5 Urban Agriculture Strategies to Grow Your City’s Food Supply

Many cities have been integrating urban gardening into their patchworks for decades. Other communities are just getting started.

Here are five strategies for jump-starting new urban agriculture projects and sustaining those underway.

1. Take inventory of your city’s land (and rooftops)

Cities are big places, and most people don’t have the vantage point to discover every potential growing site at a single glance. To navigate their own scale, cities interested in urban agriculture have taken land inventories. They’re just like the inventory a shop clerk takes, but instead of counting boxes, city planners look at parcel maps and other data to map unused spaces that could support food production. Read more

Aaron Flora Renewable Farms Aquaponics Orange County Anaheim

Building a Megafarm in Anaheim, CA: A Q&A With Aaron Flora

Image courtesy of Renewable Farms

Image courtesy of Renewable Farms

Aaron Flora has worked on creating farms with Renewable Farms for years, but he just recently embarked on his biggest project to date, with the help of a Kickstarter campaign: a mega-aquaponics farm for the city of Anaheim, California that will double as a community training center.

Seedstock recently interviewed Flora and asked him about how Renewable Farms made the Anaheim project happen, how the mega farm will remain sustainable and what he hopes this farm will achieve in the future. Read more

Can Cities Feed Themselves? A Look at Urban Farming in 5 Major American Urban Centers

Food Field is a for profit 4-acre urban farm based in Detroit that was founded in 2010 by Noah Link and Alex Bryan. Photo Credit: Food Field.

Food Field is a for profit 4-acre urban farm based in Detroit that was founded in 2010 by Noah Link and Alex Bryan. Photo Credit: Food Field.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know that urban agriculture—the practice of cultivating and distributing food in population-dense areas—is all the rage.

As Americans learn more about our food system and how it affects our health and the environment, many city-dwellers are looking for alternatives to pesticide-laden fruit and vegetables, GMOs and CAFOs.

In response, many farmers have turned to cultivating in cities to meet the demand for locally grown crops. And ordinary citizens are taking it upon themselves to learn how to grow their own food. Read more

Former Pro Golfer Leaves Links to Pursue Promise of Greener Urban Farming Pastures

mike-lott-urban-food-works-green-wall-urban-farmMike Lott is not your run of the mill farmer. Not long ago, before making the decision to embark on a career in farming and launch his aquaponic and urban agriculture venture, Urban Food Works in Murietta, CA, Lott was a professional golfer.

He grew up not on a farm, but in a typical southern California home. As a kid, he didn’t awake early in the morning to milk and feed cows, harvest crops, or turn the soil. Instead, he honed his golf game in anticipation of one day playing professionally. After high school Lott headed to the College of the Desert in Palm Desert not only because of its well-known golf program, but also to study Environmental Science. It was there that the seeds of Lott’s interest in and current passion for urban farming and the environment were sown. Read more

New Urban Farm Helps to Revitalize Detroit Neighborhood

postartesianThanks to a new urban agriculture enterprise, the future is brighter for Detroit’s Brightmoor neighborhood—an area on the west side of the city that has seen so much economic devastation that it was nicknamed “Blight More.”

Jeff Adams, a Brightmoor resident for the past 12 years, founded Artesian Farms, an indoor vertical farming operation that saw its first harvested crop in spring 2015. And there will be quite a bit of harvests to come, as they are scheduled to take place 17 times a year. Read more

New York City’s Edenworks Advances Urban Aquaponics with Custom Ecosystems

Edenworks Farmstacks are customized for the crop they support. (photo courtesy of Jason Green/Edenworks)

Edenworks Farmstacks are customized for the crop they support. (photo courtesy of Jason Green/Edenworks)

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. Read more

Toronto Aquaponics Startup Works Toward a ‘New Normal’ in Local Food Production

Photo courtesy of Aqua Greens.

Photo courtesy of Aqua Greens.

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. Read more

5 Farms Pushing the Boundaries of Indoor Agriculture

Bright Farms Courtesy of Bright Farms

Bright Farms
Courtesy of Bright Farms

Indoor farms are the new and innovative way to grow greens. Modern indoor farms are quite large and filled with state-of-the-art technologies – they aren’t the tiny greenhouses of yesteryear.

We’ve rounded up five, indoor farms to give you a taste of what some of the most innovative growing organizations are producing.

1. Bright Farms 

Bright Farms has built its state-of-the-art farming facilities in seven cities. Bright Farms specializes in creating farms that conserve land and water. The Farms also are designed to “eliminate agricultural runoff” and to “reduce greenhouse gas emission from transportation.” Bright Farms has partnered with CropKing (specialists in controlled environment agriculture), Hort Americas (provides products to greenhouse growers), NetSuite (software company), and Nexus Greenhouse Systems (produces affordable greenhouse structures) to ensure it produces top-notch facilities Read more

Cityblooms’ Automated Hydroponic Micro-farm Grows Nutritious Produce on Plantronics Company Campus

CITYBLOOMS conference seedstockSANTA CRUZ, Calif., Sept. 30, 2014 /PRNewswire/ — Plantronics Inc. (NYSE: PLT) is pioneering the use of on-site food production to boost employee nutrition as part of the company’s global commitment to sustainability.  Through a joint project with Santa Cruz-based Cityblooms, a prototype computer-automated farm has been installed at the Plantronics headquarters and is being powered by the company’s existing solar energy system.

The hydroponic micro-farm produces bi-weekly harvests of premium leafy greens and vegetables for the on-site cafe operated by Bon Appetit Management Company, a national leader in socially and environmentally responsible food service. “By locating these micro-farms close to the point of consumption, we measure farm-to-fork distances in yards, rather than miles,” said Nick Halmos, Cityblooms founder. “We eliminate the financial and environmental costs associated with food waste and food transportation.” Read more

Can Local, Urban Agriculture Scale? Chicago Hydroponics Farm Says ‘Yes’

Photo courtesy of Urban Till

Photo courtesy of Urban Till

Sustainable growing methods are part of the very fiber of Urban Till’s operations, but the Chicago-based hydroponics farm isn’t an outgrowth of the organic food movement. In fact, it actually has roots in the traditional food industry.

Founder Brock Leach comes from a background in food distribution. Before starting Urban Till with his friend, hydroponics expert Todd Williamson, he worked as manager of continuous improvement over at Martin Brower, a multinational company that provides supply chain management services to restaurants operators around the globe. Watching the increasing costs of moving edible goods along the supply line, he came to the conclusion that local production of food could be profitable, if it was done right. Read more