Salon Magazine – Urban gardens: The future of food
It’s easy to make fun of, but as more and more farming moves downtown, eating local is taking on a new flavor
By Will Doig
Jan 21, 2012
With penny-farthings, handlebar mustaches and four-pocket vests back in fashion, the rise of urban farming should just about complete our fetish for the late 1800s. Today, you can find chicken coops on rooftops in Brooklyn, N.Y., goats in San Francisco backyards, and rows of crops sprouting across empty lots in Cleveland.
That it fits so snugly into the hipster-steampunk throwback trend is what makes urban farming ripe for ridicule. (“Portlandia” has taken a crack or two at it.) But could city-based agriculture ever make the leap from precious pastime to serious player in our cities’ food systems — not just for novelty seekers and committed locavores, but for the Safeway-shopping masses?
“I don’t want to make a statement like, ‘This is the future of farming,’” says Gotham Greens co-founder Viraj Puri, sitting at his laptop in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, steps away from hundreds of rows of butter lettuce. “It’s probably never going to replace conventional farming. But it has a role to play.”