May 12, 2011

Local Eating Through the Seasons: the how and why

Guest Contribution by Author Melissa Tapper Goldman

Here in New York, spring has announced its arrival, with white blossoms and green buds exploding out of street trees. The growing season, however, arrives a bit more slowly. In the city, we enjoy the pleasant, temperate microclimate of the urban heat island effect. Upstate, it's barely springtime. Still, farms are already busy preparing for the summer. In the final push before the growing season kicks into gear and we can enjoy New York State’s summer produce, there are a few more weeks to examine our off-season eating habits, and how the choices that we make during the summer season affect us year round.


Local Food Wheel may help you navigate local produce through the seasons. 


Although local food isn’t always easy to find in the winter, the reasons to eat locally remain just as relevant. Michael Pollan’s poetic notion of “voting with one’s fork” evokes the idea

May 9, 2011

NYC Ideas Festival Spawns New Ideas

Viewers of the SubSeries Booth were encouraged to sketch our their own Ideas for a better New York City subway system



GrowingCities participated in the the New Museum's Festival of Ideas for the New City, this past Saturday May 7th, and as you can see in the image above, many new ideas were conceived of by the public as to how the New York City subway system might be re-imagined. We were invited to the event, along with 11 other teams of designers, through our involvement with the SubSeries design charrette series, organized by Baukunst Studio, and which asks of its participants to re-conceive of the spaces of existing NYC

May 1, 2011

GrowingCities to Participate in NYC Festival of Ideas






















GrowingCities is pleased to announce that we will be participating in the the New Museum's Festival of Ideas for the New City, this Saturday May 7th. We have been invited to the event, along with 11 other teams of designers, through our involvement with the SubSeries design charrette series, organized by Baukunst Studio, and which asks of its participants to re-conceive of the spaces of existing NYC subway stations. What are the most optimistic strategies for reclaiming this urban territory? How can a subway station contribute in new ways to our daily urban experience of the city?

Although our design for the new 125th St. 1-train station is still in progress, we are happy to present our work in its current state. After all, this is a festival about ideas, and we

March 2, 2011

Finding Food + A New Balance in the City

A growing number of foodies are seeking out new hidden spots in the city that have nothing to do with the café or restaurant scene. From gathering edible greens in a park to digging for clams along the coast, urban foragers harvest a surprisingly diverse range of fresh (and extremely local) foods in cities across North America.

In New York City, naturalist and “Wildman” Steve Brill leads foraging groups through several public sites in the area: including Central Park, and Prospect Park. His tours span from March to December (at a suggested donation of $15 for adults). Finds of course vary by season, and include a huge range of plants – many of which you may not have heard of. More familiar species include: apples, apricots, peaches, strawberries, cherries, plantains, wild carrots, garlic, walnuts, and a variety of mushrooms.

Oyster Mushroom on a New York City park tree. Photo by Ava Chin author and blogger.

But a big part of the adventure is in discovering new edible foods that grow in our local urban ecosystems – in learning the medicinal value of curly dock, or that you can in fact

January 10, 2011

Greenbombing the City

Logos for artist Tattfoo Tan's Greenade and Greenraid campaigns





















New York artist Tattfoo Tan, known for his work promoting sustainability, has developed a clever method for greening the city. His Greenade and Greenraid campaigns involve guerrilla restoration of abandoned and neglected spaces that are fenced off or otherwise

November 3, 2010

DIY Utopia Workshops Hit the Fine Points

Claudia Joseph speaks to a full house about techniques of composting, as well as success stories from her own garden at the Old Stone House



















On Monday night, we attended DIY Utopias: Growing Against All Odds, a series of four workshops at the Old Stone House in Park Slope that dealt with different aspects of growing food in the city, do-it-yourself style. The event is part of Brooklyn Utopias, an annual exhibit and event series founded in 2009 by Katherine Gressel, in which artists are

November 2, 2010

Brooklyn Grange Pushes Successful First Season

Volunteers head to their next task at Brooklyn Grange rooftop farm in Queens, NYC




















Marking the end of the harvest with their last farm stand yesterday, Brooklyn Grange celebrates its first full season of growing fresh organic veggies for New York City residents on a one-acre rooftop right here in the city. GrowingCities had the pleasure of volunteering at the farm on a recent Saturday afternoon, probably one of the last beautiful sunny days

November 1, 2010

October 29, 2010

Detroit Reassembled?























Yesterday I was passing some time at a local shop, and ended up taking a look at Andrew Moore's new book, Detroit Disassembled, which beautifully surveys the incredible state of dilapidation that the city has fallen into since the decline of the American auto

October 28, 2010

HIDDEN VARIABLES: Local & Organic Produce

Simple fact: Fresh produce loses nutritional value after it’s harvested.

Time matters. From the moment fruits and vegetable are picked their nutrients start to break down. According to a study by UC Davis, fresh produce grown within the US can often spend up to 5 days in transit to reach a distribution center after harvesting (while food imported from the Southern hemisphere can take several weeks to reach the US by ship). Once at a grocery store, “fresh” fruits and vegetables can then typically sit on a shelf for another 1 to 3 days, and then in your refrigerator for another week. By the time an average consumer actually eats their “fresh” fruits or vegetables, there are significantly less nutrients to be had compared to when the produce was harvested.

Pesticide-free local greens by SweetWater Organics at the Milwaukee South Shore Farmers Market. Greens are delivered to their within a day of harvest.

During a conversation with Jesse Hull, Director of Horticulture at Sweetwater Organics, Milwaukee, I learned a really interesting statistic - leafy vegetables for example, lose 50