Designing Urban Agriculture A Complete Guide to the Planning, Design, Construction, Maintenance and Management of Edible Landscapes by April Philips pdf download.
Preface by April Philips:
DESIGNING URBAN AGRICULTURE is about the intersection of ecology, design and community. It is a dialogue on the ways to invite food back into the city and forge a path towards creating healthier communities and a healthier environment. When the recession began I planted an edible garden. I started with potatoes and herbs such as parsley, sage, rosemary, mint, and thyme. Within a few weeks I began to notice that even though I only spent 15 minutes a day each morning in the garden my work day stress levels went down and life’s hiccups seemed to more easily be put into perspective. My family and I also noticed that our food tasted so much better when I added the home grown edible ingredients to our meals. he potatoes we harvested that irst year were the most exquisite and sweetest potatoes I have ever tasted in my life. We all began to eat a bit healthier. If someone was stressing out I’d send them out to the garden to harvest something from our backyard crops and they would come back with a smile on their face and a strawberry or two to share. You could say that we had discovered a little slice of bliss in our daily lives.
What happened next became my adventure into the world of urban agriculture because I wanted to learn more about this incredibly interesting landscape typology and its effects on human health and design. With media headlines such as people around the country being put in jail for planting vegetables in their front yard, or the huge amount of farms failing across the country for various reasons like water and climate, as I dove into the research I began to discover the dark side of our industrial food system and industrialized agriculture. And because the food system in America is broken, the health of our cities and communities are at risk. As a landscape architect and urban designer I had questions I wanted answers to such as 1. How could these agrarian landscapes be designed at the urban scale to become an integral part of the food system of a city and also be connected to a regional food system, and 2. How could designers collaborate and partner with urban farmers, food entrepreneurs, community organizations, urban ecologists, visionary developers, and city planners in a meaningful way to facilitate the creation of these landscapes while simultaneously addressing issues of human and environmental health, food justice, food security, climate change, cultural aesthetics, and sustainable development. he end result of my quest to answer these questions is this book.
My journey to and answers took many turns along the way. Researching and reading consumed a vast portion of my time tracking down news, articles, books, and web sites that covered the subject mater not readily available in one place. I found seminars, forums and conferences to attend and amazing ilm documentaries to watch and learn from. One of the most fascinating components of this quest were the conversations I had with colleagues and urban farm enthusiasts from all walks of life about the links between food, design, ecology, and building community.
In particular, my conversations with Jake Voit, who was the Sustainability Manager for Cagwin & Dorward , a top 25 Landscape Contracting irm in the United States located in California turned extremely fruitful. Jake and I had an ongoing conversation thread for over a year’s time frame sometimes emailing web sites, articles, ted talks, and sharing video links since we are both passionate about deining the role that designers and citizens can play with urban agriculture in creating positive environments for change. We eventually had enough content on the subject for a provocative dialogue that I invited Jake to present with me at a number of national conferences. By this time Jake was leading the grand vision of the InCommons Initiative for the Archibald Bush Foundation in Minnesota that creates community powered problem solovers. (His work there created highly efective listeners and facilitators of deep relationships based on empathy and a realization of interconnectedness, which inluences creating conditions for current and emerging leaders to hold the space for a paradigm shit from individualistic transaction-based communities to shared relationship-based communities.) He began to focus our discussions on the integration of collaborative conversations and ecological parameters into a systems thinking process. I am indebted to the continuing collaborative dialogue we share and the material he has contributed in this book on sustainable agriculture construction practices and how to build resilient communities through collaborative conversations. his includes his description of Cuba’s transformation into a sustainable agriculture economy ater the trade embargo crisis and his irsthand knowledge of permaculture principles from being raised on an organic farm.
His explanations on the intricacies of the soil food web and how to monitor and design for soil health provide clarity and tools for soil management that is a critical component of urban agriculture landscapes. With Jake’s background in Environmental Studies, Philosophy, and Permaculture Design, I found his perspective was always unique. My personal focus then turned towards advocacy and in particular why designers need to play a key role in the integration of urban agriculture landscapes into the urban realm. hese explorations and conversations were extended further into physical solutions with my most visionary clients who allowed me to champion urban agriculture within their development projects. I am indebted to them for their trust in leting me design these landscapes for them. his book showcases projects and designers around the world who are forging new paths to the sustainable city through these urban agriculture landscapes. he case studies demonstrate the environmental, economic and social value of these landscapes and illustrate ways to forge a new paradigm for a greener and healthier lifestyle. he book begins with a foundation on ecological principles and the idea that the food shed is part of a city’s urban systems network. It outlines a design process that is based on systems thinking and the design process spheres I developed for a lifecycle or regenerative based approach. It includes strategies, tools and guides to help readers make informed decisions on planning, designing, budgeting, constructing, maintaining, marketing, and increasing the sustainability aspects of this re-invented design typology. Michael Pollan has said that the garden suggests that there might be a place where we can meet nature half way. Wendell Barry in his What are People for essays said that “eating is an agricultural act.” My own personal experience with urban agriculture leads me to believe that our dilemma with explaining food as an integral system within the city is because we do not as a culture think of food in this way. People are so disconnected from where their food comes from that thinking about the food system as something they are a part of becomes the irst hurdle to tackle if we are going to create positive change. Getting someone to taste food that comes from their own garden is a irst step towards optimizing this realization. It is even more rewarding with a classroom of children especially if they have never eaten some of the vegetables or herbs you might get them to taste. hese types of local food experiences will begin to change the cultural food beliefs and expand the definition in society to embrace urban agriculture as part of the community’s infrastructure systems. If we look at urban agriculture landscapes in this manner we can begin to reduce the amount of people experiencing the efects of a food dessert and increase the ability to foster a more healthy community. he net efect will be to build a more health-conscious society that values healthy living as a natural extension of the services a city must provide.
My hope is that this book provides a roadmap to anyone interested in the creation and advocacy of edible landscapes that promote beauty, ecological biodiversity and social sustainability in our urban realm.
where their food comes from that thinking about the food system as something they are a part of becomes the irst hurdle to tackle if we are going to create positive change. Getting someone to taste food that comes from their own garden is a irst step towards optimizing this realization. It is even more rewarding with a classroom of children especially if they have never eaten some of the vegetables or herbs you might get them to taste. hese types of local food experiences will begin to change the cultural food beliefs and expand the definition in society to embrace urban agriculture as part of the community’s infrastructure systems. If we look at urban agriculture landscapes in this manner, we can begin to reduce the amount of people experiencing the effects of a food dessert and increase the ability to foster a healthier community. he net effect will be to build a more health-conscious society that values healthy living as a natural extension of the services a city must provide. My hope is that this book provides a roadmap to anyone interested in the creation and advocacy of edible landscapes that promote beauty, ecological biodiversity and social sustainability in our urban realm.