Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Revisiting Sustainable Urban Agriculture

"Urban Agriculture Blooms"
Science Barg
This video is showcasing the only example of an urban farm in New York City, The Science Barg. It's a green house with recirculating hydroponic systems powered by renewable energy (solar panels, wind and bio diesel), irrigated by rain/river water. It produces a cycle of sustainability: unused plant material composted by worms, the worms feed the fish, the fish waste fertilizes the plants and the plants filter the water for the fish.

Sustainable Urbarn Agriculture:
In the video they talk about sustainable urban agriculture. It's a way to grow food in the city, either on buildings or vacant lots. It reduces food transport needs (grow food where people live). On the barg they aim to be carbon neutral and produce zero waste. They talk about reducing your impact on the environment with the choices you make. What you choose to purchase as a consumer really affects the market.

"The Vertical Farm"
"The Problem:"
By 2050 nearly 80% of the earth's population will reside in urban centres after the human population increases by about 3 billion! An estimated 10^9 hectares of new land will be needed to grow enough food to feed them. Today, over 80% of available farming land is already in use, 15% of that land is no longer useable due to poor farming practices.

"A Potential Solution: Farm Vertically"
Vertical farming is not a new concept, it has been used in hot house production of tomatoes, herbs and other produce. What is new is the urgent need to scale up due to our growing population needs and lack of renewable resources. This fact is advancing urban farming/vertical farming technologies. Vertical farms can be cheap to construct and safe to operate. If successfully implemented they can provide urban renewal, sustainable production of safe and varied food year round, and eventually give the earth enough of a break to repair its ecosystem that was sacrificed for "horizontal farming".

"Advantages of Vertical Farming"
Some advantages of vertical farming include: year round crop production, no weather related crop failures, organic growing, no runoff, allows farm land to naturally replenish itself, reduces infection diseases, converts grey water or potable water that would otherwise be wasted, adds energy back to the grid via methane generation from composting, reduces fossil fuel needs (no tractors, plows and less transport), new employment opportunities, may prove useful in refugee camps, and they'll change the face of the farming industry for the better!

"Urban Farm Prototypes Reveal the Future of Urban Agriculture"
Tray Farm: designed for standard hallways, doors and elevators, unused empty space
Sill Farm: Mixes a mini green house with an aquaponic aquarium, fueled by solar energy
Desk Farm: "Recent studies link a visual connection to nature with increased production inthe work place. A majority of people working in offices occupy windowless cubicles. Imagine the possibility of increased production in the workplace, coupled with harvesting lunch from your own desk."
Light Farm: "Elevated 8 feet above the sidewalk, these growing units would be maintained and harvested by an existing system of city employees who already maintain other green spaces, collect waste, and clean streets."

Evelyn Hofmann
November, 7th, 2010


  1. I would like to know if Evy Hofmann is a student from Landschaftsarchitektur in Freising / Weihenstephan on 1999/2000.
    I would like to contact her please.
    Best Regards
    Paulo Rodrigues