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