While urban agriculture is often praised for promoting sustainable growing techniques, one of its most important qualities is its encouragement of social connections and civic engagement.
urban agriculture Archives - State of the Planet
In the Fair Haven section of New Haven, Conn., rates of obesity and diabetes are high, and access to healthy fresh food can be limited. For some residents, the New Haven Farms wellness program is just the prescription, but the organization is struggling to grow. Now, students studying sustainability management through the Earth Institute have devised a plan for the program to expand.
Vertical farming is touted as a solution to the drawbacks of traditional agriculture, but how sustainable is it really? A team of students attempts to design a certification system to assess the sustainability of vertical farms.
The Big City, Subdivided for Sustainability
Two-thirds of people on the planet will live in cities by 2050. But few cities are prepared for this population boom. An upcoming research project will explore new, localized models for urban infrastructure to make cities cleaner, healthier and more enjoyable places to live.
The following is a guest blog, authored by Meagan HoChing, a Harvard University student and volunteer with the Millennium Cities Initiative.
I have recently had the absolute pleasure of spending two weeks in beautiful Kisumu, Kenya. I am working with two other students to perfect what we would like to call “Bloom and Bud,” which involves urban farming with 100% recyclable materials, in an effort to provide food sustainability for those with minimal to no land or food security.
It is no surprise that New York City holds one of the world’s densest agglomerations of people and infrastructure; but according to a new report, it is also hides a huge archipelago of potential farmland.
Dr. Dickson Despommier believes vertical farming—the growing of crops indoors in multi-story urban buildings—can help feed the growing global population and undo the environmental damage caused by conventional agriculture.
Just a few miles north of Columbia University in Yonkers, the Science Barge floats on the Hudson River, demonstrating a fully functioning system of renewable energy based sustainable food production. Despite its river setting, however, the Science Barge is, in fact, a prototype for rooftop gardening.
Patricia J. Culligan is a professor of civil engineering and engineering mechanics at Columbia University and the Vice Dean of Academic Affairs for Columbia Engineering. In part two of this interview she talks about the challenge of quantifying the economic benefits of green roofs, the potential for rooftop agriculture, and what it means to “solve urbanization challenges by design.”
With an Italian background, from a culture of food, as biologist and one time theatre producer, to me it makes sense to work with a research group that has the courage to break many taboos and re-discuss academic assumptions in an open and innovative way.