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Fostering Sustainability and Innovation in Agriculture

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Urban Agriculture

NYU Urban Farm Lab Teaches Important Lesson in Urban Ag

April 21, 2015 |
NYU Urban Farm Lab

NYU Urban Farm Lab

NYU’s Urban Farm Lab is not your typical classroom, but for students at NYU’s Food Studies program, it’s where they learn one very important lesson: how to grow food in the big city.

The Urban Farm Lab was the inspiration of NYU graduate student Daniel Bowman Simon who thought there should be an urban garden on campus. Unfortunately, the administration didn’t agree— at least not at first. But after five years of campaigning, Bowman Simon and members of NYU’s Food Studies Department got the administration on board, and the NYU Urban Farm Lab was born. Read More

Urban Farming Ramps Up in Sacramento with Passage of New Ordinance

April 12, 2015 |
Tirtsah Yisrael works 1/2 an acre on Yisrael Urban Family Farm in Sacramento (photo courtesy of Andrew Send and the Sacramento Bee)

Tirtsah Yisrael works 1/2 an acre on Yisrael Urban Family Farm in Sacramento
(photo courtesy of Andrew Send and the Sacramento Bee)

by Traci Knight

Food and agriculture activists have something to celebrate this year in Sacramento, California. On March 23, 2015, City Council passed an urban farming ordinance that paves the way for food security and an inner city agricultural economy. The 6-1 vote by council members makes specific changes to allow and promote urban agriculture and micro farms within city limits.

Advocacy groups such as Ubuntu Green worked with locals to build a coalition of support for the proposed ordinance. Top Sacramento chefs and restaurateurs also took an active role, sponsoring a letter with 39 prominent signatories urging the city to pass laws to allow for the city to become a robust model of integrated, urban food production. Read More

Singapore Urban Farm Design Looks to Engage Active Seniors

April 5, 2015 |
Courtesy of SPARK Home Farm

Courtesy of SPARK Home Farm

by Christa Avampato

A new paradigm for senior living is rising in famously lavish Singapore—one in which baby boomers can age in a comfortable environment that aids their mental and physical wellbeing through growing their own food.

Imagine a senior living environment based on the hanging gardens of Babylon — a place rich with lush vegetation and beauty of mythic proportions, but in a way that doesn’t place any additional strain on a city’s budget. In fact, it could be crafted as a way to grow the local economy. Read More

Iowa State University’s Agricultural Urbanism Toolkit Helps Communities ‘Start the Conversation’ on Local Food Systems

March 10, 2015 |
Photo courtesy of University of Iowa’s Community Design Lab

Photo courtesy of University of Iowa’s Community Design Lab

A new Agricultural Urbanism Toolkit produced by the Iowa State University’s  Community Design Lab offers communities the planning tools necessary to prioritize and ignite urban farming projects. Created with the support of a grant from the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture, the Toolkit includes process, practice and case studies to help jump-start local urban agriculture programs.

Courtney Long is a fellow for the Community Design Lab and facilitator of the urbanism toolkit program. Read More

Urban Farm Raises Awareness, Offers Different Flavor of the Good Life in Affluent Southern California

March 5, 2015 |
Rishi Kumar. Courtesy Rishi Kumar

Rishi Kumar. Courtesy Rishi Kumar

Often, urban farming startups focus on bringing food options to underserved communities.

In the case of The Growing Home and its latest venture,  Sarvodaya Farms, the community in question is educated and affluent.

After interning on a sustainable farm in India, Rishi Kumar wanted to bring his experiences back to affluent Diamond Bar. He is now offering his well-heeled neighbors a different flavor of the good life. With chickens for eggs, and compost and bees for honey, Kumar is bringing the world of locally grown to a community that doesn’t have to think about self sufficiency in the same way many American communities do. Read More

Toronto Aquaponics Startup Works Toward a ‘New Normal’ in Local Food Production

March 2, 2015 |
Photo courtesy of Aqua Greens.

Photo courtesy of Aqua Greens.

Pablo Alvarez and Craig Petten are Toronto natives with a combined 40 years of experience in the food industry. By starting  a new aquaponic farm in their home city, the co-founders hope to both increase Toronto’s food stability and increase people’s connection with their food.

Alvarez and Petten first discovered aquaponics during their time at Humber College, where they majored in Sustainable Energy and Building Technology. After 20 years working in the hospitality industry in Toronto, the pair founded Aqua Greens. As Petten explains, their work in hospitality allowed them to see first hand the lack of connection between food and its source. Read More

Southern California Farmer Strives to Build Community and Food Sovereignty

February 23, 2015 |
Hop Hopkins is co-founder of Panther Ridge Farm, located near Southern California’s San Gabriel Mountains. (photo courtesy of Hop Hopkins)

Hop Hopkins is co-founder of Panther Ridge Farm, located near Southern California’s San Gabriel Mountains. (photo courtesy of Hop Hopkins)

Panther Ridge Farm is a four-year-old, first-generation family farm in the foothills of Southern California’s San Gabriel Mountains. Founded by farmer and community organizer Hop Hopkins and his wife, Adalila Zelada-Garcia, the farm is focused on sustainable organic (non-certified) agriculture.

A variety of items are grown and raised at Panther Ridge Farm, including fruits, vegetables, nuts, herbs, flowers, mushrooms, heritage fowl and bees. A prime aim at the farm is to help increase food sovereignty, especially for poor people and those impacted by degradation of the land.

A second objective is education, which is fulfilled through the farm’s Outdoor School, where children and families learn about agriculture and the wilderness through hands-on, experiential programs. Participants learn how the natural world connects and sustains all living things, and the link between nature and agriculture is emphasized. Read More

Long Beach Co-op Looks to Build Sustainable Physical and Mental Landscapes

February 5, 2015 |
Image courtesy of Foodscape

Image courtesy of Foodscape

Ryan Serrano was 22 and freshly graduated from California State University, Long Beach, when he founded Foodscape in 2011.

The journey took a winding road toward its present incarnation. At first, Serrano immersed himself in social issues in college, and saw how food access can be a symptom of social dysfunction as well as a catalyst for social change. The key, he believes, is sustained and easy access to healthy, sustainable and affordable food.

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