Friday, 15 April 2011

Urban Farming - the Community Project


Farming in the urban context has become a buzz term in the last couple of years. During this time it has evolved from Guerilla Gardening to become a proper concept of growing vegetables for consumption within the city.

Large scale aspect of farming as discussed for example in the latest bracket 'on farming' by Actar are also part of this discussion. However the smaller scale project community projects have a lot potential. This both, in therms of the community or neighbourhood and the urban context.

Het Nieuwe Water
Image taken from Brooklyn Grange / View of the Brooklyn Grange rooftop farm in the urban context.

Some of these project are based on long term business models and intended to become self sustained, marketing the products and selling it to the community or delivering it to dedicated restaurants.

A great documentary by Petrina Engelke is showcasing some initiatives in New York pushing these concepts and delivering profits in many aspects to a wider community. This ranges from activities, events to teaching and information. For example the Brooklyn Grange rooftop farm or the bobonyc restaurant where ingredients are sourced locally very literally.

Large scale urban farming might technically be difficult with its limitation for heavy machinery, leaving it a labour intensive project. However it shows a great potential for community and in this context, labour as a recourse is provided.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

In certain cases the 'labor intensive' aspect of urban farming is a reward unto itself. As city dwellers have grown detached from the cycles of the land and from getting dirty in the pursuit of life sustenance, the urban farm offers a chance to re-connect to these cycles and land. Yes, container gardens on a rooftop aren't pristine wilderness, but they offer a unique therapeutic opportunity to someone willing to play in the dirt and grow some veggies. Our garden in downtown Cincinnati offers 'Garden Therapy' to disabled adults, a program which has received a really great response from all involved.

Rox Sen said...

Ironically, a point that has gotten lost amid all the zeal over urban farming is that farming is an occupation. By applying a business model to urban farming, and SPIN-Farming provides one example, the labor that is expended can actually produce significant income.

fan said...

This is a good point, farming is a an occupation the discussion is misleading in this respect. It could also together with the business model evolve into a new occupation, since it is quite different from the conventional farmer job.
Taking the community and the social aspect into account the job specs might be quite exciting actually. This is very much what the documentation clip captures I think.