Thursday, February 10, 2011

Short List

Great articles, posts and projects are piling up on my desk, but there is no time to blog about them all. Instead I thought I'd share them briefly in this short list format of recent finds:

Five Borough Farm aims to create a citywide urban agriculture plan for New York City. The project is an ambitious effort to map and assess current agriculture activities, and develop a support system through policy recommendations and resources that promote urban farming. Led by a public health expert and an urban planner,the project promises to move the discourse beyond rooftop gardens and hobby plots, towards engaging a systematic understanding of policy, ecology, economics, land use and community. 

[Red Hook Community Farm, via]

Good Magazine's profile of Eli Zigas of the SFUAA highlights some specific challenges that typical zoning codes pose for urban agriculture. It's a great interview, focusing on scaling up urban ag efforts beyond the non-profit, grant based model and into for-profit farms that can substantially contribute to urban food security plans. This afternoon the San Francisco Planning Commission will hear proposed changes to the zoning code, intended to encourage and support urban farming efforts. Stay posted!

[Little City Gardens, San Francisco, via]

Design, as a field, is often constrained by perception. Accused by critics of being self-serving and consumerist, lauded by others as an answer to all humanity's problems, design is rarely perceived as a type of communication, a form-based discussion of contemporary issues and attitudes in a society. Understood as a vehicle of social dialogue, design becomes more interesting: we don't need to like the results, but can simply study the process and thinking for insight into issues. In my own work of defining and advocating the role of design in urban agriculture, I found Dezeen's Food and Design Report a fascinating read of how we view food, farming and dining. From the role of the kitchen in making a house home, to plant based product design there's a lot to digest. It inspires me to imagine a second volume focused on landscape and city design.

[Images from the Food and Design Report, via Dezeen]