SF Giants urban garden
SF Giants The Garden
The San Francisco Giants and Bon Appétit Management Company opened a 4,320 square-foot urban garden space today behind the centerfield wall. The Garden at AT&T Park will grow produce on the menu at the ballpark, provide a gathering place for fans, and serve as an outdoor classroom for Bay Area youth to learn about healthy eating and agriculture.
The landscape design, by Blasen Landscape Architecture and  EDG  under the direction of Bon Appétit Management Company CEO and Cofounder Fedele Bauccio, integrates cutting-edge vertical aeroponic towers made by Future Growing with traditional raised beds atop the concrete plaza. Each tower, made of FDA-compliant, food-grade plastic, can grow up to 44 plants on a tiny footprint. The aeroponic towers use up to 95 percent less water than conventional farming by recycling 100 percent of the growing solution. 
The Garden SF
The sustainably grown fruits, vegetables, greens, and flowers will be harvested at peak ripeness year round for the restaurant – regardless of the team schedule and community-focused programs – with Peet’s coffee grounds used as fertilizer for the planter beds.  The list of produce includes: blueberries, strawberries, avocados, tomatoes, peppers, squash, lettuces, lemons, watercress, kale, and lemongrass.  
We love how this partnership epitomizes local trends and community stewardship in a captive setting where food education is suitable. Healthy living should be part of every athletic cornerstone and The Garden’s the perfect gateway for people to grow and cultivate under the guise of sportsmanship.
FlowerHouse Tacoma
FlowerHouse Tacoma
A nature conservatory is growing as night falls in the Hilltop neighborhood of Tacoma.
FlowerHouse Tacoma, an installation by Duncan Price, is starting to take shape to transform the darkest days with an astonishing glow and heroic scale. With 28 photographic panels featuring invasive species – from brambles to thistles – Price will transform his home near downtown into a pictorial preserve of gorgeous flora.
FlowerHouse Tacoma
Made possible through a grant from the Tacoma’s Artist Initiative Program (TAIP), we previewed the artistry in progress and insist it will captures adults' imagination with greater magnitude than the Christmas Ships and Zoo Lights combined. 
Look forward to twilight and curse dawn
through December 31st at the corner of South 15th and G streets.
It's magical.
weed dating
weed dating

The agriculture community has taken matchmaking to the fields with Weed Dating, a new spin on the speed-dating concept.

We love how Weed Dating encourages young single farmers to meet a large number of like-minded potential partners in a social situation that embraces the values and time constraints of the industry. We don't see why activists, gardeners, and outdoor enthusiasts don't jump at the opportunity to connect with farmers of similar interests. We can see the hashtag now: #DateAFarmer.

According to Springwise, the trend "has been spotted in Maine, Idaho, and Vermont – among other locales – and it offers new hope for rural agriculturalists suffering from a lack of companionship". Check out the video below.

{source: Springwise}
A new seven-acre urban project, The Beacon Food Forest, aims to mimic a woodland ecosystem with edible shrubs, trees, and plants in Seattle. Set to be the largest public food forest in the country, the landscape will feature chestnuts, walnuts, apple and mulberry trees, berry shrubs, vegetables, and a selection of herbs.
Grounded in the concept of permaculture, the food forest will be a perennial and self-sustaining edible garden for all visitors to enjoy thanks to a $100,000 local government grant.
Seattle Food Forest
While foraging and edible gardens are hardly new themes, we love how the concept inspires communities to gather, grow, and indulge.  
Grow Cook Eat
Thrilled to see Grow Cook Eat by Willi Galloway
with photography by Jim Henkens at Anthropologie.
We received a copy of this gorgeous gardening handbook-meets-cookbook as a gift from the photographer earlier this month. We love the the fresh approach to seasonal food with helpful techniques on how to plant and prepare delicacies from your own back yard.
Approximately two years ago we found what looked like a morel in the garden and within hours Langdon Cook, author of Fat of the Land: Adventures of a 21st Century Forager confirmed via @twitter that the mushroom was edible. Thanks to social media, we became pseudo foragers.
Like urban gardening, foraging is becoming progressively more mainstream as shoppers seek out seasonal, locally grown and sustainable foods. Culturally, the concept of seeking and hand-selecting wild edibles works well with the desire for unique experiences— aligning with popular terms like artisan, bespoke and curate. We reconnected with the author to gain a deeper understanding of how foraging and reconnecting with our agrarian past is not just another food trend, but a widely accepted part of daily life that generations today are rediscovering.
"My hope is that a renewed enthusiasm for foraging will help advance current debate about food issues. Foraging is seasonal by its very nature. Many foraged foods are exceptionally nutritious, much more so, in fact, than their domestic counterparts (i.e. "weeds" such as watercress, dandelions, lambs-quarters and stinging nettles are off the charts in vitamins and minerals; huckleberries are loaded with antioxidants; wild salmon is high in omega-3 fatty acids; even mushrooms contain certain necessary minerals). said Langdon Cook. Foraging encourages a closer relationship with the landscape and the foods we eat. To become educated about foraging is to become educated about food. That said, it's incumbent on the forager to learn about those plants and fungi that are not edible."
The rise in demand of foraged edibles in restaurants has gradually increased the popularity of events, excursions, classes and blogs to inform passionate gastronomes. Below are four concepts worth checking out.
  • Forage  - One of LA Magazines's best new restaurants featuring produce from local growers. Opened in January 2010, the initial and revised foraging program encourages customers to bring in their own home-grown produce (If they like it and accept it, Forage will make a dish with it and name it after you. A blog post titled The return of foraging details all of the ins and outs).
  • Forage Foods - Calgary based take-out shop focusing on ready to eat foods made with a majority of local foods from sustainable farms opened in 2007. Specials include a wide range of pre-prepared foods, fresh baked goods, fresh produce, frozen meals, and local gourmet foods.
{photo: Nettletown.com}
  • Nettletown - Hidden in a tiny strip mall along Seattle's Eastlake Ave, Nettletown opened March 2010 (formerly the Sitka and Spruce space). A personal lunch favorite, the noodles, home-made pickles and sandwiches highlights wild and local ingredients from Christina Choi of Foraged & Found Edibles.
  • Foragers Market - Dumbo (Brooklyn, New York) is a family run market with sustainable produce and well-edited selection assortment of foods. The menu reflects more growing and sourcing of quality seasonal foods than foraged foods but we like the city grocer feel.
Prized treasures like mushrooms and wild greens can be harvested throughout many parts of the US but success depends on a variety of visual and seasonal hints. Much like the dumpster diving craze of the late 80's, a misstep could find you face-to-face with something extraordinarily unsafe. Talk to an expert and don't needle/nettle around.

{editors note 9/15/11: Nettletown closed August 28, 2011 to pursue other ventures. We wish them all the best and will definitely miss the knoepfli and good company}
A selection of studies, shops, and snacks...
- Top Reasons why people follow brands on facebook & twitter.
- Art Meets Exercise With ‘Figurerunning’ via PSFK.
- Banks aim for more revenues by selling consumers' shopping data to retailers.
- As the colour turns: a brilliantly clever & mesmerizingly beautiful showcase via Plenty of Colour.
- Study: How restaurants can reach Millennials with snacks, frequency and technology.
- Farmers' markets won't change the world: "In the same way that, by buying that handbag you are ensuring the continuation of artisan handbag-making skills, shopping for the good stuff helps maintain a bunch of practices that might otherwise be lost."
- The traditions of old luxury are awfully dull for new consumers. They want to be touched emotionally.
- H&M pop-up beach store benefits global water charity.
- Kellwood, Sun Capital affiliate set to acquire Amsterdam's Scotch & Soda. The brand was featured in a January 2011 post about the growing importance of menswear in retail.

{image: Hartman Group}

Last week the Hartman Group, a Seattle-based food research firm, shared a subway-style infographic with the following text: "In the spirit of celebrating contemporary food culture, this subway-style map is intended to serve as a snapshot of the main actors, techniques, values and ideas representing today’s culinary zeitgeist. From chefs and the media, to packaged goods and food politics, these “stops” are suggestive of the people, places and things that have influenced the food world (some more directly than others), thereby becoming part of our Greater Food Culture. Take a ride on the Modern Line, stopping off at Thomas Keller and then maybe head onto the Global Line, paying a visit to David Chang. Wherever you go, you’re likely to learn a bit, be entertained and most certainly eat quite well."

We love the idea but feel that the stops, signs and symbols are one piece of the food-geist puzzle. In today's marketplace, chefs (or restaurant groups) often have one food in publishing and/or packaging in addition to focusing on multiple cuisines/concepts to remain profitable. Relevance in the culinary community is subjective to many influences outside consumer demand and trends.  

{source: HartmanSalt}

The growing trend in urban farming, allotments, and home farming was reflected in Michelle Obama’s creation of a vegetable garden at the White House last year. A variety of vegetables were planted in a bid to educate children on local and seasonal produce as growing concerns of child obesity and diabetes make headlines in the Western world.

{image: Work AC}

Work AC, Edible Schoolyard NY and the Alice Waters’ Chez Panisse Foundation are designing an edible schoolyard which will combine a large garden with a network of sustainable systems. At the heart of the project is the Kitchen Classroom, where up to thirty students can prepare and enjoy meals together.


{photo: Bootstrap Company}

The Dalston Roof Park is another interesting project located in London’s urban East End. The Park demonstrates green potential for future urban development, increasing urban food self-sufficiency by examining the role the city can play in nurturing and enriching ecosystems.


{photo: JustFood.org}
Similarly, Farm School NYC aims to increase the self-reliance of communities and inspire positive local action around issues of food access by providing comprehensive professional training in urban agriculture for New York City residents.

Launching in Spring 2009, Urban Garden Share matches homeowners with garden space to gardeners with experience. The venture is the perfect solution for cultivating both food production and community. Initially serving Seattle, the concept has grown to match gardens to gardeners in Louisville, Atlanta and Boise.

Farm: Shop, in London’s Dalston neighborhood, fuses the world of art with that of farming and urban living. Transforming a disused shop into a farm, café, and arts venue with chickens on the roof, mushroom-growing facilities in the basement, and a fishpond where visitors can catch their own fish.


{photo: mathieulehanneur.fr}

Using an aquarium allowing fresh water fish to be bred for eating in your home, Local River by Mathieu Lehanneur, grows vegetables. The glass dome on top of the aquarium helps to purify the water, allowing Local River to become a mini eco-system in itself.

The rise in popularity of pop-up restaurants, specialty delis, food halls and farmers’ markets has evolved into heightened interest in urban gardens due to the uniquely authentic experience. New gastronomic venues like the examples above, show that urban farming is evolving beyond a culture of food fanatics to mainstream acceptance.


Is going "on tour" to pop-up retail what mobile carts were to underground supper clubs? We're wondering how far food and fashion innovation will go to meet marketing needs.

- David Lynch, the master coffee roaster?
- Will Alice Waters be the next Oprah for the fresh food movement.
- Conran, one of our favorite NYC housewares stores formerly under the Queensboro Bridge, sets up shop in ABC Home & Carpet.

- More nail trends and opinions from The New York Times.
- Earth friendly fashion without the crunchy granola bits.
- Are you a great fashion filmmaker? Think you can take on Tavi Gevinson? Check out A Shaded View on Fashion Film 2010.