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Seeking Fresh and Local in a Concrete Jungle

Seeking Fresh and Local in a Concrete Jungle


Heather Carlucci-Rodriguez is the Executive Pastry Chef at PRINT. Restaurant in New York City.

It’s been an amazing learning experience having a full-time in-house forager. with an amazing amount of knowledge and education in many facets of food, sustainability and countless other areas.

Johanna shares an office with Charles Rodriguez, the Executive Chef and me, keeping our food conversation going all day, every day. She has brought to our attention everything from what other foragers are doing, and proper slaughterhouse practices, to what level of quality we are willing to work with.

Accessibility to Johanna has brought us into better communication with farmers and artisans, and made our jobs a little easier. This is something that we could have worked on ourselves, but with the amount of time we need to spend in a new kitchen that serves an 80-seat fine dining restaurant, banquets at our roof bar, and the room service for the hotel, we wouldn’t have time to both make the introductions or nurture relationships in such a short time.

With Johanna’s help, we have been able to take on projects in PRINT.’s infancy such as being the pick up location for the Hell’s Kitchen CSA, being asked to take part in the James Beard Foundation’s first roundtable for sustainability and taking part in events that as chefs reared in the fine dining world of New York City, we were unaware of but more than thrilled to be invited to attend.

There have certainly been adjustments that have had to be made in creating a system that includes an in-house forager but I would never call it a difficulty. There is a balance that we have strike to both serve our customers the best cuisine possible with the best service as well as stick to the farming practices we believe in. We are in the hospitality business and though Johanna would argue otherwise, and we agree with her, it is difficult to tell a hotel guest he can’t have a tomato with his grass-fed burger in February.

Our ordering is much more fluid. There is much more give with what we order and what actually comes in when delivered. A rainstorm, a drought or any other act of nature can change everything. It’s up to us and Johanna to figure out what to do about it. It creates a more educated team.

This education spreads to the Front of the House staff as well. They’re able to learn right from Johanna and find out not just about the food but the people that grew it, raised it. Many of the farmers come to eat here when they’re in town and because of this staff education, are treated like VIPS and bombarded with questions from the waitstaff.

In turn, we are educating Johanna about cuisine and the restaurant lifestyle.

I think it’s been a pay-off for all.


How to grow food in a concrete jungle

Guillaume Fourdinier has lived in Paris for six years, but he still misses the taste of the fresh cereal grains, beets, carrots and more that grow on his family's farm in Verton. There, in northern France's countryside, eating locally is a way of life – not simply a trend or a sticker on an apple at the grocery store.

“Local food is everywhere when you are in the countryside. You get fruits and vegetables with better taste, more nutritional value,” he says. “When you are in Paris, what is local food? There is nothing coming from a local farm. I think for quality of life for people living in big cities this is a big problem.”

In 2015, Fourdinier co-founded Agricool, an urban farm that's now comprised of 11 recycled shipping containers on the north side of the city. Eight farmers plant, harvest, pack, and deliver the pesticide-free lettuces, herbs, and strawberries to 60 supermarkets (though Fourdinier expects that number to grow to at least 200 retailers by the end of 2021).

Urban farms like Agricool are part of a broad collection of metropolitan agricultural efforts including everything from vertical farms to greenhouses to aquaponics to community gardens. The idea of cultivating food in or near cities is not new (see the victory gardens of both world wars, for example), but these ventures have become increasingly popular in recent years as the local food movement strengthens. After the rise of the supermarkets led many people to feel disconnected from food production, consumers are again paying more attention to how and where their food is grown, along with how far ingredients must travel between field and plate.

From Brussels to Nigeria, entrepreneurs and farmers are reimagining what farms are and conceiving innovative technology to help grow food in smaller spaces and in more sustainable ways. They're attempting to fix existing food supply chain concerns, which we've all became intimately familiar with in the past year. Images of picked-over grocery shelves and farmers tossing out produce early in the Covid-19 pandemic broadcast the failures and fragility of our current systems.

By 2050, it's estimated that the global population will balloon to almost 10 billion, and 68% of those people will live in cities. That means we'll have to produce more food than ever before, to feed people who live farther from the rural areas where most crops and animals are cultivated. Bringing production closer to where consumption happens could increase food security, improve our health and lessen the industry's considerable impacts on the planet – if we're able to grow enough nutrient-rich grub, that is.

In the United States, it's estimated that urban and peri-urban farms account for almost 15% of the country's farms. Among them is 80 Acres Farms, a vertical farming operation based in Ohio but which has eight locations in four states, all of which use zero pesticides and require 97% less water consumption compared to traditional farms. (Vertical farming refers to growing crops in vertically stacked layers in a controlled environment, often incorporating soilless techniques.)

Co-founders Mike Zelkind and Tisha Livingston are trying to push the potential of this multi-billion-dollar industry further. To date, enterprises like theirs have primarily focused on easy-to-grow leafy greens – which won't sustain civilisation on their own – but with advancements in technology Zelkind and Livingston have been able to add more substantial crops like peppers, tomatoes and baby cucumbers. They explain how their farms have incorporated sophisticated technologies in the video below.

Your browser does not support HTML5 video.


How to grow food in a concrete jungle

Guillaume Fourdinier has lived in Paris for six years, but he still misses the taste of the fresh cereal grains, beets, carrots and more that grow on his family's farm in Verton. There, in northern France's countryside, eating locally is a way of life – not simply a trend or a sticker on an apple at the grocery store.

“Local food is everywhere when you are in the countryside. You get fruits and vegetables with better taste, more nutritional value,” he says. “When you are in Paris, what is local food? There is nothing coming from a local farm. I think for quality of life for people living in big cities this is a big problem.”

In 2015, Fourdinier co-founded Agricool, an urban farm that's now comprised of 11 recycled shipping containers on the north side of the city. Eight farmers plant, harvest, pack, and deliver the pesticide-free lettuces, herbs, and strawberries to 60 supermarkets (though Fourdinier expects that number to grow to at least 200 retailers by the end of 2021).

Urban farms like Agricool are part of a broad collection of metropolitan agricultural efforts including everything from vertical farms to greenhouses to aquaponics to community gardens. The idea of cultivating food in or near cities is not new (see the victory gardens of both world wars, for example), but these ventures have become increasingly popular in recent years as the local food movement strengthens. After the rise of the supermarkets led many people to feel disconnected from food production, consumers are again paying more attention to how and where their food is grown, along with how far ingredients must travel between field and plate.

From Brussels to Nigeria, entrepreneurs and farmers are reimagining what farms are and conceiving innovative technology to help grow food in smaller spaces and in more sustainable ways. They're attempting to fix existing food supply chain concerns, which we've all became intimately familiar with in the past year. Images of picked-over grocery shelves and farmers tossing out produce early in the Covid-19 pandemic broadcast the failures and fragility of our current systems.

By 2050, it's estimated that the global population will balloon to almost 10 billion, and 68% of those people will live in cities. That means we'll have to produce more food than ever before, to feed people who live farther from the rural areas where most crops and animals are cultivated. Bringing production closer to where consumption happens could increase food security, improve our health and lessen the industry's considerable impacts on the planet – if we're able to grow enough nutrient-rich grub, that is.

In the United States, it's estimated that urban and peri-urban farms account for almost 15% of the country's farms. Among them is 80 Acres Farms, a vertical farming operation based in Ohio but which has eight locations in four states, all of which use zero pesticides and require 97% less water consumption compared to traditional farms. (Vertical farming refers to growing crops in vertically stacked layers in a controlled environment, often incorporating soilless techniques.)

Co-founders Mike Zelkind and Tisha Livingston are trying to push the potential of this multi-billion-dollar industry further. To date, enterprises like theirs have primarily focused on easy-to-grow leafy greens – which won't sustain civilisation on their own – but with advancements in technology Zelkind and Livingston have been able to add more substantial crops like peppers, tomatoes and baby cucumbers. They explain how their farms have incorporated sophisticated technologies in the video below.

Your browser does not support HTML5 video.


How to grow food in a concrete jungle

Guillaume Fourdinier has lived in Paris for six years, but he still misses the taste of the fresh cereal grains, beets, carrots and more that grow on his family's farm in Verton. There, in northern France's countryside, eating locally is a way of life – not simply a trend or a sticker on an apple at the grocery store.

“Local food is everywhere when you are in the countryside. You get fruits and vegetables with better taste, more nutritional value,” he says. “When you are in Paris, what is local food? There is nothing coming from a local farm. I think for quality of life for people living in big cities this is a big problem.”

In 2015, Fourdinier co-founded Agricool, an urban farm that's now comprised of 11 recycled shipping containers on the north side of the city. Eight farmers plant, harvest, pack, and deliver the pesticide-free lettuces, herbs, and strawberries to 60 supermarkets (though Fourdinier expects that number to grow to at least 200 retailers by the end of 2021).

Urban farms like Agricool are part of a broad collection of metropolitan agricultural efforts including everything from vertical farms to greenhouses to aquaponics to community gardens. The idea of cultivating food in or near cities is not new (see the victory gardens of both world wars, for example), but these ventures have become increasingly popular in recent years as the local food movement strengthens. After the rise of the supermarkets led many people to feel disconnected from food production, consumers are again paying more attention to how and where their food is grown, along with how far ingredients must travel between field and plate.

From Brussels to Nigeria, entrepreneurs and farmers are reimagining what farms are and conceiving innovative technology to help grow food in smaller spaces and in more sustainable ways. They're attempting to fix existing food supply chain concerns, which we've all became intimately familiar with in the past year. Images of picked-over grocery shelves and farmers tossing out produce early in the Covid-19 pandemic broadcast the failures and fragility of our current systems.

By 2050, it's estimated that the global population will balloon to almost 10 billion, and 68% of those people will live in cities. That means we'll have to produce more food than ever before, to feed people who live farther from the rural areas where most crops and animals are cultivated. Bringing production closer to where consumption happens could increase food security, improve our health and lessen the industry's considerable impacts on the planet – if we're able to grow enough nutrient-rich grub, that is.

In the United States, it's estimated that urban and peri-urban farms account for almost 15% of the country's farms. Among them is 80 Acres Farms, a vertical farming operation based in Ohio but which has eight locations in four states, all of which use zero pesticides and require 97% less water consumption compared to traditional farms. (Vertical farming refers to growing crops in vertically stacked layers in a controlled environment, often incorporating soilless techniques.)

Co-founders Mike Zelkind and Tisha Livingston are trying to push the potential of this multi-billion-dollar industry further. To date, enterprises like theirs have primarily focused on easy-to-grow leafy greens – which won't sustain civilisation on their own – but with advancements in technology Zelkind and Livingston have been able to add more substantial crops like peppers, tomatoes and baby cucumbers. They explain how their farms have incorporated sophisticated technologies in the video below.

Your browser does not support HTML5 video.


How to grow food in a concrete jungle

Guillaume Fourdinier has lived in Paris for six years, but he still misses the taste of the fresh cereal grains, beets, carrots and more that grow on his family's farm in Verton. There, in northern France's countryside, eating locally is a way of life – not simply a trend or a sticker on an apple at the grocery store.

“Local food is everywhere when you are in the countryside. You get fruits and vegetables with better taste, more nutritional value,” he says. “When you are in Paris, what is local food? There is nothing coming from a local farm. I think for quality of life for people living in big cities this is a big problem.”

In 2015, Fourdinier co-founded Agricool, an urban farm that's now comprised of 11 recycled shipping containers on the north side of the city. Eight farmers plant, harvest, pack, and deliver the pesticide-free lettuces, herbs, and strawberries to 60 supermarkets (though Fourdinier expects that number to grow to at least 200 retailers by the end of 2021).

Urban farms like Agricool are part of a broad collection of metropolitan agricultural efforts including everything from vertical farms to greenhouses to aquaponics to community gardens. The idea of cultivating food in or near cities is not new (see the victory gardens of both world wars, for example), but these ventures have become increasingly popular in recent years as the local food movement strengthens. After the rise of the supermarkets led many people to feel disconnected from food production, consumers are again paying more attention to how and where their food is grown, along with how far ingredients must travel between field and plate.

From Brussels to Nigeria, entrepreneurs and farmers are reimagining what farms are and conceiving innovative technology to help grow food in smaller spaces and in more sustainable ways. They're attempting to fix existing food supply chain concerns, which we've all became intimately familiar with in the past year. Images of picked-over grocery shelves and farmers tossing out produce early in the Covid-19 pandemic broadcast the failures and fragility of our current systems.

By 2050, it's estimated that the global population will balloon to almost 10 billion, and 68% of those people will live in cities. That means we'll have to produce more food than ever before, to feed people who live farther from the rural areas where most crops and animals are cultivated. Bringing production closer to where consumption happens could increase food security, improve our health and lessen the industry's considerable impacts on the planet – if we're able to grow enough nutrient-rich grub, that is.

In the United States, it's estimated that urban and peri-urban farms account for almost 15% of the country's farms. Among them is 80 Acres Farms, a vertical farming operation based in Ohio but which has eight locations in four states, all of which use zero pesticides and require 97% less water consumption compared to traditional farms. (Vertical farming refers to growing crops in vertically stacked layers in a controlled environment, often incorporating soilless techniques.)

Co-founders Mike Zelkind and Tisha Livingston are trying to push the potential of this multi-billion-dollar industry further. To date, enterprises like theirs have primarily focused on easy-to-grow leafy greens – which won't sustain civilisation on their own – but with advancements in technology Zelkind and Livingston have been able to add more substantial crops like peppers, tomatoes and baby cucumbers. They explain how their farms have incorporated sophisticated technologies in the video below.

Your browser does not support HTML5 video.


How to grow food in a concrete jungle

Guillaume Fourdinier has lived in Paris for six years, but he still misses the taste of the fresh cereal grains, beets, carrots and more that grow on his family's farm in Verton. There, in northern France's countryside, eating locally is a way of life – not simply a trend or a sticker on an apple at the grocery store.

“Local food is everywhere when you are in the countryside. You get fruits and vegetables with better taste, more nutritional value,” he says. “When you are in Paris, what is local food? There is nothing coming from a local farm. I think for quality of life for people living in big cities this is a big problem.”

In 2015, Fourdinier co-founded Agricool, an urban farm that's now comprised of 11 recycled shipping containers on the north side of the city. Eight farmers plant, harvest, pack, and deliver the pesticide-free lettuces, herbs, and strawberries to 60 supermarkets (though Fourdinier expects that number to grow to at least 200 retailers by the end of 2021).

Urban farms like Agricool are part of a broad collection of metropolitan agricultural efforts including everything from vertical farms to greenhouses to aquaponics to community gardens. The idea of cultivating food in or near cities is not new (see the victory gardens of both world wars, for example), but these ventures have become increasingly popular in recent years as the local food movement strengthens. After the rise of the supermarkets led many people to feel disconnected from food production, consumers are again paying more attention to how and where their food is grown, along with how far ingredients must travel between field and plate.

From Brussels to Nigeria, entrepreneurs and farmers are reimagining what farms are and conceiving innovative technology to help grow food in smaller spaces and in more sustainable ways. They're attempting to fix existing food supply chain concerns, which we've all became intimately familiar with in the past year. Images of picked-over grocery shelves and farmers tossing out produce early in the Covid-19 pandemic broadcast the failures and fragility of our current systems.

By 2050, it's estimated that the global population will balloon to almost 10 billion, and 68% of those people will live in cities. That means we'll have to produce more food than ever before, to feed people who live farther from the rural areas where most crops and animals are cultivated. Bringing production closer to where consumption happens could increase food security, improve our health and lessen the industry's considerable impacts on the planet – if we're able to grow enough nutrient-rich grub, that is.

In the United States, it's estimated that urban and peri-urban farms account for almost 15% of the country's farms. Among them is 80 Acres Farms, a vertical farming operation based in Ohio but which has eight locations in four states, all of which use zero pesticides and require 97% less water consumption compared to traditional farms. (Vertical farming refers to growing crops in vertically stacked layers in a controlled environment, often incorporating soilless techniques.)

Co-founders Mike Zelkind and Tisha Livingston are trying to push the potential of this multi-billion-dollar industry further. To date, enterprises like theirs have primarily focused on easy-to-grow leafy greens – which won't sustain civilisation on their own – but with advancements in technology Zelkind and Livingston have been able to add more substantial crops like peppers, tomatoes and baby cucumbers. They explain how their farms have incorporated sophisticated technologies in the video below.

Your browser does not support HTML5 video.


How to grow food in a concrete jungle

Guillaume Fourdinier has lived in Paris for six years, but he still misses the taste of the fresh cereal grains, beets, carrots and more that grow on his family's farm in Verton. There, in northern France's countryside, eating locally is a way of life – not simply a trend or a sticker on an apple at the grocery store.

“Local food is everywhere when you are in the countryside. You get fruits and vegetables with better taste, more nutritional value,” he says. “When you are in Paris, what is local food? There is nothing coming from a local farm. I think for quality of life for people living in big cities this is a big problem.”

In 2015, Fourdinier co-founded Agricool, an urban farm that's now comprised of 11 recycled shipping containers on the north side of the city. Eight farmers plant, harvest, pack, and deliver the pesticide-free lettuces, herbs, and strawberries to 60 supermarkets (though Fourdinier expects that number to grow to at least 200 retailers by the end of 2021).

Urban farms like Agricool are part of a broad collection of metropolitan agricultural efforts including everything from vertical farms to greenhouses to aquaponics to community gardens. The idea of cultivating food in or near cities is not new (see the victory gardens of both world wars, for example), but these ventures have become increasingly popular in recent years as the local food movement strengthens. After the rise of the supermarkets led many people to feel disconnected from food production, consumers are again paying more attention to how and where their food is grown, along with how far ingredients must travel between field and plate.

From Brussels to Nigeria, entrepreneurs and farmers are reimagining what farms are and conceiving innovative technology to help grow food in smaller spaces and in more sustainable ways. They're attempting to fix existing food supply chain concerns, which we've all became intimately familiar with in the past year. Images of picked-over grocery shelves and farmers tossing out produce early in the Covid-19 pandemic broadcast the failures and fragility of our current systems.

By 2050, it's estimated that the global population will balloon to almost 10 billion, and 68% of those people will live in cities. That means we'll have to produce more food than ever before, to feed people who live farther from the rural areas where most crops and animals are cultivated. Bringing production closer to where consumption happens could increase food security, improve our health and lessen the industry's considerable impacts on the planet – if we're able to grow enough nutrient-rich grub, that is.

In the United States, it's estimated that urban and peri-urban farms account for almost 15% of the country's farms. Among them is 80 Acres Farms, a vertical farming operation based in Ohio but which has eight locations in four states, all of which use zero pesticides and require 97% less water consumption compared to traditional farms. (Vertical farming refers to growing crops in vertically stacked layers in a controlled environment, often incorporating soilless techniques.)

Co-founders Mike Zelkind and Tisha Livingston are trying to push the potential of this multi-billion-dollar industry further. To date, enterprises like theirs have primarily focused on easy-to-grow leafy greens – which won't sustain civilisation on their own – but with advancements in technology Zelkind and Livingston have been able to add more substantial crops like peppers, tomatoes and baby cucumbers. They explain how their farms have incorporated sophisticated technologies in the video below.

Your browser does not support HTML5 video.


How to grow food in a concrete jungle

Guillaume Fourdinier has lived in Paris for six years, but he still misses the taste of the fresh cereal grains, beets, carrots and more that grow on his family's farm in Verton. There, in northern France's countryside, eating locally is a way of life – not simply a trend or a sticker on an apple at the grocery store.

“Local food is everywhere when you are in the countryside. You get fruits and vegetables with better taste, more nutritional value,” he says. “When you are in Paris, what is local food? There is nothing coming from a local farm. I think for quality of life for people living in big cities this is a big problem.”

In 2015, Fourdinier co-founded Agricool, an urban farm that's now comprised of 11 recycled shipping containers on the north side of the city. Eight farmers plant, harvest, pack, and deliver the pesticide-free lettuces, herbs, and strawberries to 60 supermarkets (though Fourdinier expects that number to grow to at least 200 retailers by the end of 2021).

Urban farms like Agricool are part of a broad collection of metropolitan agricultural efforts including everything from vertical farms to greenhouses to aquaponics to community gardens. The idea of cultivating food in or near cities is not new (see the victory gardens of both world wars, for example), but these ventures have become increasingly popular in recent years as the local food movement strengthens. After the rise of the supermarkets led many people to feel disconnected from food production, consumers are again paying more attention to how and where their food is grown, along with how far ingredients must travel between field and plate.

From Brussels to Nigeria, entrepreneurs and farmers are reimagining what farms are and conceiving innovative technology to help grow food in smaller spaces and in more sustainable ways. They're attempting to fix existing food supply chain concerns, which we've all became intimately familiar with in the past year. Images of picked-over grocery shelves and farmers tossing out produce early in the Covid-19 pandemic broadcast the failures and fragility of our current systems.

By 2050, it's estimated that the global population will balloon to almost 10 billion, and 68% of those people will live in cities. That means we'll have to produce more food than ever before, to feed people who live farther from the rural areas where most crops and animals are cultivated. Bringing production closer to where consumption happens could increase food security, improve our health and lessen the industry's considerable impacts on the planet – if we're able to grow enough nutrient-rich grub, that is.

In the United States, it's estimated that urban and peri-urban farms account for almost 15% of the country's farms. Among them is 80 Acres Farms, a vertical farming operation based in Ohio but which has eight locations in four states, all of which use zero pesticides and require 97% less water consumption compared to traditional farms. (Vertical farming refers to growing crops in vertically stacked layers in a controlled environment, often incorporating soilless techniques.)

Co-founders Mike Zelkind and Tisha Livingston are trying to push the potential of this multi-billion-dollar industry further. To date, enterprises like theirs have primarily focused on easy-to-grow leafy greens – which won't sustain civilisation on their own – but with advancements in technology Zelkind and Livingston have been able to add more substantial crops like peppers, tomatoes and baby cucumbers. They explain how their farms have incorporated sophisticated technologies in the video below.

Your browser does not support HTML5 video.


How to grow food in a concrete jungle

Guillaume Fourdinier has lived in Paris for six years, but he still misses the taste of the fresh cereal grains, beets, carrots and more that grow on his family's farm in Verton. There, in northern France's countryside, eating locally is a way of life – not simply a trend or a sticker on an apple at the grocery store.

“Local food is everywhere when you are in the countryside. You get fruits and vegetables with better taste, more nutritional value,” he says. “When you are in Paris, what is local food? There is nothing coming from a local farm. I think for quality of life for people living in big cities this is a big problem.”

In 2015, Fourdinier co-founded Agricool, an urban farm that's now comprised of 11 recycled shipping containers on the north side of the city. Eight farmers plant, harvest, pack, and deliver the pesticide-free lettuces, herbs, and strawberries to 60 supermarkets (though Fourdinier expects that number to grow to at least 200 retailers by the end of 2021).

Urban farms like Agricool are part of a broad collection of metropolitan agricultural efforts including everything from vertical farms to greenhouses to aquaponics to community gardens. The idea of cultivating food in or near cities is not new (see the victory gardens of both world wars, for example), but these ventures have become increasingly popular in recent years as the local food movement strengthens. After the rise of the supermarkets led many people to feel disconnected from food production, consumers are again paying more attention to how and where their food is grown, along with how far ingredients must travel between field and plate.

From Brussels to Nigeria, entrepreneurs and farmers are reimagining what farms are and conceiving innovative technology to help grow food in smaller spaces and in more sustainable ways. They're attempting to fix existing food supply chain concerns, which we've all became intimately familiar with in the past year. Images of picked-over grocery shelves and farmers tossing out produce early in the Covid-19 pandemic broadcast the failures and fragility of our current systems.

By 2050, it's estimated that the global population will balloon to almost 10 billion, and 68% of those people will live in cities. That means we'll have to produce more food than ever before, to feed people who live farther from the rural areas where most crops and animals are cultivated. Bringing production closer to where consumption happens could increase food security, improve our health and lessen the industry's considerable impacts on the planet – if we're able to grow enough nutrient-rich grub, that is.

In the United States, it's estimated that urban and peri-urban farms account for almost 15% of the country's farms. Among them is 80 Acres Farms, a vertical farming operation based in Ohio but which has eight locations in four states, all of which use zero pesticides and require 97% less water consumption compared to traditional farms. (Vertical farming refers to growing crops in vertically stacked layers in a controlled environment, often incorporating soilless techniques.)

Co-founders Mike Zelkind and Tisha Livingston are trying to push the potential of this multi-billion-dollar industry further. To date, enterprises like theirs have primarily focused on easy-to-grow leafy greens – which won't sustain civilisation on their own – but with advancements in technology Zelkind and Livingston have been able to add more substantial crops like peppers, tomatoes and baby cucumbers. They explain how their farms have incorporated sophisticated technologies in the video below.

Your browser does not support HTML5 video.


How to grow food in a concrete jungle

Guillaume Fourdinier has lived in Paris for six years, but he still misses the taste of the fresh cereal grains, beets, carrots and more that grow on his family's farm in Verton. There, in northern France's countryside, eating locally is a way of life – not simply a trend or a sticker on an apple at the grocery store.

“Local food is everywhere when you are in the countryside. You get fruits and vegetables with better taste, more nutritional value,” he says. “When you are in Paris, what is local food? There is nothing coming from a local farm. I think for quality of life for people living in big cities this is a big problem.”

In 2015, Fourdinier co-founded Agricool, an urban farm that's now comprised of 11 recycled shipping containers on the north side of the city. Eight farmers plant, harvest, pack, and deliver the pesticide-free lettuces, herbs, and strawberries to 60 supermarkets (though Fourdinier expects that number to grow to at least 200 retailers by the end of 2021).

Urban farms like Agricool are part of a broad collection of metropolitan agricultural efforts including everything from vertical farms to greenhouses to aquaponics to community gardens. The idea of cultivating food in or near cities is not new (see the victory gardens of both world wars, for example), but these ventures have become increasingly popular in recent years as the local food movement strengthens. After the rise of the supermarkets led many people to feel disconnected from food production, consumers are again paying more attention to how and where their food is grown, along with how far ingredients must travel between field and plate.

From Brussels to Nigeria, entrepreneurs and farmers are reimagining what farms are and conceiving innovative technology to help grow food in smaller spaces and in more sustainable ways. They're attempting to fix existing food supply chain concerns, which we've all became intimately familiar with in the past year. Images of picked-over grocery shelves and farmers tossing out produce early in the Covid-19 pandemic broadcast the failures and fragility of our current systems.

By 2050, it's estimated that the global population will balloon to almost 10 billion, and 68% of those people will live in cities. That means we'll have to produce more food than ever before, to feed people who live farther from the rural areas where most crops and animals are cultivated. Bringing production closer to where consumption happens could increase food security, improve our health and lessen the industry's considerable impacts on the planet – if we're able to grow enough nutrient-rich grub, that is.

In the United States, it's estimated that urban and peri-urban farms account for almost 15% of the country's farms. Among them is 80 Acres Farms, a vertical farming operation based in Ohio but which has eight locations in four states, all of which use zero pesticides and require 97% less water consumption compared to traditional farms. (Vertical farming refers to growing crops in vertically stacked layers in a controlled environment, often incorporating soilless techniques.)

Co-founders Mike Zelkind and Tisha Livingston are trying to push the potential of this multi-billion-dollar industry further. To date, enterprises like theirs have primarily focused on easy-to-grow leafy greens – which won't sustain civilisation on their own – but with advancements in technology Zelkind and Livingston have been able to add more substantial crops like peppers, tomatoes and baby cucumbers. They explain how their farms have incorporated sophisticated technologies in the video below.

Your browser does not support HTML5 video.


How to grow food in a concrete jungle

Guillaume Fourdinier has lived in Paris for six years, but he still misses the taste of the fresh cereal grains, beets, carrots and more that grow on his family's farm in Verton. There, in northern France's countryside, eating locally is a way of life – not simply a trend or a sticker on an apple at the grocery store.

“Local food is everywhere when you are in the countryside. You get fruits and vegetables with better taste, more nutritional value,” he says. “When you are in Paris, what is local food? There is nothing coming from a local farm. I think for quality of life for people living in big cities this is a big problem.”

In 2015, Fourdinier co-founded Agricool, an urban farm that's now comprised of 11 recycled shipping containers on the north side of the city. Eight farmers plant, harvest, pack, and deliver the pesticide-free lettuces, herbs, and strawberries to 60 supermarkets (though Fourdinier expects that number to grow to at least 200 retailers by the end of 2021).

Urban farms like Agricool are part of a broad collection of metropolitan agricultural efforts including everything from vertical farms to greenhouses to aquaponics to community gardens. The idea of cultivating food in or near cities is not new (see the victory gardens of both world wars, for example), but these ventures have become increasingly popular in recent years as the local food movement strengthens. After the rise of the supermarkets led many people to feel disconnected from food production, consumers are again paying more attention to how and where their food is grown, along with how far ingredients must travel between field and plate.

From Brussels to Nigeria, entrepreneurs and farmers are reimagining what farms are and conceiving innovative technology to help grow food in smaller spaces and in more sustainable ways. They're attempting to fix existing food supply chain concerns, which we've all became intimately familiar with in the past year. Images of picked-over grocery shelves and farmers tossing out produce early in the Covid-19 pandemic broadcast the failures and fragility of our current systems.

By 2050, it's estimated that the global population will balloon to almost 10 billion, and 68% of those people will live in cities. That means we'll have to produce more food than ever before, to feed people who live farther from the rural areas where most crops and animals are cultivated. Bringing production closer to where consumption happens could increase food security, improve our health and lessen the industry's considerable impacts on the planet – if we're able to grow enough nutrient-rich grub, that is.

In the United States, it's estimated that urban and peri-urban farms account for almost 15% of the country's farms. Among them is 80 Acres Farms, a vertical farming operation based in Ohio but which has eight locations in four states, all of which use zero pesticides and require 97% less water consumption compared to traditional farms. (Vertical farming refers to growing crops in vertically stacked layers in a controlled environment, often incorporating soilless techniques.)

Co-founders Mike Zelkind and Tisha Livingston are trying to push the potential of this multi-billion-dollar industry further. To date, enterprises like theirs have primarily focused on easy-to-grow leafy greens – which won't sustain civilisation on their own – but with advancements in technology Zelkind and Livingston have been able to add more substantial crops like peppers, tomatoes and baby cucumbers. They explain how their farms have incorporated sophisticated technologies in the video below.

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