The urban farming movement is going strong, with organizers worldwide working to bring food production into urban areas. Urban food production improves city dwellers’ access to fresh food, promotes food justice, and reduces transportation costs. Check out three up-and-coming urban farming projects tailor-made to suit the needs of their communities.
As great as it is to eat local, in most of the U.S. there are certain months of the year when it is difficult, if not impossible, to eat local food fresh from the field. Thankfully, a new crop of food hub entrepreneurs are thinking beyond the growing season by freezing fresh summer produce to sell locally in the winter.
A project called Just One Tree has a singular but ambitious goal: to make sure San Francisco can grow all the lemons it consumes. To do this, the community will need to produce 461 tons of lemons annually—that’s a lot of lemons! But Dr. Isabel Wade, founder and executive director of Just One Tree, thinks it’s possible. She’s put together a program to encourage residents to plant new lemon trees and register existing ones to meet the goal.
Practiced for centuries in Eastern Europe and Germany, hugelkultur is the process of making raised garden beds filled with rotten wood. The result is a low-maintenance garden that doesn’t require irrigation or fertilization. Hugelkulture beds have naturally good drainage and produce incredibly rich, fertile soil that retains moisture. It’s also a great way to upcycle woody debris. Hugelkultur is often utilized in permaculture systems and even works in the desert!
Food hubs are a crucial, but often invisible, part of the local food system. They help small farms grow by offering a combination of production, distribution, and marketing services. There are now 236 food hubs in the U.S., with more popping up all the time.
One-third of U.S. honeybee colonies died last winter, threatening our entire food system. Insects pollinate a third of everything humans eat – that’s one in three bites you take – including fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and the forage that feeds livestock. Put in simplest terms, as the bee population declines, so does our food supply. We provide a few ways you can help the bees right now.
Now that the five winners of the Mayors Challenge have been announced, we would like to check in on some of the runners-up. Hillsboro, Oregon; Milwaukee, Wisconsin; and Knoxville, Tennessee all proposed programs addressing fuel and food issues in their communities.
Mapping urban agriculture efforts in major cities isn’t a new idea—various projects in cities like San Francisco, New York and New Orleans plot out where their community gardens, urban farms and school gardens are located. But a new project in Chicago has dug deeper than the others by attempting to account for every backyard vegetable garden in the city.
A list of Sustainable America’s top 5 posts on food issues in 2012. From composting & food waste to The Farm Bill and a food forest, we hope we’ve given you some food for thought this year!
Kanu Hawaii’s Eat Local Challenge aims to encourage production and consumption of more locally grown food.