ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Great Examples of Urban Farms in North America

Updated on August 22, 2012
Neighbors working on their apartment's rooftop garden in Victoria, BC
Neighbors working on their apartment's rooftop garden in Victoria, BC | Source

It could be peach trees on your sidewalk, corn stalks in an abandoned lot, or a greenhouse on your apartment's rooftop. In all it's forms, urban agriculture is a way of bringing food from the countryside into our cities.

Over half of the world's population now lives in cities. In the developing world, urban agriculture is a means of survival; the poor depend upon these small backyard spaces to feed themselves. More recently, urban agriculture has become popular in North America, as a means of greening the cities and bringing fresher, local produce to city dwellers.

Here are seven of the more well-known and successful urban agriculture farms in the US and Canada.

Lufa Farms, Montreal, QU

Pie in the sky!

In the heart of Montreal, Lufa Farms has erected on a rooftop multiple greenhouses, where it carries out it's goal of providing local food to city residents. In his TedTalk, the founder of Lufa Farms shares that the company's CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) uses only $15 of transportation fuel per day to provide 2,000 people with fresh produce that has never seen a refrigerator.

Founder of Lufa Farms gives a TedTalk: "How rooftop farming will change how we eat."

What I find particularly incredible about Lufa Farms, is that it has reached a point of production where they will soon offer the possibility of customizing your CSA basket. Members can choose online exactly the produce they want delivered to them that day. My experience with CSA baskets is that they include a sample of everything that's available - which can be somewhat of a mystery from week to week - and that's just an aspect of eating seasonally and supporting small local farms. The fact that Lufa can provide a selection to choose from suggests just how thriving and diversified their operation is!

Eagle Street, Brooklyn NY

Eagle Street is another famous rooftop farm, located above a warehouse in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. Three stories up, their panoramic view is punctuated by the Empire State Building amidst the impressive NYC skyline.

Like most of the urban farms listed here, Eagle Street has a strong education component. They encourage visitors and involve schoolchildren in planting, weeding, and harvesting activities. Their produce is delivered to restaurants by bicycle!

Go to their website to see this downloadable picture and accompanying description of how a green roof works!
Go to their website to see this downloadable picture and accompanying description of how a green roof works! | Source

Growing Power, Milwaukee WI

Will Allen has become a household name for 'urban ag' enthusiasts! After his professional basketball career, he moved back to Milwaukee and started the very successful Growing Power non-profit and land-trust. Their headquarters farm in Milwaukee consists of several greenhouses that are famously heated by their compost piles - an example of efficient resource use on an urban farm! They also have an apiary (beehives), a hydroponic and aquaponic system (growing fish and crops in water together), and even poultry (turkeys, hens, ducks) and goats!

Their mission is to educate the public and beginning farmers:

"We believe that farming should be simple and accessible to all people, so we create methods for growing and livestock management that can be replicated in every neighborhood, from Detroit, Michigan to Ghana, Africa."

Growing Power has managed to produce a lot of food throughout the year - enough to make them a sustainable business! But it's their dedication to supporting the rise of other small food operations what I find most inspiring. The 'Rainbow Farmer's Cooperative,' started by Growing Power, helps other small farms in the area sell their products in a fair and profitable market alongside Growing Power. They also have helped small farms and start-ups receive grants and initial structural support.

In addition Growing Power manages a 'mobile grocery store,' and has opened delis and food markets in neighborhoods formerly considered 'food deserts' (lacking a grocery store).


City Farmer, Vancouver, BC

Though they have an urban farm and demonstration site in Vancouver, BC, City Farmer has most made it's mark with its online presence. Started in 1994, it was the first website to provide information on urban agriculture. City Farmer News Urban Agriculture Notes now is a colorful and informative news source on all things urban agriculture related, with a great archive of past articles.

Edible Schoolyard, Berkeley CA

The Edible Schoolyard Project's one acre educational garden in Berkeley, CA is a tool for local schoolchildren to learn about gardening and cooking. It has served as a model for school gardens across the country. Among other achievements, The Project's research and education outreach has helped to reform local school lunch programs and build college courses focused on garden education. Their mission is to not only improve childhood nutrition, but to instill deeper values in students. The Edible Schoolyard Project mission states:

"Students’ hands-on experience in the kitchen and garden fosters a deeper appreciation of how the natural world sustains us and promotes the environmental and social well-being of our school community. "


Common Good City Farm, Washington DC

Just a few blocks from where this author lives, Common Good City Farm is tucked next to a dog-park and jungle gym. Their mission is to educate and provide food for the lower income constituents that live in the neighborhood. In 2011 it got a lot of visibility when the UK's Prince Charles paid a visit! His passion for sustainable agriculture brought him to the farm in hopes of bringing it greater visibility and recognition. It's been said by people in the know that his visit ignited a fire under the Capitol's urban agriculture movement. Vegetable gardens began popping up with a fury in schools and neighborhoods across the city.

The Obama White House Kitchen Garden

First Lady Michelle Obama with schoolchildren in the White House kitchen garden.
First Lady Michelle Obama with schoolchildren in the White House kitchen garden. | Source

White House Kitchen Garden, Washington DC

Yes, this is technically an urban farm, though it only feeds the inhabitants of the house and may exist more for media purposes than growing food. Throughout history different Presidents have used the growing of a White House garden to make a statement about food security. During WWII, Roosevelt planted a Victory Garden. In 2009, First Lady Michelle Obama kick-started the biggest kitchen garden the White House has ever seen.

As part of her national Let's Move campaign to improve childhood nutrition and fitness, the First Lady invites schoolchildren to visit and participate in planting, harvesting, and cooking activities. Some may roll their eyes and say that it's a ploy for attracting positive media. But I applaud the example the White House is setting! If indeed it is meant to attract positive media, then we can rejoice, because it means the White House believes Americans are beginning to value healthy, fresh food.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • EZ Swim Fitness profile image

      Kelly Kline Burnett 

      3 years ago from Southern Wisconsin

      I love urban farming! But I am a huge gardener (flowers only). The cement, the rooftops, all need rehabilitation. There is nothing better than fresh fruits and vegetables.

      Voted up and useful!

    • Tara McNerney profile imageAUTHOR

      Tara McNerney 

      5 years ago from Washington, DC

      Very true ignugent17. A big attraction to having a vegetable garden for me is that organic food is so expensive in grocery stores.

      As a side note, I've also heard that the presence of urban gardens discourages local crime. Good on so many levels!

    • profile image

      ignugent17 

      5 years ago

      Very useful hub! Organic food is getting expensive and having our own garden even in urban areas is a good idea for saving. Voted up and more.

    • Lipnancy profile image

      Nancy Yager 

      5 years ago from Hamburg, New York

      These are just plain cool. I am all for unregulated, non-chemical organic gardening for everyone not just the poor. You may not realize that you are literally putting year on your life. Voted Up and Shared.

    • watergeek profile image

      watergeek 

      5 years ago from Pasadena CA

      I know at least one person who has been motivated by the White House Kitchen Garden. She just quit our Environmental Action Group to start a green day care center in her backyard, where she plans to teach little kids how to grow food.

      Also, have you seen this urban garden? They're not too far from me: http://urbanhomestead.org/

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)