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Archive for the ‘urban agriculture’ Category

A free lecture about urban agriculture and rooftop agriculture will be held at the NYBG on Thursday March 17th from 10pm-noon.  It is going to be really really cool!  Check it out here:

http://www.nybg.org/files/adulted/2011_Winter_Lecture_Series.pdf

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Food, ecology, cities, health, science, equity, access, life, green space, nature, nourishment. These and many other concepts were infused with new life and meaning during a recent conference at the University of Oregon on Food Justice. Rather than attempt an explanation of the many, varied concepts and challenges surrounding issues of agriculture, food access, and equality addressed at the conference, I have listed below some of my own questions that arose from this three-day interdisciplinary discussion.

  • What are the non-negotiables for the new food system?
  • What role does urban farming play in the regional food system?
  • What are the global systems connections to local and regional systems?
  • How doe neighbors respond to urban/suburban farms?
  • What is the relationship between farmers and the urban poor?
  • Is land ownership a right in the minds of farmers? How does this relate to the lack of land ownership for many urban residents, renters, and poor rural residents?

Resources from the conference:

  • Food Justice – Conference website
  • Food System Analysis for New York – Dr. Christian Peters, professor at Tufts University’s Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy
  • The Greenhorns – A community organizing initiative supporting young American farmers
  • Civil Eats – Blog promoting critical thought about sustainable agriculture and food systems as part of building economically and socially just communities
  • Garden Maps – An interactive map of urban farms and gardens in New York City

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Red honey in Red Hook. Photo courtesy of New York Times.

It can be a huge disappointment when the things that we understand to be wild abandon their natural lifestyle to operate within the realm of human development.  We want to see grizzly bears tramping through the forest, foraging on berries or capturing salmon, not picking through landfills, gorging themselves on our refuse.  We expect more from our wildlife; at the very least we expect them to serve as proof that we haven’t totally ruined nature.  Seeing wildlife behave under our human influence feels like both a betrayal and a source of guilt.  This wonderful story in the New York Times provides a fascinating example of wildlife adjusting to city life.  Of particular interest is the reaction of the Brooklynites, whose efforts to incorporate ecology into their urban lives are hindered by the very bees they try to raise.  Thanks Jamie!

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View of Manhattan from the Eagle Street Rooftop Farm, Greenpoint, Brooklyn. Photo credit: Jason Aloisio

What factors will play a role in improving the urban landscape?  According to Sarah Goodyear of Grist, several of our urban ecology topics have made the list.  Check out G (for green roofs), P (for pavement demolition), U (for urban agriculture), and the rest of the ABCs in The Urban Landscape from A to Z on Grist.org.

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