Permaculture in the City: a sampler of inspiring urban agriculture projects

Doing permaculture in the city can be more complex than designing a rural homestead, and one of the first obstacles many of us have to overcome is the lack of access to available land.

Here is a quick-and-dirty collection of examples for how people have found amazing and creative ways to grow food in the city, even if they didn’t own land.

Seattle. The Beacon Food Forest as an example of community sharing. They engaged in a collective process for many years, created a design, and made it happen. Here’s an inspiring map of their project:

Detroit, Michigan. The Georgia Street Community Collective in Detroit is an excellent example of a community permaculture program that has really made the effort to connect with what stakeholders need and want.

New York City has thousands of gardens in public and private places all over the city. Even though the cost of living is extremely high and people struggle with extreme poverty and ongoing threats of violence on a level much more intense than most places, you can still find food, flowers, and sanctuary in every neighborhood. Here are a few quick examples:

the rooftop garden at the Brooklyn Grange in New York
The 1-acre Battery Park farm is the largest urban garden in Manhattan and is visited by millions every year, wandered through while they wait for the ferry to the Statue of Liberty.
This guerrilla garden was built by volunteers working with Adam Purple in the 1970’s
The Umbrella House Garden on the Lower East Side is maintained by the residents of the building, which was a squat for many years until they raised enough money to collectively buy it.
The Brooklyn Grange Farm is one of the largest and most successful rooftop gardens in the world.
A collectively-run building that hosts a radio station, an event space, a cafe, and several private offices, and together they share this rooftop garden.
This rooftop garden is on top of the United Nations building and is maintained by folks who work there.
This tiny but thriving community garden in New York City is gorgeous but almost impossible to gain access to.
This suburban permaculture site makes uses of every square inch of their sunny front yard!
She still has a white picket fence!

It’s one thing to imagine a permaculture city, but in the real world, with a myriad of complex influences, things rarely unfold exactly like our fantasies.

Want to see more Examples?

Check out the curated collection we put together for students in the Permaculture Women’s Guild online Permaculture Design Course. This article is excerpted from the “Urban Permaculture” class in that course, and at the end of every class, we have a button like this:

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