polis: a collective blog about cities worldwide

Farming Cities

by George Carothers

Urban farming has existed in one form or another since cities first came into existence. More recently, people have been embracing it in record numbers in response to economic and ecological concerns.

Urban farming differs from city to city, just as agriculture varies from climate to climate. Tokyo residents have experimented with rooftops and underground sites, finding that interesting locations can inspire those who spend long hours at office desks. Other cities have shown that neighborhood farming — as seen in the parks, community centers and playgrounds of Middlesbrough, England — can yield enough produce to provide 2,500 people with locally grown food.

In the short film "New York Farm City" (above), Petrina Engelke and Raul Mandru wander through several neighborhoods in the Big Apple to showcase creative ways people grow their own food. Moving from East Harlem to Brooklyn, and from Greenwich Village to City Hall, they uncover the work of fascinating groups who are reestablishing visible links between urban sustenance and its source.

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