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

October 27, 2010

Western Queens Compost Initiative

Ask any organic farmer, and they will tell you that it's all about the fertilizer. The crops depend entirely on the fertilizer for the nutrients that will help produce healthy and delicious food. In the organic farming world, the fertilizer often comes from an on-site compost system that breaks down all of the farm's organic waste through aerobic

October 26, 2010

Brooklyn's Edible Schoolyard

Design for P.S. 216's greenhouse, by Work AC - Greenhouse is retracted during Summer

One Brooklyn public school will soon be able to grow its own food, well protected from rain, wind, snow, and even the rare hail storm. A new greenhouse and classroom at Public School 216, designed by award-winning New York City firm Work AC, is the newest

October 25, 2010

A Real Greenhouse (House)

Camouflage house by Fifth World Architects
Here's a recent project that really takes 'greenhouse' to the next level. Designed by Hiroshi Iguchi of Fifth World Architects, Camouflage House is a private residence for a single family in Japan. You won't find any commercial farming here, and in fact, the house isn't even located in a city. However, many of the ideas in this design resonate strongly with the new urban food movement, and in general, Japan has a certain relationship with

October 22, 2010

Underdome Sessions - Talking About Energy


GrowingCities attended the final panel discussion last night of The Underdome Sessions, a series of four discussions on energy and public life. The Sessions are the most recent public output of Underdome, a project headed by architects Janette Kim and Erik Carver that maps various approaches to energy management and performance in order to examine their implications for public life. Underdome catalogs a spectrum of positions

October 21, 2010

Introducing World's Smallest Hydroponic Grow Box












With shipping expected to begin January 15, 2011, Pocket Grow brings us the LabBox Grower, which the organization claims will be the smallest automated hydroponic system on the market today. The grow box measures a tiny 5" x 5" x 1" and features high-intensity LED lights and a nutrient delivery mechanism that are "designed to provide the best environment for a successful micro grow."

Within each LabBox Grower is a controller unit that automates the watering cycles, light

October 20, 2010

Greenhouse to Be Built for Hudson Public Schools

Hudson High School
As the new food revolution sweeps the globe, public policy makers and other civil workers are really starting to pick up on the potential of food production to reconnect citizens to their food source, increase awareness of health and environment, and develop deeper community involvement. 

Soon Hudson High School in Hudson, Iowa will be even greener. The school district hopes to break ground next month on a new greenhouse that will be located near the high school. The structure will measure 24-feet-by-48 foot and will feature bedding plants,

October 18, 2010

Fast-Food Hydroponics?

Two images of hydroponic food production in Subway restaurant, Tokyo























Small-scale hydroponic food production is receiving new publicity from a new Japanese Subway fast-food restaurant in the Marunouchi Building, across the street from the ever busy Tokyo Station. Opened over the summer, the sandwich shop grows some of their own greens in an enclosed hydroponic production unit, without use of agrochemicals or

October 15, 2010

Urban Farms Devastated by NYC Hail Storm

Kale damaged in Monday's hail storm
The freak hail storm that hit Brooklyn on Monday has destroyed thousands of dollars worth of produce at several of Brooklyn's urban farms. As the storm progressed, Brooklyn residents witnessed in disbelief as close to an inch of ice pellets piled up in a matter of minutes.  

Two farms in particular - BK Farmyards and Added Value, suffered devastating losses, with 90% or more of their harvest-season crops destroyed, and hundred of hours of hard work lost. These projects will need the support of the community to recover and move

October 12, 2010

Roberta Sure Knows How to Grow

Roberta's in Bushwick, Brooklyn
We are certainly not the first to write about this establishment, but we just had to feature Roberta's pizzeria in Brooklyn, NY. The restaurant supplies twenty percent of its own food with a rooftop garden behind the restaurant and two more gardens in neighborhood yards nearby. Roberta's also buys produce from local urban farms such as Brooklyn Grange in LIC, Queens. It serves delicious pizza and many other options daily, from noon to midnight, in an area of Brooklyn that is starved for food options. And to

October 7, 2010

Living Concrete Explores New Future for Urban Ag























If you're in New York, make sure to check out the Living Concrete series of events at the New School, exploring the possibilities of urban agriculture.

A series of public discussions kicked off yesterday evening, at the The Sheila C. Johnson Design Center. Admission is free for a great series of upcoming talks on Urban Agriculture

September 29, 2010

GrowingCities to Host Design Charrette at Columbia

Charrette Poster by growingCities
We lectured at Columbia University last night, and it was great.  Thanks to all who attended.

Growingcities is pleased to announce that we will be hosting Farm Charrette, which is a design charrette centered around the idea of urban reuse.  Teams of designers will retrofit an abandoned New York City building for food production.  The site and program will be

September 27, 2010

GrowingCities Lecture at Columbia University

Lecture Poster by Growingcities

Growingcities is pleased to announce an evening lecture at Columbia University this Tuesday, September 28th at 6:30pm in Avery Hall, room 114.  Sponsored by Columbia and the Green Builders at Columbia, we will present our research, design, and future

September 26, 2010

Farm City Forum Looks at Future of Urban Ag

Farm City Forum Poster

Farm City Forum was yesterday, and we had a great time.  Organized by Derek Denkla, Farm City is a three-week series of events exploring future visions of urban agriculture.  There was a solid crowd in attendance, and growingCities spoke at the Pecha Kucha

September 24, 2010

GrowingCities to Participate in Urban Ag Forum

Growingcities is pleased to announce that we have been invited to speak at Farm City Forum, a Pecha Kucha forum that addresses the future of urban agriculture. It is the final event of Farm City, a three-week series of events that features markets, farm tours, speakers, and other related events.

Farm City Forum takes place on Saturday, September 25 from 1pm - 7pm at the, and the Pecha Kucha lectures will take place from 3pm - 4:15pm. The event is taking place at

August 5, 2010

Milwaukee, SweetWater Organics, Photo Album

















The trip to Milwaukee gave us an opportunity to witness and participate in a huge range of activities related to urban agriculture. We spent ten full days around the city, volunteering at urban farms, visiting local markets, interviewing the people behind the city's Good Food

June 15, 2010

GrowingCities Heads to Milwaukee

As part of a grant awarded to this project by the Green Builders at Columbia and GSAPP, Columbia University - we'll be off to work with Growing Power and Sweet Water Organics in Milwaukee.

We'll be spending a week in Milwaukee - a city that has become a national center for the development of new agricultural technologies. We plan to visit and document experimental farming practices at the Growing Power institute (run by MacArthur Foundation fellow Will

June 14, 2010

Science Barge Aquaponics Exhibit

 


















The aquaponics exhibit at the science barge this weekend went off with great success! The barge was visited by local press, adults and children alike. Tours and public talks accompanied the exhibit to explain the greenhouse technologies being displayed on board

June 10, 2010

GrowingCities to Be Featured in Aquaponics Exhibit

A temporary installation of our Sill-farm prototype will be on display to the public this weekend at the Science Barge in Yonkers.

Part of an exhibit entitled "Life Support" (organized by Janette Kim and Josh Draper), our prototype is among several other aquaponic units designed at Columbia University.

Exhibit: Jun 12 - Jun 13, 99 Dock St, Yonkers NY (Yonkers stop, North Hudson line)
Opening party: Jun 12, noon to 6pm