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greenliving


of streets that new urban gardeners are using for growing fresh crops like salad greens and tomatoes.”


Rooftop Raised-Beds Urban farmers in the United States are now transforming an increasingly significant portion of the country’s millions of acres of flat rooftops. Launched in 2010, New York’s Brook- lyn Grange rooftop farm operation (BrooklynGrangeFarm. com), totaling nearly an acre atop a mid-rise warehouse, is among the largest of its kind. Sometimes called “vertigo farming”, because the farmers overlook an urban skyline, these enterprises re-green the landscape, wisely manage rain- water and rebuild affordable local fresh food systems.


Window Gardens Windowfarm co-founders Rebecca Bray and Britta Riley (Windowfarms.org/story) help homeowners grow some of their own food in window spaces year-round. Their research-and-develop-it-yourself hydroponic system project facilitates plant cultivation without soil, using nutrient-in- fused water pumped through a series of growing containers. To date, more than 20,000 people have downloaded plans for their own Windowfarm.


GARDENS F


UNCONVENTIONAL


No Space? No Problem. by Lisa Kivirist and John Ivanko


or everyone that feels surrounded by a concrete jungle occasionally relieved by a pocket park, green strip or landscaped median, the concept of finding a place to


grow their own food may seem like a fantasy. Fortunately, backyard, rooftop and community gardens are good ideas that are coming on strong. Around the country, productive green spaces are replacing paved lots and lawns with edible perennials and seasonal crops that enable folks to eat better and fresher, while reducing the family food bill. “Food plants can be grown anywhere, including on a high-rise balcony, miles from the nearest farm,” says David Tracey, author of Urban Agriculture: Ideas and Designs for the New Food Revolution. “You just need to meet the plant’s basic requirements for sunlight, water and a few nutrients. Cities are great places to grow specific kinds of food; they tend to have plenty of niche areas such as empty lots, rooftops and the ends


20 Somerset/Middlesex/Hunterdon Co. Edition Go Fish


Aquaponics is a well-organized way to sustainably raised fish and fresh produce together. “It mimics natural recirculation of resources in wetlands in a constructed dual-use ecosys- tem; the only inputs are fish feed and a small amount of power,” explains Sylvia Bernstein, author of Aquaponic Gar- dening and founder of TheAquaponicSource.com. “Because an aquaponic system can be set up anywhere, including warehouses, parking lots and exhausted fields, it is ideally suited to help localize food production and provide an alter- native to clearing more land to feed our future.”


Patio Paradise “When your space is limited, you start to think creatively about how to best use it,” notes Tracey. “Consider all three dimensions of a balcony or other narrow areas to maximize growing potential. Climbing vines such as grapes and berries, hanging pots with tomatoes and nasturtium, and fruit trees in half-barrels are great ways to grow more food in a small space. The crops don’t know they’re in a pot.” Herbs also love containers. Some plants, like tomatoes,


NaturalAwakeningsCNJ.com Alleyway Wonders


In the East Pilsen neighborhood of Chi- cago, flowers, ferns and ivy gardens have replaced concrete alleyways thanks to Pod- majersky, a local real estate development firm. The lush gardens provide a tranquil sanctuary from city bustle and an aestheti- cally pleasing and inspiring surrounding for the Chicago Arts District, home to 1,500 artists and other creative entrepreneurs.


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