Vertical Gardens – The Answer To Urban Farming and Food Security

When I was growing up in the UK many years ago, ‘vertical gardens’ wasn’t even a keyword as Google didn’t exist! However, I was lucky enough to live in a small village and to spend many happy hours with my grandfather discovering the wonders of his veggie garden, watching insects skate around on top of the water barrel and eagerly exhuming new potatoes as they mooned their milky white bums up through the black soil. To my way of thinking, my city dwelling friends missed out (I know- I dipped out on fun city stuff too) a few lucky ones had parents who stoically worked an allotment several miles away from their terraced houses but most of the others had to settle for supermarket veggies that struggled to stay fresh in the fridge. My friends were blissfully unaware of what they were missing by not ‘growing stuff in dirt’ and slobbering over those delicious, buttered ‘spuds’. Does this matter? I think it matters a lot – on so many levels.

The world is undergoing the largest wave of urban growth in history – It is estimated that by 2030, 60% of the world’s population will be living in cities – this will have a huge impact on our lifestyles – on the space to grow food, on food security and food miles, on our sense of well-being¹, on our social activities, and the air we breathe will be more polluted than it is already. City temperatures will be several degrees higher due to the urban heat island effect. Sydney’s urban temperature may rise by up to 3.7C by 2050². Apartment blocks and shopping malls will swallow us up and our ‘fresh’ food will be worn out by the time it reaches our plates. Maybe we’ll end up with Food Pills after all and soil – what was that used for?

Vertical gardens, installed for use as urban farms, can play a vital rescue role by maximizing unused, vertical real estate (walls and rooftops) and by establishing urban farms on our doorstep, we can support fresh food production and combat pollution of our cities. Plants have an amazing capacity to clean our air. Fresh produce, from as many vertical gardens and roof gardens as is viable, will improve our health while soothing us with their lush aesthetic beauty. The benefits of organically grown produce, picked from your vertical garden minutes before it lands on your plate gets the gold award for both taste and nutrition. Did I mention that children eat what they grow? Do we need to address childhood obesity? Oh and don’t forget that ‘messing about in real dirt’ bonus. ‘Nuff said.’

It doesn’t matter who you are, there’s a vertical garden system that you can use for urban farming. One particular steel vertical garden system is strong enough to hold large volumes of soil and thus provide large, dig – in beds in which vegetables and herbs thrive. Water does not evaporate as quickly from large pockets of potting media as it does from small pockets so water consumption is lowered. Extreme temperature swings are reduced in vertical gardens that hold large amounts of soil, lessening root ‘shock’. If city dwellers started to grow more produce with vertical gardens, food miles would be reduced, food security would be assured and restaurants and cafes could delight their diners by tapping into a seasonal supply of fresh food right before their eyes! Urban foodie, Sally, in apt. 403, the Primary School on the corner, the tiny courtyard at the back of Pete’s restaurant or the Aged Care chef desperately trying to feed his residents on $9 a day – all these people have a range of vertical garden systems from which they can choose to produce an abundant harvest – many come in DIY kits. Food prices will keep rising if we don’t pay attention to growing UP in our cities.

The use of vertical gardens for urban farming can involve a whole community AND save money – and I’m not talking about grand scale projects on the roof of a car manufacturing plant. An official audit of a project³ which involved bringing gardening joy back to just 46 older people in a single borough in south London, has concluded that it could have saved the taxpayer as much as £500,000 ($1,042,318) a year in just one area. The potential savings were calculated using standard estimates of the cost of NHS care for reduced medications, visits to doctors, A & E and decreased number of hospital admissions as well as fewer visits from health and social workers.

I believe that the installation of vertical gardens need to be supported on every scale, in shopping malls, on rooftops, on balconies, in courtyards, Aged Care facilities, hospitals, restaurants, schools and even in public city spaces. With a little smart planning, an option to participate in community urban farming will see young and old benefit from a life enhancing activity that yields a luscious harvest that is literally ‘off the wall.’

¹Studies by Kellert, Heewagen & Mador 2003)

²ARC Centre of Excellence for Climate System Science, Dr Daniel Argueso

³ “Garden Partners” project in Wandsworth – run in 2009 by Age UK, Sarah Jackson and funded by the local NHS trust

Healthy Urban Kitchen Review – Healthy Eating Guide

Are you looking for more information about this healthy eating guide called Healthy Urban Kitchen Cookbook? I went ahead to read about it straight after it was first released, and now I am glad that I have achieved good fat loss results by following the methods inside. This cookbook teaches you a lot of stuff about making your own types of healthy foods to consume for faster fat loss.

1. What I Have Learned from the Healthy Urban Kitchen Cookbook

For someone like me who knew nothing much about healthy eating, this guide has given me a lot of helpful advice on how to cook up different foods to improve my health. I learned many different recipes to cook natural food, how to eat for health, the things to shop for as well as the types of foods to avoid consuming.

2. How to Make your Foods Safer for Consumption?

One important tip I learned from Healthy Urban Kitchen Cookbook is that the overuse of Teflon coated and aluminum pans can be dangerous for your health. They tend to scrap off as they get older and create toxins in the foods that you cook with them. Besides learning how to avoid hazards like this, you will also learn how to cook in order for you to minimize the loss of nutrients from your food.

3. How Does the Healthy Urban Kitchen Cookbook Help You to Lose Fats?

Every food in the guide is broken up clearly into categories like snacks and appetizers, poultry, different protein types, comfort foods and deserts etc. Each group is then described clearly in terms of their fat loss capabilities and the other benefits and potential harms that they can do to your body.

Urban Exploration – Exploring Cityscapes

If you like dark, confined spaces but hate nature, perhaps the sport called urban exploration, urbex or UE, might be the activity for you. To participate in urbex, individuals in Dallas, Houston and elsewhere in Texas spend hours examining the normally unseen or off-limits parts of urban landscapes. Urban exploration may also be referred to as “draining” (when exploring drains) “urban spelunking” or “urban caving,” “vadding,” “building hacking,” “reality hacking” or “roof and tunnel hacking.”

Trips into abandoned structures are perhaps the most common example of UE. Abandoned sites are generally entered by locals, and often sport large amounts of graffiti and acts of vandalism. Explorers face various risks in abandoned structures, including collapsing roofs and floors, broken glass, guard dogs, the presence of chemicals and other harmful substances, most notably asbestos and hostile squatters. Some explorers wear respirators to protect their lungs. Some abandonments are heavily guarded with motion sensors and active security. Others are more easily accessible and carry less risk of discovery.

Exploration targets vary from one location to another. Some of the more popular or high-profile abandonments include: amusement parks, grain elevators, missile silos, hospitals, asylums and sanatoriums.

Most, if not all, explorers who are also photographers find the decay of uninhabited spaces beautiful. Abandonments are also popular among history buffs, “urban archaeologists,” “ghost hunters” and fans of graffiti art.

Active buildings
Another aspect of urban exploration is the practice of exploring active or in-use buildings. This includes exploring secured or “member-only” areas, mechanical rooms, roofs, elevator rooms, abandoned floors and other normally unseen parts of such buildings. The term “infiltration” is often associated with the exploration of active structures.

Catacombs
Catacombs, like those found in Paris, Rome and Naples, have been investigated by urban explorers for centuries. The catacombs under Paris, for example, have been considered the “Holy Grail” by some, due to their extensive nature and history.

Sewers and storm drains
Exploring storm drains, or draining, is another form of UE. Groups devoted to the task have arisen, such as the Cave Clan in Australia. A small group of explorers enter sewers. Sometimes they are the only connection to caves or other subterranean feature. But be forewarned, sewers are among the most dangerous locations to explore.
Draining has a specialized set of rules, foremost among them being “When it rains, no drains.”

Transit tunnels
Another subset of urban exploration deals with searching active and abandoned subways, underground railway tunnels and bores. Since these tend to be in major cities, there can be stiff penalties if you’re caught trespassing, especially after the 9-11 attacks. As a result, this type of exploration is rarely publicized. Although explorers exist worldwide, those who partake in this often reside near New York City, Toronto, London, Sydney and Moscow, as well as some of the other major cities throughout the world.

Utility tunnels
Universities and other large institutions often distribute steam for heating buildings from a central heating plant. These steam ducts are generally run through utility tunnels, which are often accessible only for the purposes of maintenance. Many of these steam tunnels, such as those on college campuses, also have a tradition of exploration.

Steam tunnels in general have been getting more secure in recent years, due to their use for carrying network backbones and the perceived risk of their use in terrorist activities, as well as safety and liability issues.

Some steam tunnels have dirt floors, no lighting and can have temperatures upwards of 115 degrees Fahrenheit (46° C). Others have concrete floors and bright light, and can be quite nice and with a cool temperature. Most modern steam tunnels have large intake fans to bring in fresh air, and push all of the hot air out the back.

Activities such as urban exploration can be a possible, albeit dangerous way to exercise to maintain good health. If you’re a young individual who likes to try unusual sports like urbex to keep healthy, you should take a look at the revolutionary, comprehensive and highly-affordable individual health insurance solutions created by Precedent specifically for you. For more information, visit us at our website, [http://www.precedent.com]. We offer a unique and innovative suite of individual health insurance solutions, including highly competitive HSA-qualified plans and an unparalleled “real time” application and acceptance experience.