Urban Farming Platform

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John Robb:

"To become resilient in food production, urban areas need more than the conversion of empty neighborhood lots and terraces into gardens. They need true farming platforms that can bundle commonly needed goods and services into an easily accessible package located in the middle of the community. One good example of this is the Community Food Center put together by Will Allen (a MacArthur award recipient) in downtown Milwaukee WI. In a small two acre space, the food center has packed 20,000 plants, thousands of fish, and hundreds of livestock.

This farming platform prototype includes (note the intensity of the operation):

- Greenhouses, hoop-houses, and hydroponics systems that support the growth of plants, fish, worms and a wide variety of livestock (chickens to turkeys).

- Agricultural services such as a large rapid composting system and an apiary (beehives).

- Self sufficiency via a retail store and energy production from anerobic digester that produces energy from farming waste.

- Training services and classrooms to teach the community how to do nearly everything the farm does for themselves (with an eye towards helping entrepreneurs start their own efforts).

In short, this looks like an excellent prototype for a local farming platform that can serve as the basis for a revival in community agriculture. In particular, given the small footprint of this model, it may be the perfect way to return abandoned urban retail space to productive use in the years to come."


In Milwaukee: http://www.growingpower.org/headquarters.htm