Examples of Creative Urban Agriculture From Around The World


City dwellers are raising animals, growing fruits and vegetables, and even beekeeping to improve their food security and safety, reduce their carbon footprint and improve their intake of nutritious food.

Urban farmers have to think creatively to maximize space and fit their operations into the urban environment.

Vertical agriculture in Singapore. Photo courtesy Sky Greens

These five examples from Food Tank illustrate the innovative forms of urban agriculture around the world.

1. Food Field, Detroit, MI

Food Field offers a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) that provides nutritious food and economic opportunities for the neighborhood. Noah Link and Alex Bryan created Peck Produce in 2011 and converted the former site of an elementary school into a revitalized farm. Food Field produces food that the local community asks for, including farm favorites like salad greens and mulberries. Food Field is expanding with a new aquaponics system to raise fish, such as catfish and blue gill, in addition to collecting eggs from chickens and ducks.

2. FARM:shop and FARM:London, London, UK

The self-proclaimed first urban farming hub, FARM:shop offers the neighborhood small-scale farming, aquaponic fish farming, a rooftop chicken coop, workspaces and a café inside a former neglected storefront.

3. Sky Greens, Singapore

Sky Greens, the world’s first low-carbon hydraulic water-driven urban vertical farm, reduces the amount of energy and land needed for traditional farming techniques. The vertical systems, which are three stories high and located within a greenhouse, produce five to 10 times more per unit area compared to conventional farms. The greenhouse and low-carbon hydraulic system grows lettuces and cabbages year-round using less energy and water.

4. The Distributed Urban Farming Initiative, Bryan, TX

Distributed Urban Farming Initiative (DUFi) builds gardens in otherwise empty spaces, prompts neighbors to eat healthy food, and drives entrepreneurship and tourism. This past winter, DUFI grew broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage and lettuce in a raised bed and pallet gardens.

5. Sharing Backyards, throughout Canada, U.S. and New Zealand

Sharing Backyards offers a solution for people who lack land but want to grow their own food locally by linking them with people who have unused yard space. Through a website, those with unused property can post their approximate location, while those looking for space to grow food locally can search locations nearby at no cost.

At Berlin’s Fabled Airport, Urban Gardening Takes Off

At legendary Tempelhof Airport, site of the Berlin Airlift and now home to one of Europe’s biggest and most unusual urban gardens, it’s sunflowers instead of planes and kale instead of kerosene.

Launched by a dozen “pioneers” in April, the Allmende Kontor plot now has about 300 people growing fruit, vegetables and flowers between the former runways of the airport, which closed nearly three years ago.

Hot peppers, chestnut saplings, cosmos and millet now reach for skies once filled with Allied jets ferrying essential supplies to West Berlin during the 1948-49 Soviet blockade at the start of the Cold War.

The Nazi-built terminal, called by star architect Norman Foster “the mother of all airports”, forms a sweeping crescent in the distance as hobby farmers of all ages and stripes tend to their crops.

Gerda Muennich, one of the organisers of Allmende Kontor, which takes its name from a mediaeval form of community gardening, says the initiative is also meant to reflect the diverse cultural makeup of the surrounding neighbourhoods.

“One of our members plans to break the Ramadan fast with a big picnic here,” the 71-year-old told AFP on a tour of the 5,000-square-metre (54,000 square-foot) garden, referring to the Muslim holy month.

Just beyond the airport fence is Neukoelln, a working class district of Germans, Arabs and Turks undergoing rapid gentrification.

The closing of Tempelhof to make way for an expanded facility on the city’s outskirts has fuelled the transformation of the surrounding area as the noise and pollution of air traffic have given way to a windswept park.

For now, the shuttered airport is an undeveloped space nearly as big as New York’s Central Park and Berliners have embraced it as a playground, cycling and rollerblading down the old runways and barbecuing on a designated meadow.

Off to one side is an old American baseball diamond with a fading scoreboard reading “Home” and “Away” where GIs used to round the bases.

Many of the city farmers fear that investors will leap on the prime real estate when their lease is up, forcing them out. Much of the site is to be landscaped to host the International Garden Show in 2017.

(Read more)

Atlanta Grows Lettuce Near Runway as Urban Farms Bloom – Bloomberg

Atlanta Grows Lettuce Near Runway as Urban Farms Bloom – Bloomberg.

Atlanta Grows Lettuce Near Runway as Urban Farms Bloom

Wed Aug 17 19:33:54 GMT 2011

Urban Farms

Chris Rank/Bloomberg

PodPonics CEO Matt Liotta

PodPonics CEO Matt Liotta

Chris Rank/Bloomberg

Matt Liotta, chief executive officer of PodPonics Inc., stands for a photograph in front                                                   of a pod farm container in Atlanta on Aug. 12, 2011.

  Urban Farms

Urban Farms

Chris Rank/Bloomberg

PodPonics Inc. employees harvest lettuce inside of a pod farm container in Atlanta on                                          Aug. 12, 2011.

  Urban Farms

Urban Farms

Chris Rank/Bloomberg

A PodPonics Inc. employee displays lettuce for a photograph in Atlanta on Aug. 12, 2011.

Urban Farms

Urban Farms

Chris Rank/Bloomberg

Seedlings grow inside a repurposed PodPonics Inc. container in Atlanta on Aug. 12, 2011.

(Corrects Inc. to LLC in eighth paragraph of story published Aug. 16.)

Designer lettuce will soon bud under the flight path of the world’s busiest airport in Atlanta. An orchard is taking the place of a parking lot in Davenport, Iowa. And homeowners near downtown Denver are turning lawns over to farmers like Sundari Kraft, who plant, weed, water and harvest crops from their yards in return for a share of the bounty.

“People are sick and tired of mowing and fertilizing,” said Kraft, author of “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Urban Homesteading,” in an interview at her Denver home. “We have a stack of applications, enough to double what we do now.”

From New York to Seattle, cities — which the U.S. Conference of Mayors says account for 90 percent of the nation’s gross domestic product — are attempting to create jobs, foster economic development, feed impoverished neighborhoods and fill long-vacant lots by returning to their agrarian roots.

Kraft, 34, and a team of apprentices nurture tomato forests, white eggplants, rainbow chard and other genetically pure vegetables for 11 homeowners who live minutes from downtown. Kraft sells the crop at farmers’ markets and to 30 families, who fork over $450 for a 20-week supply.

The demand for locally grown produce hit a high point this year, fed by urbanites looking to save money as well as documentaries such as “Food Inc.” and books including Michael Pollan’s “The Omnivore’s Dilemma,” which explore industrial food production(Read more)

Councilwoman Perry Wants Cash For Former Urban Farm « CBS Los Angeles

Councilwoman Perry Wants Cash For Former Urban Farm « CBS Los Angeles.

Councilwoman Perry Wants Cash For Former Urban Farm « CBS Los Angeles

July 29, 2011
Actress Darryl Hannah waves as she is removed from a tree in a community farm by fire fighters in South Central Los Angeles 13 June 2006. Hannah and dozens of other protestors were arrested as sheriff's deputies evicted farmers and supporters from the urban "South Central Farm," enforcing a court order obtained by the owner, who wants to develop or sell the 14-acre property in the middle of an industrial section of Los Angeles. (credit: ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images)

Actress Darryl Hannah waves as she is removed from a tree in a community farm by fire fighters in South Central Los Angeles 13 June 2006. Hannah and dozens of other protestors were arrested as sheriff’s deputies evicted farmers and supporters from the urban “South Central Farm,” enforcing a court order obtained by the owner, who wants to develop or sell the 14-acre property in the middle of an industrial section of Los Angeles. (credit: ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images)

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A Los Angeles councilwoman wants to give up the right to build a park on the former site of a controversial community farm south of downtown and take a cash payout to spend at existing parks instead.

Councilwoman Jan Perry says in a letter this month to the city agency that agreed to a deal to sell the 14-acre property eight years ago that it’s not a practical location to build a new park and the money could be better spent at nearby facilities.

She wants commissioners to let the land’s owner pay the city an estimated $3.6 million dollars instead of setting the property aside for a park.

The garden formerly at the site was bulldozed five years ago amid protests from Darryl Hannah, Joan Baez and other celebrities.

Article Link:  http://losangeles.cbslocal.com/2011/07/29/councilwoman-perry-wants-cash-for-former-urban-farm/%23.TjOJHLd9HXU.tweet

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. )

City Life Destroys Brain & Emotional Health | Health Freedom Alliance

City Life Destroys Brain & Emotional Health | Health Freedom Alliance.

City Life Destroys Brain & Emotional Health

Submitted by Lois Rain on July 18, 2011 – 4:00 pm

Who fares better, the town mouse or the country mouse? According to recent German research, city dwellers experience much higher percentages of anxiety, release of stress hormones, hypertension, depression and mental disorders. Social scientists predict that around 70 percent of the world will live in urban developments by 2050.

Some might argue that it is internal peace and response that determines mental health, but the researchers disagreed. Their particular findings of brain and limbic system damage through the use of MRIs lead straight to a connection with the patient’s dwelling environment.  (READ FULL ARTICLE)

~Health Freedoms

Charges NOT Dropped For Growing Garden | Health Freedom Alliance

Charges NOT Dropped For Growing Garden | Health Freedom Alliance. Future of Food, Organic

Charges NOT Dropped For Growing Garden

Submitted by Lois Rain on July 15, 2011 – 4:18 pm

Julie BassWhile it only appears that the City of Oak Park, MI dropped charges toward Julie Bass for planting a vegetable garden in her front yard, she wants to clarify that charges have not been dropped. She may not be spending 93 days in the slammer for growing veggies, but she faces similar punishment – for her dogs! But the garden fiasco is not over, more on that below.

Did the canines have run-ins with the police and attack pedestrians? No, they were simply unlicensed at the time she was ticketed for the garden. So the Bass family immediately got licenses after being cited for them, showed proof to the prosecutor and then it seemed that the issue was cleared. That is, until the case was recently reinstated. Even though her pets are current and licensed, she faces two misdemeanors and possibly over 93 days in jail. Political posturing at its finest.

Be sure to watch the news clip. Their attorney is going to subpoena all other city citations regarding these ordinances to find out just how selectively enforced they really are.

Listen to Oak Park Prosecutor Eugene Lumberg digress and ask the news anchor if she would like to have her neighbors plant corn stalks next door (or have a chicken coop!). Kudos to the interviewer for setting him straight and directing the conversation back to the point.

Another reason the garden charges are not necessarily dropped is because they were strangely “[not dropped but] dismissed by some judge we have never heard of or seen. we hope this person is a real judge, and had the real authority to dismiss our case, but we are going to double-check on that today.” Also, a “dismissal without prejudice means that the prosecutor can come back at any time and reinstate the garden charge” as witnessed with the reinstatement of the dog case. Julie says, “there has been no final disposition of the case, so we can’t take a deep breath and relax.” She continues, “the prosecutor wants more time to review the ordinance. not that he has given up on the garden charge. to the contrary, he wants more time to look things over.”


So, it is still mysteriously unclear whether the vegetable garden charges have actually gone into complete remission.   Julie shares more on her blog (READ FULL ARTICLE)

Woman Faces 93-Days In Jail For Growing Vegetable Garden | Health Freedom Alliance

Woman Faces 93-Days In Jail For Growing Vegetable Garden | Health Freedom Alliance.

Woman Faces 93-Days In Jail For Growing Vegetable Garden

Submitted by Lois Rain on July 11, 2011 – 11:13 am
Oak Park, MI Garden

Does THIS strike you as “unsuitable”?

Revenue-ing and government idleness at its worst. Julie Bass of Oak Park, Michigan faces 93 days in jail for doing the unthinkable – growing organic veggies on her own property.

Her crime? According to city planner Kevin Rulkowski, “That’s not what we want to see in a front yard.” She is cited for breaking a code that states “a front yard has to have suitable, live, plant material.” Yet her garden is well kept and could be mistaken for flower beds. Rulkowski defines “suitable” as what’s “common.”

So why doesn’t Ms. Bass cave or grow her garden in the backyard to avoid arrest? “I could sell out and save my own self and just not have them bother me anymore, but then there’s no telling what they’re going to harass the next person about,” she said. Julie Bass – we salute you!

You can help her by respectfully voicing your concern to Mr. Rulkowski:

248-691-7450 krulkowski@ci.oak-park.mi.us

For further accountability, you may wish to CC city manager Rick Fox rfox@ci.oak-park.mi.us (248-691-7406) and Oak Park mayor, Gerald Naftaly gnaftaly@att.net. Or all of city council.

Stay updated on her plight and donate to her legal fund here.

What will happen when other economically strapped city planners wish to fill their time busting people for subjective code enforcements? Who are the victims in these “crimes”?

Adam Kokesh of RT News illustrates in the video below, the strange contradiction that Mrs. Obama is heralded for growing organic veggies on White House property, but an Oak Park woman faces three months in jail for doing the same! He also verses Kevin Rulkowski on some basic definitions.

(Read more)

Farming the cities, feeding an urban future

Farming the cities, feeding an urban future.

As people move from rural to urban settings in search of economic opportunities, urban agriculture is becoming an important provider of both food and employment, according to researchers with the Worldwatch Institute. “Urban agriculture is providing food, jobs, and hope in Nairobi, Kampala, Dakar, and other cities across sub-Saharan Africa,” said Danielle Nierenberg, co-director of the Institute’s Nourishing the Planet project. “In some cases, urban farmers are providing important inputs, such as seed, to rural farmers, dispelling the myth that urban agriculture helps feed the poor and hungry only in cities.”

As the population in cities grows, urban farms might be a solution to improve food security for urban areas. (Photo credit: Bernard Pollack)

The United Nations projects that up to 65 percent of the world’s population will live in cities by 2050, up from around 50 percent today. The rate of urban migration is particularly high in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, where inadequate urban infrastructure struggles to keep up with the large influx of people. “Although most of the world’s poor and hungry remain in rural areas, hunger is migrating with people into urban areas,” said Brian Halweil, co-director of the Nourishing the Planet project.

Currently, an estimated 800 million people worldwide are engaged in urban agriculture, producing 15–20 percent of the world’s food. However, this activity occurs mainly in Asia, making it critical to place more worldwide emphasis on this vital sector. In Africa, 14 million people migrate from rural to urban areas each year, and studies suggest that an estimated 35–40 million Africans living in cities will need to depend on urban agriculture to meet their food requirements in the future.

“Urban agriculture is an important aspect of the development movement as it has the potential to address some of our most pressing challenges, including food insecurity, income generation, waste disposal, gender inequality, and urban insecurity“ said Nancy Karanja, a Professor at the University of Nairobi, Kenya, and a State of the World 2011 contributing author.  (Read more)

Nourishing the Planet » Nourishing the Planet TV: Concrete Solutions for Urban Agriculture » Print

Nourishing the Planet » Nourishing the Planet TV: Concrete Solutions for Urban Agriculture » Print.

In this week’s episode, research fellow Supriya Kumar discusses Nazeer Ahmed Sonday and his work at the Philippi Horticulture Area (PHA). This piece of farmland, enclosed in concrete, not only produces fresh produce for the residents of Cape Town, South Africa, but it is also home to hundreds of species of migratory birds in the winter.

Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hgYKc5lli3A

To read more about the Philippi Horticulture Area, see: Agriculture as a Concrete Solution: Cape Town’s Food Garden

To purchase your own copy of State of the World 2011: Innovations that Nourish the Planet, please click HERE. And to watch the one minute book trailer, click HERE.

South-Central garden: The time is ripe to revive it – latimes.com

South-Central garden: The time is ripe to revive it – latimes.com.


A South-Central garden spot again?

The urban parcel once cultivated by the South Central Farmers is again available, for a price. It’s worth pursuing a deal with a foundation to get it growing again.

A look back: Odalys Clemente, then 8, waters her parents' plot. (Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)

A look back: Odalys Clemente, then 8, waters her parents’ plot. (Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)

Once there was a farm in South Los Angeles that sprouted among warehouses and railroad tracks. In the shadow of downtown skyscrapers, avocado trees and beans and tomatillos took root and gave 350 families a bountiful harvest and a gathering place. But the plot of land at 41st and Alameda — estimated at 14 acres — was not the farmers’ to keep. Allowed to garden there by the city after it took possession under eminent domain, the land was eventually sold back to a previous owner. The farmers could leave — or buy the property from him for about $16 million.

The 2 1/2-year battle that erupted in 2006 played out like an opera. The South Central Farmers, as the gardeners named themselves, felt betrayed by city politicians. The property owner, Ralph Horowitz, believed — rightly — that he was being unfairly vilified for simply trying to protect his investment. Despite a promise of millions from the Annenberg Foundation, a deal to buy the property and keep the farm going fell through, giving way to the ugly sight of bulldozers plowing crops under. But life went on. Some farmers moved farther south to land that L.A. City Councilwoman Jan Perry helped them find. Others — who kept the South Central Farmers name — moved to land near Bakersfield, where they continue to grow produce that they sell at farmers’ markets and in several Whole Foods stores. And some quit farming altogether. (Read more)

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