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Articles by Ellen Burke

Ellen Burke is a landscape architect and writer in San Francisco, where she focuses on creating and preserving farmland in our built environment. She blogs at Grow City. Her writing also appears in the essay collection 'On Farming', and as the Urban Agriculture Advocate at her design firm SWA Group.

Featured Article

The Alameda Point Collaborative Urban Farm is a one-acre farm growing a variety of fruits, vegetables, herbs, eggs, honey, and-with the introduction of new aquaculture ponds-will soon offer fish as well. Neat rows of plants are surrounded by olive and stone fruit orchards, but beyond this farm, towering cranes are positioned on the horizon. This farm is in a unique location.

The Naval Air Station at Alameda was founded in 1927 when wetlands were filled on the tip of this island in the San Francisco Bay to build runways for military planes. As a naval port, the base was most active during World War II and later during the Cold War. In 1997 the station was closed, as part of the fourth round of closures under the Base Realignment and Closure Act. But the closing of a military installation is often seen as a development opportunity in urban areas, as it opens up land for growth and expansion within city limits.

In the case of the Alameda Station, 1,734 acres became available for other uses. At least three other former military lands are slated for redevelopment in the San Francisco Bay Area, including Mare Island, the Presidio, and Treasure Island-most ... Read more