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Urban Agriculture

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Coming soon, to a city near you: open-source agriculture

Sharing the bounty of knowledge.Most people attempting to build a viable urban agriculture business are acutely aware of the enormously challenging and time-consuming process of navigating zoning regulations. Having worked in this sector, I can personally testify that the process is tedious and time-sucking. Over the past couple of years, a number of cities such as New York City, San Francisco, Seattle, and Chicago have begun enacting, or at the very least exploring, new regulations. One of the major challenges facing policymakers, however, is identifying effective policies and best practices. Which is why I got excited when I learned about Washington, D.C.-based John …

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Jerks™ trademark the idea of ‘urban homesteading’

The Dervaes family of Pasadena are urban homesteaders, and by god they want to be the ONLY urban homesteaders. You can grow your own food, or raise your own animals, or practice a sustainable and self-sufficient lifestyle, I GUESS, if that sort of thing butters your muffin. But if you go around using the phrase that rhymes with “shmurban shmomestead” in your book or blog or free event for the public, they will be on you with cease and desist letters faster than a vegan on a rice cake. The Dervaeses have trademarked the phrase, which has been used since …

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Radiation-tainted milk in Japan, Pollan on food movement elitism, and more

When my info-larder gets too packed, it’s time to serve up some choice nuggets from around the web. --------- Nuke disaster hits Japan's food supply Note to planners: Don't plunk highly volatile industrial projects onto rich farmland. Doing so ensures that industrial disasters will quickly cascade into food crises. Tragically, Japan's Fukushima region isn't just a source of nuclear-derived electricity. It's also a major source of milk and vegetables -- and its farmland has already been impacted by the disaster at the Fukushima nuclear power plant. From Saturday's The New York Times: As Japan edged forward in its battle to …

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Our favorite hipster farmer band names [SLIDESHOW]

We here at Grist love us some Twitter. So it should come as no surprise that when we recently tweeted about the rise in farming hipsters, the hashtag meme #hipsterfarmerbands was born like a lamb in spring. From Pjörk to Pretty Girls Make Grains, we raked in some fantastic faux farmer band names. All of this would not have been possible without friend-of-Grist @michael_k. May we suggest you follow him immediately? He's got taste. In his honor, we created concert tees for our top five favorite #hipsterfarmerbands: Name by @honestfarm

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Fed-up college kids take food buying into their own hands

Someone's forming a co-op, my lord: college students organize to create the food system they want. Photo: Kitty BolteSay you're a college student ready to eschew the standard pizza-burrito-pretzels-beer diet and start eating more whole, sustainably produced foods. Say you want to take it a step further and work to make healthy and ethical food widely available on your campus -- without having to pay gourmet grocery store prices. Well, you might consider starting a co-op. "There are so many students learning the theory behind food systems who are itching to put it into practice, and co-ops are the way …

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Rooftop garden porn to get you through winter

Winter's relentless grip will give way, we promise. Come summer, even those of us deeply ensconced within a concrete jungle will kick it in under the shade of glorious greenery. You need a little of that right now, don't you? Step in, sit down, and take in the warm air of these rooftop oases.   Photo: jwilly Air drop us in. Never make us leave.

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Growing her own tobacco in Brooklyn [UPDATED]

It is, after all, just a plant.Photo: NancyThe time when having a chicken in your Brooklyn backyard was interesting has long since passed. I mean, heck, everybody has chickens these days, right? Or at least bees. Maybe even red bees. But even in a borough where hipsters regularly tote hoes up to rooftops to tend rows of heirloom cranberry beans, one crop can still surprise: Tobacco. That's right, Audrey Silk is growing her own to roll her own, and she's decided she doesn't care who knows it. After keeping her harvest a secret for a couple of seasons, Silk -- …

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Bayview Greenwaste provides fertile ground for San Francisco’s urban agriculture revolution

Hayes Valley Farm is flourishing where a freeway ramp used to be. (Photo by Zoey Kroll.) Just a few years ago, they were abandoned freeways, dilapidated back yards, and institutional dumping grounds. But today, thanks to San Francisco's urban agriculture renaissance, many of these pockets of underutilized land are being transformed. And one local company -- Bayview Greenwaste -- is playing a key role, by transforming waste into mulch, and giving it away. The city's largest agricultural experiment to date may be the Hayes Valley Farm, which is growing on the former site of a freeway ramp. The ramp was …

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This is Flint, Michigan, in all its pain and all its glory

Buick City parking lot, 2010.Photos: Wes Janz, except when notedCross-posted from Places [at] Design Observer, an online journal of architecture, landscape and urbanism, published in partnership with Design Observer. "Distressed are big chunks of Detroit, Flint, Gary, Chicago, East St. Louis, and Cincinnati." This is what I wrote after completing the weeklong Midwess Distress Tour with my Ball State colleague Olon Dotson and a dozen architecture students in October 2006. "Depressed. Dysfunctioned. Disoriented. Devolved. Dissed. Dissing. How many abandoned buildings should I photograph and take others to photograph before we get the picture? How many houses do you have to see …

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On eco-architecture and urban farming: Are you kidding me with your f-ing farm skyscraper?

Find a place, do some work, grow some stuff: it ain't rocket science.Photo: Tracie LeeJust last summer, Broke-Ass was invited to speak on a panel at the New York Horticultural Society with such luminaries of the environmental architectural movement as Amale Andraos and Dan Wood of WORK Architecture Co.; Fritz Haeg, artist, Edible Estates; and the esteemed James Wines of SITE. Broke-Ass was supposed to be there to make intellectual distinctions between Baby Boomers' self-aggrandizing revolutions and Generation X's more practical, local movements, since this is thought to be one of her areas of expertise. But as she sat there …