Urban Farming Gets Professional
Rotterdam gets a farm on an urban wasteland
Urban farming is increasingly popular among all kinds of people and subcultures in cities all over the world. What once started in Detroit to fill the urban gaps of a declining economy has quickly spread over the world, and has become popular under diverse societal groups.
The production of food in cities is definitely inspiring and might be a solution for future scarcity of nutritions and vitamins. Recent research shows that it is actually possible to produce all food a city needs within the city itself. But something has to change in current practice of urban agriculture. Elaborating on some earlier posts on this platform, this article focusses on some new urban farming initiatives in the Dutch city of Rotterdam.
Some interesting initiatives that focus on producing food in urban environments are bundled by Paul de Graaf and the Netherlands Architecture Fund in their latest publication Lay-Out #18, where they shed a light on four interesting initiatives that are currently developed in the city of Rotterdam. All of these projects focus on producing real food rather than on urban gardening as a hobby.
One of the most interesting examples in Rotterdam is the introduction of a real ‘stadsboer’ (city farmer) who is about to set up a 6,5 ha farm on a piece of urban wasteland in Rotterdam. The objective here is not only to experiment with the idea of urban agriculture, but straight away the production of good food. With mixed cultivation this farm will produce all kinds of different harvest. An old vacant industrial hall will be made suitable for hosting a chicken farm. Vegetables and fruits will be cultivated in the open field, and a water basin will be the placed in order to grow fish. The project has to start in 2012.
Particularly interesting is the way the farm deals with the recycling of waste. Like in ancient agricultural models every single element of the farming process is re-used. Even our human waste is part of the recycling concept of this new farm. The left-overs of the embedded restaurant and the excreta produced by men are composted. The worms and larvae attracted by the compost are used to feed the fish. The rest of the compost will be used to fertilize the soil. This way man is no longer the end stage of a farming process, but part of the production cycle. That is what might be the real future of urban farming...