Posts Tagged ‘urban agriculture’

2,012 Food Growing Spaces in London by the end of 2012? Done!

Posted in Movements by Kate Archdeacon on December 27th, 2012

Press Release from Capital Growth:

Capital Growth target

100,000 green-fingered Londoners deliver Mayor’s 2012 food growing target.

The estimated equivalent of 69 Wembley football pitches or 124 acres of disused land in London now brimming with fruit and veg.

The Mayor of London today [Dec 14] announced that the ambitious target to deliver 2012 Capital Growth spaces has been reached, following a four-year scheme to turn disused plots of land into community spaces abundant with fruit and veg. Nearly 100,000 green fingered Londoners have rolled up their sleeves to deliver this leafy Olympic legacy.

The Capital Growth scheme, run by London Food Link, was launched by the Mayor and Rosie Boycott, Chair of London Food, in November 2008. It aimed to create 2,012 growing spaces in London by the end of 2012 with funding from the Mayor and the Big Lottery Fund’s Local Food programme.

The idea is to bring local neighbourhoods and communities together while giving Londoners a chance to grow their own food and green their local area. It is also a response to growing allotment waiting lists, particularly in inner London boroughs, which can be decades long. Capital Growth has worked with landowners and local groups to help identify land for growing and then help people get started in creating successful gardens by providing training and tools.

There are now Capital Growth spaces in every London borough. Food gardens signed up to the scheme have flourished in an extraordinarily diverse and creative range of places, covering an estimated 124 acres of previously disused land. Capital Growth spaces are now growing on roofs, in donated recycling boxes, in skips, alongside canals and in builders’ bags providing healthy food to a range of places including shops and restaurants. The spaces have supported skills and enterprise training, market gardening initiatives and even the development of 50 community bee hives.

Some of the Capital Growth spaces have now scaled up into social enterprises selling produce into cafes, restaurants and market stalls and providing jobs for local people. Other projects that the campaign has supported include larger farms, such as Organic Lea in Waltham Forest that employs 13 full and part time staff doing market gardening under glass houses leased from the local authority. The biggest response to the Capital Growth challenge has come from schools with 687 schools signed up involving 66,000 pupils.

The 2012th space was today announced by the Mayor as St Charles Centre for health and wellbeing in North Kensington. The project, based in a disused courtyard of a hospital, will engage a range of community groups, including youth groups and Age UK, as well as hospital staff to grow their own healthier food.

>> Read more about the projects at Capital Growth.


Vertical Farm: Singapore

Posted in Models by Kate Archdeacon on November 9th, 2012


Image: Sky Greens

City Farmer, Treehugger and Core 77 have all published articles in the last week or so about Sky Greens – a vertical farm in Singapore which is causing excitement because it’s a real project instead of a design proposal.  The farm produces a range of green vegetables for a local supermarket, and it is hoped that this, and efforts like it, will increase Singapore’s vegetable production to provide 10% of the country’s consumption.

>> Read more about the project on Core 77 (it has the most pictures).


Urban Food Week: London

Posted in Events by Kate Archdeacon on September 13th, 2012

Source: SustainWeb


Urban Food Week is a celebration of the fantastic food being produced by community projects in London.

The week is a collaboration between restaurant network Ethical Eats; Capital Growth – the campaign to create 2012 new food-growing spaces by 2012; and Capital Bee, which promotes community beekeeping in London, and is to highlight the importance of buying and eating local food, urban growing and planting forage for bees.

During the week, restaurants, cafés, bars and pubs across the city will be showcasing dishes and drinks made with ultra-local fruit, veg and herbs from urban farms, and from London honey cultivated in community beehives.

Diners who submit a picture of their Urban Food Week dish or drink will be entered into a draw to win a one-day urban foraging course.

Urban Food Week
10-16 September

Go to the Ethical Eats site to find out more.


Goat Races & Urban farming in London

Posted in Models by Kate Archdeacon on July 27th, 2012

Source: polis blog via Sustainable Cities Collective


Photo by Manic Street Preacher via flickr CC

From “The Changing Face of Urban Farming in London” by Idroma Montgomery:

Recently I’ve noticed that London embraces urban farming in a way I haven’t seen in other cities. Last month, I attended the Oxford-Cambridge Goat Race at Spitalfields City Farm in East London, a popular annual event that raises money for the farm. It is housed on a side street off the trendy and boisterous Brick Lane, and like many other city farms in London, offers a study in how to effectively utilize small amounts of urban space.

Spitalfields City Farm resides alongside a small park and a residential area, including council flats and primary schools. The sound of the Overground is ever present as trains rush past, visible behind the small playground and vegetable patches. The farm contains a small menagerie of rare breeds, a weekend community market, a greenhouse and small plots for non-professional gardening. It is a farm that is connected to its community and surroundings. Throughout the week, people can easily buy a range of eggs, plants and compost, as well as other locally made goods. Most of the other urban farms in the area follow a similar template, acting as hubs of community activity and knowledge exchange across central and greater London.

The presence of Spitalfields and other farms not only demonstrates ways in which Londoners are attempting to remain connected to how food is sourced and produced (as evidenced by the rise of boutique markets such as Borough and Brixton), but also serves as a means to maintain a multicultural identity and re-establish communal urbanism in a city that increasingly isolates its citizens. Most farms were built in the 1970s and 1980s by local community groups to provide community space and help people provide for themselves and take responsibility for their area. Built amongst rubble on unused land, these farms were the physical manifestations of people attempting to resist the destruction of their neighborhoods — a symbol of activism. Communities were able to reclaim neglected spaces and create stable alternative environments that subverted expected ideas of what these neighborhoods needed and wanted. Most continue to be run by community committees and volunteers and require donations and council funding in order to survive. Their continued existence underscores the fact that they remain significant to their areas.

Many London farms are located near deprived or marginalized areas. The Spitalfields farm —located in the east London borough of Tower Hamlets — has targeted events at local residents to help them learn how to grow fruits and vegetables (including Asian vegetables, in a nod to the large local Asian population) and cook using seasonal produce. Through these activities, marginalized and under-represented families are able to contribute to farm activities, learn about food production and care, and reconnect the relationship between the food that they eat and the animals that are cared for in the farm. It also allows them to think critically about the sustainability of food production, how and what they eat, and how such food practices affect their families and communities. These connections change the spatiality of neighbourhoods and how they are navigated, creating spaces of interaction and production between residents and the land, as well as among residents.

[…]

Read the full article by Idroma Montgomery.


A Community Garden on a Parking Garage

Posted in Models by Kate Archdeacon on July 6th, 2012

Source: The Atlantic Cities


Photo by Nicole Kistler

From “A 30,000-Square-Foot Community Garden, in a Parking Garage” by Sarah Deweerdt:

[Seattle] residents are building a 30,000-square-foot community garden atop a two-story structure once intended for fair visitors’ cars.

“As far as we can tell it’s the first community-managed food production garden on a rooftop” in the country, says Eric Higbee, a landscape architect working on the project. This project, dubbed the UpGarden, will have space for about 120 gardeners. There are a few rooftop farms, such as Eagle Street Rooftop Farm in Brooklyn. But a commercial operation like that runs around $10 per square foot to construct, while the UpGarden has shoestring budget of $4 per square foot—and it’s designed to be built and maintained almost entirely by volunteers.

The project came about because Seattle’s P-Patch community gardening program was looking for space to build a new garden in the neighborhood. “We were really struggling, because the neighborhood is really dense,” says P-Patch coordinator Laura Raymond.

But building a rooftop garden isn’t straightforward. “You’d think that cars are really heavy, and you could put anything on top of a garage,” says Nicole Kistler, a landscape designer and artist also on the design team. In fact, soil is much heavier—12 inches of water-saturated soil can weigh over 100 pounds per square foot, but the garage is only designed to support 40 pounds per square foot.

“We had to find a way to get enough soil up there to grow vegetables, but also not exceed the weight capacity of the garage,” Higbee says. “That really drove a lot of the design decisions.”

Typical green roof technologies were too expensive, so they settled on a series of wooden raised beds 12 to 18 inches deep, which will be filled with potting soil. It’s lighter than topsoil. Higbee and Kistler also left wide paths between the garden beds.

At $150,000, designing and building the UpGarden will cost about 10 percent more than a ground-level community garden of similar size, Raymond estimates. The increased costs come mainly from a longer, more elaborate design process, the need for a structural engineer, and a contractor to drill into the garage deck. In addition, the low clearance of the garage means that materials like potting soil and wood chips will have to be blown in, rather than a large load being dumped by a truck and wheelbarrowed into place by volunteers.

[…]

Read the full article by Sarah Deweerdt for more details.

 

 


Meals on (Bicycle) Wheels: One part of a smart sustainable community system

Posted in Models by Kate Archdeacon on June 27th, 2012

Source: Nourishing the Planet: Worldwatch Institute

From “Santropol Roulant: A Leaner, Greener Meals on Wheels” by Phillip Newell:

Santropol Roulant (Santropol is community, roulant means rolling in French) is an [intergenerational] organization providing healthy, sustainable meals to homebound Montreal citizens. Instead of relying on fossil-fuel powered cars like traditional Meals-on-Wheels, this group delivers with a more carbon-friendly option—bicycles.

But eliminating petrochemicals from their delivery routes wasn’t enough for the organization, so the group hired Natural Step (a non-profit sustainability research and education group) to help them further reduce their environmental impact. This is accomplished through Eco-Challenge, which is an action plan designed by Natural Step to help Santropol Roulant become even more sustainable.

Taking their organization’s sustainability two steps further than biking to deliver meals to the disadvantaged, Santropol Roulant grows a variety of fruits and vegetables on an organic rooftop garden, and recycle their food waste in the basement through vermicomposting. Vermicomposting is using worms to help decompose food waste for compost. That compost can be distributed to urban farmers who are starting their own backyard or roof-top gardens.

In addition to using a low-emission transportation source, Santropol Roulant also sponsors a community bike shop, where it educates local residents about maintenance and repairs.

[…]

Read the original article by Phillip Newell for Nourishing the Planet.

 


Urban Agriculture: Designing for growing food

Posted in Movements by Kate Archdeacon on June 12th, 2012


Photo © Eagle Street Farm

From “Urban Agriculture Part II: Designing Out the Distance” by Vanessa Quirk on ArchDaily:

All over the world, citizens are taking the Food Revolution into their own hands, becoming urban bee-keepers, guerilla planters, rooftop gardeners, foodie activists. While community engagement and political lobbying are vital to these grassroots movements, so too could be design. By designing our cities – our public and civic spaces, our hospitals and schools – with food in mind, we can facilitate this Revolution by making food a visible part of urban life, thus allowing us to take that crucial first step: eliminating the physical/conceptual distance between us and our food.

What does it look like to design with food in mind?

[…]

Read the full article by Vanessa Quirk to get the bigger picture and follow the embedded links to a wide range of urban agriculture projects.


The Plant: From Meatpacking Factory to Vertical Farm and Food Business Incubator

Posted in Models by Jessica Bird on May 23rd, 2012

Source: Co.Exist


Photo by Plant Chicago via Flickr CC

From “A Meatpacking Plant Transformed into a Vertical Farm” by Ariel Schwartz

When entrepreneur John Edel was a kid, he loved to visit the Garfield Park Conservatory, a massive indoor plant conservatory in Chicago that was largely neglected until the mid-1990s. Edel’s fascination for indoor growing never waned. In 2010, the entrepreneur bought “The Plant”–an empty 93,500-square-foot Chicago meatpacking plant–with the intention of turning it into a net-zero waste and energy vertical farm. “Edel was interested in ways of bringing back manufacturing jobs to the city,” explains Melanie Hoekstra, director of operations at The Plant. The building is uniquely suited to food production; it contains food-grade materials (these allow for legal and safe food preparation) because of its meatpacking history. Instead of combining farming with other types of manufacturing, The Plant is sticking entirely to food–and lots of it.

So far, the plant’s tenants include a handful of bakers, a kombucha brewery, a tilapia fish farm, a mushroom garden, and three aquaponics farms (including Skyygreens). The Plant is currently on the hunt for a brewery. When everything is up and running, waste won’t be able to escape The Plant. The brewery’s spent grains will feed the fish farm, waste products from the fish will nourish the mushroom garden or feed the plants, and the plants (found in the aquaculture operations) will clean the water and send it back to the fish farm. The net-zero energy building is also installing a combined heat and power system (set to be up and running next year), which will collect methane from The Plant’s food waste-gobbling anaerobic digester. The system will turn that methane into electricity and heat. The heat, in turn, will be converted into steam and sent to the brewery, which will use it to boil kettles.

Despite its grand ambitions and reliance on volunteers, The Plant’s construction is moving along at a fairly rapid pace. The shared kitchen space will be finished by 2014, and the outdoor gardens will come soon after that. Everything–including common areas–will be finished by 2016 or 2017. The reaction so far from the surrounding neighborhood has been encouraging. “Folks in the immediate vicinity are generally excited at the very least because it’s not just a vacant building at the dead end of a street where lord knows what could happen,” says Hoekstra. Eventually, some of those neighbors might even end up with new jobs. The Plant anticipates that its tenants will hire approximately 125 people to do everything from manning the mushroom farm to making cake in the bakeries.

To learn more about how The Plant works, watch this short video.
For more information visit The Plant’s website.


Solutions for a Hungry World: AlertNet

Posted in Opinion, Research, Visions by Kate Archdeacon on May 14th, 2012

AlertNet have released a special report “Hungry World“.  We heard about it via Nourishing the Planet, who featured the article “Top 10 Food Trailblazers”  in their newsletter recently.  The report includes articles on a range of issues to be considered when we think of feeding the world in 2050, such as Africa feeding the world; Growing food in cities; Land grabbing for food security, and food commodities speculation.  As well as the articles, the report also features a “package” of videos and a series of blogs.  It’s all too much to try and include here, so follow the links and explore!

http://www.trust.org/alertnet/multimedia/in-focus/hungry-world/

 

 

 


FeedToronto: A vision for growing food in public spaces

Posted in Visions by Kate Archdeacon on May 7th, 2012


© Drew Adams, Fadi Masoud, Karen May, Denise Pinto, Jameson Skaife

FEED TORONTO: GROWING THE HYDROFIELDS is a prize-winning design proposal by students in the Masters of Architecture and Masters of Landscape Architecture at the University of Toronto, Canada.

Awards:

  • 2011 Toronto Urban Design Award of Excellence
  • Finalist, ONE PRIZE Mowing to Growing Competition, 2010

Designers: Drew Adams, Fadi Masoud, Karen May, Denise Pinto and Jameson Skaife

“The hydro corridors of Toronto are sprawling lengths of continuous, mostly vacant land. They are unusual terrain: both physically sparse but culturally intense. Stippled with electrical towers, planted in acres of mowed grass, they hold the promise of light, energy, and power. They have immense cultural equity, but with an underwhelming physical existence. Rather than pursuing the transformation of a complex network of privatized lawn landscape to create productive greenspace, this project takes on the proposition of finding the greatest and most immediate place for urban agriculture by using public lands. Growing hydro corridors can be done across North America, as they are a staple of most cities. If made into a standard this practice would not only circumvent the need for the buy-in of countless individual land owners, it would also also align the ground of the site with its significance as a place of energy production—this time through food. FeedToronto is proposed as a force of fiscal, ecological and social productivity. It re-imagines over 6,000 acres of mowed lawn as an abundant urban green that generates affordable, nutritious, local food.” From the submission

Read about the project and see more images on the Adams-Masoud site:

http://www.adams-masoud.com/index.php?/projects/feed-toronto-growing-the-hydro-fields/