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City dwellers are raising animals, growing fruits and vegetables, and even beekeeping to improve their food security and safety, reduce their carbon footprint and improve their intake of nutritious food.

Urban farmers have to think creatively to maximize space and fit their operations into the urban environment.

Vertical agriculture in Singapore. Photo courtesy Sky Greens
A three-story-high vertical garden in Singapore. Photo courtesy Sky Greens

These five examples from Food Tank illustrate the innovative forms of urban agriculture around the world.

1. Food Field, Detroit, MI

Food Field offers a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) that provides nutritious food and economic opportunities for the neighborhood. Noah Link and Alex Bryan created Peck Produce in 2011 and converted the former site of an elementary school into a revitalized farm. Food Field produces food that the local community asks for, including farm favorites like salad greens and mulberries. Food Field is expanding with a new aquaponics system to raise fish, such as catfish and blue gill, in addition to collecting eggs from chickens and ducks.

2. FARM:shop and FARM:London, London, UK

The self-proclaimed first urban farming hub, FARM:shop offers the neighborhood small-scale farming, aquaponic fish farming, a rooftop chicken coop, workspaces and a café inside a former neglected storefront.

3. Sky Greens, Singapore

Sky Greens, the world’s first low-carbon hydraulic water-driven urban vertical farm, reduces the amount of energy and land needed for traditional farming techniques. The vertical systems, which are three stories high and located within a greenhouse, produce five to 10 times more per unit area compared to conventional farms. The greenhouse and low-carbon hydraulic system grows lettuces and cabbages year-round using less energy and water.

4. The Distributed Urban Farming Initiative, Bryan, TX

Distributed Urban Farming Initiative (DUFi) builds gardens in otherwise empty spaces, prompts neighbors to eat healthy food, and drives entrepreneurship and tourism. This past winter, DUFI grew broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage and lettuce in a raised bed and pallet gardens. 

5. Sharing Backyards, throughout Canada, U.S. and New Zealand

Sharing Backyards offers a solution for people who lack land but want to grow their own food locally by linking them with people who have unused yard space. Through a website, those with unused property can post their approximate location, while those looking for space to grow food locally can search locations nearby at no cost.

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