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Urban Farming Takes Hold in NYC
New York City may not have a lot of extra space for farms, but it’s got plenty of rooftops that fit the bill just fine….
On top of a 6-story warehouse in the borough of Queens sits the world’s largest rooftop farm – at almost an acre in size, the Brooklyn Grange has been growing 40 kinds of vegetables since it opened in spring 2010. Now, it’s gettting ready to double in size as it expands to a second roof, this one in the Brooklyn Navy Yard.
Ben Flanner co-founded Brooklyn Grange after opening Eagle Street Rooftop Farm in 2009, the first rooftop soil farm in NYC.
He’s got plans for more rooftop farms to make locally grown, organic food widely available, while employing urban farmers. Brooklyn Grange is financed by a combination of private equity, loans and grassroots fundraising.
(12 February 2012)
View related report The Potential for Urban Agriculture in New York City
Key ﬁndings in brief
Sydney is buying back the farms at last
Vikki Campion The Daily Telegraph [Australia]
For decades, development has been eating away at Sydney’s farmland but for the first time new land is about to be rezoned for urban farmers, with three leases out for commercial farms, market gardens, live stock and orchards.
The Western Sydney Parklands Trust is calling for farmers to return to the city. It wants experienced farmers to lease three sites at Horsley Park as it proposes to change its planning policy with the state government to build more sustainable agriculture.
The trust has already signed two new farms, one for traditional market gardens and a $24 million glasshouse project which will create 110 jobs.
“This is about agricultural jobs in the city,” trust director Suellen Fitzgerald said.
“As we see the next phases, we would like to establish a thriving market garden precinct, farm gate sales, pick and pay and even, in the longer term, a farmers’ market.”
(10 February 2012)
Breaking through the myths: New book seeks to redefine urban farming
Twighlight Greenaway, Grist
In 2010, Grist ran a series of posts chronicling a road trip across American by a team of young men looking to document our nation’s urban farms for a book called Breaking Through Concrete (you can see a list of the posts over on the right of the page). Sponsored in part by WHYHunger, David Hanson (writer), Michael Hanson (photographer), Charles Hoxie (videographer), and Edwin Marty (farmer and writer) drove across the country in a biodiesel-fueled, internet-enabled short bus.
This month, the book, Breaking Through Concrete: Building an Urban Farm Revival, finally hits the shelves. To mark the occasion, we caught up with David Hanson to get the lowdown on the book and hear his observations about this moment in urban farming.
Interview at Grist
(14 February 2012)
Urban ag before it was hip
Rosa Ramirez, HealthyCal.org
Texanita Bluitt has lemon, plum and orange trees in her backyard. In raised beds, she grows mustard greens, curly mustards, cabbage, carrots, turnips, onions, celery and potatoes. When she wants to make strawberry pie for her granddaughter, she goes to her backyard.
“About 95 percent of my fruit and vegetables come from my food garden,” she said…
Some have called urban agriculture the quiet revolution that’s being fueled by food insecurity, childhood obesity, diabetes, and malnutrition. The movement that has taken root in cities across the country and has generated everything from how-to online classes and lectures to DVD’s and starter kits, and bestselling books.
But as it turns out, urban farming isn’t a new movement after all. City blacks, Latinos, Asians, and immigrants have been planting vegetables and fruits for years in bustling cities like New York City, Detroit, Atlanta, and the greater Los Angeles, more specifically in Crenshaw and Compton.
“They did it out of the need to feed themselves,” said Ralph Paige, the executive director of the Federation of Southern Cooperatives. Paige, who has dedicated his life to improving opportunities for black-owned family farms, said blacks were working city soil before it was considered trendy.
(13 February 2012)
New urban farming structure breaks ground
Developers of a new concept in urban farming, the Plantagon Greenhouse, broke ground for the first structure in Sweden this week. The new type of greenhouse for vertical farming in cities provides a way to use excess heat and CO2 from industries while growing crops.
The greenhouse is being built in Linkoping, Sweden and is expected to be completed in 12-16 months, according to a statement released by Plantagon International. The plant will produce vegetables from the recycled resources.
(10 February 2012)