Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image

Fostering Sustainability and Innovation in Agriculture

Scroll to top

Top

Urban Farming

Baltimore Combats Food Deserts with Urban Farming Tax Break

May 27, 2015 |
RFF Hoop.jpg Caption: The hooped Real Food Farm in Baltimore, Maryland. Credit: Baltimore Office of Sustainability

RFF Hoop.jpg
Caption: The hooped Real Food Farm in Baltimore, Maryland.
Credit: Baltimore Office of Sustainability

Urban farmers in the city of Baltimore will soon qualify for a 90 percent property tax break under a bill recently approved by Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake. The move, which is the latest in a series of tax-break initiatives for city growers seen in areas like San Francisco and Washington, D.C., is intended to bolster local production of healthy food.

Drafted by Councilman William “Pete” Welch, the bill, which will likely go into effect next month, gives a tax credit to farmers who make at least $5,000 per year selling crops and raise no more than five acres of land. Read More

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

Bugs for Dinner: Big Cricket Farms Find Niche in Edible Insect Farming

April 16, 2015 |
Kevin Bachhuber. Courtesy of Big Cricket Farms

Kevin Bachhuber. Courtesy of Big Cricket Farms

Rich in protein and requiring relatively few resources to raise, the United Nations says insects should be on our plates.

Though bugs make up part of a healthy, diverse diet in many non-Western cultures, Americans and Europeans generally consider eating insects to be disgusting, even ‘primitive.’ But a growing movement by edible insect enthusiasts like Kevin Bachhuber is looking to change this perception.

Eating certain types of insects is common is Thailand, where Bachhuber picked up a taste for them in 2006 while traveling. Fried crickets are a common bar food, and though “it feels a little Fear-Factor-y at first,” he says a couple beers help wash them down the first time. From then on, he says, “They’re really good!” 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

New York City’s Edenworks Advances Urban Aquaponics with Custom Ecosystems

March 29, 2015 |
Edenworks Farmstacks are customized for the crop they support. (photo courtesy of Jason Green/Edenworks)

Edenworks Farmstacks are customized for the crop they support. (photo courtesy of Jason Green/Edenworks)

New York City resident Jason Green wanted good local produce available in his city on a year-round basis. Concluding that other New Yorkers wanted the same thing, he addressed this insufficiency with aquaponics.

Desiring a more intimate relationship with food, Green was already gardening in his apartment window box. But in order to grow local produce year-round in New York City, he knew that a new sort of infrastructure was needed.

So Green, along with co-founders Ben Silverman and Matt La Rosa, founded Edenworks, which utilizes vertically-terraced, closed loop, modular aquaponic ecosystems. Read More

A Sustainable Food One-stop Shop: New Orleans Business Combines Urban Farm and Grocery Store

March 25, 2015 |
Photo courtesy of Courtesy of Hollygrove Market & Farm.

Photo courtesy of Courtesy of Hollygrove Market & Farm.

Hollygrove Market & Farm (HM&F) has shortened the food distribution chain to zero by combining an urban farm with a grocery store.

For many area residents in New Orleans’ 17th Ward, HM&F is their only source of affordable, local fresh food. HM&F goes out of its way to provide healthy food choices by letting customers choose from purchasing  single items or CSA-style food boxes.

HM&F began as part of the Carrollton-Hollygrove Community Development Corporation. In the past they have enjoyed support from area organizations including the New Orleans Food & Farm Network and the Master Gardeners of New Orleans. 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

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