Other Farms Of The Future

170822-mms-a1-hoegaarden-event-brooklyn-08824.jpgYou can click on any of these photos to go to their source, and they are inserted here because the article that brought this farm (?), this company, this phenomenon to my attention did not have any images. It was good to have only the New Yorker words to start with because, like all good writing, it forced me to imagine what this might look like. However, my imagination fell short.

Out of the Ordinary

Farm+One.jpegFarm.One is New York City’s grower of rare herbs, edible flowers and microgreens for some of the best restaurants in the city. Our Edible Bar and Tasting Plates make these fresh, exciting ingredients available for the first time in an event setting. Guests can discover botanical ingredients for the first time, with the expert guidance of our farm team. Taste ingredients on their own, or paired with cocktails and other beverages, for a colorful, flavorful and aromatic experience like no other.

VS_Inspiration_at_Farm.One-9124This short piece by Anna Russell below continues our stream of thought about the farm of the future, and takes it into very unexpected territory. Hydroponics and urban farming have been featured many times in these pages over the years so that is not what has our attention. It is the mixing of art and agriculture that gets us thinking outside the box:

Tribeca’s Hydroponic Underground

Chic stems and tender greens thrive deep below Worth Street on the rolling shelves of Farm.One.

170822-mms-a1-hoegaarden-event-brooklyn-08817.jpgHydroponics are a slippery slope. You might find yourself, one Sunday morning, at a Santa Monica farmers’ market, loitering among the apples, say. You come across a bunch of papalo, a leafy herb native to central Mexico, and toss it in your mouth (your tastes are expansive; a papalo leaf is nothing to you) and wham!: a brand-new flavor. Suddenly, you’re up at all hours, watching vertical-farming videos on YouTube, ordering seed packets from eBay, buying rhizomes—rhizomes!—and worrying about spider mites. You get some fennel crowns and a pouch of parasitic wasps, and you’re on your way. Continue reading

India’s First Organic State

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Tea plantations on the hillside. PHOTO: Reuters/ Rupak De Chowdhuri

The buzzword is organic. From grocery store shelves to textile designers to travel. At the center of this phenomenon is respect to the land, cognizance of the immense potential of living organisms, acknowledgement of a way of life that has restorative powers. Today, India hears that message loud and clear in the North-eastern hill state of Sikkim.

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Paddy Field – Kuttanad, Alappuzha

Photo credits: Ramesh Kidangoor

With its abundant paddy, Kuttanad has been termed the “Rice Bowl of Kerala”. Kuttanad is a large area made up of land from the three adjoining districts of Alappuzha, Kollam and Kottayam. Most of Kuttanad consists of paddy fields that spill out into vast stretches inland from the backwaters. Heavy monsoon rains bring top soil and minerals from the high ranges of the Western Ghats, depositing them in the low-lying Kuttanad region in a periodic replenishment that keeps the soil fertile.

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Windowfarms: More on Urban Gardening

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In one of my earlier posts, I discussed some of the basics of hydroponics, one of the less popular but more efficient forms of urban gardening. Today I won’t discuss the technical aspects of hydroponic gardening, but display an example of an entrepreneurial venture taking advantage of the underdeveloped market. Most people with hydroponic gardens are either aficionados or professionals – very few grow soil-less produce casually.

Windowfarms, an American open-source project concerning itself with urban agriculture, not only offers the blueprints for solar window-contained hydroponic gardens, but also the option of purchasing a kit of varying dimensions (for those less comfortable with the technical specifications). In addition to its mission of reducing urbanites’ carboon footprints by enabling them to grow their own produce, Windowfarms are being used to educate schoolchildren on the benefits and ease of urban farming.

Easy Tips for City Living

As I eagerly prepare to head to Cardomom County in a few days to contribute some of my time and efforts to Raxa Collective on site, I’m packing up my apartment in Paris and thinking of the irony of leaving my little pot of coriander in the window for fields of spices in Kumily. I was growing coriander, basil and parsley – and before that, these lovely flowers my mother got me during her visit several months ago.

Growing my own herbs was a fun way to keep the kitchen an innovative little atelier. Basil was a must for anything remotely Italian, or Thai if I got so daring; parsley was hard to know what to do with at times but got its fair share of dicing in with many miscellaneous creations; and then of course there’s coriander, my preferred name for which is cilantro as I grew up with the herb in its Mexican context of carne asada tacos and guacamole. An absolute favorite flavored flora of mine.

In some countries, the mores of a city-dweller’s everyday life can somehow keep “environmental friendliness” in those darned quotation marks, and make the concept seem as remote as the rainforest. Continue reading