Urban Farming

Here you will find a large collection of urban farming and gardening resources, links, projects, and more.

I saw a man,
An old Cilician, who occupied
An acre or two of land that no one wanted,
A patch not worth the ploughing, unrewarding
For flocks, unfit for vineyards; he however
By planting here and there among the scrub
Cabbages and white lilies and verbena
And flimsy poppies, fancied himself a king
In wealth, and coming home late in the evening
Loaded his board with unbought delicacies.
– Virgil, The Georgics (29 B.C.)

Image Courtesy of SPIN Farming (www.spinfarming.com)

People interested in urban farming might also want to check out some of the other resources on this beginningfarmers.org, including the Permaculture Page; the Raising Chickens Page; the Production Resources Page, the Composting Page; and others, in addition to a number of related Blog Posts on the Home Page like the New York Times Article on Will Allen from Growing Power Urban Farm.

Resources for Learning More About Urban Farming and Gardening:

Urban Agriculture News is a great source for current news items related to Urban Ag.

Urban Farming is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to ‘eradicate hunger while increasing diversity, motivating youth and seniors, and optimizing the production of unused land for good and alternative energy. Their website lists Programs. educational opportunities, news and other resources.

The free online publication Start a Farm in the City is a joint production of NCAT and ATTRA. It provides 20 pages of information and resources on starting and running an urban farm.

MetroFarm is an online magazine which provides information about Urban Farming. They present news, publish a newsletter, list books, and host a discussion forum.

Down on the Urban Farm is a fantastic blog site run by Greg Peterson, ‘a green living and sustainability innovator’ with years of experience promoting urban farms and gardens. Great information on urban farming as well as green living and DIY.

SPIN Farming® is a non-technical, easy-to-learn and inexpensive-to-implement vegetable farming system that makes it possible to earn significant income from land bases under an acre in size.

The Resource Centers on Urban Agriculture & Food Security (RUAF) Foundation “is an international network of six regional resource centres and one global resource centre on Urban Agriculture and Food Security”. Their website is loaded with publications, references, and urban agricultural resources. They also host training programs and other events. A fantastic resource.

Except has an interesting page on Agriculture and Urban Design and a great feature on Large Scale Urban Agriculture.

The USDA‘s National Agriculture Library has an Urban Agriculture and Community Gardening page with publications and links in the Farms and Community section of their website.

Ghost Town Farm is a great blog about urban farming, with lots of stories, publications, and links.

Earthworks Urban Farm also has a great site with lots of links and interesting information.

Our friend Mike Lieberman has a couple of cool blog sites blog sites about his urban gardening adventures: Fire escape gardenhttp://www.urbanorganicgardener.com/fire-escape-garden/ and Backyard vegetable gardenhttp://www.urbanorganicgardener.com/backyard-garden.

The Community Food Security Coalition has a great Urban Farming Page with comprehensive information, research, and resources.

Urban Gardens – “Unlimited Thinking For Limited Spaces” is an excellent blog site, regularly updated with practical information, tips, and techniques for small scale, urban farmers and gardeners.

Urban Agriculture: A Literature Review is a free 95 page publication from the USDA’s National Agricultural Library. It reviews academic literature and research focused on the global phenomena of crop cultivation, livestock production, and food product distribution in urban contexts.

Godsil’s site for the Milwaukee Renaissance is perhaps the most freaky-brilliant ag. site I have ever seen. Terrific information, poetry, articles, rants, resources, and links about urban farming in Milwaukee and elsewhere.

The Vertical Farm Projectfrom Columbia University is dedicated to promoting a new kind of high tech, organic urban farming. There was a recent Op-Ed in the New York Times which talked about this idea. You might also check out the article in Next American City, and the New York Times Article from 2008, all of whichcovered the issue as well. For more in depth information, check out Dickson Despommier’s essays on vertical farming: Reducing the Impact of Agriculture on Ecosystem Functions and Services: PART ONE and PART TWO.

Backyard Aquaponics is an very rich and well built resource site which ‘brings home’ information about a ‘natural’ food production method which combines aquaculture and hydroponics. It has great video, descriptions, and pictures about production and system design, publishes it’s own Magazine (Backyard Aquaponics), provides News Updates, and sells products.

The Seattle Urban Farm Company is a commercial service which helps people in that city establish and maintain urban gardens. Their website and blog also offer some useful resources and information about urban farming and gardening. YourBackyardFarmer provides a similar services in Portland Oregon; Backdoor Harvest does this in St. Louis, and All Edibles, which does it in Berkeley/Oakland, CA has information/resources on their website as well.

Read the TIME Magazine Article: Adventures in Urban Farming.

City Farmer News, a nice blog site from Urban Agriculture Notes

IPES Agricultura Urban a is a Spanish language urban farming page focused on Latin America and the Caribbean.

You can find great posts From the Desk of Jac Smit “the world’s authority on urban agriculture” in his page on Urban Agriculture Notes

Growing Better Cities is a page hosted by The International Development Research Centre (IDRC) with research, lessons, news, and documents about urban farming projects across the globe

Urban Harvest is a project directed by the Consultative Group on International Agriculture Research (CGIAR). Their website has great publications, resources, and information on their international urban farming projects and research.

Urban Farm Hub is the urban farming resource for the Puget Sound. The website has news, resources, an events calender, articles, and more on both local and national issues.

City Farm Boy is a website out of Vancouver, B.C. which offers information, workshops, products, and services related to the development of urban farms and gardens.

The folks at Sustain have an urban agriculture website called City Harvest which documents projects and research from North America, Europe, and Australia. They also publish a newsletter.

The Center for Urban Farmers website has webinars, videos, and lots of information about urban farming practices, politics and events.

The Sustainable Economies Law Center is currently creating a wiki-based resource library on legal issues related to urban food growing: www.SustainableEconomiesLawCenter.org

The following is a list of urban agriculture publications available from the Community Food Security Coalition Urban Agriculture Committee:

A new online urban farm and food directory available at www.farmfoodconnect.com allows urban farmers, edible gardeners and the like to create profiles with descriptions of what they’d like to share. In turn, their profiles are searchable by city and/or zipcode for those looking to trade, learn or buy.

LOCAL Farms, Gardens, Programs, Projects, and Organizations Providing Opportunities to Participate in and Support Urban Agriculture and Community Gardening:

– A National Database and Map Listing Over 700 Community Gardens in the U.S. and Canada is available at http://acga.localharvest.org/ courtesy of the American Community Gardening Association and Localharvest.org – a web resource which can also help you find farms and markets selling local food in your city or town.

Growing Power, Inc. coordinates a network of urban farms and farming projects in Milwaukee including it’s national headquarters at the Community Food Center and Training Facility there; and also coordinates several urban farming projects in Chicago.

The Kansas City Center For Urban Agriculture has a Demonstration Farm and Training Center, and hosts an annual urban farm and garden tour of Kansas City. The 2009 tour featured 13 Urban Farms (listed here); 11 Educational and Charitable Gardens (listed here); 3 Community Gardens (listed here); and 3 Home Gardens and Urban Homesteads (listed here).

The Greening of Detroit was established to to promote the reforestation of Detroit’s neighborhoods, boulevards and parks through tree planting projects and educational programs. Over the years it has expanded its outreach to include a broad activities including a number of community gardening and urban farming projects, resources, and educational programs through it’s Garden Resource Program Colaborative.

The Garden Project is part of the Greater Lansing (MI) Food Bank and “helps both home and community gardeners in the Lansing/East Lansing area to grow and preserve their own fresh vegetables by providing access to land, seeds, plants, tools, educational resources and more”.

The Lower 9th Ward Urban Farming Coalition “is a partnership of local groups and individuals committed to food security and environmental responsibility through urban agriculture in New Orleans.

Mill Creek Farm in Philadelphia “is an educational urban farm dedicated to improving local access to fresh produce, building a healthy community and environment, and promoting a just and sustainable food system”.The Philadelphia Community Garden Network is a collaboration of Philadelphia’s community gardens and gardeners established to support the free flow of ideas, knowledge, and other resources – which hosts an active Yahoo Group Site. Haverford College hosts Philadelphia Community Gardens, a blog site with information on urban gardens, organizations, and events around the city.

– A list of community and school garden sites in Detroit, New York, Los Angeles, St. Louis, Newark, Raliegh, Hawaii, Minneapolis/St. Paul, and Montego Bay, Jamaica associated with the organization Urban Farming is listed on their website HERE.

– A list of Community Gardens in Vancouver and Victoria, B.C. (Canada) and the surrounding areas is available HERE.

The Urban Farm in Phoenix has a website, and a great blog called Down on the Urban Farm.

Jones Valley Urban Farm “is a community-based non-profit organization in Birmingham, Alabama. Utilizing over 3 acres of vacant downtown property, JVUF grows organic produce and flowers, educates the community about healthy food, and helps make Birmingham a vibrant community”.

Rooftop Farms is a 6000 square foot organic vegetable farm in Greenpoint. Brooklyn. They accept volunteers, and host educational programs.

More Urban Farming Projects:

Garden skyscraper project for Berlin

London underground LED “pink house” ag project

O’Hare Airport’s aeroponic gardens

46 floor vertical garden to be built in Sri Lanka

Growing Cities – movie about US urban gardening

Can NYC grow all its own food?

Flavor Orchard for Kunming, China

Hong Kong guerrilla gardeners

Maa-bara – low-tech, low-cost kits for aquaponics in the developing world:  grow food anywhere

Northern CA initiative to reduce food waste while promoting local ag and good nutrition

Queens University in Belfast, Northern Ireland builds a multilevel aquaponic system within an old disused mill as a modern urban farm

Queens University partnered with Biospheric Foundation which is also doing some other interesting things: