Growing Cities: Can Urban Farming Spread Across the USA?

growing cities map

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“80% of people in the United States now live in cities. They have to be fed.” So begins the trailer for Growing Cities (embedded below) and the film itself stays true to this simple but important idea. Visiting urban farming projects across the USA, stars and creators Dan Susman and Andrew Monbouquette witness farming ideas that closely mirror the culture of the city they are located within.

With space at a premium in New York City, their urban farming project of choice takes Susman and Monbouquette to a rooftop so green, you have to wonder about its structural integrity. Over in Chicago, density is also a defining force, with many levels of urban agriculture happening inside Chicago’s The Plant, aided by no shortage of UV lights and aquaponics.

Meanwhile in Detroit and Philadelphia, lack of available space is hardly an issue. Urban agriculture projects are happening on unused plots, engaging community members in the process. Indeed, though the topic of the film is food, the more interesting part is how this local, hands-on approach to food production can bring people together and act as the enabler for change. Community-building is the obvious one, and the one that we witness in every project featured, but farms in the film also use urban agriculture as a tool for teaching uneducated youths, and rehabilitating ex-offenders. Is there anything farming can’t do?

Since its release in late 2013, Growing Cities has picked up an impressive roster of awards. The team are now hoping to take this one step further, getting their message to a more mainstream audience through broadcasting it on PBS. If you want to support the project, head over to Kickstarter.