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In this article we summarize the most popular urban farming articles written across the internet in the last 12 months, as measured by social media shares and activity.
Ready for #1?
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Social Media Shares: 64,100
The "Agrihood" is a 3-acre urban farm located in downtown Detroit, Michigan. The project is sponsored by MUFI, the Michigan Urban Farming Initiative.
The Agrihood includes:
- 2 acre garden
- a 200 fruit tree orchard
- a "sensory garden" for children
The goal of this urban farm, as stated by MUFI, is:
1) nutritional illiteracy
2) food insecurity
The "Agrihood" attracted new investment in nearby real estate, and MUFI, a non-profit, provides food for over 2,000 inner city Detroit families that experience food insecurity.
This is the 2nd Agrihood to be built, the first is located in Davis, California.
Social Media Shares: 57,000
This article discusses a joint project between Appetite For Change, a Minneapolis based community led organization taking on issues such as food insecurity and food justice, and "The Beats and Rhymes Crew", a musical group known for making viral music videos.
This viral video, titled "Grow Food" takes place in downtown Minneapolis and discusses the dangers of poor diets and food insecurity.
There's even a shout out to Michelle Obama at one point!
The video quickly went viral on Facebook. With over 57k shares, this is one of the most successful social media campaigns of all time for Appetite for Change.
Social Media Shares: 49,200
Fresh off of Appetite for Change's successful "Grow Food" video (#2 article above) came a generous donation from NFL star Colin Kaepernick.
The pro athlete and activist donated $25,000 USD to the Minneapolis based organization to help fight issues like food insecurity and food deserts.
The proceeds of the donation were allocated as follows:
- $5,000 to switch to organic ingredients in community food workshops
- $5,000 to create a new urban farm plot capable of producing 1,000 lbs of produce per season starting in the summer of 2017
- $5,000 to develop a new nutrition plan for 50 local Minneapolis youth
- $5,000 to Appetite for change to increase organization capacity
- $5,000 to sponsor an awareness campaign for food and racial injustice in America
*Since the publishing of this post, the amount of shares on this article has climbed to over 180,000!
Social Media Shares: 23,100
This article starts with an overview of Urby, a 900 residential apartment complex in Staten Island that is the first of its kind.
Inside the Urby complex, a 4,500 square foot urban farm produces over 50 different types of vegetables and flowers.
The set up is so intense that an "urban farmer in residence", Zaro Bates, oversees the production, which produces multiple tons of vegetables, enough to supply a food bank and 3 restaurants so far.
The value has been measurable for the apartment complex also: new residents often site the urban garden as their primary reason for moving in.
The article concludes with a 5 question interview of Zaro Bates herself!
Image Credit: Business Insider
Social Media Shares: 21,600
This article details the unprecedented amount of funding being granted to urban farms in the United States by the USDA.
In 2016 alone, 12 commercial urban farms were awarded grant money from the US government (the highest amount of urban farms ever funded).
USDA Microloans are the most common loan urban farmers are taking advantage of. Created in 2013, USDA microloans have provisions for "non-traditional" urban farming equipment like led panels.
The rising support for urban farming over the past 5 years is not just evidenced by programs such as the USDA microloan program, but by other USDA initiatives, including an "Urban Agriculture Toolkit" that provides information to help people start urban farming projects.
Social Media Shares: 20,500
This article discusses Jones Valley Teaching Farm, a 2 acre urban farm located in Birmingham, Alabama.
One unique aspect of this urban farm is that it is 100% "in-ground", with no hydroponic or aquaponic growing present.
The teaching farm employees local high school students and the campus includes:
- a greenhouse
- office space
- produce processing facility
- produce storage facility
Vegetables grown include:
- Mustard greens
- Collard greens
- Onion bunches
- Herb bunches
Full story below!
Source: Business Insider
Social Media Shares: 20,200
Kimbal Musk and Tobias Peggs launch square roots, a Brooklyn, New York based vertical farming "incubator" where 10 young aspiring urban farmers develop innovative vertical farming systems.
This article by business insider is a photo-based exploration into the vertical farming systems some of the entrepreneurs, such as Josh Aliber (pictured above) and others.
Social Media Shares: 12,600
This article details the movement across the US to turn lawns into urban farms that produce greens such as baby lettuce and kale.
One organization at the forefront of this movement is Orlando-based nonprofit Fleet Farming.
Fleet Farming plants then maintains urban farms in people’s front yards. Residents then keep part of the food they produce.
As for the rest?
Volunteers harvest the remaining crop to sell at local farmers’ markets and restaurants.
For those that are more audio-inclined, there is also a short podcast attachment to this article. Dig in!
Source: Wall Street Journal
Social Media Shares: 6,600
This WSJ article highlights the growing trend of urban farming in modern times. It details the emergence of urban ag companies like Aerofarms, a newly opened 70,000 sq ft urban farm in Newark, New Jersey.
The article also explores why crops like leafy greens are so commonly grown in urban and vertical farms over fruits like avocado.
The reason? "Light costs money."
To access the full article, click below!
Source: The Kitchen
Social Media Shares: 6,100
Another story detailing Kimbal Musk and the emergence of Square Roots! (See also article #7 above.) Some stats provided in the article:
1) About 15% of food is currently produced in urban areas
2) Around 800 million people around the world raise animals or grow produce in urban areas
3) 70% of the world's population will live in cities by the year 2050
See the full article below!
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This interview details Babylon Micro-Farms, a leading indoor farming company based in the USA. The interview is with Chris Hollomon, Marketing Manager at Babylon Micro-Farms. To learn more about Babylon Micro-Farms and other indoor farming companies, click on this link!View Post
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This interview details Greeny Grow, a leading vertical farm in Sweden. The interview is with Graham Clark, Owner of Greeny Grow. To learn more about Greeny Grow and other indoor farming companies, click on this link!View Post
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This interview details Fischer Farms, a leading vertical farm in the UK. The interview is with Tristan Fischer, CEO of Fischer Farms. To learn more about Fischer Farms and other indoor farming companies, click on this link!View Post
This interview details Agrician, a Hong-Kong based vertical farming company. The interview is with Jack Leung, Founder of Agrician. To learn more about Agrician and other indoor farming companies, click on this link!View Post
This interview details Honest Greens, the first commercial scale vertical farm in Sri Lanka. The interview is with Aneeshan Tyagarajah, Director of Honest Greens. To learn more about Honest Greens and other indoor farming companies, click on this link!View Post
This interview details CRYSP Farms, a Dubai-based vertical farming company. The interview is with Maan Said, CEO of CRYSP Farms. To learn more about CRYSP Farms and other indoor farming companies, click on this link!View Post
This interview details Ecoation, a Canada-based commercial yield and IPM forecasting solution for modern indoor growers. The interview is with Gavin Schneider, VP of Agronomy and Customer Success. To learn more about Ecoation and other indoor farming companies, click on this link!View Post
This interview details Hundred Acre Urban Farm, an indoor farming company based in Milwaukee, USA. The interview is with Chris Corkery, Owner. To learn more about Hundred Acre and other indoor farming companies, click on this link!View Post