New Leaf New York: From Pharma to Farm

Friday: foiled, then fascinated

Silly me.  I underestimated New York’s fervent love for Michael Pollan and sustainable agriculture.  On a Friday evening, after a day full of downpours, I didn’t expect there to be quite so long a line as there was at PS1 for his talk on the plant’s point of view. I waited in line, but once I saw the auditorium and how little space was left, realizing my only option was to stand outside in the hallway, and knowing I’d seen him speak before, I felt it was time to skip out and meet my friends for dinner.

Fortunately, the brave Betsey at Brooklyn Farmer stuck it out, and she can provide the scoop!

And, by the way — Public Farm One?  Total disappointment.  There were some chickens in a closed-off pen, some brightly painted cylindrical structures covered in dated-looking stencils (apparently meant to be a playground), and a bunch of potted plants arranged in such a way that visitors could stand and walk under them but not really see what was going on inside them.  This sad display didn’t really do much for me, and didn’t really do much for the possibilities of sustainable urban agriculture.  Please to be trying harder next time, PS1. 

However, something good did come out of my thwarted efforts: I learned about The White House Organic Farm Project, headed by Daniel Bowman Simon.  He and his crew are driving a topsy-turvy biodiesel bus (pictured, at PS1 on Friday evening) purchased from Ben Cohen of Ben & Jerry’s, and outfitted with a roof garden and apiary, from New York to San Francisco to spread the word about their petition to have the 44th president plant an organic farm on the grounds of the White House.  I spoke to Daniel briefly on Monday evening at the Union Square Greenmarket, and he seemed very busy but very enthusiastic about his project.  And he gave me a rather pretty sunflower.

A similar campaign by Kitchen Gardeners International called Eat the View calls for healthy, edible landscapes to be created in high-impact, high-visibility locations; they’re circulating a petition, “Vote for Veggies,” to have the next US president plant a vegetable garden on the White House lawn.


2 Comments so far
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Hi! Cool to see the super-urban options out there. I have a parking strip garden in Seattle, not quite as much of a revolutionary step but growing veggies in it is fun. Check it out if you feel like it:

Eat the View is my next stop. Thanks for putting the info out there!

– Karen

Comment by greenwalks

Hi Karen — Excellent work, keep it up! It looks like a really productive operation so far.

Comment by Meredith

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