and chief executive of GPTMC. But, mostly, GPTMC aims to make Philadelphians a little more spontaneous. "It's the top of summer," she said. "It's a great time for people to start experimenting."
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Old Posted Jun 29, 2010, 10:12 PM
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For-profit urban farming growing in popularity


June 7, 2010

By Julian Martin

Read More: http://eatdrinkandbe.org/article/ind...n_urbanfarming

Quote:
While backyard gardening remains a popular option for consumers in search of simple and cheap locally-grown produce, for-profit urban farming has not garnered nearly as much recognition. Entrepreneurs throughout the country, however, are working to turn the notion of urban planting for profit into a thriving enterprise. Unlike urban gardening — when produce is grown by individuals and non-profits for themselves and others — on commercial urban farms, people pay a fee to farmers for direct access to their products.

Fans contend local food benefits the regional economy and is more eco-friendly, with reduced carbon footprints and lower distribution costs. For-profit urban farming "makes the most of underused urban natural resources, and provides fresh food to people right where they can see it growing from seed to harvest," said Nicole Jain Capizzi, former director of a for-profit urban farm in Milwaukee, on the website Urban Farm Hub. Interest in the process has been growing in cities nationwide, including Seattle, Detroit, Indianapolis, San Francisco and Austin, Texas. “There’s enormous and unmet demand by individuals within Indianapolis for locally produced fruits and vegetables,” Matthew Jose, the founder and owner of Big City Farms LLC, said to the Indianapolis Business Journal.

Jose’s farm encompasses 10 vacant city blocks in downtown Indianapolis. While landowners have allowed Big City Farms to operate in exchange for cleaning up formerly weed-ridden lots, in some instances property owners receive a portion of the harvest in exchange for their yard space. In Detroit, a city with an estimated 40 square miles of abandoned residential property, according to AFP, urban farming enthusiasts are working to turn abandoned homes and broken-down industrial plants into apple orchards and hydroponic growing facilities. "The farm becomes a tool to reignite Detroit's economy," said Michael Score, president of Hantz Farms, to AFP. The company’s owner, John Hantz, has promised 30 million dollars of his own funds to support year-round, for-profit farming within the city limits. "Rather than wasting resources to recreate Iowa in the middle of Detroit, let's see what we can grow in the city as it exists," he said, according to AFP.



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Old Posted Jul 5, 2010, 2:12 PM
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Zoning toward a greener Baltimore


June 22, 2010



Read More: http://weblogs.baltimoresun.com/feat...er_baltim.html

Transform Baltimore: http://www.rewritebaltimore.org/

Quote:
With the city back from the brink of a green fiscal meltdown, its planners are quietly trying to revolutionize how Baltimore grows. In the first rewrite of the city's zoning code since 1971, planners hope to "transform Baltimore" from a car-centric concrete desert to an oasis of walkability, with shops, eateries and even some types of industry mixed in with housing. Laurie Feinberg, chief of comprehensive planning, says the new code aims "to make our neighborhoods feel like places you want to walk to" without having to trek across blazing-hot parking lots. The city's in the final week of holding public meetings on the new code - so this is almost your last chance to learn about it and weigh in.

My colleague Julie Scharper has previously reported in The Baltimore Sun how how the new code would make it easier to have community gardens in the city. But the changes go beyond just greening the urban landscape, Feinberg says, to broader issues of sustainability and of "smart growth." I contacted Feinberg last week to find out how the new code would handle some hot-button "green" issues that have been controversial in the past year - residential wind turbines, solar collectors and wood-chip driveways or parking pads. She preferred to give me the big picture, but answered the thorny questions as well.

First, the big picture: Besides recognizing community gardens and urban farming as activities gaining currency in Baltimore and other cities, the new zoning code proposes to create new industrial areas, new transit-oriented development districts and new development rules for college campuses and hospitals. Living near or even over your workspace will be encouraged in some areas. Vehicle parking will be de-emphasized, bicycle parking beefed up. The overarching goal is to make Baltimore more walkable and sustainable, with greater "social equity" for its residents, improved prosperity and a cleaner urban environment.





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Old Posted Jul 9, 2010, 1:08 PM
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How this Urban-Farming Stuff Will End


July 8, 2010

Alec Appelbaum



Read More: http://thefastertimes.com/greenecono...tuff-will-end/

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Very profitably, for somebody. Probably a philanthropist, working with a developer, people with money they can tie up for decades in real estate. Preferably in the kinds of neighborhoods that need new sources of decent food and fitness. I’m talking about commercial farming in big cities- real farming rather than gardening, integrated from seed selection to production to culling and selling. It’s been a fad for long enough that it’s become a lifestyle. But it’s a lifestyle at odds with the urban sensibilities we’ve known for the past century-plus.

City dwellers are supposed to be quick, decisive, impressive and crafty. Farmers have to be methodical, deliberate, diffident and grounded. You can’t cheat a seed into growing. You can’t water a garden while looking over your shoulder at how the other guy waters. (Believe me, I’ve tried.) So for all the yuppies like me, caring for trees and gardens in tiny patches, urban farming will always be a hobby. But it so happens that the urban economy we’ve known fell apart, spectacularly, when Lehman Brothers fell. People who counted on decent jobs in financial services, having seen manufacturing jobs, can no longer find them. What’s left are jobs with the government, which too rarely reward initiative or ingenuity.

So there’s room for a whole new kind of urban economy. And farming looks like a robust candidate. Farmers in America today specialize like fashion houses in Milan- zebra eggplant, heirloom tomatoes, yada yada. Urban greenhouses and small plots can produce specialty crops, and urban farmers can use mass transit (and bike networks) to sell those crops locally around their neighborhoods. Low overhead, low transit costs- and then there’s the conflux of charities that look after cities’ disadvantaged people. Most of these foundations employ people who enjoy eating locally, and many of their leaders get the links among diet, health and urban stability. So where farms need startup subsidy or free technical assistance, cities offer a ready corps.
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Old Posted Jul 9, 2010, 5:07 PM
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Greening—and feeding—the city with a ‘garden block’


7 Jul 2010

By Daniel Nairn

Read More: http://www.grist.org/article/food-gr...a-garden-block

Quote:
It looks like one of the main take-aways from the Congress for the New Urbanism 18 conference is something being labeled "agrarian urbanism." Fast Company is calling it the "new new urbanism" and Treehugger has described the notion as the next phase in the evolution of this 30-year old movement. New Urbanism leader Andrés Duany, in particular, has been pushing pretty hard in this direction for the last couple of years. Briefly, the idea is that walkable neighborhoods could be intentionally structured so that food production is integrated into the physical form and the lifestyle of the inhabitants. In other words, it's a synthesis between urban and rural.

Of course, this new new urbanism is really no newer than the old new urbanism was (but that's fine). One of the primary motivations behind Ebenezer Howard's Garden Cities of To-morrow concept was to connect working-class households with a viable food supply to relieve some of their financial stress. He landed on the number of 12 dwelling units per acre (DUA) as the magic density for self-sufficiency with affordability, and he worked out a form of common land ownership to help it along. Urban planner Christopher Alexander thought that something more like a tenth of an acre was necessary to supply vegetables to a family of four. He had plenty of practical, timeless advice for arranging an urban living space accordingly. More recently, some architects have been using the word "rurbalization" to describe this sort of synthesis. Having recently passed through the grad-school circuit myself, I can attest to a strong interest in food systems among new graduates.

I think these are good trends. Local food systems should inform urban design and vice versa, but I'm not sure the new developments being modeled have been able to find this synthesis without swallowing one side with the other -- specifically, subsuming the urbanism into the bucolic landscape. This seems to be the case with Southlands in British Columbia and Serenbe in the exurbs of Atlanta. Kaid Benfield has this to say about these "farming is the new golf" developments,

"In theory, these "new towns" are great -- self-contained entities providing walkability, efficiency, and all the services of a community within the development. So, their proponents (nearly all of whom profit from them, one way or another) claim, it is a good thing to build them almost anywhere. In practice, though, the nearby once-remote locations soon become filled with sprawl, in no small part because of the initial development, and the theoretical self-contained transportation efficiency never comes. They become commuter suburbs, just with a more appealing internal design than that of their neighbors."



(Daniel Nairn renderings)

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Old Posted Jul 13, 2010, 4:42 PM
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Where the Urban Farms Can Grow


July 12, 2010

Alec Appelbaum



Read More: http://thefastertimes.com/greenecono...arms-can-grow/

Quote:
Could one of our national myths soon turn upside down- with young people leaving the overbuilt drabness of their hometowns to make it in the city as farmers? A shrewd, progressive urban policy could make the inversion happen. Call it the twilight zoning.

- Consider: a bonus like a tax rebate could encourage productive farming in lots of urban areas that currently yield little competitive output. Sections of cities that once belonged to manufacturers now belong to speculative real estate developers, squatters, or both. If the developers size up the land in question astutely, they attract upwardly mobile renters and buyers and a commonplace urban economy grows. These areas, if someone manages and invests in them prudently, breed Starbucks outlets for stopovers by Geek Squad patrols. If someone mismanages them, they become cesspools for bad mortgage debt.

- The ghostly ruins I’m imagining as sites for these farms usually carry zoning that forbids residences, or crams residences into a quiet corner. Amend the zoning to allow for a small house and shed on a farm plot, start selling prospective neighbors on farm views and fresh crops instead of “gritty loftlike feel,” and watch the economy grow.

- The retail/service economy that would grow around an urban farm zone, you can bet, would lean heavier toward DIY tools and wholesale goods than toward espresso slushies and haircuts. That’d imply the first of several subsidiary challenges- training people to provide intrepid advice to startup farmers, or luring enough extension agents from the rural ag schools to set up shop. These challenges, though, would play out rationally under a zoning code that allows for sheds and field work. And if city policy also rewards people who lower overall demand on the electric grid or create sites that soak up carbon, then farmers and the retailers who serve them can start with a cost advantage.
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Prairie Crossing in Illinois: The ‘urban’ farm of the future?


20 Jul 2010

Read More: http://www.grist.org/article/food-pr...ng-in-illinois

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It takes almost an hour to drive from downtown Chicago north on I-94 to the town of Grayslake, Ill., home of the Prairie Crossing residential development -- "A Conservation Community" -- and its core farm, Sandhill Organics. Though billboards, office "parks," and standard Interstate culture dot the highway, the tall, mixed prairie grasses native to these Great Lake Plains become increasingly expansive. The approach from the interstate to Prairie Crossing tells a modern American story. A natural lake with tree snags, lily pads, and marsh grasses covers a depression between a rim of trees and wild, hip-high grasses. A mile down the road, a fresh slab of pavement holds a large parking lot and a shopping center with chain stores. Then more open land, some large cornfields, and a walled development of cookie-cutter homes with multiple pitched roofs, elaborate garages, and lots of short, non-native grass to mow.

If you've been following this series, you're surely familiar with the lament over lost farmland replaced by shoddily designed and developed, uniformly average orgies of square-footage known as the modern American house. It sounds elitist -- probably is -- but it's true and, unfortunately, it's happening and it will continue happening for a while, at least, because the American dream for many people remains cars that get driven all day, double-vaulted ceilings in the foyer, your own lawn to mow, and safety in homogeny.

As long as we're critiquing, Prairie Crossing has its place in this suburbanization of the rural world. It is a planned community of large homes that only a certain economic strata can afford, and it plowed over some prairie land to make it happen. But now the good part. Prairie Crossing was developed to conserve prairie, and it's not just a marketing slogan. Vicky and George Ranney, the developers, set aside 60 percent of the 677 acres in a land conservation easement; another 3,200 acres are protected within the Liberty Prairie Reserve, a conglomeration of public and private land connected to the community.



Matt and Peg Sheaffer run Sandhill Organics in Prairie Crossing.(Michael Hanson)

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  #55  
Old Posted Jul 23, 2010, 8:37 PM
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Meier Flies the Coop




Read More: http://www.architizer.com/en_us/blog...es-the-coop-2/

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- Meier’s idea puts animal husbandry in the urban environment with a concept called Plug-in Farm, a series of residential and agricultural units that envision urban living as an efficient, sustainable team effort. Wait, back up one second: animal husbandry? The future just may be in breeding chickens, don’t you know. As Wallpaper* writes, the farm is a “modestly sized but ultra-efficient modular concept” with a “three dimensional structural frame designed to be adapted to any site, from an unkempt corner of Manhattan to a slice of downtown Miami, reusing existing structures while building up residential density and community.”

- The compound is clad in a signature Meier steel armature, though the units are pre-fabricated offsite and imported to the given site. It contains “plug-in” living and farming units, the latter “conceived as vertical vegetable plots to feed the adjoining apartments, with any surplus siphoned off into a local market.” And where’s all that husbandry taking place, you may wonder? “Public and private outdoor space includes a communal farm, allowing for small-scale animal husbandry up above street level.” Privacy would be decorous, yes.







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Old Posted Jul 29, 2010, 10:46 PM
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Urban Agriculture, Climate Change Ideas Competitions Announce Winners


07/29/2010

Read More: http://dirt.asla.org/2010/07/29/urba...ounce-winners/

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Super Levee Urban Farming

http://www.oneprize.org/semifinalistspdf/1103a.pdf

(AGENCY Architecture, LLC): “The project proposes a global system of levees, serving also as a new brand of urban farms at the city’s edge, preserving local ecologies while protecting cities from emerging dangers. Each stage of the levee supports the next. Clippings, compost, and surplus crops from farming levels are used as nutrients and food for a series of fish farms, marshes, and restorative dune ecologies. Waste from marine life and nutrients from algal habitats are then used to fertilized farm levels, making the levee a complete ecology.”


NORC Farms

http://www.oneprize.org/semifinalistspdf/1048a.pdf

(Thread Collective and the Greenest.Net): “The Naturally Occurring Retirement Community (NORC) Farms engages the aging New Yorkers population and inaccessible lawns in order to ‘create and cultivate farm plots and social spaces within public housing complexes.’ NORC FARMS will use urban agriculture to transform grass into a socially, ecologically, economically productive space; activate older New Yorkers, and transforming public housing into local agriculture; where the tower in the park becomes the tower in the farm.”


In Sydney, the Australia Institute of Landscape Architects (AILA) announced the winners of Sea Change 2030+, an international ideas competition designed to showcase ideas for planning, designing and managing for adaptation to urban sea level rise.

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Old Posted Aug 4, 2010, 3:03 PM
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The Rise of Urban Farming


August 2010

By T. A. Frail



Read More: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/specia...n-Farming.html

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More people than ever are growing food in cities, which happen to be where most of the world’s people now live. In windowsills, on rooftops and in community gardens, they’re burying seeds in Havana, Kinshasa and Hanoi—and in Chicago, Milwaukee and Atlanta. Novella Carpenter’s 2009 memoir, Farm City, trumpets the value of raising chickens, pigs and bees—in Oakland.

Urban farming is a response to a variety of pressures. Large parts of the developing world are facing shortages of water and arable land, the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization says. Governments and other sponsors have supported urban food-growing projects in Cuba, Colombia, Botswana and Egypt. In the developed world, small-scale urban farms are seen as an antidote to industrialized agriculture’s excesses, including chemical fertilizers that pollute waterways and the high costs, both monetary and environmental, of transporting food to urban markets.

Dickson Despommier, a professor of environmental health sciences at Columbia University, has proposed “vertical farming”: growing food—including fish and poultry—in urban buildings as tall as 30 stories and covering a city block. In his vision, you could eliminate the need for soil by growing plants hydroponically (in a liquid) or aeroponically (in the air). You’d reduce water use and end runoff by recycling water in a closed irrigation system. Transportation costs would be next to nil.



A "living skyscraper" could rise from the shallows of Lake Michigan and serve Chicago.

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Old Posted Aug 10, 2010, 3:35 PM
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The history of urban agriculture should inspire its future


3 Aug 2010

By Tom Philpott

Read More: http://www.grist.org/article/food-th...ire-its-future

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"Few things scream 'Hipster' like an apartment garden." Thus spake the New York City music magazine Death + Taxes, and it's easy to see why. In trendy neighborhoods from Williamsburg, Brooklyn, to San Francisco's Mission district, urban youth are nurturing vegetables in window sills, fire escapes, and roofs. Down on the street, they tend flourishing garden plots, often including chickens and bees. Even Grist has launched a comic strip (left) devoted to the exploits of urban-hipster homesteaders.

- But growing food in the city isn't just the province of privileged youth -- in fact, the recent craze for urban agriculture started in decidedly unhip neighborhoods. Nor is it anything new. As I'll show in this rambling-garden-walk of an essay, urban agriculture likely dates to the birth of cities. And its revival might just be the key to sustainable cities of the future.

- As a result of high unemployment and plunging occupancy rates, inner-city rents fell, and many landlords suddenly owed more in property taxes than they were making in rent. Too often, the "solution" was eviction, arson, and a fast-and-dirty insurance settlement. A 1977 Time article documented the phenomenon:

In ghetto areas like the South Bronx and [Chicago's] Humboldt Park, landlords often see arson as a way of profitably liquidating otherwise unprofitable assets. The usual strategy: drive out tenants by cutting off the heat or water; make sure the fire insurance is paid up; call in a torch. In effect, says [then-New York City Deputy Chief Fire Marshal John] Barracato, the landlord or businessman "literally sells his building back to the insurance company because there is nobody else who will buy it." Barracato's office is currently investigating a case in which a Brooklyn building insured for $200,000 went up in flames six minutes before its insurance policy expired.


- Post-industrial inner-city neighborhoods may have sprouted the current urban-ag craze, but the act of growing food amid dense settlements dates to the very origin of cities. In her classic book The Economy of Cities, urban theorist Jane Jacobs argues convincingly that agriculture likely began in dense tool-making and trading settlements that evolved into cities.



The main building of the groundbreaking urban farm Growing Power in Milwaukee, Wis.Photo: OrganicNation via Flickr

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  #59  
Old Posted Aug 10, 2010, 3:47 PM
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Wow, urban has exploded.
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Old Posted Aug 10, 2010, 4:00 PM
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growing your own vegetables is good and pretty easy actually. I know of some people in Houston called Live Oak outpost that do urban farming. good people. and over in europe where my sister in law lives many people are into urban farming. they have commongrounds in the middle of apartment complexes often and each tennant will get a section. most often plant vegetables in their section and maybe a few flowers.
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