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Old 06-08-2008, 11:14 PM   #1
Andrew Thompson
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Interesting Article about Urban Farming Potential

This is an interesting article that I thought some of you might enjoy.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080608/...rming_havana_1
(WFS)

I saw it originally linked in a The Linkery's blog (a farm to table restaurant in San Diego) http://thelinkery.com/blog/ (WFS)
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Old 06-10-2008, 08:03 PM   #2
Emily Mattes
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Re: Interesting Article about Urban Farming Potential

I have been involved in community gardens, and there is tremendous potential in urban gardening from social, ecological, financial, and nutritional standpoints. One urban garden can fill in an empty lot, offer urban kids a chance to see real greenery and learn nature skills, provide cheap produce, a source of income, and help unite neighbors by providing a common workspace for their efforts. Problem is, they can be a real hassle to get off the ground--you have to determine who owns the lot, test the soil (as most empty lots are full of construction waste), probably cart in new soil, get beds built, make sure there are some strong community leaders to keep the project going, etc, etc. I wish we would see more city-wide efforts to these kinds of projects. Where I live, Baltimore has a greening program with trees, but it mostly involves planting these spindly little things that nobody cares for and they die within a year or two--it's for publicity, not to effect real change.
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Old 06-17-2008, 01:07 PM   #3
Yael Grauer
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Re: Interesting Article about Urban Farming Potential

Mollison's permaculture book has an urban perma section which is well worth reading. The book is ridiculously expensive but the chapter can be read at a bookstore.
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Old 06-19-2008, 07:35 AM   #4
Matt DeMinico
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Re: Interesting Article about Urban Farming Potential

Urban farming can be great, no reason why it can't succeed.

Though the results are hilarious, the same thing happened in the Soviet Union under communism, they were basically forced to allow about 10% of the farming to be done as a private venture, and that 10% produced about 90% of the country's food, while the 90% that was government-run produced jack. Looks like a similar effect happening in Cuba where folks are more than happy to run their own enterprises, and it's benefitting everyone.

But honestly, a lot of things could be benefitted from miniaturization. If we had one small farm per city block (or something similar), one person with a small amount of equipment could run it and save on transportation costs, etc, not to mention it could give local folks some sort of control over their food, not require strange chemicals, etc. Similarly, (off the topic of nutrition), there's the possibility of doing local power generation and save on the cost of power transmission (I think 30% of the power that leaves the power plants ends up at its destination. In other words, 70% of it is lost in transmission over power lines, plus the cost of all those expensive transformer farms, etc).
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Old 06-19-2008, 02:05 PM   #5
Neil Bauersfeld
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Re: Interesting Article about Urban Farming Potential

Matt,

Not that it matters to the discussion so much, but US power transmission and distribution losses are estimated around 7% by wikipedia. Is there a source for the 70% figure?
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Old 06-19-2008, 09:32 PM   #6
Jeff Evans
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Re: Interesting Article about Urban Farming Potential

Quote:
Originally Posted by Neil Bauersfeld View Post
Matt,

Not that it matters to the discussion so much, but US power transmission and distribution losses are estimated around 7% by wikipedia. Is there a source for the 70% figure?
Eh, well, Wikipedia is hardly a source on anything either. Unless their figure is cited in a footnote it could just be some random guy's "research".
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Old 06-19-2008, 11:17 PM   #7
Neil Bauersfeld
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Re: Interesting Article about Urban Farming Potential

It's cited in a footnote from a 2003 study.

Last edited by Neil Bauersfeld : 06-19-2008 at 11:23 PM.
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Old 06-20-2008, 04:15 PM   #8
Clay Jones
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Re: Interesting Article about Urban Farming Potential

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Originally Posted by Jeff Evans View Post
Eh, well, Wikipedia is hardly a source on anything either. Unless their figure is cited in a footnote it could just be some random guy's "research".
As could your data be as well. Not looking to pick a fight, just pointing out that your data at this point seems as good as his.

Transmission losses in the 70% range? Seems unlikely. Those are the types of losses seen in internal combustion engines, not over power lines.

I remember having to calculate them for some course I took once. I'll see what I can't dig up.

Take care.
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Old 06-21-2008, 02:38 PM   #9
Emily Mattes
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Re: Interesting Article about Urban Farming Potential

Matt, my boyfriend who works in the power industry says your numbers are full of crap. On a bad day, you worry about 5% loss, and that's a really bad day. If transmission loss was that high, power companies would have found a better way to do things.

Are you thinking about power plant capacity? If you're talking about non-nuke plant that is fairly expensive to run, you only ramp it up when power need is the greatest (say, during the day), so total capacity over its lifetime could be somewhere around 30%. But that has nothing to do with energy loss, especially energy loss over transmission.
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