Urban Farming is a new methodology of introducing farming to cities and to the urban landscape, particularly on top of buildings where it can be positioned conveniently for enough sun exposure and soil placement. Such examples include Brooklyn Grange Urban Farm and the roof garden in the Waldorf Astoria. Both exemplify that farming activities can be done in urban places.
I have observed several differences between the two urban farms. It can also be contested that Waldorf Astoria is more like a garden than a farm due to its smaller scale compared to the urban farm in Brooklyn. And also, the quantity of specific types of produce needs to be substantial for an area to be considered as a farm. Personally, I find urban farming to be not practical and not economically-wise. Time and effort needs to be included in assessing the viability of the produce of these farms. I think the idea of waiting for several months in order to harvest the produce is a contention for its viability. Most of the produce can easily be seen in the supermarket, although urban farming may produce higher quality of organic food by minimizing transportation lead time. However, compare to a farmland maintenance expense for a rooftop urban farm may be higher due to its complicated set-up. Additionally, cramped spaces such as rooftops can only yield limited amounts of produce (Howard, 2014). Setting-up a rooftop farm may also require high initial investment. According to one study, the rooftop greenhouse farm for one acre would require around $2 million (Ackerman, 2012). With this, I think that urban farming may not be economically viable, although it can nonetheless be a community activity that we can adapt for educational and environmental purposes. Like the garden in the Waldorf Astoria, its purpose is to drive branding and marketing strategy instead of solely producing agricultural produce.
Ackerman, K. (2012). The Potential for Urban Agriculture in New York City (2nd ed., p. 15). New York: Urban Design Lab at the Earth Institute Columbia University.
Howard, B. (2014). Urban Farming Is Growing a Green Future. National Geographic. Retrieved from http://environment.nationalgeographic.com/environment/photos/urban-farming/