Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Should Urban Farming be Scaled Up?

I've always wondered what the price of gasoline would have to be for Harvard to start drilling in Harvard Square. Now, I'm not a geologist and I don't play one on TV but there could be some oil deposits under that Burger joint. More seriously, when do high commodity prices lead to radical changes in land use patterns?

Fun Blog Reading from The Economist . The full draft of the Glaeser/Kahn paper should be released as NBER Working Paper in a couple of weeks.


roxsen said...

What's held back urban farming is the lack of a commercially viable system that can be deployed rapidly and broadly. That is the concept behind SPIN-Farming. Developed by Canadian farmer Wally Satzewich, SPIN is a franchise-ready farming system that makes it possible to earn significant income from growing vegetables on land bases under an acre in size. SPIN farmers utilize relay cropping to increase yield and achieve good economic returns by growing only the most profitable food crops tailored to local markets. SPIN's growing techniques are not, in themselves, breakthrough. What is novel is the way a SPIN farm business is run. SPIN provides everything you'd expect from a good franchise: a business plan, marketing advice, and a detailed day-to-day workflow. In standardizing the system and creating a reproducible process it really isn't any different from McDonalds. By offering a non-technical, easy-to-understand and inexpensive-to-implement farming system, it allows many more people to farm, wherever they live, as long as there are nearby markets to support them, and it removes the two big barriers to entry – sizeable acreage and significant start-up capital. By recasting farming as a small business in cities and towns, SPIN is helping to "right size" agriculture for an urbanized century and helping to make local food production a viable business proposition once again.

Alex Steed [of Make Something Happen] said...

I like where vertical farming appears to be going.