Of course, your mother, like mine, probably didn’t have an urban farm. She maybe had a couple of herbs growing in the kitchen window and, for the super daring mom, a tomato plant or two living illegally on the fire escape.
Things have changed, my friend. More than 80% of the US population now lives in urban areas—a trend that continues to grow. One in every 16 Americans lives in the New York Metropolitan Statistical Area—better known as the Tri-State Area. That’s a lot of hungry mouths to feed.
Enter the urban farm—in a big way! Above many a building with an anonymous but defunct industrial manufacturing façade lives a garden. Not just any garden, but a network of interconnected farms. The Brooklyn Grange Farm alone produces more than 500,000 pounds of produce annually—and they’re not the only ones. And it’s not just limited to traditional dirt farms (on roofs of skyscrapers? I guess that’s not traditional.)
A friend of a friend’s daughter works on a boat in ‘somewhere in the Hudson’ http://www.groundworkhv.org/programs/science-barge/ that grows produce hydroponically using only solar power. It turns out that hidden in plain sight in New York City is this whole alternative and HUGE agriculture movement that could potentially feed all New Yorkers in the 21st century.
While Brooklyn and Queens have the lion’s share of the urban farming landscape, leave it to Manhattan to take the marketing credit. The Ceres Gallery in Chelsea has a current exhibit of the work of Elizabeth Downer Riker that features urban farms in NYC. She provides the bird’s eye view that most of us in the city never see.
For a real peek at what’s going on right under your nose and several stories above your head, check out her exhibit through September 30, 2017!