Monday, July 22, 2013

Edible Landscape Education On Line

The Future of Food with iAgriscape is simply a Click away

The mantra of the biotech industry is that we will have 9 billion people to feed in 25 years and the only way to do this is with heavy machinery and lab grown food. The other issue they like to point out, is that with so many people on the planet, most of them living in cities, there just is no other option than franken foods to feed us all. Most governments and international agencies are bracing for the fact that the majority of the world's people either live in or plan to move into cities, leaving less and less people to farm shrinking viable farmland. With increasing demands of a growing population needing housing, prime farmland is being bulldozed for high rises and their chain grocery superstores.

New York City From Above

I wish I could find it, but I remember seeing a graphic of New York City, one of the most densely populated metropolitan areas in the world. This graphic showed all the porch/deck space, lawn space, roof top spaces and basically any scrap of land that was not paved over space that if these "spaces" had gardens grown on them, the acreage could actually provide produce for the entire city. Wow, that's 8.245 million people according to the last census. The other interesting inference from this graphic was that all this space would provide a truly local, very low carbon foot print, source of fresh fruits and vegetables. 

A Computer Image of what could be possible in Cities with Gardens Everywhere 

The Grow Food Not Lawns Movement is, forgive the redundancy, growing. 

There are a plethora of classes, neighborhood groups, resources but often they are overwhelming and require a great amount of research and gleaning to know what to do exactly for your particular bioregion. Classes can be difficult to attend due to distance, timing or cost. I found this incredible initiative that can meet all of these challenges, the need to create edible gardens in the urban environment and the realities of most peoples lives.

iAgriscape is an innovative program coming out of the Phoenix area of Arizona. 

Edible Urban Garden Design by iAgriscape

If anyone could help design a program for creating edible landscapes with limited resources, it would be Arizona. With little water, searing heat for a large portion of the year, poor soil and a bursting urban environment, all the qualities that actually match most of the world's population, the experts at iAgriscape can really help solve the urban food crisis. 

What is Agriscaping? In short, it is making your landscaping around your home, into agricultural or edible landscaping. Here is a great handout on Agriscaping.: 

The nice looking guy on the handout is probably one of the most enthusiastic and generous entrepreneurs I have ever met. 

Justin Rohner is a consultant and teacher through iAgriscape and my featured guest on the July 18th program (my grandma Dora's birthday I might add, and she was an amazing gardener who made her landscape into Agriscape before there was a term for it) You can listen to the podcast by clicking here:

What is incredible about iAgriscape is that they are creating an online program that is available 24/7 which can be tailored to your bio-region. By putting in your zip code or geographical location, specific ideas and suggestions will be made so you can grow food in your area that will actually grow. The course is absolutely complete with everything from water conservation to design, harvesting to processing of what you are growing. Rohner has collaborated with garden and agricultural experts from across the globe, and their goal is to train enough people to have Agriscape consultants in major population areas around the nation and the globe.

If you sign up for their newsletter, or join as a member you will get all the updates. They are launching a Kickstarter campaign soon, which will have premiums ranging from full training to access the the newly developed online course. Watch their site for details, the blog is really delightful and you can sign up for updates.

iAgriscape is helping people be more healthy and create sustainable businesses for urban dwellers. There is no downside to this program. iAgriscape is the face of the future in city life, and from my perspective it looks really really yummy!

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