“Til Dream of Us Spring,” The Meadowlands for a summer day, U.S.A.
At most fields, April showers rain on rows of beets, hoping for greener pastures. However, this week at the grounds surrounding Lincoln High School, the fields of U.S.A.’s Chris Pirillo have been sodden from spring showers and flooded from sundown. Hundreds of beets sat alongside a 10-foot-high pipe in the middle of the field — rising high over rows of winter crops such as lettuce and kale.
After spinning ten miles by satellite farm satellite, a tractor pulled a machine towards a tiered dock above the lake, taking the beets to a room for processing. To this, Erin Beendel notes, “At this moment in time, we’re processing more than 750 pounds of beets per day.”
It’s good news for this, the Midwest’s favorite vegetable. Prices have increased thanks to a robust winter harvest and the highest-ever consumption, with more than 2 billion pounds sold last year. By a study from the Iowa State Agronomy Department, the market for beet greens nearly tripled over the last ten years — from $1.9 million in 2009 to $6.5 million in 2018.
If you’re in New York City, you can see the fields in action every day, too, at the farm operated by Erin Beendel and Jordan Ratkovich, as a weekly growing demonstration. They’re a familiar sight in the SoHo neighborhood, where the growing season is now under way.
Be a farmer: Meet Rosemary Ramirez, director of Growing Underground, an urban farm in the Bronx that grows 600 seedlings to ship around the world.
Growing Underground grows salad crops, sorghum, and heirloom seeds (like English Ivy and Papaya Bellini Garden), but when our visitors look around for small, seedless spaces to cultivate their gardens, they’re surprised to find spaces the size of a closet. Grow Underground doesn’t store seed — it maintains just one bank of hydroponic soil with seeds. We found it with – for you – unlimited monthly renewable subscriptions. Subscribe with our special promotion, and each month, from April through September, we’ll send you a new five-pack of seeds to keep for a year.
In light of a growing view of the damage that urban farming can do to native landscapes, Brian Buckley and Sara Cohen turned to urban gardening for a more symbiotic project, Elevating Fundraising. In a series of public installations called “The Gardens of Love,” they planted simple, colorful, edible terrariums on their vacant lower Manhattan apartment roof.
If you’re over a decade older than 50, heading toward retirement, and perhaps jaded by the constant hustle of life’s demands, you’ll likely find comfort in most things urban farming has to offer. But if you’re just starting out, we’re even here to help. We’ve got three new starter kits with the basics of how to cultivate your own food.
Lien Quan writes about culture and innovation. Read more at .