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Earth Science

Conservation Communities Takes Root Across US 116

Posted by samzenpus
from the if-you-plant-it-they-will-eat dept.
Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes "Kate Murphy reports at the NYT about a growing number of so-called agrihoods, residential developments where a working farm is the central feature, in the same way that other communities may cluster around a golf course, pool or fitness center. At least a dozen projects across the country are thriving, enlisting thousands of home buyers who crave access to open space, verdant fields and fresh food. 'I hear from developers all the time about this,' says Ed McMahon. 'They've figured out that unlike a golf course, which costs millions to build and millions to maintain, they can provide green space that actually earns a profit.'

Agritopia, outside Phoenix, has sixteen acres of certified organic farmland, with row crops (artichokes to zucchini), fruit trees (citrus, nectarine, peach, apple, olive and date) and livestock (chickens and sheep). Fences gripped by grapevines and blackberry bushes separate the farm from the community's 452 single-family homes, each with a wide front porch and sidewalks close enough to encourage conversation. The hub of neighborhood life is a small square overlooking the farm, with a coffeehouse, farm-to-table restaurant and honor-system farm stand. The square is also where residents line up on Wednesday evenings to claim their bulging boxes of just-harvested produce, eggs and honey, which come with a $100-a-month membership in the community-supported agriculture, or CSA, program.

'Wednesday is the highlight of my week,' says Ben Wyffels. 'To be able to walk down the street with my kids and get fresh, healthy food is amazing.' Because the Agritopia farm is self-sustaining, no fees are charged to support it, other than the cost of buying produce at the farm stand or joining the CSA. Agritopia was among the first agrihoods — like Serenbe in Chattahoochee Hills, Ga.; Prairie Crossing in Grayslake, Ill.; South Village in South Burlington, Vt.; and Hidden Springs in Boise, Idaho. 'The interest is so great, we're kind of terrified trying to catch up with all the calls,' says Quint Redmond adding that in addition to developers, he hears from homeowners' associations and golf course operators who want to transform their costly-to-maintain green spaces into revenue-generating farms. Driving the demand, Redmond says, are the local-food movement and the aspirations of many Americans to be gentlemen (or gentlewomen) farmers. 'Everybody wants to be Thomas Jefferson these days.'"
The city of Detroit is planning a 26.9-acre urban farm project on one of its vacant high school properties. Produce from the project will be included in meals for students in the district and later to the larger community.
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Conservation Communities Takes Root Across US

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  • 16 acres is going to supply 454 families?

    Not even close.

    Likely off by a factor of 50-100 or so.

    • Re:454 / 16 (Score:4, Interesting)

      by thesupraman (179040) on Thursday March 13, 2014 @08:31PM (#46479009)

      This sounds like the fake plastic plants approach to agriculture, all fashion and no substance.

      I myself live in the middle of 20 acres of my own farmland, and thats barely enough to anything even close to useful in the way of actual farming, we call it a 'lifestyle block'.
      'The square is also where residents line up on Wednesday evenings to claim their bulging boxes of just-harvested produce, eggs and honey, which come with a $100-a-month membership'
      Yeah, right.. the boxes wont be bulging from the produce of 20 acres.. not if they have any livestock area as they claim, not for 452 families..
      Mind you, $45,200/month is not a bad scam for the people running it.. I suspect it buys a lot of outside produce ;)

      • Not that bad (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 13, 2014 @08:38PM (#46479057)

        You can't FEED that many from that small a block, but all the small luxury veges yes, you can do that.

        Herbs, tomatoes, lettuce. They aren't talking bulk rice/wheat/potatoes, just the extras which make that carb loaded crap edible ;)

        BIG cost savings if you eat a lot of veges, because the luxury stuff costs much more than the staples that provide most of the calories.

         

        • Re:Not that bad (Score:5, Interesting)

          by Allasard (565291) on Friday March 14, 2014 @12:56AM (#46480101)
          Agreed.
          I'm a member of a CSA in the wonderful state of Pennsylvania.
          I pay around that much. (although in one annual payment for May-Nov)
          My farmer has 2 acres of land and about 30-40 members if I recall. So that's the same order of magnitude.
          We get more veggies than we can eat. The fridge is always stuffed full of whatever's in season. Lettuces; cukes; peppers; tomatoes; kohlrabi; squash; potatoes; parsnips; etc; etc.
          I still sadly need to throw stuff away since we can't eat it all in time. But it's just the fresh stuff and storage veggies. We don't get grains. Corn has a horrible yield density.

          They aren't making a killing. I actually had a pair of farmers for the first few years of the CSA, but they decided it wasn't possible to both live off of it, so she went off to do something else.
          I did the math a few years ago. It's probably somewhat less than it costs at the grocery store, but it much fresher. You can't compare the taste of tomatoes from a store and something you just picked. (You can pick some of your own stuff also. I'm pretty damn sure he isn't trucking anything in.)
          I get to be on a first name basis with my farmer, and I'm helping someone with a local business. He would get pennies on the dollar selling to a store, so it's win-win. And my kids get to see where their food comes from. Anything he has leftover gets sent to a Food Bank.

          It would be awesome if I didn't have to drive to pick up the veggies, like these planned towns. Cool idea.
      • Re:454 / 16 (Score:5, Insightful)

        by CrimsonAvenger (580665) on Thursday March 13, 2014 @09:49PM (#46479407)

        Hmm, 452 families, $100 each per month. So they're taking in better than $540K a year for the produce from 20 acres?

        A professional farmer might make $17K on the same land (assuming he's growing corn, at average production levels and prices).

        Sounds like quite a scam to me. Where can I get in on it?

        • by Baloroth (2370816)

          To be fair, the average farmer would also spend probably 1/10th (or less) the time on that 20 acres growing corn: planting, spraying, irrigation, harvesting is all handled with heavy equipment in corn production. You can't do that with tomatoes. Well, the irrigation is probably automated, but if it's organic, you've gotta hand-examine plants for bugs and weeds. Not sure how they're raising sheep and everything else, you need probably 1/4-1/2 an acre per sheep (unless you grain feed them), which doesn't give

          • by pepty (1976012)
            Then there's the idea of calling a farm a "conservation community" after placing it in a desert that has already depleted its groundwater, will be getting a shrinking share of the Colorado, and is in the middle of the worst drought in over 100 years. I'd believe the "conservation community" label if they xeriscaped Agritopia as opposed to farming it.
            • I've been scanning the comments looking for anybody asking about water usage. If they're really trying to tout their "conservation community" in freaking ARIZONA, they ought to be putting the water issue front and center.

              • by dave562 (969951)

                Agreed. Same thought here. Farming community. Arizona desert. Ummmm......???

                For the future of how THAT is going to work out, look no further than the Central Valley in California right now.

                • No doubt, if they persist with the status quo.

                  Is Tucson much different than Phoenix? Check this out: http://www.american-oasis.com/... [american-oasis.com]

                  Brad Lancaster has been showing how water harvesting techniques can not only make it work in Arizona, but on a larger scale actually recharge aquifers and restore waterscapes to reverse desertification in arid climates.

            • by judoguy (534886)
              Or just do what this gut in the TED talk does: https://www.youtube.com/watch?... [youtube.com] Fight desertification AND grow good food. The guy in the TED talk points out that this works well in terrible conditions.
          • harvesting is all handled with heavy equipment in corn production. You can't do that with tomatoes

            I picked tomatoes and various other commercial vegetable crops in the early 80's (Australia), even back then they had mechanical harvesters. Hand picked tomatoes were the "cream of the crop", you pick them for about 2-4 weeks when the crop starts ripening, they are early to market and good quality so the farmer gets top dollar. However once the contract date* comes up for the entire crop to be harvested they were
            mechanically harvested and ended up in cans and/or sauce bottles. Same with peas, a 1980's era

        • Re:454 / 16 (Score:5, Informative)

          by ShanghaiBill (739463) on Friday March 14, 2014 @01:44AM (#46480215)

          ... assuming he's growing corn

          Bad assumption. They are not growing feed corn. They are growing high value vegetables: endive, arugula, tomatoes, artichokes. Just outside Phoenix, you can grow year round, harvesting continuously.

          I live in San Jose, CA. We also have a long growing season. With a 1/4 acre garden, small orchard, beehive, and a half dozen laying hens, I produce about 80% of my families food by value, and about 50% by calories. We mostly buy bulk cheap stuff like rice, soybeans, flour, and soybean oil, and get everything else from the backyard.

          • Bad assumption. They are not growing feed corn. They are growing high value vegetables: endive, arugula, tomatoes, artichokes. Just outside Phoenix, you can grow year round, harvesting continuously.

            If high value veggies can produce ~30x the output of a corn crop, the people paying the $100 a month might be getting their money's worth.

            I live in San Jose, CA. We also have a long growing season. With a 1/4 acre garden, small orchard, beehive, and a half dozen laying hens, I produce about 80% of my families fo

          • by MobyDisk (75490)

            I produce about 80% of my families food by value, and about 50% by calories.

            Based on what I have read that's not possible. The "usual" figure is that 1 person requires 1 acre, under optimal conditions. (Or 1 person requires 0.5 hectares).

            If "family" = 3 people, and you are providing 50% of their calories, then you are feeding 1.5 people on that 1/4 acre. That would be 6 times more efficient than the "optimal" farm. Also, if it is possible to do this, it would require outside sources of water and fertilizer.

            We mostly buy bulk cheap stuff like rice, soybeans, flour, and soybean oil, and get everything else from the backyard.

            Then that is where you are getting most of your calories.

            • The "usual" figure is that 1 person requires 1 acre, under optimal conditions.

              Nope. There are plenty of places where productivity is much higher than that. Bangladesh has 150 million people, but no where near 150 million acres of farmland. Yet they feed themselves. They accomplish this by growing year round, using intensive farming, and eating little meat. One acre per person may be typical for America, but that is based on plenty of corn fed beef.

        • You can't compare industrial farming economics to a local community polyculture farm. It's a completely different game. I would argue the local CSA model is far more sustainable than industrial ag, and this is a clear example.

          Industrial Ag requires thousands of acres of subsidized monocrop, big machinery, expensive seed (thanks to Monsanto), expensive fertilizer, transportation, and low-wage farmers and crop pickers to make a profit. It's an industry supported by big ag corporations and (thanks to their lob

        • by timeOday (582209)
          You are completely misrepresenting the point. It is not claimed or supposed to be cheaper than Big Ag. Read the summary - the stated appeal is: "access to open space, verdant fields and fresh food...To be able to walk down the street with my kids and get fresh, healthy food is amazing." Where did you pull "cheaper" out of that? This one-track mindset is so pervasive we have become blinded to it.
      • Re:454 / 16 (Score:4, Insightful)

        by hax4bux (209237) on Thursday March 13, 2014 @09:56PM (#46479451)

        Same here (but 10 acres, mostly oat hay). This is more like performance art than farming.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Hmm, short of bulk foods like wheat and rice I have been able to feed my family just fine from a 1/2 acre city lot.. Maybe you'r doing something wrong?

      • by kaiser423 (828989)
        In a couple hundred square feet in my back yard I get more tomatoes, more cucumbers, more yellow squash, more watermelons, more eggs, more pomegranates, more jalapenos, more green chiles, more strawberries and more herbs than I can eat in a growing season and can freeze enough to last a good chunk of the rest of the year and I'm a fairly lame farmer that just tossed together a couple of raised beds in the corner of a yard.

        In a basic sense, you could get a lot of stuff from 20 acres. Definitely nowhere n
      • It's not bulk corn, it's all the expensive, low volume stuff that they're growing there. In addition, it seems to be organic, which adds even more to the cost.
      • by riT-k0MA (1653217)
        Several studies in South Africa found that one can provide year round vegetables for a family of four on a plot the size of a door. Of course, in South Africa, one has a year-long growing season.
      • Like most utopias it's probably got a downside.

        The fees will go up and those who can't afford them will be converted into serfs or indentured labourers. Finally the CSA (Confederate States of America) will arise again with the newly recruited serfs growing cotton on those 20 acres.

    • by Rob Bos (3399)

      About one acre per person per year. So this would at best be supplementary.

      • 452 families, not people. and 16 acres total.

        So, maybe 0.01 acres per person? Sounds more like an Allotment Garden than a working farm...

        • by Rob Bos (3399)

          Sorry, I meant that subsistence requires one acre per person per year. Much less for solely vegetarian diets, about a quarter to half off the top of my head. Maybe 1 acre per small family, less if you don't like your kids too much.

          Either way, it's only going to provide a pretty small chunk of the diet.

          • Sorry, I meant that subsistence requires one acre per person per year. Much less for solely vegetarian diets, about a quarter to half off the top of my head. Maybe 1 acre per small family, less if you don't like your kids too much.

            Either way, it's only going to provide a pretty small chunk of the diet.

            Why the fuck is it per year?
            It's just 1 acre per person, for as long as they subsist on it. You're not going to need 10 acres for 1 person over 10 years, just 1 acre for 10 years for 1 person for 10 years. The years cancel out.

            • by dcw3 (649211)

              Yeah, yeah, you're right. But, at least show some respect for your 4-digit elder. Sheesh, kids these days.

    • Re:454 / 16 (Score:5, Informative)

      by mythosaz (572040) on Thursday March 13, 2014 @08:37PM (#46479053)

      Those 454 homes are no different from any other suburban home in Gilbert AZ.

      There's just a pair of plots where a strip mall full of dentists and swimming pool supply stores could have been full of fruit and grass.

      Every person in there just goes to the grocery store like everyone else, minus a bag of oranges once in a while that they probably let rot.

    • by Arker (91948)
      Supply them with their entire diets? No, not even close, obviously.

      It is enough to supply them with a few regular tidbits though. "Luxury veges", as another poster said. A few tomatos, a few berries, stuff that can really spice up the staples, and stuff that people with more money than sense spend a FORTUNE on when you figure in that they are looking for this absurd little 'organic' label and paying accordingly.

      Obviously it sounds like they must be importing a lot of their packages from offsite but it proba
    • by fermion (181285)
      The real insanity of this project is a simple number. 1-2" rainfall a year. Even with 20-30" of rainfall, these crops still requires quite a bit of water. Water that comes, probably, from the same river that irrigates most of the desert west. Farming in the desert. It is special kind of crazy. And I bet each of those houses each has a lawn.
    • by Dasher42 (514179)

      Actually there are a lot of ways that they could make this happen. Vertical farming, interplanting, and aquaponics all are producing very high yields. They can be more labor-intensive, but there's a lot of pay-off in having a local, resilient food system.

      This place, for example, is growing a million pounds of food per year on two acres, even through the winter: http://growingpower.org/ [growingpower.org]

      • You might think that southwest Florida would have plenty of water - it's right next to the ocean.

        But you can't grow crops on seawater and they are under more or less permanent water restrictions.

        It is, however, one of the places where they grow things like early-season tomatoes commercially, and for some years now drip irrigation has been used to maximize the effectiveness of available water.

    • by NotDrWho (3543773)

      Back in the 60's and early 70's, I remember all these communes popping up all over the place. A bunch of hippies would get together (none of whom knew the first thing about farming, of course) and decide they were going to form a community and "live off the land." So they would go buy (or squat) some small piss-poor farm somewhere and start growing their glorified vegetable garden. And pretty soon they would realize that farming was actual hard work (guess they thought they could just plant, sit around smok

      • What you seem not to realize is that these communities are for hipsters, not hippies. Serenbe, for instance, is full of half-million-dollar 1500 ft^2 homes way out in the middle of fucking nowhere, in a metro area where even other hipster neighborhoods in-town have similar houses at half the price. They're not going to do (most of) the farming themselves; they're going to hire some schmuck to do it for them. And there's no way hippies could afford to live there.

    • I'd bet it gets pretty close to meeting the demand of the community. Unfortunately, the typical American diet is heavy on staples (wheat, corn, potatoes, rice) & meats while being light on fresh vegetables (what this farm seeks to provide). You could probably supply 454 families with more artichokes than they could use with just an acre....

    • It's 160 acres. "Sixteen of Agritopia’s 160 acres are certified organic farmland, with row crops (artichokes to zucchini), fruit trees (citrus, nectarine, peach, apple, olive and date) and livestock (chickens and sheep)." Someone needs to work on their reading comprehension.
      • The entire development is 160 acres. The farmland is only 16 acres of the entire development. You also misquoted the summary, since it doesn't even say that Agritopia is 160 acres of total land.
    • by bigpat (158134)
      And the aerial photos are even less impressive. Agritopia is a nice idea, but the actual subdivision seems to have the same or even less green space than most other urban or suburban subdivisions.
  • The USA finally turns to communism as the first Kolchoz are settled. The irony is unbearable.
    • by khallow (566160)
      This stuff has been going on longer than Communism had a name. Some of the early settlements tried such things.
  • Agritopia in Phoenix (Score:4, Interesting)

    by mythosaz (572040) on Thursday March 13, 2014 @08:35PM (#46479037)

    To the best of my knowledge, the only useful thing to come out of Agritopia in Phoenix (Chandler/Gilbert) is Joe's Farm Grill [joesfarmgrill.com] which is a nice place to grab a fresh burger or some BBQ and eat on the patio with the other Mormon families.

    If you look at the map [google.com], you'll see that there's basically a little bit of citrus, a field growing something alfalfa-esque, and a greenhouse where someone's got some tomatoes.

    It's not Pauly Shore Biodome.

    It's just a place with fresh tomatoes.

    • by mythosaz (572040) on Thursday March 13, 2014 @08:41PM (#46479081)

      "About 16" is "About 12."

      Within Agritopia are approximately 12 acres of permanent urban farming. Farming first began here in 1927 when barren desert was cleared. The availability of irrigation water made farming in the desert possible. Initially, alfalfa hay was the principal crop (Gilbert was known as the hay capitol of the world).

      When the Johnston family bought the farm in 1960, cotton was the most important crop. Cotton was grown in rotation with wheat, sorghum, corn, and barley. For a time, sugar beets were grown to supply the Spreckles Sugar plant in Chandler. In the 90’s, cotton became less profitable and the family grew mainly feed crops for dairy cattle, such as corn and alfalfa.

      With the creation of Agritopia, preservation of agriculture was an underlying principle. In 2000, we began to carve out and convert the parcels that would be the permanent urban farming plots. Some of the earliest plots planted were the Medjool date and olive groves as well as the New Orchard (citrus, apples, peaches, plums, apricots, and blackberries).

      The plots closest to the restaurant are for field crops. Seasonally, these plots produce a broad range of vegetables, herbs, and flowers. We are particularly proud of our leaf crops (lettuce, endive, asian greens, etc.) and our tomato crop (heirlooms, yellow, red, plum, etc.). The production of the farm is utilized by Joe’s Farm Grill, The Coffee Shop, and is available for purchase at the Agritopia Produce Stand.

      Also, as should be obvious, nobody actually uses this land except Joe's Farm Grill.

      At least they're a tasty place to eat.

  • silly (Score:2, Troll)

    by drwho (4190)

    I am sure the unending drudgery of 16th century work will wear pretty thin within a year.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    ...seriously, "Conservation Communities Takes Root Across US"? Come on...
  • ... it's such a nice idea to think about, but as the other comments have mentioned the reality is a bit different.
  • 'I hear from developers all the time about this,' says Ed McMahon.

    I thought he died...

    • by dcw3 (649211)

      It really would be a change for Ed, since he once said:
      "Golf courses sell real estate and that's why they're built."

  • This actually makes some sense. Of course you're not going to -feed- all these people off of one farm, but it provides some food, a natural meeting place, and some open area that's not annoying subdivisions.

  • by istartedi (132515) on Thursday March 13, 2014 @09:55PM (#46479437) Journal

    Sounds cool as long as it's not a HOA that runs with deed. The community pool where I grew up was like that and it worked fine. If you were in the community you had the right but not the obligation to purchase a membership.

    • by wiggles (30088)

      I found one of these houses for sale in the community listed in Grayslake, IL.

      Here's a link to the listing on Trulia. [trulia.com]

      $200/mo HOA. Tax bill is INSANE for the area at around $12k/yr. House was 2300 sqft for around $250k, which is what I'd expect for the area.

      Not only do you have to deal with a HOA, you have to deal with a tax bill at 5% of the worth of the property.

  • "...the aspirations of many Americans to be gentlemen (or gentlewomen) farmers..."...And they said that was a purely British disease...what next? Will youse guys all start listening to The Archers http://www.bbc.co.uk/programme... [bbc.co.uk] (1950), is still running (January 2014), and is the world's longest-running soap opera with a total of over 16,800 episodes
  • What a joke (Score:4, Interesting)

    by sirwired (27582) on Friday March 14, 2014 @07:02AM (#46481159)

    16 acres of water-thirsty crops outside Phoenix in a development with 452 homes? This isn't a farm, (much less something you could call a "conservation community") it's landscaping that happens to produce something you can eat. Better than a golf-course, I suppose, but still a bit "slacktivist."

  • by Dasher42 (514179) on Friday March 14, 2014 @07:15AM (#46481209)

    The part of this story that the Slashdot audience could most easily get in on is aquaponics, which is producing huge yields in some cases and holds a lot of promise for the local food movement.

    Aquaponics is a system you can use indoors or outdoors, on large or small scales. It is a closed loop wherein ponds full of fish, usually tilapia, have their water pumped through hydroponic grow beds full of food-growing plants. The all-important third ingredient is a bacteria which converts the ammonia of the fish waste into nitrates which nourish the plants. The water goes back to the fish clean and livable. Once the bacteria are established and in balance to keep this conversion going, the only investment this needs are the energy to keep the pumps going, stable temperatures, and fish food.

    Because the density of available nutrients is quite high, the plants can be so too. Their roots mostly just need to grow straight down, so typical planting distances don't apply. The fish too get a cleaner environment, and the usual equations for how many fish per gallon of water can be exceeded. A stabilized, intelligently planted aquaponics system can grow a lot of food - this site (http://portablefarms.com/2013/part-one-sizing-your-aquaponics-system/) claims that 25 to 30 square feet of grow bed is enough to completely meet one adult's supply for table vegetables, and given that you keep the water quality high, the tilapia will make for very tasty protein too.

    Because the water is in a closed loop system, very little of it is lost, and aquaponics is radically less demanding of water than traditional agriculture. Because you can grow this stuff indoors, chemical pesticides are neither needed nor desirable, for your sake and the fishes'.

    Leafy green plants are the easiest to grow in this way, root vegetables some of the hardest. Tweaks on this system do keep expanding the options, however, like microgreens, wherein you harvest plants in the first two weeks after they've sprouted for a nutrient density four to forty times that of typical mature vegetables. So the question is, how could we make this the most easy thing to get started, so that people with little experience and limited time can skip the refrigerator and east straight from their greenhouse?

    Done rightly, this system can shake up food supply as surely as 3D printers are going to shake up industry.

    • Because the water is in a closed loop system, very little of it is lost

      But, being a closed loop system, any contaminants (such as nitrites, which is toxic to plants) produced are retained and tend to build up in the system. And ask anyone who keeps fish tanks how much work it is to keep a fish tank clean and balanced, even if you have a well established bacteria and plant system.

      Done rightly, this system can shake up food supply as surely as 3D printers are going to shake up industry.

      That's the cla

      • In a fish tank with plants, nitrites are dead simple to keep in check - and that's in a very small body of water, whereas this type of system would have a much larger volume, and be much easier to manage. Bacteria consume nitrite and convert it into nitrate. This process is relatively short, and once the bacterial colony is established, it can accommodate relatively large increases in ammonia input (like a dead, decaying fish) fairly quickly. Plants (and algae) consume nitrates extremely quickly. Anyone who

      • by Dasher42 (514179)

        But, being a closed loop system, any contaminants (such as nitrites, which is toxic to plants) produced are retained and tend to build up in the system. And ask anyone who keeps fish tanks how much work it is to keep a fish tank clean and balanced, even if you have a well established bacteria and plant system.

        That's exactly why you should research this. A definitive aspect of aquaponics is that it includes a combination of nitrosomonas and nitrobacter bacteria which successfully convert ammonia and nitrites into nitrates which the plants consume. This means that the system takes a bit of time to ramp up to bring the fish, bacteria, and plants into balance, but once it is going, it is very low maintenance. There's a significant difference between this and the typical aquarium.

        This kind of closed loop is defini

        • That's exactly why you should research this.

          I have - that's exactly why I made the statements I did. (Despite constant attempts by the biased and/or the less well educated, "research" still doesn't mean "drunk the kool-aide".) Somewhere in my disaster area of an office are the sketches and calculations for a variety of differently sized aquaponics systems, all the way from "science fair" level mockups to some preliminary thinking on an industrial scale system. (Yes, I got the exact contaminant wrong, I w

        • There's a significant difference between this and the typical aquarium.

          Pretty much just surface area, since this system would be designed to ensure the bacterial load, while home aquariums typically do not. Any real aquarist (i.e. not people with a betta or goldfish in a tiny bowl) is relying on nitrosomas and nitrobacter to a massive extent, and even "aquarium specialists" at a place like Petco will be able to describe this process to you (albeit without being able to name the bacteria).

  • Before you move to the farm or the golf course, be aware that certain individuals have genetic predisposition to elevated risk of developing Parkinson's Disease from exposure to common pesticides. 11 different "safe" pesticides were associated with 2- to 6-fold increases in PD risk. Neurology February 4, 2014 vol. 82 no. 5 419-426
  • "Agritopia, outside Phoenix, has sixteen acres of certified organic farmland, with row crops (artichokes to zucchini), fruit trees (citrus, nectarine, peach, apple, olive and date) and livestock (chickens and sheep)."

    And not one of those is supposed to grow in the desert. They're wasting an unbelievable amount of water and ruining the environment just so they can feel all warm and fuzzy being eco-hippie douchebags. Good job.
  • Suburbia has issues in which self raised crops really can help. In the cities locally grown food can do all sorts of good things. Often the food must be grown indoors and the production can be amazing. But in addition to the huge bennefits that one might get in the suburbs in the cities things like control of violence can relate to farming. When each neighborhood has a distinct boundary and limited entrance and exit points things like gang activity tend to fall off completely. Locals begin to know w
    • by Whorhay (1319089)

      There is a group that has been working to improve impoverished high crime areas through urban farming in Kansas City. http://theurbanfarmingguys.com... [theurbanfarmingguys.com]

    • When each neighborhood has a distinct boundary and limited entrance and exit points things like gang activity tend to fall off completely.

      Cul-de-sacs, chokepoint streets that feed onto a sidewalkless artery, and other phenomena associated with suburban "street hierarchy" subdivisions are a fire hazard. They tend to be less friendly to pedestrians and cyclists, and it takes longer for emergency first responders to get in and out.

  • 15+ years ago, Pittsford, New York (a suburb of Rochester) decided it would remain a mixed community of farms and suburban homes. The town voted for a bond issue and used the proceeds to buy the development rights from the existing inter-mixed farm owners. They are now forever farms. Some of these farms raise commodities, e.g., beans, some raise produce, e.g., sweet corn, raspberries. As people drive about town, they pass by suburban home groups, then farms, then more homes, then more farms. It has been a

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