Urban Farming is Part of Macro-Economic Picture, Will Play Integral Part in Sustainability

Kenneth Goldring was a real estate developer with G Development LLC for 18 years. He is now working on the idea of urban farming. Goldring has two pieces of land in Florida that he hopes will house urban farms in the next two years. He talks to MHN Online News Editor Anuradha Kher about his vision, how he plans to execute it and how he thinks urban farming can help reduce our collective carbon footprint.MHN: What is urban farming?Goldring: Urban farming is generally practiced for income-earning or food-producing activities. It contributes to food security and food safety by increasing the amount of food available to people living in cities, and by allowing fresh vegetables and fruits and meat products to be made available to urban consumers.My thinking is that any new development that is committed to sustainability should include urban farming. MHN: Where do you plan to incorporate this idea?Goldring: I have two pieces of land right now; one is a 10-acre plot in Brandon, Fla. and the other is comprised of 109 acres in Orlando. Both are planned for residential development. I am still in the planning stage and am looking for people with the right expertise to team up with. The 10-acre land is only single-family and the 109-acre land is multifamily as well as mixed-use. MHN: What are the key elements you are considering right now?Goldring: Agriculture has to be understood in terms of what is to be cultivated and who is going to consume it. Key is to understand what the product will be, and at what stage it will be delivered. For example, you can have tomatoes or you can have tomato sauce. MHN: What are the main challenges?Goldring: The main challenge is engineering, planning and laying out the farm. Figuring out cutting-edge farming techniques, bio-intensive farming etc. are other challenges. MHN: How many acres of your property do you plan to use for the purpose of urban farming?Goldring: On the 10-acre plot, I am thinking about 2-3 acres and on the 109-acre land, about 10-15 acres. Both the projects will encourage residents to produce something. I envision it to be open to people who don’t have green thumbs. MHN: How will you get the produce out once it is produced?Goldring: I imagine we would have to cooperate with vendors for receiving as well as selling the produce. One of the reasons for doing this is to reduce the carbon footprint so we obviously will not be transporting the food to faraway places. The produce will belong to the residents of the community and the main idea is that food should be produced and consumed locally. MHN: When do you plan to start the urban farming aspect of the communities?Goldring: The plan is to have something growing by 2010 regardless of whether the residential construction has started. MHN: How common is urban agriculture these days?Goldring: The concept is getting more buzz now. It is part of the macro economic picture with heightened awareness of sustainability and this will be an integral part of that going forward. There has to be more consideration of urban agriculture to have a leg up on the others.