Houston as a green role model? City's urban farming receives international pressattention
It's not often that Houston receives international recognition as a role model for environment progress, but the city's downtown farming program has caught the attention of the Canadian Press: The news agency wrote an article detailing Houston's program, offering it as an example of the city serving as the leader in the phenomenon of urban farming.
The article praises the swift creation of a vegetable garden in the middle of the "concrete corridor and skyscraper canyon that is downtown Houston." After the suggestion by Keiji Asakura, it only took three weeks to form a collaboration with Urban Harvest, Laura Spanjian of the city's Sustainability Office and employees of the Department of Public Works and Engineering, and get seeds sprouting outside the 25-story Bob Lanier Public Works Building.
Writer Monica Rhor calls the Downtown Houston Container Vegetable Garden Project "living proof that urban gardens can take root in the unlikeliest of places."
Vicki Garrett, projects coordinator of the American Community Gardening Association is cited for describing Houston as "very proactive" for not becoming mired in a bog of government bureaucracy when developing such programs. Thanks to the efforts of San Francisco-transplant Spanjian, plans for a larger garden and farmers market near City Hall are on the drawing board.
"We haven't heard of any other city doing this the way we have," the green savant told the Canadian Press, adding, "The goal is to show people that they can grow vegetables anywhere. We want to be a model for other cities and other businesses."
Many locals may not believe it themselves, but with its expanding downtown cornucopia, Houston is raising the bar for the locavore movement and inner city sustainability.