PROFILE: Added Value Urban Farm in NYC

Tuesday, June 29th, 2010

by Inhabitat

This new video from Inhabitat profiles Added Value, a non-profit urban farm in Brooklyn that promotes the sustainable development of the Red Hook community by inviting teenagers from the neighborhood to participate in urban farming projects. Added Value is focused on teaching life skills that extend beyond urban farming.

Since 2001, they have been bringing the local youth together and encouraging them to positively engage with their community. Together they have helped revitalize local parks, transformed vacant lands into vibrant urban farms, improved access to healthy, safe and affordable food, and begun to grow an economy that supports the needs of their community.

Check out the video. It’s a great profile of a thriving urban farm that has provided a safe haven as well as a purpose for South Brooklyn teens. It’s exciting to see these kids making a difference in their community!
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Chicago Rooftop Haven for Urban Agriculture

Friday, June 18th, 2010

photo: Scott Shigley

The Gary Comer Youth Center Roof Garden is an after-school learning space for youth and seniors in a neighborhood with little access to safe outdoor environments. Last year alone, it produced over 1,000 pounds of organic food used by students, local restaurants and the center’s café. Sleek and graphic, it turns the typical working vegetable garden into a place of beauty and respite.

Located in Chicago’s Grand Crossing neighborhood, the Gary Comer Youth Center offers a safe, welcoming
after-school space for indoor activity. Its 8,160 square foot green roof is a model for using traditionally underutilized space for urban agriculture and exceptional in its balance of an aesthetic vision with practical needs. The garden provides the crowning touch to an award-winning building recognized for its bold architecture.

The landscape architect worked closely with the architect and donor to develop a vision for a green roof to include a flower and working vegetable garden, and suggested that the center employ a full-time garden manager to enhance educational program development and manage maintenance. The result is a garden used in extremely creative ways for horticultural learning, environmental awareness and food production.
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Seed Bomb Vending Machines Hit LA & San Francisco

Thursday, May 27th, 2010

Vending machines selling seed bombs are popping up in Los Angeles and one that we know of in front of Bi-Rite Market, one of our favorite food stops in San Francisco. Designers from Common Studio have repurposed old gumball machines and placed them strategically in urban locations. Pop in a coin and out rolls a “bomb” made of seeds and compost encased in clay. What guerrilla gardener can resist a ready made seed bomb? Check out the list of seed bomb vending machine locations.

In addition to making the world a more beautiful place, guerrilla gardeners can sleep well knowing that proceeds from the vending machines are donated to Project H Design, who apply their talents to improve the lives of the socially overlooked. Look for an OGP post on this amazing organization in the near future!
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Milagro Allegro Community Garden Hosts LA Sprouts

Friday, February 12th, 2010

USC’s Keck School of Medicine Childhood Obesity Research Center and Loreto Elementary School in Cypress Park, CA have partnered to create LA Sprouts a 12 week program designed to reduce childhood obesity and encourage healthy eating habits. The fourth and fifth grade Loreto Elementary School students will gather twice per week at the Milagro Allegro Community Garden for gardening, nutrition and cooking classes. USC plans to monitor the effectiveness of the garden program in order to develop similar programs in the area.
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The Future of Urban Farming

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

Architects and designers have come up with innovative ways to deal with our impending food crisis. As the world’s population moves toward urban centers and density causes green space to diminish, cities are contemplating how they will feed themselves. The trend toward urban farming is inevitable but anticipating limited amounts of land, designers are focused on vertical possibilities. Here are 26 innovative designs that address the concept of vertical farming.
Designs 1-9
Designs 10-18
Designs 19-26

Old El Toro Airbase Becomes $1.4 Million Great Park

Wednesday, February 10th, 2010

Planting has begun at Great Park in Irvine, CA located at the old El Toro airbase, which occupied the land from 1942 through 1999. Prior to the base opening in 1942, farmers grew lima beans and grain crops on the fertile land. Now as part of a $65 million construction plan, this $1.4 million project will return the land to its roots. The park will include a 100 acre working farm designed to provide fresh, locally grown organic produce to the public and to area food banks. A community garden and farmers market are also planned.

A glimmer of Great Park emerged last year, when a 2 acre parcel was dedicated to a farm and food lab project which was welcomed by the community. Master farmers from the University of California hosted workshops and created themed gardens. Now as the former military base is undergoing its large scale “reawakening”, the fields are being planted with barley to strengthen the soil in preparation for future crops and the farmers market should be operating within a year.
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Spain’s Newest Sport: Guerrilla Gardening

Saturday, February 6th, 2010

On the heels of la Tomatina, the hugely popular annual tomato fight in Spain, comes Batalla Verde or Green Battle. Batalla Verde is a form of guerrilla gardening where organizers first locate a site in need of greening. Any large field will do, whether it’s a vacant lot, rooftop or abandoned construction site. Players show up armed with green mud balls filled with seeds and begin pelting each other, paintball style, until they and the field are covered in the green mud. It’s good fun, costs virtually nothing and in 2-3 weeks the once unsightly battlefield becomes a beautiful garden.
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Vancouver’s Olympic Village Gets 3.5 Acre Rooftop Garden

Friday, February 5th, 2010

The new $1 billion Olympic Village in Vancouver features 22 rooftop gardens in total, designed to absorb heat in the summer “reducing the heat-island effect buildings can have in a city, adding to pollution and climate change”. The LEED Gold certified facility is considered one of “the most lavishly landscaped, environmentally-friendly developments in Canada”. A large area will be planted with sedum which is known for absorbing heat and CO2, and is drought tolerant. The sedums were grown on mats and then rolled out on the rooftop over roof soil. Other roofs will feature herbs and vegetables grown in concrete beds. The gardens were also designed as social spaces and feature patios, decks and courtyard gardens to accomodate visitors.
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Seattle’s 2010 Urban Agriculture Campaign

Friday, February 5th, 2010

Seattle has launched a new campaign to promote local and regional food sustainability and security. Their goal is to make healthy food available in all neighborhoods by finding innovative ways to encourage local and regional food production. The Seattle City Council will partner with other NE Seattle organizations to launch a number of programs, including developing additional community gardens, creating a new urban food bank farm and looking at the potential for new land use codes that support urban agriculture.
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see upcoming events

Brooklyn College Creates New Garden

Wednesday, February 3rd, 2010

Brooklyn College is creating a new garden which is intended to serve a “broad spectrum of academic and sustainability initiatives for faculty and students”. The local community will also be invited to plant on individual plots. The objective is to embrace the surrounding community by inviting them to utilize the college grounds, while allowing faculty and students to explore issues surrounding health, nutrition, and organic and sustainable farming.
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