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.
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!”
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.
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.
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.
Iowa State University’s Agricultural Urbanism Toolkit Helps Communities ‘Start the Conversation’ on Local Food SystemsMarch 10, 2015 | Trish Popovitch
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.
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.
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.