To Grow in the City ...

An interview with Ryan Thompson from Helix River Media at Green Festival Chicago 2013.As regular readers of this blog know, Ed is a tenant down at The Plant with his Nature’s Little Recyclers “urban vermiculture” earthworm business. Hanging out there has led him to make many connections in the Green and Urban Farming community, and Ryan Thompson from Helix River Media was one of the several exhibitors that he knew down at the Green Festival.

Thompson was at the show to promote his SUSTNRS project, which is the banner under which he’s publishing a series of multi-media publications (for PCs, tablets, and phones) called “GROW“, the theme of which is: “Learn to grow food – on your balcony, in your backyard, or down the block. The Sustainers Grow multimedia guides present practical tips and tricks for starting and maintaining a garden in the city or suburbs.”

These publications are being created in cooperation with WeFarm America, a group that helps develop urban garden facilities in communities around Chicago. The first “sample” edition of GROW, Seed Starting Outdoors, is available free on the Inkling e-textbook site.

Here’s Thompson answering Ed’s questions about the project:

The following is a bit from the “Sustainers” (it’s used both in both forms, Sustainers/SUSTNRS, so I’m not quite sure which is “official”!) site, giving something of an overview of the mission for these guides:

In recent decades we’ve become separated from the food that sustains us. Our food is prepared by hands other than our own; it’s then served to us in boxes, in bags, in plastic containers. Millions of people in America alone have limited or no access to real, fresh, healthy produce.

Small farms and gardens are sprouting up in cities and suburbs around the country, as one of the solutions to this problem. Urban and suburban agriculture reconnects us to our food, and ensures a delicious, healthy meal for our citizens.

Obviously, their vision for the future of small-scale personal and neighborhood gardening is quite inspiring, and it will be interesting to see how these publications (kind of hard to call multi-media entities like GROW “books” or “magazines” as they’re set up to take full advantage of the current tech and aren’t necessarily emulating older forms) develop and catch on!

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