As winter turns to spring and spring turns to summer, city dwellers surely yearn for lush open space and vibrant greenery. It’s no wonder that there has been an influx of inventive public spaces, impactful community gardens and a serious dedication to locally-grown fruits and veggies through rooftop toiling. With the growing population and constant building, alternative practices have been implemented to make room for gardens in the most interesting places. Not only has growing, farming and general green-appreciation become an activity that city-dwellers can now enjoy, but what has spawned is a desire to beautify metropolitan areas through an influx of urban greenery.
One particular project that has been garnering a lot of attention is The Delancy Underground in Manhattan, affectionately known as the “LowLine.” The LowLine is slated to be a subterranean park built in an abandoned trolley terminal under Delancy Street in the Lower East Side. According to the organizers, “The Delancey Underground is more than an economic revitalization opportunity– it also represents cutting edge design and a new generation of green technology. It is at the heart of a broader global discussion about the potential of remnant urban infrastructure, and the need for cities to re-invent the meaning of space– above and below ground.” Using solar technology and progressive energy sources, the project presents a fresh approach to growing indoor plants, trees and grasses.
Find out more about the project at Delanceyunderground.org.
Moving above ground, rooftop gardens have also been sprouting everywhere but Brightfarms is taking it to the next level. Brightfarms announced plans to create an enormous greenhouse in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, that’s expected to yield a million pounds of produce a year, feeding 5,000 New Yorkers, without using any dirt. The farm is set to go up on a rooftop measuring 100,000 square feet and is said to be the largest farm of its kind in the country and most-likely the world.
Check out this video of Paul Lightfoot of BrightFarms talking about the revolution his company aims to bring.
Find out more at Brightfarms.com.
In addition to these large scale green spaces, it’s common for communities to have public gardens. For example, The University of California Cooperative Extension in LA runs a community garden that offers low-income communities with the opportunity to garden, access to fresh produce and nutrition education. “Food deserts” — areas where healthy, affordable food is difficult to obtain — are being counter-acted by such gardens. But if there are none near you, you can always start your own. The American Community Gardening Association offers practical advice on how to get started.
For those that appreciate farm-to-table dining but lack the green thumb, restaurants around the country are increasingly relying on their own gardens to provide fresh produce for dishes. Atlanta, Georgia’s Canoe, is setting the bar high. Guests are invited to wander amongst the beautiful gardens on the Chattahoochee River prior to dining on locally grown ingredients. Even the paper menus are shredded for mulch regularly.
Getting hungry? If you’re in Brooklyn, try Robertas, Santa Monica, CA has Huckleberry Cafe, or check out Epic in Ontario, Canada for the freshness, just to name a few standouts. Eating this way is not only delicious but a fantastic way of supporting local economies and healthy environmental practices.