On the borderline between the affluent Gold Coast section of Chicago, IL and the neighborhood that was once home to Cabrini-Green, one of America’s most infamous housing projects sits a sustainable urban vegetable farm called City Farm.
The farm occupies one acre of land surrounded by a fence latticed with six-foot tall sunflowers. City Farm is run by the Resource Center, a Chicago-based non-profit environmental education organization that develops and demonstrates innovative techniques for recycling and reusing materials.
It’s Vertical Farming day over at Seedstock and we’re celebrating with a digest that features stories on a number of vertical urban agriculture startups that have the potential to play an outsize role in furthering the goals of …
Windowfarms will not save the world. But even in the big picture, every little piece counts.
That’s the thinking of The Windowfarms Project founder Britta Riley, a technology designer with myriad interests ranging from product development to social media to agriculture. Riley, along with Rebecca Bray, started Windowfarms in February 2009 as a way to foster consumer involvement, collaboration and innovation in food production and the environmental movement.
What exactly is a windowfarm? At the most basic level, it’s a vertical hydroponics system; rather than growing in rows, in soil, outdoors, plants within the system grow in columns, in water, indoors – in a window to be exact. The nutrients crops would get from the soil are instead dissolved in water and delivered to the plants with the help of an air pump.
On a more profound level, windowfarms are a powerful tool for changing the way consumers relate to their food.
Urban Farming (urbanfarming.org), the organization that uses abandoned city lots to grow food for the hungry, was conceived when singer Taja Sevelle, a protégé discovered by Prince, moved to Detroit to record an album for Sony Records. She was devastated by the struggles of the city’s poor, already in the throes of the recession. The food banks couldn’t keep food on the shelves and were appealing for donations. She also noticed that as people fled the city there were more and more empty lots.
Dan Gibbs, CEO of San Diego, CA-based vertical organic farming startup Home Town Farms, doesn’t believe he’s introducing a new company, but an entire industry that will benefit consumers, the environment and the future of sustainable agriculture.
“Urban farming isn’t new, vertical farming isn’t new, but vertical urban farming is new,” said Gibbs.