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Urban agriculture

(article, Caroline Cummins)

Allison Arieff writes a design blog for the New York Times, called By Design. Occasionally she lights upon food-related design, such as her discovery of the latest version of community-supported agriculture (CSA): urban CSAs. 

A traditional CSA involves city folk handing over money to country folk in exchange for a weekly delivery of food grown by said farmers. An urban CSA, on the other hand, involves city folk letting urban farmers into their own back yards to grow food. The city folk get edible landscaping and a CSA share, while the farmers get land to till.

Arieff cites MyFarm, an urban CSA based in the Bay Area, and mentions New York and Portland as also having similar operations; she doesn't name them, but we're guessing that the P-town version is Your Backyard Farmer.

Are urbanites who let others till their own back yards just "lazy locavores?" Arieff says no, and gives her reasons for urban agriculture's renaissance:

bq. The reasons range from the fact that our hands are always found glued to computer keys and not even occasionally in the dirt, to the scary existence of industrially grown tomatoes that may (or may not) cause salmonella, to the fact that a drive to the market can now cost more than the food you purchase there.

Arieff adds that she personally helped to plant the Slow Food Nation victory garden currently decorating the front of San Francisco's City Hall, and she lauds the New York City art museum PS1 for adding a rooftop Urban Farm. As she says, "'Edible landscape' seems to be going head to head with 'staycation' as the most popular catchphrase of summer 2008."