A former editor at Dwell and co-founder of the Foodprint Project, Sarah Rich thinks and writes about food as a key component of today's urban landscape. So when she and photographer Matthew Benson traveled the country recently documenting 16 public and private food-producing operations for their new book, Urban Farms, it was no surprise that the final product turned out to be an intelligent, inspiring work of art.
We spoke with Rich about the new book, the difference between a farm and a garden, and how urban farmers are moving beyond the trend factor.
Q. Why did you write Urban Farms? What was the ultimate goal?
A. There’s a lot of debate about urban farming as a solution that will feed cities in the future, but I was more interested in looking at it from an anthropological angle. I wanted to write about the other things urban farming can do for a city -- whether that’s creating green jobs, community building, environmental restoration, land-use planning, or any number of other things. While farms are essentially food-growing operations, they serve so many other functions in an urban environment.