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- Zjef Van Acker, Former Chief Engagement Officer, Association for Vertical Farming (AVF) 

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10 Urban Farming Articles You Can't Miss

Are you trying to learn more about urban farming?

If you are, you've found the right article...

10 Urban Farming Articles You Can't Miss

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?

Let's get started...

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1. America's First Urban "Agrihood" Feeds 2,000 Households For Free

America's First Agrihood

Social Media Shares: 64,100

Summary:
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.

Link: http://inhabitat.com/americas-first-urban-agrihood-feeds-2000-households-for-free

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2. These Kids Rapping About Urban Farming Is The Dopest Thing You've Seen All Week

Social Media Shares: 57,000

Summary:
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.

Link: https://watchtheyard.com/activism/these-black-kids-rapping-about-urban-farming-is-the-dopest-thing-youll-see-all-week/

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3. Kaepernick Gives $25,000 To Support Urban Farming In North Minneapolis

Appetite For Change

Social Media Shares: 49,200

Summary:

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!

Link: https://watchtheyard.com/activism/colin-kaepernick-just-dropped-25000-donation-north-minneapolis/

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4. Meet The Woman Who Runs NYC's First Commercial Farm In A Residential Development

NYC's First Commercial Farm in Residential Development

Social Media Shares: 23,100

Summary:

This article starts with an overview of Urby, a 900 residential apartment complex in Staten Island that is the first of its kind.

How?

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!

Link: http://modernfarmer.com/2016/09/empress-green-urby-staten-island/

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5. The US Government Is Loaning Millions of Dollars To Jumpstart Urban Farming

Millions of Dollars To Jumpstart Urban Farming

Image Credit: Business Insider

Social Media Shares: 21,600

Summary:

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.

Link: http://www.businessinsider.com/usda-urban-agriculture-2016-12

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6. Woodlawn High School Urban Farm "school-grown" vegetables on sales every Tuesday in May (Photos)

Woodlawn High School Urban Farm

Social Media Shares: 20,500

Summary:

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:

-Kale
- Spinach
- Lettuce
- Turnips
- Mustard greens
- Collard greens
- Onion bunches
- Herb bunches

Full story below!

Link: http://bhamnow.com/index.php/2017/05/02/woodlawn-high-school-urban-farm/

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7. Elon Musk's Brother is Building Shipping Container Farms In New York City

Kimbal Musk Square Roots Article

Source: Business Insider

Social Media Shares: 20,200

Summary:

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.

Link: http://www.businessinsider.com/kimbal-musk-shipping-container-farms-new-york-city-2016-12

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8. Tired of Mowing? Turn Your Lawn Into A Farm

Tired of Mowing? Turn Your Lawn Into A Farm

Social Media Shares: 12,600

Summary:

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!

Link: https://www.yaleclimateconnections.org/2017/06/turn-your-lawn-into-a-farm/

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9. A Farm Grows In The City: Startups Are Leading The Way To A Future In Which More Food Is Grown Closer To Where People Live

Percentage of World's Population Living in Urban Areas

Source: Wall Street Journal

Social Media Shares: 6,600

Summary:

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!

Link: https://www.wsj.com/articles/a-farm-grows-in-the-city-1494813900

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10. Elon Musk Revolutionized Cars. His Brother Wants To Do The Same For Food

Kimbal Musk Square Roots Lettuce Image

Source: The Kitchen

Social Media Shares: 6,100

Summary:

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!

Link: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/kimbal-musk-square-roots_us_57bc5e9de4b0b51733a5c359

Conclusion

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“If urbanvine.co had existed when I got into Vertical Farming back in 2012, I'd have saved 3 years in that quest to learn it!”

Mark-Horler
- Zjef Van Acker, Former Chief Engagement Officer, Association for Vertical Farming (AVF) 

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