New Stories From 'Urban Agriculture Notes'
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New York’s Urban Farms Weather Hurricane Sandy’s Winds But Not Her Waters


East New York Farms after the hurricane.

“Having a more robust local food supply is looking more and more appealing after our near apocalypse.”

By Kim Velsey
New York Observer
10/30, 2012

Excerpt:

Rounding the corner onto Schenck Avenue in East New York, the staff of East New York Farms winced a little—the farm’s gate had been wrenched off its hinges and a port-a-potty was lying on one side, but things were not as bad as they might have been. The plants—particularly the long beans—were wind-beaten and crushed in places by fallen branches, but the greenhouse had protected many of the pepper plants and the bees were alive and well in their hives.

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November 1, 2012   Comments Off

A Look Inside The Plant, Chicago’s Biggest Urban Farm


Baby tilapia growing in the basement of The Plant, an urban farm inside a former meatpacking plant on Chicago’s South Side. Photo by Niala Boodhoo.

John Edel has transformed an old meatpacking factory into a fully sustainable vertical farm that helps support growing food businesses.

By Kathryn Hawkins
Atlantic Magazine
Oct 29, 2012

Excerpt:

Even The Plant’s roof has been reclaimed: Alex Poltorak, an engineer turned farmer, uses the space to grow more than 200 varieties of tomatoes, peppers, and other vegetables and herbs. Each week, crops are distributed through a community-supported agriculture (CSA) that he launched with seed funding from Kickstarter. Excess produce is often given out to local families in the surrounding neighborhood. His future plans include starting a school garden, where he can help local schoolchildren harvest and distribute their vegetables. “I’d like to help communities produce their own agriculture,” he says.

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November 1, 2012   Comments Off

Growing Everything but Gardeners


Left, Ena K. McPherson holds the key to three different community gardens. Right, the Vernon and Throop Avenue Block Association Garden in Bedford-Stuyvesant. Photo by Robert Wright for The New York Times.

“In an ideal situation, we would have gardens with everyone in the community participating,” Ms. McPherson said. “But in fact, a few die-hard people end up carrying the flag.”

By Michael Tortorello
New York Times
October 31, 2012

Excerpt:

What postdiluvian New York needs is more gardens — that and $10 billion worth of sea gates. Right?

As it happens, the city appears closer to realizing the former. Backing for new community food gardens comes from the one person who can seemingly create green space out of thin air. That would be Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, whose sustainability initiative, PlaNYC, calls for city agencies to identify vacant parcels that may be reclaimed for urban agriculture. Perhaps 100 potential sites should be evaluated by spring, said Edie Stone, who heads the vetting process as the director of GreenThumb, the community garden program at the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation.

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November 1, 2012   Comments Off

Urban Farms Take Part in 2012 Crop Mob in Kansas City

“It offers a needed amenity for the neighborhoods that don’t have, within close reach, access to fresh food right now,” said Mayor Joe Reardon

By John Pepitone and Sarah Clark
Fox 4 KC.com
October 22, 2012

Excerpt:

KANSAS CITY, Kan. — As part of an effort to make the food we eat healthier, sustainable and affordable — leaders in both Kansas City, Kan., and Kansas City, Mo., are encouraging more farming in urban neighborhoods. Urban farmers in some of the poorest neighborhoods are growing, eating and selling their own food.

“It’s good eating,” said Erika Bush, a resident of the Juniper Gardens housing project in Kansas City, Kan. “It’s good living. And if you’re trying to cut costs on your grocery bills and things like that, it helps with that too.”

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November 1, 2012   Comments Off