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Designing Urban Agriculture: A Complete Guide to the Planning, Design, Construction, Maintenance, and Management of Edible Landscapes

April Philips
Publication Date: 

For many years, local food gardens have been primarily on the outskirts of cities. This is changing, with a greater emphasis on planning and cultivating what Philips describes as “urban  agricultural landscapes that promote ecological biodiversity and social sustainability.”  Interestingly, the foremost example of success in this area has been in Cuba. After Cuba lost subsidies from the Soviet Union in 1991, Cubans were forced to provide food through a system not dependent on fossil fuels. This resulted in numerous small farms, both in villages as well as in Havana, where 60 percent of the food eaten is grown within city limits. Philips, a landscape architect and designer, describes projects all over the world that attempt to create various types of urban agricultural landscapes. The book provides detailed plans, diagrams, and photographs of more than 30 success stories in this farm to table movement. Two of these are located in the Chicago area: Prairie Crossing, in Grayslake, a planned village with a farm on the western border, and the roof garden at Gary Comer Youth Center in Chicago. 
- Joan Richards, volunteer, Chicago Botanic Garden.