The Urban Farming Mindset of Cityscape Farms
While a city may be dense with population, it is generally regarded as sparse with agricultural space, unless you hear Mike Yohay, the founder and CEO of Cityscape Farms, which specializes in creating urban farms wherever there happens to be growing space, from vacant lots to rooftops.
This smart solution that comes from Cityscape Farms provides urban greenhouse systems for agricultural production with low water use.
“By growing fresh food within just a few miles of where it will be eaten, we will have healthier, better tasting produce and make our cities cleaner and more self-sufficient,” says Yohay.
Most important for city farming, these system that is being deployed for growing food requires no soil.
Aquaponics, the system he deploys for growing food, is a method combining aquaculture (fish cultivation) with hydroponics. This system uses natural fertilizer from filtered fish effluent, creating a closed-loop, pesticide-free organic system:
Yohay says the dynamic aquaponics process works this way:
- Water containing natural fish waste gets filtered to become organic nutrient feed for the plants
- Plants absorb the nutrients and the cleansed water is recycled back to the fish tank
Yohay says he also offers a program to owners of commercial rooftops to monetize their roof by leasing it to Cityscape Farms. A Cityscape team of architects and engineers will develop “site-specific greenhouse systems that are consistent with local building codes and zoning laws. We address every liability concern to assure a safe, structurally sound installation that will earn you income that didn’t exist before.”
Other benefits: helping the environment and the local food economy. The systems that are used created their own nutrients for plant growth and require less water (see chart).
On his website, Yohay cites two influences in the development of Cityscape Farms:
“Attending college in Iowa, where I witnessed topsoil depletion and environmental pollution from large-scale corn, soy, and livestock agribusiness. The second was living in La Amistad rainforest in Costa Rica, where for a year I managed an eco-lodge and participated in low impact organic farming that supported our local community.
“Looking critically at these two extremes, I became determined to find a happy medium: a modern way to feed people on a large scale without spoiling the land, air and water.”