Urban farming is an integrative initiative bridging nature and culture. Its main aim is to create an abundance of food for people living in cities by encouraging and developing gardens in underutilized spaces. The current blossoming of this practice attests to a broader community engagement striving for better health, education, policies, economy, and, most of all, a better future.
Join us to explore the realities and potentials of urban farming with four experts: From the Basel-based Urban Farmers, Andreas Graber discusses aquaponics; Stephanie Goodson, of Nomad Gardens, takes on urban space issues; the City of San Francisco’s Hannah Shulman tackles policy; and UC Berkeley’s Miguel Altieri shares thoughts on agroecology. Are you ready to dig in?
Miguel Altieri is a professor at the UC Berkeley’s Department of Environmental Science, Policy, & Management. His research interests are biological control agro-ecology. His research group uses the concepts of agroecology to obtain a deep understanding of the nature of agroecosystems and the principles by which they function. Throughout their conducted research and writings they have aided in the emergence of agroecology as the discipline that provides the basic ecological principles for how to study, design, and manage sustainable agroecosystems.
Leah’s Humboldt farmland roots instilled a love for food and farming practices that nourish people and the planet. She moved to the Bay Area in 1999 to pursue degrees in Environmental Policy and Spanish at UC Berkeley. Leah serves as the Co-Executive Director for the Multinational Exchange for Sustainable Agriculture (MESA), a non-profit organization that advances the next generation of food and farming leaders by linking sustainable innovation with ancestral knowledge through experiential and cross-cultural exchange. MESA has connected over 1300 farmers, activists, academics and entrepreneurs worldwide and funded 142 food and farming projects in 16 countries to promote ecosystem stewardship, equitable economies and multicultural collaboration. Leah has lived in South and Central America as well as Southeast Asia working on behalf of social, environmental and food justice initiatives. As a result, she gained insight into the implications of a globalized corporate food regime and the value of farmer-to-farmer knowledge exchange, agroecology and unconventional multi-stakeholder collaboration. Her past work experience includes program development for the International Institute for Bengal Basin which focused on pollution mitigation for farmers and rural communities in Bangladesh, fund development for the East Bay Sanctuary and supply chain review for Scientific Certifications Systems. Leah is a co-founder of Wild and Radish, LLC and developing a 10-acre urban farm and eco-village in El Sobrante, CA. She serves on the Board of Directors of Planting Justice, an Oakland non-profit creating green jobs and democratizing access to affordable, nutritious food. Climbing rocks, oceans, yoga, milking goats and befriending bees are frequent sources of fascination.
Stephanie Goodson brings an understanding of the land development process from her 12+ years working in architecture and urban design. She values both sides of the equation, which lends her to develop creative, win-win solutions that create economic viability and build community. She founded NOMADgardens to provide the Mission Bay community a third place, outside the home and office. A place where neighbors could grow their own food, attend events and cultivate shared learning.
She has a master’s degree in architecture and has worked on a number of regional and international projects. She spent two and a half years in England, where she worked as an architectural and urban designer and traveled around Europe furthering her knowledge and love for cities and their complexity.
She loves to be inspired and seeks out opportunities as a design strategist to apply her design thinking and process driven approach to tackle any problem.
Andreas Graber graduated from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich in 1998 with a Master in Environmental Sciences. Since then he has been working at the Zurich University of Applied Sciences on ecotechnology and leads the aquaponics research team since 2012. In addition, he did applied research in the topics of fish production in closed recirculating aquaculture systems (RAS), natural wastewater treatment and natural swimming ponds. He teaches these topics in the bachelor curriculum to environmental engineers and leads applied research projects about technology development. He is co-founder of the spin-off company UrbanFarmers and in the board of directors at Basis 57, a company planning aquaculture using pristine waters from alpine railway tunnels, and co-initiated the Fischforum Schweiz, a national conference to foster Swiss aquaculture. He is member of the World Aquaculture Society, International Water Association, Forum on crayfish and the International Society for Horticultural Science.
Hannah Shulman is the Urban Agriculture Program Coordinator at the San Francisco Recreation and Park Department. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Growth and Structure of Cities with an Environmental Studies concentration from Haverford College and studied at the Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems at UC Santa Cruz. Previously, she was the coordinator of the San Francisco Urban Agriculture Alliance and a garden educator with Urban Sprouts, Garden for the Environment, and 18 Reasons / BiRite Market.