A D.C. urban farm takes on urban problems

March 6, 2017 by  
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Dreaming Out Loud’s new farm hopes to provide jobs, business incubation and more in a city ward that has often been overlooked.

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A D.C. urban farm takes on urban problems

Verdant Detroit: Can ‘agrihoods’ revitalize urban centers?

February 28, 2017 by  
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A two-acre farm in Detroit’s North End neighborhood offers free food, green space, and hope to the community.

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Verdant Detroit: Can ‘agrihoods’ revitalize urban centers?

Tech to table: Lessons from Google’s foodservice strategy

February 17, 2017 by  
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Increasingly, a variety of technologies are transforming the world of food, from robotics in restaurant kitchens, to e-labeling for food storage, to wearable technologies for food inspectors. These technologies are helping us reduce food waste and lower impacts at every step of the food chain. 

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Tech to table: Lessons from Google’s foodservice strategy

Cultivating a regenerative food system

January 28, 2017 by  
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Four agricultural strategies that could help save Europe’s agriculture and generate 320 billion Euro.

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Cultivating a regenerative food system

America’s first urban ‘agrihood’ feeds 2,000 households for free

December 7, 2016 by  
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When you think of Detroit , ‘ sustainable ‘ and ‘ agriculture ‘ may not be the first two words that come to mind. But a new urban agrihood debuted by The Michigan Urban Farming Initiative (MUFI) might change your mind. The three-acre development boasts a two-acre garden , a fruit orchard with 200 trees, and a sensory garden for kids. If you need a refresher on the definition of agrihood, MUFI describes it as an alternative neighborhood growth model. An agrihood centers around urban agriculture, and MUFI offers fresh, local produce to around 2,000 households for free. Related: Amazing farm-to-table, eco friendly housing development in California is a locavore’s paradise In a statement, MUFI co-founder and president Tyson Gersh said, “Over the last four years, we’ve grown from an urban garden that provides fresh produce for our residents to a diverse, agricultural campus that has helped sustain the neighborhood, attracted new residents and area investment.” Through urban agriculture , MUFI aims to solve problems Detroit residents face such as nutritional illiteracy and food insecurity. Now in the works at the agrihood is a 3,200 square foot Community Resource Center . Once a vacant building, the center will become a colorful headquarters and education center. As MUFI is a non-profit operated by volunteers, they’ll receive a little help to restore the building from chemistry company BASF and global community Sustainable Brands . Near the center, a health food cafe will sprout on empty land. MUFI describes the agrihood as America’s first sustainable urban agrihood. There are other agrihoods around the United States, such as this one Inhabitat covered earlier in 2016 in Davis, California. But the California agrihood is expensive; many people couldn’t afford to live there. The Michigan agrihood is far more accessible. MUFI isn’t stopping with the community center. They’re also working on a shipping container home, and plan to restore another vacant home to house interns. A fire-damaged house near the agrihood will be deconstructed, but the basement will be turned into a water harvesting cistern to irrigate the farm. + The Michigan Urban Farming Initiative Images via The Michigan Urban Farming Initiative ( 1 , 2 )

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America’s first urban ‘agrihood’ feeds 2,000 households for free

Cedar Rapids turns tragedy into triumph with new LEED Platinum public library

December 7, 2016 by  
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Tragedy struck Cedar Rapids, Iowa in June 2008, when a devastating flood swept the city and destroyed hundreds of homes, businesses, and several prominent public structures, including the public library. In the wake of the unprecedented natural disaster, the community and local studio OPN Architects joined together to rebuild the library. The new Cedar Rapids Public Library was reborn as a vibrant, multipurpose center that’s earned numerous architecture awards and LEED Platinum certification. Completed in 2003, the new Cedar Rapids Public Library is located a couple blocks from the original site and overlooks Greene Square Park. OPN’s meetings with the community guided the 95,000-square-foot library design, which, according to the architects, was “driven by the desire to embrace openness, transparency and foster public engagement with and within the space.” The building features large expanses of floor-to-ceiling glass to engage the streetscape and to overlook views of the park and cityscape. Large windows and a two-story central atrium allow natural light to penetrate deep into the building and reduce dependence on artificial lighting. The library spaces are organized around the central atrium in a hub-and-spoke system in which the cafe and coffee shop are located in the Service Core Zone, while the children’s, young adult, and adult fiction areas branch out from the hub. Clear sight lines and open vertical circulation help users navigate their way to their destinations. The second floor includes adult non-fiction collections, a conference space, offices, and a 200-seat auditorium facing the park that spans both the second and third floors. A breakout lobby for the auditorium sits on the third floor, which provides access to the 24,000-square-foot green roof . Related: Boxy new library by Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects designed to regenerate Halifax The Cedar Rapids Public Library achieved LEED Platinum certification thanks to its lowered energy footprint, which exceeds the Iowa Energy Code by 55% and uses energy at a rate of 37 ktbu per square foot—a significant savings compared to the pre-flood library’s rate of 100 kbtu per square foot. The exterior glazing that covers over a third of the building envelope is insulating with low-E coating. The building also includes a pump & re-inject geothermal HVAC system, daylight sensors, LEDs, and thermally broken aluminum framing. The accessible green roof harvests rainwater for irrigation, and combined with pervious paving, helps retain 90% of normal annual rainfall and 100% of all rainfall up to one inch in a 24-hour period on site. + OPN Architects Via ArchDaily Images via OPN Architects , by Main Street Studio – Wayne Johnson

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Cedar Rapids turns tragedy into triumph with new LEED Platinum public library

Farm 360 in Indianapolis grows veggies with 100% renewable energy and 90% less water

October 26, 2016 by  
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Farm 360’s hydroponic growing system relies on an array of thousands of energy-efficient LED lights which bathe rows upon rows of vegetables with pink light. Nutrient rich water is pumped below the plants through large, plastic drums and is then channeled to each individual through small tubes. “We’re going to keep redesigning to become as efficient as possible,” said farm manager Jim Bloom. “We’re even looking into solar power. We really want to be as self-sufficient as we can.” There are currently five separate growing areas within the warehouse that are used to produce basil, mint, kale, lettuce, spinach, chard, and arugula. “In total, the farm grows around 35 different types of greens,” Bloom said. “And we can turn a head of lettuce in about 30 days.” Related: Freight Farms are super efficient hydroponic farms built inside shipping containers Sustainable Local Foods Indiana in partnership with the Englewood Community Development Corp.  selected the warehouse site with the goal of injecting  energy and resources into an area that has been federally designated as a “Promise Zone,” highlighted by the Obama Administration as high priority for redevelopment. “We like to repurpose what we consider to be underutilized buildings in communities where it can add real value,” said Bloom. In 2015, the neighborhood had a 47 percent poverty rate and about 24 percent unemployment rate. Since opening, Farm 360 has created living-wage twelve jobs within the community and will be staffed with thirty employees by the end of 2016. “We want people to be able to walk or ride their bike to work,” Bloom said. “The goal is to have 70 to 75 percent of our employees live right here on the east side. These are the people who want to revitalize the area.” + Farm 360 Via No Mean City Images via Esther Boston

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Farm 360 in Indianapolis grows veggies with 100% renewable energy and 90% less water

The White House Garden is here to stay

October 7, 2016 by  
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The United States is now in the final stretch of its exceptionally long, extremely strange 2016 presidential election . While there is great national anxiety surrounding who will next inhabit the White House, one can take some comfort in knowing that the White House Kitchen Garden is here to stay. While the Garden’s original iteration was rustic in style, the First Lady unveiled a new design that includes cement, stone and steel features that will be difficult to remove without causing controversy. Founded by First Lady Michelle Obama in 2009, the White House Kitchen Garden has provided organic produce for the First Family and served as an inspiring symbol of the still-growing Food Movement. Although the White House Garden has avoided the harsh criticism that Republicans have directed towards the First Lady’s school nutrition reforms, it is not without controversy. Within days of the garden’s inauguration, the pesticide industry wrote to the White House to advocate against the garden’s use of organic farming techniques. Related: Obama Administration Announces the Creation of 7 “Climate Hubs” to Assist Farmers The National Park Service will continue to maintain the Garden in Obama’s absence while millions of dollars in private funding will help to pay for it. While neither Donald Trump nor Hillary Clinton have commented on what they would do with the garden, its new design makes a total demolition much less likely. Wood chip paths have been replaced with a widened walkway made from blue stone while a new cemented archway and stone-paved seating area welcome visitors into the garden. “I take great pride in knowing that this little garden will live on as a symbol of the hopes and dreams we all hold of growing a healthier nation for our children,” said Michelle Obama at a formal dedication of the new and improved garden. “I am hopeful that future first families will cherish this garden like we have.” Via Politico Images via the White House and Angela N.

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The White House Garden is here to stay

The White House Garden is here to stay

October 7, 2016 by  
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The United States is now in the final stretch of its exceptionally long, extremely strange 2016 presidential election . While there is great national anxiety surrounding who will next inhabit the White House, one can take some comfort in knowing that the White House Kitchen Garden is here to stay. While the Garden’s original iteration was rustic in style, the First Lady unveiled a new design that includes cement, stone and steel features that will be difficult to remove without causing controversy. Founded by First Lady Michelle Obama in 2009, the White House Kitchen Garden has provided organic produce for the First Family and served as an inspiring symbol of the still-growing Food Movement. Although the White House Garden has avoided the harsh criticism that Republicans have directed towards the First Lady’s school nutrition reforms, it is not without controversy. Within days of the garden’s inauguration, the pesticide industry wrote to the White House to advocate against the garden’s use of organic farming techniques. Related: Obama Administration Announces the Creation of 7 “Climate Hubs” to Assist Farmers The National Park Service will continue to maintain the Garden in Obama’s absence while millions of dollars in private funding will help to pay for it. While neither Donald Trump nor Hillary Clinton have commented on what they would do with the garden, its new design makes a total demolition much less likely. Wood chip paths have been replaced with a widened walkway made from blue stone while a new cemented archway and stone-paved seating area welcome visitors into the garden. “I take great pride in knowing that this little garden will live on as a symbol of the hopes and dreams we all hold of growing a healthier nation for our children,” said Michelle Obama at a formal dedication of the new and improved garden. “I am hopeful that future first families will cherish this garden like we have.” Via Politico Images via the White House and Angela N.

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The White House Garden is here to stay

Why ShopRite and Compass Group have a taste for urban farming

September 28, 2016 by  
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No longer underground, vertical farms, rooftop gardens and aeroponics are moving beyond their roots to whet the appetites of corporate food giants.

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Why ShopRite and Compass Group have a taste for urban farming

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