Monday, June 23, 2008

Urban farming

NYC just got a little greener. Yes, it may sound like an oxymoron, but urban farming is gaining some serious ground. Urban farming brings agriculture, plants and produce to major metropolitan cities both to encourage local food production and to educate the community about healthy living and eating. Urban farms are popping up in cities across the country so to check out this growing movement first-hand, I hopped on the subway yesterday and headed over to the PS 1 Contemporary Art Center in Long Island City. Every summer, PS 1 works with young architects to create an urban oasis of sorts in the center's outdoor area. This summer, the forward-thinking architects from WORK Architecture designed PF 1 -- or Public Farm 1. So maybe I'm a bit biased (one of my closest and extremely talented friends headed up the project), but PF 1 is incredible and definitely a must-visit. With a graffati-covered brick building across the street and subway lines just down the block, PF 1 fits right in and fuses farm, function and form...with a few roosters roaming around and a kiddie pool to boot. Basil, beets, rhubarb, thyme and much more are blooming above ground, like a beautiful blanket of colorful plants and produce. I love that the farm exhibit is interactive and aims to involve and educate both kids and adults. How can you not get excited over a cardboard pillar with farm animal cut-outs that make farm-animal noises when touched?
The Council on the Environment of NYC is even partnering with PF 1 to establish a farmer's makret just beyond the center to sell produce and farm-fresh eggs to the local community. The blending of worlds here is very encouraging to see and makes this city-dweller wonder how we can do more to bring local farming and produce closer to home. What's something simple you can do you?

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