the irresistible fleet of bicycles


Leave a comment

urban farming fellowships in berkeley, california

If you’re between the ages of 21 and 31 and looking for an incredible opportunity to learn about urban farming, listen up! Urban Adamah in Berkeley, CA is now accepting applications for its three-month fellowship program. Not only do you learn the ins and outs of growing delicious organic food in the city, but the program also incorporates social justice training, mindfulness, and progressive Jewish learning and living. No prior experience is needed.

Entering its 5th year of educating young farmers, the fellowship has a fee on a sliding scale between $600 and $3000, which includes housing, food, and all program-related expenses. There are opportunities in the spring, summer, and fall, but apply soon as spots fill up quickly.

Learn more by watching the video above and clicking HERE.


Leave a comment

the conversation continues: hydroponics divorce people even further from the stewardship of the land

vertical-farm-916337_960_720

This recent submission to our series on whether or not hydroponics should be considered organic comes from Joanna Storie, a Doctoral candidate in the Department of Landscape Architecture at the Institute of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences of Estonian University of Life Sciences. She takes a similar stance on hydroponics to our last contributor, adding that hydroponics are not sustainable agriculture in that they divert attention from strengthening rural economies and reinforce urban ways of being that divorce people further from the land.

Have something to add? Email submissions to greenhornsblog@gmail.com.

In your recent blog you asked the question on whether hydroponics is organic or not and I have to agree that it is not. The following statement sums it up for me:


“Hydroponics may be a fine way to grow food and it might be an important part of how cities feed themselves in the future, but it’s no more a form of sustainable agriculture than producing wood fiber in a laboratory is a form of sustainable forest management.”

It also worries me that Hydoponics divorce people even further from the idea of stewardship of the land– which is something that makes the urban areas increasingly vulnerable, because– even if they can produce food in the cities using hydroponic techniques– this will not be the sum total of their food supply.

Recently I submitted an abstract for a conference, which took the position against urban-centric ways of structuring our society, arguing that “rural social networks need to be seen as inherently valuable to the resilience of the whole region.”

I think the hydroponics fits into the urban 24/7 mindset, which values cheap food and devalues rural social network,  thus exacerbating the situation of removing people further from the knowledge of healthy food and healthy environments.


Leave a comment

raising hell(gate) in urban farming

peppers

Throughout its seven years, Hellgate Farm has always done things a bit differently than other urban farms in New York City- from raising backyard chickens and housing an apiary, to producing its own hot sauce. Hellgate Farm is not your typical urban farm. Last season, crops were grown in over seven plots of land throughout Astoria and Long Island City, though Hellgate owned only one of them. The team has been able to develop partnerships with business owners and homeowners across Queens and convert unused growing spaces and backyards to successfully grow upwards of 70 crops this season, fill 30 weekly CSA orders, make and sell their own trio of hot sauces, and sell produce to local restaurants!

In 2017, Hellgate is exploring a new and less traveled business model in hopes of attaining maximum sustainability, profit, and community impact. Unfortunately, this means having to temporarily put the CSA aside.

hot-sauce

Like most urban farmers Rob McGrath, Hellgate’s owner, envisions everyone having access to clean, organic, and affordable produce. To this end, he is looking forward to improving the local food system by working with a large acreage organic farm in upstate New York. With more land Hellgate will be able to provide additional CSA shares for the Queens community. Their goal is to offer at least 50% of the shares at a subsidized price in areas with less access to affordable fresh produce, combined with community education programs.

Hellgate’s impact will be far more reaching even by harvesting one half acre upstate than they could ever accomplish with scattered backyard plots around Queens, but don’t worry, those plots are still going to be used!

In order to financially support their mission, Hellgate plans to use the land in Queens to focus on their value added products. Last year they began a partnership with a factory owner in Long Island City that provides them access to the factory’s rooftop. Due to the climate on the roof, the Hellgate team was able to grow a wide variety of peppers, and as such, Hellgate Farm Hot Sauce was born. They have already sold thousands of bottles of their hot sauce and it has been a profitable venture to date. Hellgate hopes to expand their product yield even more this year and get more bottles in the hands of their loyal customers.

Through their partnerships with local restaurants and sales of their hot sauces, ketchup, and other products currently in development, Rob hopes to be able to get their sister-farm started and restart the CSA as soon as possible. Rob notes, “This is a lifetime project, it will only keep growing and developing!”

With the team’s continued hard work, community support, and growing line of Hell-ishly delicious products, Hellgate’s new business model is well positioned to pay off for all of us!

-Greenhorns Contributor Julia Caruso

 

 


2 Comments

“hydroponics is not organic — it’s not even agriculture”

leafy_greens_hydroponics

Last week we asked the Greenhorns network what you think about the vertical farm. A perennially contentious idea, are hydroponics the way to the future or are they a hackneyed and ultimately artificial solution to the current crises of our food systems. The following submission on hydroponics comes from Matthew Hoffman, a Fulbright Scholar, Norwegian Centre for Rural Research, who argues vehemently that hydroponic farming be removed from organic certification.  Send us your opinions at greenhornsblog@gmail.com!

The farmers market in Jack London Square in Oakland, California was a bustling scene when I worked there in the late 1990s, and my customers liked to tell me how devoted they were to organic agriculture.

I remember one devotee in particular.  Her tote bag bulged with produce and her brow wrinkled beneath the brim of her floppy hat as she stopped one day to study the sign above my new display of organic flowers.  At length she turned to me and said, “How can flowers be organic?”

This was not the first time that I realized a devoted customer had no idea what organic meant.  So I explained to her about how organic farmers take care of the land, maintaining healthy soil and a healthy environment for plants to grow in without the use of synthetic chemicals—and how organic practices apply just the same to flowers and fields of grass as to lettuces and bell peppers.

She nodded thoughtfully and seemed to appreciate this explanation, but then she frowned again and asked, “What does it matter if you’re not eating them?” Continue reading


Leave a comment

metro buses converted into mobile food markets for low income neighborhoods

mobile_good_food_markets_toronto.jpg

“Back in 2010, the city of Toronto (in Ontario, Canada) decided to launch a program that converts old unused metro buses into mobile grocery stores called Mobile Good Food Markets, and ever since, they’ve been traveling across the Toronto metropolitan area selling affordable fresh food. They have been especially successful (and helpful) in low income neighborhoods.”

Reblogged from The Black and Minority Business Blog. Read the whole post HERE!


Leave a comment

new farm floats into the big apple

3059255-slide-6-new-yorks-newest-urban-farm-will-float-down-the-hudson-river.jpg

New York’s Newest Urban Farm Will Float Down The Hudson River

New York City’s newest urban farm will look a little different from most: instead of factory-like rows of plants growing in a warehouse, it will be a lush, natural-looking food forest that floats down the Hudson River in a barge.

As it docks at local piers this summer—stopping at each pier for at least two weeks—New Yorkers will be able to get on, wander around, and pick free food.

The farm-as-art-project, called Swale, is on the water for a few reasons. The first is practical. Food forests are a type of community garden that mimics a natural landscape, and that anyone can freely harvest. Though they exist in a few other places, such as Seattle, they’re illegal on land in New York City. But by putting Swale in the Hudson River, the artists who created it were able to sidestep that regulation.

Read the full article HERE!