Think it takes a lot of time and permanent space to create an urban farm? An unlikely coalition of businesses and volunteers in NYC prove that it's possible to grow-your-own anywhere.
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!
Did you know that New York City has more than 600 stalled construction sites and 596 acres of vacant public land? Blame the economy and a ridiculously expensive real-estate market.
Usually, all those vacant lots just sit there collecting litter until money can be found to continue development, but in Manhattan a motivated group from a local non-profit decided that empty space could be used for sometime much tastier. Now, instead of dusty potholes and rusty tin cans, a stalled construction site at 430 East 29th Street boasts a spectacular temporary urban farm.
The joint effort of a real estate equity company, Riverpark restaurant chef and co-founder Sisha Ortuzar, and grassroots urban agriculture organization GrowNYC,the farm is located on a 15,000-parcel within eyesight of the Empire State Building. Dubbed a pop-up farm, Riverpark's 6,000+ plants aren't rooted in the ground: instead thousands of easily-transportable milk crates serve as planters for the 100 different crops grown in the shadow of the Empire State building.
Thanks to this collaboration, diners at Riverpark restaurant get the unique pleasure of eating local produce while being able to gaze upon the farm where it grew. When the construction planned for the site, the Alexandria Center for Life Science’s west tower, is ready to go up, the plants will be moved back to their original home, Wilklow Orchards in the Hudson Valley, or a different urban farm somewhere else in the City.
Riverpark Farm is a fantastic demonstration of the possibilities present in urban agriculture when people are willing pool their resources. Food can be grown anywhere there's a little space, and access to water and sun. In September 2011, the Farm will reveal a unique green space offering private outdoor dining at a Farm Table with views of the city, the East River, and the unique urban farmscape.