food systems & design

Carrot City: Design’s New Shtick

A splendid new book from Monacelli Press marks the coming of age of urban agriculture – at least for the design world. Carrot City: Creating Places for Urban Agriculture is a timely reflection on design and urban food systems, and on the ways that agricultural issues are once again shaping urban spaces and buildings.

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Geeked-out gardening

The day after I celebrated his Kickstarter success with Tyler Caruso, co-founder of Seeing Green, which is about measuring the value of urban agriculture, I read a fascinating piece by Simon Kuper in the FT about the use of data to analyse every tiny aspect of a football match.. ‘Largely unseen by public and media, […]

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Shoe Town to Brew Town

When Jimmy Carbone, co-creator of The Good Beer Seal, was considering running for mayor of his old hometown in Haverhill, Massachusetts, he began to ponder possible new uses for industrial buildings that had fallen in to disuse. Could small resource-sharing breweries be a centerpiece of a regional economic development? To find out, he asked his […]

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The high-tech permaculture metabolic engine greenhouse

[Stop Press: Polydome has been shortlisted for the 2012 Buckminster Fukller Challenge] A few years ago urban farming in developed cities was a fringe topic that few designers or architects thought much about. There were exceptions: we tried hard [but failed] to build a prototype of Natalie Jeremijenko’s Urban Space Station at Designs of the […]

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Kick-off!

This was a first for me: witnessing first-hand a Kickstarter project cross the line and go live. The happy guy with the phone [in Claire Hartten’s garden in Brooklyn] is Tyler Caruso, joint founder [with Erik Facteau] of Seeing Green: The Value of Urban Agriculture. Their project is a year-long research effort to measure the […]

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Alternative trade networks and the coffee system

Every day 1.5 billion cups of coffee are drunk somewhere in the world – quite a few of them in this house – but few of us in the North know much about the 25 million families that grow and produce this valuable bean. After reading a new book called Confronting The Coffee Crisis I […]

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You can’t grow food with an iphone app – –

– – but Tana Sprague *can* sample the sounds of Caciocavallo cheese maturing. I was curious, when I first heard about it, as to the meaning of ‘’Rurality 2.0′ – the theme of the Interferenze festival in Italy last week. So now I know. It would miss the point to ask “why?” – and besides: […]

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The big chill

Shopping for a snack in central London yesterday evening I counted an extraordinary 78 metres (256 feet) of chiller cabinets in one small central London branch of Marks and Spencer. Marks and Spencer have made a laudable commitment to make all it UK and Irish operations carbon neutral within five years. “We’ll maximise our use […]

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Fish systems and design

A grim new film, The End of the Line, reveals the impact of overfishing on our oceans. It exposes the extent to which global stocks of fish are dwindling; features scientists who warn we could see the end of most seafood by 2048; and includes chefs and fishers who seem indiferent to the ecocidal consequences […]

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