Urban Agriculture: What does it mean?

By Phyllis Odessey

On Friday, Eunyoung and I participated in the Urban Ag Forum at the Hort Society of New York.  It was a gathering of  a diverse group of urban farmers, exchanging ideas and networking.

The participants:
Thomas Fox:  author of Urban Farming:  Sustainable City Living in Your Backyard, in Your Community and in the World.
Camilla Hammer farm manager of Battery Urban Farm at Battery Park.
Erika Brenner one of the trainers for Food 360 part of DeKalb Market.
Annie Novak  head farmer and co-founder of Eagle Street Rooftop Farm, founder of Growing Chefs and Manager of Children’s Gardening Program at the New York Botanical Garden.
Britta Riley entrepreneur, technology designer and founder of Windowfarms, vertical hydroponic systems.
Zach Pickens farm manager at Riverpark Farm at Alexandria Center, which provides food for Riverpark Restaurant.

Urban Agriculture Conference attempted to answer question:

What is Urban Agriculture?  and Where are we going in 2012?

This first question seems straightforward.  But what urban agriculture is keeps expanding.  I googled the articles that have appeared in the New York Times over the past year.  The topics range from the “recasting of vacant lot from blight to community asset, greenhouse farms on urban roofs (zoning restrictions), the urban farm at the battery in the middle of the financial center of NYC,  urban residents fighting for the right to keep goats,  chicken coop and how to make them, mobile urban gardens, building community through cooking together, bees, urban farming for cash.  The list is long and reflects the explosion of urban farming in cities throughout the US.

In NYC, all of above is going on and more.  Every possible venue, every possible technology is being explored.  At The Learning Garden, we are constantly examining new ways of doing things, expanding what we grow and how we grow it and reaching out to new communities to work with us in the garden.  The 2012 season in the garden is about to begin.  We look forward to your support and participation in the garden.

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