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Guide to Urban Agriculture

Updated on August 20, 2013

Guide to Urban Agriculture

 

Guide to Urban Agriculture is your guide to taking farming and ranching and forestry and fishing where no man or woman has gone before . . . uptown, downtown, midtown and center city.

Actually, as you'll soon discover, people have been conducting agriculture in urban locations since antiquity.  It is only fair since factories and airports are sometimes located way out in the country where they make noise and bother rural folk.

Urban Farmers

People who conduct agriculture (growing food, fiber or trees) uptown, downtown, mid-town, in the inner city, in slums, in ghettos, in barrios, and in central business districts.

Are we overlooking your type of urban agriculture?

Please drop us a note and tell us to cover your niche. We are trying to cover urban farming, urban ranching, urban aquaculture and urban forestry. If it grows, we want to represent it here.

Urban Farming Supplies

A few examples would be: soil contamination test kits, raised beds, soil reclamation biologicals, soil purification supplies (certain plants are very good at removing toxic chemicals from the air and soil), composting supplies, tractors, combines, heavy equipment, garden hoes, and other tools.

Also planters, tillers, and harvesters. The same place where you buy a little rider mower can sell you all manner of add-ons.

think rider mower in small spaces, big tractor in larger spaces

think rider mower in small spaces, big tractor in larger spaces
think rider mower in small spaces, big tractor in larger spaces

Livestock is not just urban chickens

and you CAN fight city hall. More and more cities are bowing to pressure to let citizens raise chickens. We can understand neighbors who object to roosters when they are trying to sleep but don't complain about the smell when the air is full of the refuse of infernal combustion engines going straight into our parents and childrens' lungs. Buy electric vehicles already!

my chick helps out with the agricultural computing

my chick helps out with the agricultural computing
my chick helps out with the agricultural computing

Urban Dairy Cattle

Mad scientists and their assistants (Agent Astrid Farnsworth shown here) are not the only ones with dairy cows in the city.

Cover the cow's ears because we plan to add an urban beef cattle ranching section as soon as we find useful info and pix.

Pigeons

Not just pets for tumbling or messengers (when the internet is down) or flying rats, they are also food. Just ask any urban hawk in New York City.

Warning! Birds of prey might kill your flock! Protect them but don't shoot urban raptors. They have a right to live too.

Yes, we heard that news story too. Pigeons for food (rather than pets or messengers) end up in expensive restaurants as "squab: on the menu. We aren't promoting this particular poultry. It is just in here for completeness.

obviously raising these birds to be messengers

obviously raising these birds to be messengers
obviously raising these birds to be messengers

Pigeon Raising by Alice Macleod

Pigeon Raising by Alice Macleod
Pigeon Raising by Alice Macleod

Urban Vineyards

this one is in London

urban vineyard

urban vineyard
urban vineyard

urban vineyard

urban vineyard
urban vineyard

Urban Orchards

 

Urban Grain Fields

As soon as we get pictures of urban rye, oat, and other grains, we'll post them.

Be patient, hold your horses, it takes awhile to plow up those toll roads and rusting factories and empty skyscrapers full of crooks like AIG.

Put the interstates underground like subways. Yes, we've heard of Big Dig Boston. But civil engineers may have learned from that project how to do it right the next time.

And while we're on the subject of greening cities, how about raise Lower Ninth Ward in New Orleans above sea level? Let farmers do it. Obviously the Army Corps of Engineers and corrupt city/state officials can't or won't.

Put more buildings underground because plants and livestock don't grow well underground. Green America, green the world!

Urban Wheat

Urban Wheat
Urban Wheat

Urban Wheat

Urban Wheat
Urban Wheat

Urban Wheat (ready for harvest and spectators)

Urban Wheat  (ready for harvest and spectators)
Urban Wheat (ready for harvest and spectators)

Urban Wheat

Urban Wheat
Urban Wheat

urban wheat field

urban wheat field
urban wheat field

Urban Corn

Urban Corn
Urban Corn

Urban Rice Paddy

Urban Rice Paddy
Urban Rice Paddy

Herb Gardens

Herb gardens can sell fresh to restaurants and naturopathic physicians.

Take note of this urban farmers. You need to establish a relationship with at least one health food supermarket (Whole Foods, Wild Oats, Earth Fare, etc.) and at least one health food restaurant.

If you plan on selling in volume, then you need to establish a relationship with Walmart too.

When we say relationship, we mean eat at their restaurant, shop at their store and personally get to know the managers. Take your spouse or girlfriend or boyfriend with you. Otherwise, you are just gardening for yourself and not in business farming.

Don't let the accompanying picture fool you. You have to start somewhere. Start small and then expand.

Next step is really big bags.

Next step is really big bags.
Next step is really big bags.

Urban Commercial Forestry

for soil remediation and biodiversity. Why let environmental engineers get the big contracts to clean up Superfund sites when you can do it cheaper. They want to take an industrial approach -- the approach that got us into this filthy environmental mess. An organic approach is better.

Urban Forestry

Urban Forestry
Urban Forestry

Urban Forestry

Urban Forestry
Urban Forestry

urban forestry

urban and community forestry

Urban Sheep Herding

Just keep them out of the manger.

Rent them out to mow lawns. Seriously.

(their mouths dummy, not getting them onto rider lawnmowers which would be some trick)

moving sheep from one pasture to another

moving sheep from one pasture to another
moving sheep from one pasture to another

bighorn sheep downtown

bighorn sheep downtown
bighorn sheep downtown

The Urban Ranch Market

urban cowboy

urban cowboy
urban cowboy

urban cattle drive

urban cattle drive - photo by Evan Mew of the Daily Journal (that's his name, we swear)

In the photo, a cowboy leads a herd of cattle down Saratoga Drive to Bay Meadows for the 74th annual San Mateo County Fair.

Moo-ving through San Mateo

August 08, 2008, 12:00 AM By Heather Murtagh, Daily Journal Staff

Ever wonder how long it would take 75 longhorn cattle, 10 Segways, a covered wagon and about 25 horses to travel half a mile down a San Mateo street?

Wonder no longer, as that was the scene yesterday morning from Yates Way, north on Saratoga Drive into the San Mateo Fairgrounds for 30 minutes. The urban cattle drive was a way to bring together agriculture and technology — two different but important characteristics of San Mateo County — in time to kick off the start of the 74th annual fair, which opens this afternoon.

Fairs began as a showcase for local agriculture and horse racing. Those traits are still present today, but unique attributes from any given place are also incorporated into the event — like local technology. The cattle drive was a way to bring together the low- and high-technology of San Mateo County, explained Marie Franko, marketing and promotions coordinator for the San Mateo County Event Center.

Local representatives joined the herd on either horseback or Segway.

Fort Worth Stockyards

co-op

co-op
co-op

silk worms

silk worms
silk worms

Cotton Comes to Harlem by Chester Himes

Cotton Comes to Harlem by Chester Himes
Cotton Comes to Harlem by Chester Himes

Urban Flax (linen)

Urban Flax (linen)
Urban Flax (linen)

a bikeway

Not as wide as Katy Freeway which gulps up 26 lanes of land in Houston.

urban chickens

urban chickens
urban chickens

urban homesteading

urban homesteading
urban homesteading

sources of land for urban farmers

(and urban ranchers)

Property condemnations, burned to the ground townhouses, razings of drug houses, depressed price urban real estate, tax sales, slums (if you can pry them loose from slumlords), abandoned lots, and vacant lots are just some of the bargains to be had in finding urban land so that you can either start or expand your urban farm or ranch.

BK Farmyards asks the owners of weed-infested backyards if they can farm them. When the founder of BK (which stands for Brooklyn) started, she asked every owner she could find, most thought she was crazy (it is New York City after all), but eventually people began to say yes.

Abandoned lot cleanup is fun for the whole family. Helps if you own it.

Abandoned lot cleanup is fun for the whole family.  Helps if you own it.
Abandoned lot cleanup is fun for the whole family. Helps if you own it.

Abandoned Lots and Vacant Lots

Don't say that there is no land in a city that could be used for farming.

Here's an abandoned freeway in the photo.

This abandoned lot had rare bulbs. So look before you plow.

This abandoned lot had rare bulbs.  So look before you plow.
This abandoned lot had rare bulbs. So look before you plow.

A lot of cleaning up to do.

A lot of cleaning up to do.
A lot of cleaning up to do.

Another abandoned turnpike. They had the right idea: Put them underground.

Another abandoned turnpike.  They had the right idea:  Put them underground.
Another abandoned turnpike. They had the right idea: Put them underground.

burned house

burned house
burned house

condemned property

condemned property
condemned property

courthouse tax sale

courthouse tax sale
courthouse tax sale

house for sale

house for sale
house for sale

how to turn a vacant lot into a garden

how to turn a vacant lot into a garden
how to turn a vacant lot into a garden

a vacant lot in Austin

a vacant lot in Austin
a vacant lot in Austin

Vacant Lot project in the Shoreditch neighborhood in London

Vacant Lot project in the Shoreditch neighborhood in London
Vacant Lot project in the Shoreditch neighborhood in London

Bosco Verticale

This is an architectural rendering of a proposed tower in Milan.

EDITT Tower, Singapore

EDITT Tower, Singapore
EDITT Tower, Singapore

note the vegetation growing on the sides

note the vegetation growing on the sides
note the vegetation growing on the sides

building in Rotterdam

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green wall (interior)

green wall (exterior)

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the roof of New York City post office

the roof of New York City post office
the roof of New York City post office

rooftop garden

rooftop garden
rooftop garden

rooftop garden

rooftop garden
rooftop garden

skyscraper garden

skyscraper garden
skyscraper garden

USDA: The United States Department of Agriculture

USDA: The United States Department of Agriculture
USDA: The United States Department of Agriculture

county agent award

county agent award
county agent award

Dear County Agent,

Dear County Agent,
Dear County Agent,

Visit from a county agent - (art by Norman Rockwell)

a Norman Rockwell painting

a Norman Rockwell painting
a Norman Rockwell painting

the national county agents association

the national county agents association
the national county agents association

downtown farm (this one is in Baltimore)

downtown farm (this one is in Baltimore)
downtown farm (this one is in Baltimore)

single urban farmers

Somebody visited this lens looking for a date. Hey, if you're in a city, finding dates should be easy with all those people. However, I suggest a lonely urban farmboy or farmgirl --

1. go to a diner popular among urban farmers

2. a farmers' market on market day (by definition, these are in the city)

3. a house of worship where most members are urban farmers

I hope this helps.

farmer's daughter

farmer's daughter
farmer's daughter

Blue Planet - Green the Ghetto

Majora Carter - Pt. 1 of 3

URBAN FARMING NYC

Detroit Urban Farm and Garden Tour 2007

urban farming: Oakland, California

Urban Farming in Philadelphia

Urban Farm

Urban Farm
Urban Farm

winner of some award in Britain

a woman farmer

teen farmer section

Alexandra Reau, 14, in her financially lucrative backyard garden.

teen farmer selling produce

 

urban 4-H clubs

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Urban 4-H Club in Springfield First in 30 Years or more

urban FFA chapters - (Future Farmers of America)

photo credit: USDA

garden city

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Growing a Garden City tells how farmers, first graders, counselors, troubled teens, foodies, homeless shelter chefs, single mothers, and other s can transform themselves and their neighborhoods from shooting galleries and urban blight into liveable communities.

urban apiaries and urban beekeeping

Apiary in the People's Garden of Gastonia, North Carolina

2012 Jan 27 Melbourne CBD Apiary Movie 1

2012 Jan 29 Melbourne CBD Honey Extraction

2012 Jan 22 Melbourne City Roof Top Honey

Matt and Vanessa of "Melbourne City Roof Top Honey" describe their novel beekeeping business to beekeepers at Collingwood Children's Farm Apiary. The possible effects of human pheromones on bee behaviour are also discussed.

urban hay farm

photo credit: Dwight Burdette

urban horses

photo credit: Sam Wilson

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photo credit: rex pe

Urban Fish Farming

Why leave port, when you can do it at home? Give the oceans a few millennia to recover from drift nets (strip mining the sea), plastic, water pollution, and species extinction.

Everyone who looks at getting into aquaculture thinks first of freshwater fish or catfish. Some of us non-vegetarians have eaten steak, mutton, chicken, shrimp, crab, fish of all kinds, pork, clams, venison, and all sorts of meat but lobster is just too expensive to try. Suggestion: If you can bring lobster without mercury (and other toxins) or hormones or antibiotics to the market at a low price, you could own a huge market share. And if you can make that lobster hypoallergenic, all the people who can't eat lobster now might try it.

urban fish farms

photo credit: Eleassar

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photo credit: Leendertz

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photo credit: Anna Frodesiak

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aquaculture - global production in millions of tons

photo credit: Epipelagic

urban aquaculture

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urban dairy

This dairy is free range -- not based on the unhealthy industrial farming model of animals crowded and crammed into claustrophobic stalls their entire lives.

photo credit: Sue Adair

dairy cows

Cows spend the afternoon relaxing under large shades with misters and fans. Temperatures are reduced by 10-15 degrees during the middle of summer underneath these fixtures.

dairy tanks

photo credit: Infrogmation of New Orleans

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