Technology and urban agriculture are making fresh, healthy food accessible to the urban masses.
This week, we are bringing you the latest urban agriculture related news mixed with lots of good-to-know information and unique projects that are happening across the United States. As efforts to reclaim our food system persist, innovators across the country have been working hard to bring farming back to the urban environment. From low-tech DIY solutions to traditional farming methods, there is a lot to learn and plenty to share. Feel free to share your thoughts and links to your favorite urban agriculture resources, and don't forget to tell us about the urban farming projects in your town!
Editor's Note: This is a guest post by Danielle Gould originally posted on Food + Tech Connect in December 2010.
City dwellers around the country are finding creative ways to use their fire escapes, windows, backyards, and abandoned lots to grow food in the city. As the movement matures, decentralized networks and entrepreneurial ventures related to the production, processing, and distribution of food grown in the city have begun to sprout.
These entrepreneurial ventures are changing the business of food production. However, without any central repository of information about what is going on in the growing sector, there is no easy way to access information regarding best practices and the economics of the movement (more on this next week). Which is why I was interested to learn more about Farm Food Connect, a new urban farm and food directory that allows anyone to add and search profiles of both hobby and commercial urban food growers and producers. The directory is designed to facilitate: local food production; cottage industry in farm and food; creative and effective systems of exchange.
Danielle Gould: What was the inspiration for Food Farm Connect?
Esperanza Pallana: When I started urban farming, I did not know others growing primarily food and keeping livestock. Whenever I heard of someone, I’d reach out to them to visit and talk to them. I realized they are an amazing resource not just to other gardeners/urban farmers, but in their community. This inspired me to create a tool to develop a tool that connects us to each other for resource sharing and information exchange. In creating Farm Food Connect, I saw the potential for community access to local food, food knowledge and other urban farm and food resources.
DG: What problem are you solving?
EP: I see Farm Food Connect as an important tool that supports a growing cottage industry in urban farm and food; creates community access to fresh affordable food; and preserves food heritage. Each of these issues is critical in order to have a vibrant, healthy and sustainable community.
DG: How many urban farmers and homesteaders are there in the Bay Area?
EP: I don’t know how many people would be identified as urban farmers or homesteaders in the Bay Area. Part of this is not knowing exactly what classifies someone as an urban farmer or homesteader, other than when they identify themselves as such. However, the number of people who either grow food, preserve food, or support those of us that do is easily in the many hundreds.
DG: I see you started a kickstarter campaign. How will you use the funds raised through the campaign?
EP: I am raising funds for Farm Food Connect in order to expand it functionality. Currently, other than my time, expenses have been minimal and out of pocket. What I can do depends on the amount I can raise. The budget has some flexibility but there is a bottom line. See below to support this project:
DG: Is this a full time project? If so, what is your business model?
EP: Currently, Farm Food Connect is a part time project of mine. There is much to be done with it so it can easily be full time. It is only a matter of funding to the project.
Update: Farm Food Connect is up and running in the Bay Area. Check out their directory for Bay Area Edible Gardens and Farms.
About the author: Danielle Gould is a social alchemist, connecting and collaborating her way to a world shaped by better decisions. Food+Tech Connect is where she explores the growing food and information technology movement. Connect with Danielle on Twitter, delicious, or Linkedin.