GOOD

Is Decentralized Urban Farming the Future of food?

The founder of BK Farmyards advocates using urban land to grow crops closer to home. Growing food in dense cities like New York might seem like...


The founder of BK Farmyards advocates using urban land to grow crops closer to home.Growing food in dense cities like New York might seem like an oxymoron, but why shouldn't we grow food right next to our plates to reduce the waste? Today, most Americans live in urban areas. And as the population densities have shifted around the country, we should re-examine backyards. They can be more than places to relax; they can be places to grow vegetables.There are more than 10,000 acres of unused land in New York City, according to the Department of Planning, and 1,500 of those acres are in Brooklyn. On top of that, there are countless privately owned sunny backyards. Farming 36 backyards in Crown Heights or Bay Ridge is the equivalent to farming an acre. In other words, Brooklyn is ripe for decentralized urban farming.My organization, BK Farmyards, is an attempt to do that by pairing yard-owners with urban farmers, where social media plays a vital role in connecting landowners with gardeners. Using our website to crowdsource available land, BK Farmyards found 700 square feet in backyards in Ditmas Park. We had a six-person CSA for 12 weeks. We're are excited for our expansion next year: A one-acre youth farm with the High School for Public Service.We're not alone. Sharing Backyards is a combination of online dating and Google maps, which allows you to meet your land match as a farmer. Hyperlocavore meets a similar need: sharing local resources through a social network interface. In the U.K., a similar effort called Land Share has 43,900 users. While these projects have shown us a glimpse of the possibilities, there is still enormous social media potential untapped for farmers.At BK Farmyards, our hope is to inspire the future planning of cities to include urban agriculture. We can change urban policy through social movements, and what better way to show support than through familiar channels such as social media. At this year's Pop!Tech conference, Nick Felton said that 68 percent of user-generated online conversations were about food. What if we could harness that energy to not only produce more food in urban centers but to change urban policy and ensure the future of urban agriculture?Guest blogger Stacey Murphy runs BK Farmyards. She's hoping you will sponsor her one-acre youth farm on Kickstarter.
Articles
AFP News Agency / Twitter

A study out of Belgium found that smart people are much less likely to be bigoted. The same study also found that people who are bigoted are more likely to overestimate their own intelligence.

A horrifying story out of Germany is a perfect example of this truth on full display: an anti-Semite was so dumb the was unable to open a door at the temple he tried to attack.

On Wednesday, October 9, congregants gathered at a synagogue in Humboldtstrasse, Germany for a Yom Kippur service, and an anti-Semite armed with explosives and carrying a rifle attempted to barge in through the door.

Keep Reading Show less
Communities
via Andi-Graf / Pixabay

The old saying goes something like, "Possessions don't make you happy." A more dire version is, "What you own, ends up owning you."

Are these old adages true or just the empty words of ancient party-poopers challenging you not to buy an iPhone 11? According to a new study of 968 young adults by the University of Arizona, being materialistic only brings us misery.

The study examined how engaging in pro-environmental behaviors affects the well-being of millenials. The study found two ways in which they modify their behaviors to help the environment: they either reduce what they consume or purchase green items.

Keep Reading Show less
Culture

One of the biggest obstacles to getting assault weapons banned in the United States is the amount of money they generate.

There were around 10 million guns manufactured in the U.S. in 2016 of which around 2 million were semiautomatic, assault-style weapons. According to the National Shooting Sports Foundation, the firearms industry's trade association, the U.S. industry's total economic impact in 2016 alone was $51 billion.

In 2016, the NRA gave over $50 million to buy support from lawmakers. When one considers the tens of millions of dollars spent on commerce and corruption, it's no wonder gun control advocates have an uphill battle.

That, of course, assumes that money can control just about anyone in the equation. However, there are a few brave souls who actually value human life over profit.

Keep Reading Show less
Health
via Reddit and NASA / Wikimedia Commons

Trees give us a unique glimpse into our past. An examination of tree rings can show us what the climate was like in a given year. Was it a wet winter? Were there hurricanes in the summer? Did a forest fire ravage the area?

An ancient tree in New Zealand is the first to provide evidence of the near reversal of the Earth's magnetic field over 41,000 years ago.

Over the past 83 million years there have been 183 magnetic pole reversals, a process that takes about 7,000 years to complete.

Keep Reading Show less
The Planet
via Pixabay

The final episode of "The Sopranos" made a lot of people angry because it ends with mob boss Tony Soprano and his family eating at an ice cream parlor while "Don't Stop Believin'" by Journey plays in the background … and then, suddenly, the screen turns black.

Some thought the ending was a dirty trick, while others saw it as a stroke of brilliance. A popular theory is that Tony gets shot, but doesn't know it because, as his brother-in-law Bobby Baccala said, "You probably don't even hear it when it happens, right?"

So the show gives us all an idea of what it's like to die. We're here and then we're not.

Keep Reading Show less
Health