Friday, September 20, 2013

Urban Agriculture innovation...

Forget Monsanto, Industrial Agriculture and Factory Farming... the way of the future is about innovative ideas, movements and organisations such as food forests, city farms and farmeries! Urban Agriculture as opposed to Industrial Agriculture!

Back in August I posted about The Farmery on this blog where I also stated I'd written to the Mayor of Sydney to see if she would be interested in bringing the concept here. I received a prompt response from her office and was pleasantly surprised to learn that, although a different concept to The Farmery, the city was already on board with its own project - Sydney City Farm

I had in fact first come across the concept of bringing 'agriculture' to the city and urban farming a number of years ago and 'The only way is up' was probably the first article I read on the subject.

Today I was excited to hear of another innovative idea taking place in Seattle!
Image courtesy of the Beacon Food Forest website

The Food Forest is the idea of Harrison Design 'the landscape architect for this innovative project for the neighborhood of Beacon Hill, located in the heart of Seattle. The goal of the Beacon Food Forest is to bring this richly diverse community together in fostering a Permaculture Tree Guild approach to urban farming and land stewardship. The design of this seven-acre site provides opportunities for cultural exchange and understanding, for education and recreation. The Food Forest includes an Edible Arboretum with fruits gathered from regions around the world, a Berry Patch for canning, gleaning and the joy of eating right off the bush, a Nut Grove with tress that provide both shade and sustenance, a Community Garden using the p-patch model where families can grow their own food, and a Kids Area. Living Gateways will connect and serve as portals between areas.'

'A Food Forest is a gardening technique or land management system that mimics a woodland ecosystem but substitutes in edible trees, shrubs, perennials and annuals.  Fruit and nut trees are the upper level, while below are berry shrubs, edible perennials and annuals.  Companions or beneficial plants are included to attract insects for natural pest management while some plants are soil amenders providing nitrogen and mulch.  Together they create relationships to form a forest garden ecosystem able to produce high yields of food with less maintenance.'

Image courtesy Beacon Food Forest website

I had also heard of the food forest gardening technique through the documentary 'Natural World: Farm for the future' which I really enjoyed watching and am even happier to know this concept is being adopted.

Sadly the newly elected Australian government is intent on obliterating the environment and sticking its head in the sand where Climate Change is concerned... as well as belittling those of us who believe in and are passionate about these issues. The government will only ever work in complete opposition to what actually needs to take place, choosing instead to work with giant corporations with only dollar signs on their agenda and no concern or consideration for the environment and its occupants This will no doubt mean Industrial Agriculture, Factory Farming and GM crops will be supported and not opposed by this government and that is situation that disturbs, frustrates and saddens me.

Thankfully these innovative ideas are still able to happen on local government levels, such as the City Farm in Sydney and in other areas around the world and hopefully they will only grow in popularity and become the way of the future as they should... it's definitely a future I would be happy to see.


River said...

I had my own mini food forest in my previous home. A shadecloth structure along the west side of my unit where I grew 5 fruit trees in big tubs and an assortment of vegetables in recycle tubs. Some of the produce was of the mini variety, mini capsicums, mini cucumbers, mini rockmelons. I don't have anywhere suitable here to do that again. I could put things in tubs, but my place is more exposed now, and I worry that others will help themselves to what I've grown for me. I have beans, garlic and cherry tomatoes on my front porch, that's a start.

Gabriella Tagliapietra said...

That sounds great River! What a beautiful mini food forest you had - I bet it would have been hard to leave that behind... and nice that you are still able to grow something for yourself even if it is not like what you had before.