Urban Renewal: The Greening of Cities

If you imagine a green city, you might not first think of Houston, Texas, but according to a green building index, over half of the commercial square footage there has an EPA Energy Star or LEED rating. In fact, Houston has ranked as high as number 3 in the US for LEED-certified commercial space. “Since Houston is the energy capital of the world, sustainability is paramount to all aspects of our economy. This is evident in the way real estate has been consistently…

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Urban Farming is Coming to Los Angeles

In the wake of the landmark passing of California’s Neighborhood Foods Act, urban farming is flourishing in Los Angeles. In October, City Councilmen Felipe Fuentes and Curren Price filed a motion to allow owners of vacant lots in the city to qualify for tax relief if they make their land available for agricultural use. Los Angeles has about 8,600 such lots. “By converting empty parcels into urban farms, we can encourage local economic development, green our more closely knit communities and provide produce…

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Vermicomposting Saves Prison Systems Money

Starting in 2010, a prison guard and a few inmates began a vermicomposting program at Washington State Reformatory. Vermicomposting is a process that takes left over food and table scraps and turns them into compost with the aid of earth worms. Vermicast compost contains water-soluble nutrients and is an excellent, nutrient-rich organic fertilizer and soil conditioner. The Washington State prison system is a leader in training inmates for jobs in the green economy after their release. Gardening and prairie restoration have long been part…

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Fukushima Factory Becomes Aquaponic Farm

Superconductors and microchips have to be produced in a sterile environment. But what happens when a former microchip factory becomes obsolete? That’s a question facing many of Japan’s chip-makers these days, but Fujitsu has an answer to that question: If you are Fujitsu Electronics, you convert one of your excess chip factories’ sterile spaces into an indoor hydroponic growing area that is free from environmental contaminants and crop-destroying pests. That “clean room”, as it’s called, also happens to be insulated…

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Bus Top Gardens Pop Up in NYC

As part of his thesis project at NYU, graduate student Marco Castro Casio designed a garden for the top of buses Casio calls his mobile garden idea “Bus Roots”, and says it is a way of “reconnecting urban communities with nature in a practical and playful way … bus roots is a playful public transportation project that uses plants as a creative medium. It connects the citizens with their community while trying to use the least amount of resources and improving the…

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Vertical Garden Exhibit at Chicago MSI

Green roof design is becoming popular all over the world, but this vertical garden conceptual model – part of the Fast Forward exhibit at Chicago’s Museum of Science and Industry (MSI) – takes the concepts of aquaponics, locally-grown produce, and urban farming to new heights by stuffing all those things into a single, “green” skyscraper. Vertical farming, which some experts claim uses just 1/6 of the resources required by conventional “flat” farming to produce a given quantity of produce, is…

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Growing Our Local Food Infrastructure: Urban Farm School Opens in Asheville NC

Though it sometimes seems like our evil frankenfood corporate overlords, such as Monsanto and Dow, have completely hi-jacked our food system, many people around the nation are actually creating more sustainable and viable alternatives. A few good folks in Asheville, NC are bringing agriculture back to the people, empowering urbanites to gain more food independence, while learning to grow healthier fresh local food for their own communities.

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Asheville City Council Tackles Food Insecurity and Approves Food Action Plan

North Carolina’s city of Asheville is the most recent town in our nation to create a Food Action Plan. These sensible strategies address difficult issues, such as food deserts, community health, food insecurity, nutrition knowledge deficits, barriers to local food production and distribution, as well as food sovereignty. The plan was approved 6-0 on January 21, 2013 by the city council; this legislation will play an active role in improving healthy food access, and will also help to build a more sustainable local food infrastructure.

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Struggling Hungry Bees will Work for Flowers

This forlorn and starving cartoon bee from Occupy the EPA made me laugh out loud when I first saw it. The comic does a brilliant job of humorously expressing the very real plight of these vital insects, as they battle habitat loss, chemical pesticides and disease, in a desperate attempt to survive.

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Free Brooklyn Food Conference Returns on May 12, 2012

This year’s free conference is spearheaded by the Brooklyn Food Coalition. This grassroots organization tackles issues concerning food and sustainability to work toward their vision of a more just and sustainable local food system. Now they’re taking over Brooklyn Technical High School, getting ready for a second round of transforming minds and food policy in the region.

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What is Food Justice? 5 Short Films from Shalini Kantayya Help Explain

In these short films we meet Malik Yakini, a man who is part of the creation of inner-city organic farms in Detroit, and Kandace Vallejo, a youth organizer and educator on food injustice. We are also introduced to Jenga Mwendo, who is helping devlope community gardens in the ninth ward of New Orleans, Haile Johnston, a social entrepreneur working on food access in Philadelphia, and Braham Ahmadi, who works on community food justice issues in Oakland.

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Delicious, Nutritious Kale: Guide to Different Varieties

Kale is a beautiful dark leafy green that is packed with nutrition and cancer fighting properties. High in manganese, as well as vitamins A, C and K, this vegetable is often referred to as a superfood. Gaining quickly in popularity for its ease to grow, hardiness and wonderful taste, kale is becoming a staple in home gardens everywhere.

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