Metropolitan cities dwellers can hardly imagine how many resources they need for a living. Do you remember how the bush on which quince grows looks like? Do you know that there are 13 kinds of lettuce? And children who never picked strawberry in the garden much less believe that it grows washed. The problem is that we are detached from nature very much, that’s why we can hardly imagine how the food appears on our tables.
In Berlin people have begun to address this problem: in order to promote horticulture in metropolitan areas local activists rented a large empty lot and turned it into an urban farm called Prinzessengarten. It is a so-called public garden, where anyone can work, learn and gather his/her first harvest.
In fact, the German public characters are not the discoverers. Urban gardening system is well-developed in Cuba, where the local public gardens do provide even small towns with products. The “Prinzessengarten” has another function – to instil an understanding of how and by whom this food is being made to the city dwellers.
The project “Prinzessengarten” proves once again that modern children are quite aware of the fact, whence fresh fruits and vegetables appear. For instance, there are about 5000 kinds of potato in the world. Prinzessengarten has only 15, but it is a road to Damascus for many children. After all, in the supermarket there are only two or three kinds, which are selected on such criteria as shelf life and appearance, but taste becomes secondary.
By the way, there is also blue potato in the garden. Children, who grew up on food from the supermarket, argue that it is not a potato. We have a lot to explain to them, prove, and cook it in their presence.
In order to educate the growing generation and to instil the culture of home planting of fresh vegetables and fruit the innovative Golden Bridges School was opened in San-Francisco where children are trained skills of farming and cooking, at the same time cultivating in them moral and social values.
The whole thematic farm Hello Kitty was created in Hong Kong. It was called in celebration of the 40th Anniversary of the famous Japanese cartoon character. The main goal of this farm is drawing of attention of city children to the growing of plants and practical trainings telling them where the food comes from. Organic farm occupies 1.5 ha, and everything is made like in a cartoon: children put on jumpers and tilt-bonnets with red bow, like the Kitty’s. Its image is enhanced with sign boards, planters’ maps and even strawman.
There is a special “Small Farmer Program” for juniors where every child has a small garden bed, where he/she can plant and cultivate crops. The farm is also a home to a few sheep, goats and farm dog called Hippie.
Thus, the idea of the widespread introduction of vertical farms performs not only the function of supplying the inhabitants of megacities with natural fresh fruit and vegetables, but also the educational task.
Candidate of Economic Sciences, Master of Business Administration, as well as co-founder and CEO of Fulfill Food & Beverages company (Saint Louis) Angela Zeng told us what global environmental problems are solved by vertical agrofarms.
Thus, vertical agrofarms excluding transportation also solve the problem of pollution and waste. You may ask why such innovations have not been used before? The answer is simple: they were used, but the mission failed to achieve its global goals.
Renée Whitworth is a strategic director of Flood Creative in New York, and she says that vertical agrofarms are an innovative future going back generations.
However, the main goal is still to change people’s attitudes to food: to form an understanding of the process of growing vegetables and fruits among the younger generation, to inform that the naturalness and freshness does not apply to products from the supermarket. To make a sad story, beginning with children’s phrase “I thought that spinach is a green cube, which we reach out of the freezer” sound less and less in every home.