Urban Farming

Hosted byIan Punnett

Urban Farming

About the show

Unlikely as it may seem, the most productive farmland in the U.S. is in the Bronx; the second is in San Francisco. Everyone can grow food for profit anywhere, suggests Michael Olson, who coined the term 'Metro Farm.' Joining Ian Punnett, he discussed how to earn up to eight times the average personal income on as little as one acre of land and how anyone can succeed with small fruits, house plants, cut flowers, vegetables, and many others. In the 1980s, when he began research for his book, Olson found that farmland in Iowa produced about $300 per acre per year, but that an acre in San Francisco would pull in $76,421.

Olson pointed out that city people go about their lives "with food at every corner" without usually considering where the food came from. He recalled that an earthquake in his town in northern California brought the community and more importantly, the food supply chain to a standstill. This led him to wonder how people could become more self-sustaining, and realized that agriculture is "the foundation upon which we build all of our sand castles." If the food supply breaks down, says Olson, then civilization crumbles. His research focused on how to grow profitable and sustainable plants in an urban environment.

He said that those wishing to start growing plants often make the mistake of growing what they want rather than what the market wants. "There’s only one crop to grow," Olson said, "it’s what the market tells you to grow." The fact that the urban farmer is so close to the end buyer makes it easy to determine what is in demand. The crop has to taste great, and the demand must be cultivated as well. Culinary crops for "farm to table" restaurants are especially profitable, Olson said. Another advantage of the urban farmer is that they can produce crops without an abundance of pesticides and inorganic fertilizers because of their small scale. Olson also extolled those who raise chickens (for eggs) and worms as a profit crop for the fertilizer produced from the castings. Some are even keeping bees and or starting vineyards on urban roofs.

Open Lines

The first hour featured Open Lines. Joe called from Alabama to tell about his apparent psychic and healing powers. He recounted stories of telling his wife where to find objects he had never seen himself, and his amazement at his healing abilities when he was a pastor. He said, "I saw several miracles performed through me." Sean discussed his idea of the reason for chemtrails and said that the U.S. government has "been planning solar engineering since the late ‘90s." Carl in Alabama advised Ian to move to higher ground because when the ice caps melt, shorelines will be at "the levels they were when the dinosaurs were alive."

News segment guest: Steve Kates

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