Kaid Benfield Archive


Visualizing the "edible city" in three minutes

Kaid Benfield

Posted May 3, 2012 at 1:36PM

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  rooftop garden, Bread for the City, Washington, DC (c2012 FK Benfield)

The American Society of Landscape Architects has produced another great video, this one about growing food in cities.  I'm a big fan of ASLA's work, in part because of their terrific skill at public and professional communications.

This particular project, which according to ASLA was created with assistance from landscape architects Mia Lehrer and April Phillips, contains both a decent short introduction to the subject of urban gardening and illustrations of a wide variety of types.  Personally, I have come to prefer the word "gardening" over "farming" when it comes to growing food in cities, because I think it is seldom appropriate to place an operation at the scale we usually associate with a "farm" inside cities.  I like the idea of keeping cities compact so we can conserve land for real farms outside the urban-suburban footprint, while gardening at a lot or neighborhood scale inside the city boundary.  

For me, the key test is whether in any particular instance city food-growing supports urban density and other aspects of urban life.  If it does, I'm all in; if, instead, it conflicts, it's probably in the wrong place.  Of course, everything is situational and subject to context.

This video is full of great examples of how to produce food in ways highly compatible with cities and city living.  Enjoy:


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  Please also visit NRDC’s sustainable communities video channel.