MALL FARMING

from : http://spectregroup.wordpress.com/2010/05/27/mall-farming/

Mall as Organic Greenhouse
http://deadmalls.com/
http://rentedspaces.com/2010/03/12/future-farmers-of-the-mall/
“Shopping malls may be on the brink of major reinvention and adaptive reuse…as farms. The Galleria Mall in Cleveland, Ohio is leading the way by growing organic food for mall patrons and local restaurants. The mall has transformed the lost retail space within its glass-top confines into a gigantic, organic-food greenhouse. The idea sprouted when the mall’s marketing and events coordinator Vicky Poole teamed up with Jack Hamilton, a business owner in the Galleria. Together they began operating Gardens Under Glass, a hydroponic garden in the Galleria at Erieview in downtown Cleveland. The project is funded by a $30,000 start-up grant from the Civic Innovation Lab. Gardens Under Glass at the Galleria will start with lettuce, spinach, peas, tomatoes, and herbs, and, if successful, add fruits, more vegetables and edible flowers. Food will be raised hydroponically, aquaponically and in organic soils through a combination of raised beds, vines and vertical structural supports. The plan also includes composting and using nutrient-rich waste from aquariums to nourish the plants. The duo hopes that the project will be a model for sustainable farming, while bringing additional visitors or curious onlookers to the mall’s stores. If successful and implemented at the mall on a larger scale, Gardens Under Glass could help extend Ohio’s short growing season and increase the amount of food dollars spent locally. It could also serve as a case study for communities struggling to figure out productive uses for otherwise underutilized or abandoned shopping malls. The adaptive reuse of the space is not without obstacles. For example, even though the glass ceiling provides ample light and the interior location significantly reduces possible pests, the mall was not built to be insulated and heated like a typical greenhouse. So, hardy crops need to be selected. Another challenge — and opportunity — is finding people to tend the mall’s gardens. For now, the workers will be volunteers, but one can easily imagine a future where farmers are hired to work inside the mall. It’s predicted that shopping malls and other “single use” structures will slowly disappear over the next thirty years. That could be the extreme pressure required for positive reinvention.”

Food Court
http://civicinnovationlab.org/newly_funded.aspx
http://web.me.com/gardensunderglass/gardensunderglass/Opportunities.html
http://blog.cleveland.com/metro/2010/02/galleria_has_gardens_now.html
“Millions in Cleveland have passed through the Galleria at Erieview, sun glinting on its barrel-shaped glass roof. But it took a nurseryman’s granddaughter to look up and think: This place looks like a giant greenhouse. Now Vicky Poole, the Galleria’s marketing and events director, who worked on her grandpa’s farm as a child, expects that by late spring or early summer, there will be fresh tomatoes for sale among the shops and galleries at the downtown Cleveland mall. Very fresh — as in vine-grown in bags and troughs hanging from steel stair banisters and ceiling beams in the shopping center that stretches between East Ninth and East 12th streets. “I know of no other urban garden in the country like this,” said Hamilton about Gardens Under Glass. Poole got the idea last year when she spotted a photo of dozens of plants growing on a two-story window grid in a New York cafe. “I said, ‘That’s our food court.'” They dream of hosting school groups and teams of volunteer urban gardeners eager to work beds of herbs and greens and vine systems raised hydroponically, aquaponically and in organic soils. On Thursday, Poole gave a presentation to the Cleveland chapter of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, composed of professionals and students. “One of the students came up to me after and said, ‘Have you ever considered growing aereoponically?’ ” said Poole. “I invited him to come in and help me set up a system.”

Because of Ohio’s short growing season and the fact that the Galleria will not be heated to greenhouse temperatures, Poole is focusing on easily raised greens, herbs and tomatoes. That is good news for the manager of Sweetwater’s Cafe Sausalito, a long-established Galleria restaurant. He sells a lot of salads at lunchtime. “I’m very excited about the project,” said Chandrababu, who has already given a list of the herbs the restaurant uses to Poole. Michele and Mark Bishop, who operate Urban Organics from their Brunswick farm, will soon provide Sweet Peet, an organic mulch, as well as organic soils to Gardens Under Glass. Meanwhile, Poole, 57, and Hamilton, 44, have collected products from other such vendors to grow the plants they are purchasing with grant money. “So far, we haven’t had to pay for a thing,” said Poole, who is also searching for a composting system that would take care of scraps from the food court. Within two weeks, two portable 6-by-12-foot beds will be installed on the first floor of the Galleria, where passers-by will watch greens grow. “We’ll be propagating seeds for that this week,” said Poole. By summer, she expects lush banister mountings of greens and tomatoes. “It will be beautiful.”

Contact
Vicky Poole & Jack Hamilton
http://facebook.com/gardensunderglass
e-mail : gardensunderglass [at] yahoo

Seed Libraries
http://seedsavers.org/
http://www.ecologycenter.org/basil/
http://treehugger.com/files/2010/05/maker-faire-2010-seed-libraries-prove-tough-to-sprout.php
“SPROut is based on gardeners taking only the seeds they need for the plants they’re really going to grow (one doesn’t need a whole packet of seeds of broccoli when they only have room for 5 plants) and bringing back at least one seed of that type of plant. The more gardeners who participate, the more diverse the seed library becomes as members contribute the plants that they enjoy the most.

Co-operatives
http://www.ncba.coop/ncba/about-co-ops
http://www.forbes.com/2010/05/13/cooperatives-co-op-leadership-citizenship-ethisphere.html
“Many co-ops, from purchasing ones–people who pool together resources to buy in bulk–to agricultural ones, have reported positive or at least even sales through the recession. Why? Perhaps at least partly because the public has grown more hospitable to cooperative values. Cabot Creamery, an agricultural cooperative that sells dairy products nationally, hasn’t suffered during the recession. The people there believe it’s because of customers’ affinity for their brand, which stresses its ownership by farmers and its stewardship of the land. Most U.S. farmers don’t own the brands under which their goods are sold; they’re just atomized commodity producers. At Cabot each farmer can participate democratically in running the co-op. That and their shared ownership gives them great loyalty to it. Cabot’s strengths have kept it financially healthy even as households have cut back on spending.”


Farmland in Trinoma’s center lobby