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Urban Agriculture

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Public school’s rooftop greenhouse teaches kids about food

At New York's P.S. 333, the Manhattan School for Children, science class takes place on the roof. A rooftop greenhouse, built in partnership with Science Barge creators New York Sun Works, houses a year-round farm where kids can learn about plant life cycles, green technology, and sustainable farming practices. This farm is seriously rad, in a way that the younger kids at the school might not even grasp. The greenhouse is chockablock with innovative solutions: rainwater catchment, wind energy, aquaponics, worm composting, solar panels, and a weather station that lets students monitor conditions in the greenhouse. By the time they …

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Peebottle Farms: Talking to plants

A friend sent Nina an urgent text message that said: "Alert! Today is a good day for planting garlic!" KK Haspel talks to the plants on her farm. She also grows astoundingly delicious vegetables and bonkers-gorgeous flowers. The connection between these facts is not something I can confirm, but I'm happy to believe there is one. Before she gave me a crash course in her brand of biodynamic farming (on the telephone) from Southold, Long Island, the other day, all I knew was that biodynamic made organic look like amateur hour and had something to do with Rudolph Steiner and …

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The trouble with urban farming: What if your turkeys are cute?

Kiera Butler is not a farmer. She and her friends have been raising their Thanksgiving turkeys in a backyard for six months, but they're not accustomed to killing animals for food, and they've gotten kind of attached to the little guys. Here's Kiera's story, originally Storified by Mother Jones, about the weirdness of knowing that you've given your turkeys a much happier life than other animals raised for food, but still struggling with the fact that they've been raised as food and you're going to eat them. View the story "Six Months of Turkeys" on Storify

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Peebottle Farms: What to feed your chickens to get the best eggs?

"I have a theory, and I don't think you're gonna like it." Justin was seated across from me at a communal table in a "Secret Restaurant." We had met not half an hour before, but were now deep in discussion about what chickens should eat to produce the best-tasting eggs -- an obsession of mine recently. "I think they're carnivores," my new friend finally revealed, with a devilish twinkle in his eyes. I was pretty positive he was wrong. I've been a backyard egg farmer for just a few months now, and my eggs are good, but I'm going for …

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San Diego residents push for new urban agriculture rules

The right to keep dwarf or miniature goats in your backyard is just one of the changes being promised in San Diego's new urban agriculture ordinance.Photo: robotikaSan Diego resident Adam Hiner is hoping to get his chickens back. Adam and his sister were keeping hens too close to their house (breaking the city's law that requires owners to keep them a full 50 feet from any residence) when a neighbor complained, and he had to give the birds to friends and family. Another resident, Kaya de Barbaro, had to move her chickens around the city after a neighbor complained, eventually …

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Peebottle Farms: Have eggs, will barter

The first egg.Photo: Nina LalliOn July 14, when my first backyard pullet became a hen -- anonymously donating a perfect brown egg to the world -- I lost my shit. Even though I had been checking the chicken coop every day with great anticipation, seeing the egg sitting there so nonchalantly, while the chickens milled around, blew me away. It's a weird and miraculous thing, and I wished I'd known which of the ladies to congratulate and thank. I scooped up the egg like a precious jewel, wrapped it carefully, and brought it to my sister's house. Tei, my boyfriend, …

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Motor City mulch [VIDEO]

After years of neglect and decay, there's a lot of excitement in Detroit these days. All over the city, once-abandoned lots are being turned into thriving urban farms. In this video, we follow Greg and Olivia from Detroit Dirt and Brother Nature Produce. They have an acre of empty-lot land that they've turned into a small farm. They're also developing a compost center in the city for easy farmer access. Food52 coordinated the volunteers for the day. Watch the video here and check out Food52's account of the events.

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Peebottle Farms: Chicken expertology

White Butt.Photo: Nina LalliThree months ago, I drove to a farm, bought six young lady chickens for $72, and brought them home to Brooklyn so I could call my garden a farm. And boy have I learned about hen-having! Here are some lessons for people approximately three months behind me: Myth: Chickens are a ton of work After my boyfriend and I had made our selections at the farm -- two each of three different chicken breeds -- and they'd been packed up in a box and paid for, we lingered, listening to the questions another couple was asking in …

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Grow a real garden in a LEGO greenhouse

Well, here's an innovative urban gardening solution -- a greenhouse made of transparent LEGO bricks that grows real plants in LEGO mulch. Okay, so this is just an art installation on display in London's Covent Garden, and the LEGO "soil" is shoveled on top of pots full of regular non-plastic dirt. And if it weren't funded by LEGO as a promotional thingy, it would cost approximately a squillion dollars to build. But come on:  LEGO? Gardening? LONDON??? We can't resist anything that brings so much awesome together into a delicious awesomeness sandwich (made with LEGO-grown lettuce, natch).

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