Posts Tagged ‘urban agriculture’

Vertical Vegetecture

Monday, June 22nd, 2009

It remains to be seen whether vertical farming in cities is feasible economically, but it’s sure inspiring a growing number of architects. You’ll find a thumbnail history of the sky farm, as well as 16 different designs, at Dornob. Two of my favorites—complete with stunning renderings—are Eric Ellingsen’s and Dickson Despommier’s Pyramid Farm, and Vincent Callebaut’s Dragonfly Farm.

Can Somebody Please Give this Guy a Grant

Tuesday, March 17th, 2009

Dickson Despommier, the Columbia professor and proponent of vertical farming in cities, has become a celebrity of sorts. He’s appeared in just about every major magazine. He was even interviewed on the Colbert Report. Now all he needs is some money to build one of his agricultural highrises.

In an interview in Next American City, Despommier says that several cities and countries have expressed interest, including New York, Shanghai, Masdar City (the zero-carbon solar city under construction in Abu Dhabi), and the nation of Jordan. But so far nobody has come up with the bucks.

Memo to Mayor Bloomberg: Is vertical farming really such a radical idea? Eli Zabar is already growing veggies in the rooftop greenhouse of the Vinegar Factory. Why not make it possible for Despommier to ramp up the technology and develop a prototype in Gotham?

Full Employment for Gardeners

Tuesday, March 3rd, 2009

So, how long do you think it’ll take for many of the American households growing their first food garden this year to decide a) it’s a lot more work than they bargained for, b) they’re losing the battle with cutworms and weevils, and c) they need help? Former NPR correspondent Ketzel Levine and other laid off garden scribes may want to steal a page (and a business plan) from the two women in Portland who launched Your Backyard Farmer, a sort of urban CSA, to transform small city lots strewn with last year’s toys, overgrown flower beds, and compacted grass into productive miniature farms.

After conferring with prospective clients about their needs and favorite veggies (there’s even a downloadable pdf on Your Backyard Farmer’s website with a list of edibles for families to choose from), the two build raised beds and healthy soil, plant, and make weekly trips to tend and harvest. Every week, clients come home to find a basket of freshly picked, organically grown produce waiting at their back door.

As CSAs go, the service isn’t cheap—planting and tending a garden capable of producing enough produce for a family of three reportedly cost $1,575 last year—but those wishing to economize can opt instead for hands-on lessons on running a backyard farm for about $100 a month.