Soaring prices and concerns about chemical-laden fruits and vegetables increasingly drive us to grow our own healthy food close to home. In cities, however, vanishing ground space and contaminated soils spur farmers, activists, and restaurateurs to look to the skyline for a solution. The hunger for local food has reached new heights, and rooftops can provide the space that cities need to bring fresh, organic produce to tables across North America.
If you’d like to grow your own food but don’t think you have the space, look up! In urban and suburban areas across the country, farms and gardens are growing atop the rooftops of residential and commercial buildings. Green roofs ― the ultimate in sustainable building practices ― continue to generate enormous interest and enthusiasm among architects, landscape designers, and urban planners. Strict stormwater regulations and the appeal of LEED-related projects have also boosted the popularity and desirability of green roofs.
The Brooklyn Botanic Garden has long been a leading advocate of urban greening and sustainable design -- and a green roof is an exciting expression of these ideals. Vegetated roof systems prevent water pollution, cool and purify the surrounding air, extend roof life, and improve energy efficiency.
Amazon says about the 2012 book Food and the City: Urban Agriculture and the New Food Revolution:
"A global movement to take back our food is growing. The future of farming is in our hands — and in our cities. This book examines alternative food systems in cities around the globe that are shortening their food chains, growing food within their city limits, and taking their "food security" into their own hands. The author, an award-winning food journalist, sought out leaders in the urban-agriculture movement and visited cities successfully dealing with "food deserts."
What she found was not just a niche concern of activists, but a global movement that cuts across the private and public spheres, economic classes, and cultures. She describes a global movement happening from London and Paris to Vancouver and New York to establish alternatives to the monolithic globally-integrated supermarket model. A cadre of forward-looking, innovative people has created growing spaces in cities: on rooftops, backyards, vacant lots, along roadways, and even in "vertical farms."
Whether it’s a community public orchard supplying the needs of local residents or an urban farm that has reclaimed a derelict inner city lot to grow and sell premium market veggies to restaurant chefs, the urban food revolution is clearly underway and working. This book is an exciting, fascinating chronicle of a game-changing movement, a rebellion against the industrial food behemoth, and a reclaiming of communities to grow, distribute, and eat locally."
Metropolitan areas are home to over 80% of the US population. The same demographics are present in most Western countries, and most of the rest of the world is on a similar trajectory. By shifting a share of food production away from the rural areas and into the urban areas, urban farming is changing the food system in ways that have ripple effects through everything because food is a central part of all human activity.
The emerging framework of urban agriculture is having as much of an effect on our economy as on our health. The growth of this new agriculture is reviving and stimulating local economies like never before. Rooftop greenhouses, backyard farms, and community-managed garden plots are all examples of this growing movement. The local food movement has its roots in a desire to eat honest, non-toxic, nutritious food. Urban farming is still in its infant stages, but it is growing rapidly because of a confluence of health, environmental, and economic motives.
The disruptive, transformational, and positive impact of urban agriculture is only just beginning to be seen.
Our reliance on industrial agriculture has resulted in a food supply riddled with hidden environmental, economic, and health care costs and beset by rising food prices. With only a handful of corporations responsible for the lion’s share of the food on our supermarket shelves, we are incredibly vulnerable to supply chain disruption.
The Urban Food Revolution provides a recipe for community food security based on leading innovations across North America. The author draws on his political and business experience to show that we have all the necessary ingredients to ensure that local, fresh, sustainable food is affordable and widely available.
The book describes how cities are bringing food production home by:
Grow community through neighborhood gardening, cooking, and composting programs
Rebuild local food processing, storage, and distribution systems
Invest in farmers markets and community supported agriculture
Reduce obesity through local fresh food initiatives in schools, colleges, and universities
End inner-city food deserts
Producing food locally makes people healthier, alleviates poverty, creates jobs, and makes cities safer and more beautiful. The Urban Food Revolution is an essential resource for anyone who has lost confidence in the global industrial food system and wants practical advice on how to join the local food revolution.
In The Farm On The Roof, the founders of Brooklyn Grange, the world’s largest rooftop farm, share their inspirational story of changing the world through entrepreneurship.
In their effort to build the world’s first and largest commercial rooftop farm, the founders of Brooklyn Grange learned a lot about building and sustaining a business while never losing sight of their mission — to serve their community by providing delicious organic food and changing the way people think about what they eat. However, their story is about more than just farming. It serves as an inspirational and instructional guide for anyone looking to start a business that is successful while making a positive impact.
The team behind Brooklyn Grange tells the story of how their “farmily” made their dream a reality. Along the way, they share valuable lessons about finding the right partners, seeking funding, expanding, and identifying potential sources of revenue without compromising your core values — lessons socially-conscious entrepreneurs can apply toward their ventures. Filled with colorful anecdotes about the ups and downs of farming in New York City, this story is not just about rooftop farming. It’s also about utilizing whatever resources you have to turn your backyard idea into a sky-high success.