Unique Urban and Community Gardens to Inspire You and Future Generations
Urban and community gardens are popping up all over the continent. Parks, schoolyards, and condominium rooftops alike are being decorated with seed and soil, creating a self-sustaining environment that spans beyond what’s trendy. Born from both the challenge of limited space and/or a spirited creativity, urban/community garden projects have grown beyond the traditional plot (of land) and become horticultural marvels. Today, we take a look at some exciting programs from around the world in the hopes that they will inspire you and future generations to think outside of the box.
4 Examples of Urban and Community Garden / Farm Projects to Inspire the Next Generation
1. The Floating Urban Forest
A food forest is a low maintenance sustainable gardening and agro-forestry system based on woodland ecosystems. The concept traditionally incorporates perennial vegetables, fruit trees, nut trees, shrubs, herbs, and vines. Their yield intends to directly benefit local communities. The most groundbreaking take on the food forest concept to date is about to bloom. A floating food forest is coming to the Big Apple this summer. The project, known as Swale, is a collaborative effort dedicated to reimagining and challenging pre-conceptions of a big city’s connection to the environment. Built on an 80 x 30 foot floating barge, Swale is home to an edible (and floating) food forest. Swale will provide free and nutritious food to the visiting public. Part living-art, part sustainable food practice, Swale encourages our world to rethink what is possible when it comes to community gardening in an urban environment.
2. Brooklyn Grange Rooftop Farming
Once again we visit a New York borough to unearth an inspiring urban gardening project. Brooklyn Grange has introduced the world’s largest rooftop soil farms, totaling over 2.5 acres. Living on two rooftops in NYC, one in Brooklyn and the other on Long Island, the project grows over 50,000 lbs of organic produce per annum. Since its inception, it has provided over 500,000 lbs of fruits and vegetables to local eateries, CSA (community supported agriculture) members, and directly to the public via farmer’s markets. In addition, Brooklyn Grande hosts thousands of NYC youth every season, providing educational tours and immersive workshops. They have even added a bee apiary in Brooklyn, Queens and Manhattan. The organization continues to seek out additional rooftops and unused spaces to help fulfill their stated mission:
“Our mission was to create a fiscally sustainable model for urban agriculture and to produce healthy, delicious vegetables for our local community while doing the ecosystem a few favors as well.” (Brooklyn Grange LLC)
3. Urban Organics with Aquaponics
Aquaponics is a system of aquaculture that utilizes the waste produced by fish and crustaceans (farmed on-site) to supply nutrients for plants grown hydroponically (without soil). A non-profit organization known as Urban Organics, located in St. Paul Minnesota, has taken over an abandoned commercial brewery to launch its now successful aquaponics operation. With a goal that intends to feed the community, prove the commercial viability of aquaponics, and support local economic development, Urban Organics has launched a truly inspiring campaign for self-sustained urban farming.
“What was once a dilapidated, abandoned building is now a renewed source of life where we farm fresh, organic food.
By the community, for the community.” (Urban Organics)
4. GrowUp Box Upcycled Aquaponics
Born from a unique take on aquaponics and a successful Kickstarter campaign, GrowUp Urban Farms has installed a greenhouse on top of an “up-cycled” shipping container (known as GrowUp Box) to create an aquaponic agriculture development in the urban sprawl of of London. The organization farms tilapia white fish within the shipping container. Waste from the tilapia feeds nutrients to the produce inside of the greenhouse. The greenhouse uses vertical agriculture techniques to grow a volume of over 400 salads and herbs at any given time in addition to producing micro-greens. In the past two years GrowUp Urban Farms has grown up fast, inspiring the surrounding community to undertake their own sustainable food projects. Their efforts include outreach programs and workshops for local residents and school children in addition to providing local eateries and charities with fresh, nutritious, and organic produce.
Have you come across any inspiring urban farming projects that you feel deserve mention on this list? We’d love to hear about them! Follow our Foundation on Facebook, Twitter, and/or Google+, find this article on our recently published posts, and leave a comment.