Metro Canada (Vancouver) - - FRONT PAGE - by Ha­ley Ryan and An­drés Plana/Metro

Ur­ban food forests are pop­ping up in cities — places where peo­ple of­ten don’t live close to a ord­able, healthy food shops, let alone farm­land. The sit­u­a­tion is even worse in poorer neigh­bour­hoods, a phe­nom­e­non known as food deserts. It’s an in­ter­na­tional trend many are try­ing to re­verse by plant­ing gar­dens in empty lots, for­mer land ills, even on barges to give ur­ban dwellers a taste of the home­grown. Here are some ways cities are putting down roots.

3 A loat­ing for­est: The Swale project is a for­est open to for­agers atop an old barge that trav­els to piers around New York City pro­mot­ing pub­lic food. Vis­i­tors can har­vest herbs, fruits and veg­eta­bles for free. The artist be­hind the project hopes more of the city’s park­land can be con­verted into us­able food-grow­ing ter­ri­tory. IN­STA­GRAM MARY MAT­TINGLY


2 Guerilla gar­den­ing: In South Cen­tral L.A., gar­dener Ron Fin­ley came out vic­to­ri­ous in a show­down with a de­vel­oper who wanted to seize the land he uses as a com­mu­nity gar­den. Big names like Bette Mi­dler helped fund the $550,000 the de­vel­oper de­manded, es­pe­cially af­ter Fin­ley’s rous­ing TED Talk on guerilla gar­den­ing in empty lots. His pitch: “Grow­ing your own food is like print­ing your own money.”


1 Mak­ing an agri­hood: In Detroit, The Michi­gan Ur­ban Farm­ing Ini­tia­tive is turn­ing derelict build­ings into an ur­ban “agri­hood,” an al­ter­na­tive growth model that puts lo­cal food at the mid­dle of de­vel­op­ment. The food for­est is spread over va­cant land, oc­cu­pied and aban­doned homes, and pro­vides free pro­duce to about 2,000 house­holds.


4 Trees from trash: The CERES Com­mu­nity En­vi­ron­ment Park in Mel­bourne, Aus­tralia is built on a de­com­mis­sioned land ill that was once a blue­stone quarry. They now use so­lar en­ergy to power a cafe and work­shop space, while the farm yields hun­dreds of pounds of veg­eta­bles a year, plus a bush food nursery.


5 Get on the vine: San Fran­cisco has taken a love of wine to the grass­roots with the Neigh­bor­hood Vine­yards project. Through the hill­side nooks and cran­nies of Ale­many Farms, 349 Pinot Noir vines thrive. The group pro­vides ed­u­ca­tion about viti­cul­ture, while of course bot­tling and sell­ing their own wine.

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