New York City has long held the reputation for having progressive and up-and-coming ideas, and the green movement is no exception. With rising fuel costs, growing distrust of major corporations, and concerns of genetically modified foods, many city-dwellers have set out to grow their own food instead of buying it. But just how is this to be done? Armed with ingenuity, a passion for learning, a shoe string budget and a lot of hard work, participants in the urban farming movement have created a variety of ways to enable urban dwellers to maximize their farming potential.
Rooftop Farms and Gardens
One thing New York has no shortage of is rooftops. Commercial and residential buildings are packed in super tight, and for the most part these rooftops go totally unused for anything other than shelter from the elements. One excellent proposal and prediction is that the city’s roofs will be covered with gardens and farms in the coming years, to a more or lesser degree depending on the estimator’s optimism. If even 10% of the rooftops in New York were converted to gardens, there could be a massive decrease in dependency on outside food, less water would be used to produce it and healthy food could be within reach of lower income populations. Check out the Manhattan Rooftop Gardens blog in the link section of this article.
Community gardens are everywhere in Brooklyn and Manhattan, almost more numerable than parks and playgrounds. Dotted with flora ranging from flowers to shrubs to trees to edible plants, they provide a great community activity for families and nearby residents. At their current stage they are hardly large food production centers, and enjoyment seems to be the primary driver. It’s difficult to see these going away in the near future, but they might adjust their goals slightly as public opinions shift.
Plots For Sale
For the serious urban farmer, you’re going to want a plot. Some of this land is communally owned, some is private, and rarely, some is free. For the really good stuff, you can pay a reasonably small amount of money to grow whatever you want, and have great stuff to farm and eat year round. This is really only for someone looking to invest major time and energy into farming, so it’s not for everyone. Still, waiting lists can get long at the best places, and the possibilities for use are endless.
Window Farms is part civil engineering genius, part modern social movement. In an attempt to transition from unusable architecture space to unrealistic futuristic proposals, a grassroots movement has emerged with a simple concept: Grow food in your window.
Using a really cool looking hydroponics set-up made of recycled water bottles, users maximize their window space and use it to grow small herbs and vegetables. It uses less water than traditional farming, looks great, and makes for a dual hobby/food source. The goal of the movement is to showcase such gardens in prominent businesses and have the idea catch on among resident New Yorkers as well. Check out the Window Farms homepage below.
Manhattan Rooftop Gardens Blog