Permaculture Design Project : 2012 Carmelitos Housing Apartments – Long Beach, CA

The Carmelitos project was initiated in 2012 and revised in 2019.

Carmelitos is a public housing community with high unemployment. It is situated on 68 acres in the City of Long Beach and managed by the Housing Authority of Los Angeles County. The average income per household is about $15,000 with a median age population of 25 years old, with a large number of at-risk youth.

Originally built in 1939 for military housing, today Carmelitos, with more than 2000 dwellers has a potential of a 1200 total workforce.
There are approx. 558 households in addition to 155 senior housing units:

  • 270 preschool children 0 – 4
  • 440 school age kids 5-14 (710 children)
  • 177 young adults 15-20
  • 583 basic workforce 20-44
  • 307 middle age 45-65 (1200 total workforce)
  • 140 seniors 65+

CARMELITOS HOUSING APARTMENTS HISTORY


1938-39 Carmelitos General Layout
by Associated Housing Architects


In 2012 there are about 2000 dwellers living in the Carmelitos neighborhood

Vision: Create a long term self-reliant and sustainable eco-system for its residents, foster a sense of community and achieve a dynamic local economy. Inspire others to break the cycle of poverty and duplicate the model to become productive citizens.

Plan:

  • An urban permaculture design to Carmelitos
  • Achieve economic security for its dwellers
  • Provide education and training for local improvements
  • Create a long term self-reliant and sustainable plan
  • Inspire to achieve a sense of community and place
  • Implement an outdoor healthy lifestyle and activities

Goal: The goal is to initiate new enterprises and jobs in Carmelitos: starting with providing leadership and training skills to create kitchen gardens for its residents including building earth ovens, small animals husbandry and children playgrounds. Then, create an array of jobs around productive orchards, a farmer’s market, rainwater-harvesting systems, use of solar energy, and also create various opportunities for celebrations and social events to bring in business.

The Basics of Permaculture

Envisioning a design system for an ecological and sustainable living by integrating the people with plants, animals, buildings, and community.

Permaculture is about productive economies: it teaches people communication skills about working together, outdoor healthy lifestyle activities and creating ecologically sound communities.

Permaculture stimulates the involvement of all residents with business opportunities throughout the community and with outdoor learning activities especially for keeping the young at-risk engaged with positive, social and productive activities on site.

The Strip Mall can become a commercial mixed-use center: shops, offices and a learning center can be included with other functions, in addition to a green, activated roof garden and solar panels. The weekly open Farmers’ Market on the street mall should be beneficial in serving the surrounding community.

Permaculture Approach

  • access to public open spaces
  • edible landscapes
  • events promenade
  • open markets
  • children’s outdoor classes
  • roof gardens on buildings
  • petting zoo
  • orchards and picnic areas
  • integrate seniors and children activities

Water Harvesting

Total roof area for Carmelitos is approx. one acre. 600 gallons per 1000 S.F make 27,000 gallons of water per inch of rain.
Run-off coefficient is 10% for evaporation and infiltration. Long Beach gets an estimated 13 inches of rain annually. 27,000 X13 =351,000 gallons per year -35,100 for 10% run-off Total: 319,500 gallons of water to store for irrigations in cisterns

In the year 2020, we could proudly observe a transformation that turned around Carmelitos from a passive to an active community by engaging its residents and particularly the youth in becoming active, productive citizens, by bringing a better quality of life to its residents and helping build a solid local economy.

The success of this project can become a model for others to follow.

A start up proposal for applying Permaculture concepts to Carmelitos should draw on a team of advisors, experts, organizers and the collaboration of the community leaders and local government.

A further detail plan should be developed including a viability demonstration project. Resources for launching such a proposition and grant opportunities should be investigated.

For more information on a permaculture design project in your area, contact us for a consultation.

Prescribing Healthy Food Could Save Billions in Healthcare Costs?

Subsidizing fruits, vegetables, and other healthy foods under Medicare and Medicaid could prevent millions of cardiovascular disease cases, according to a new model.

Every day, doctors write prescriptions for medications that will treat various ailments in their patients. Those prescriptions, though, come once the patient is already sick. In an effort to stop the disease before it starts, some researchers are pushing for policies and programs that would let doctors prescribe healthy foods and insurers to cover them—actively helping patients shift to a health-promoting diet.

These types of programs work: Subsidizing fruits, vegetables, and other healthy foods under Medicare and Medicaid could prevent millions of cases, as well as deaths from cardiovascular disease, according to a new model. It would prevent hundreds of thousands of diabetes cases, as well, and save billions of dollars in healthcare costs.

“The power of food as medicine is increasingly clear,” says study author Dariush Mozaffarian, dean of the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University. And the idea of treating food as a key element of healthcare is catching on across the healthcare industry, says Rita Nguyen, Medical Director of Healthy Food Initiatives at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital. “People are recognizing the common sense of it all,” she says. “We spend so much on healthcare, and our outcomes are abysmal. We don’t invest in prevention.”

Food as medicine doesn’t mean that individual foods can be used to treat individual conditions or diseases, but that a healthy diet can help manage disease, Nguyen notes—the leading risk factor for cardiovascular disease, for example, is a poor diet. “With food insecurity, treating someone by giving them food can improve health. For those who are food secure, anyone given a good diet will have improved health management,” she says.

The new model analyzed the effects of two policy scenarios: In the first, 30 percent of the costs of fruits and vegetables would be covered under Medicare and Medicaid; in the second, 30 percent of fruits, vegetables, and other healthy foods like whole grains and seafood would be covered. The model incorporated things like socio-economic demographics and health risk factors of people enrolled in Medicare and Medicaid, data on the way price decreases change healthy food purchasing behaviors, and subsidy costs.

The study team found that subsidizing fruits and vegetables would prevent 1.93 million cardiovascular events, like heart attacks, and 350,000 deaths from the conditions. Subsidizing fruits, vegetables, and other healthy foods would prevent 3.28 million cardiovascular events, 620,000 deaths, and 120,000 cases of diabetes. The fruits and vegetable program would save nearly $40 billion in healthcare costs, and the addition of other healthy foods would save over $100 billion

“It costs money, but most of that is offset by lower healthcare costs,” Mozaffarian says. “When you look at the cost per year of life saved, all of the interventions were extremely cost-effective.” It’s just as cost-effective, he says, as paying for drugs to prevent high blood pressure.

“So many of us want health insurance companies to recognize the value of food,” Nguyen says. “It’s not because we’re ‘bleeding heart liberals.’ It’s based on science. When you give people food, and healthy food, it saves money.”

While the new model provides a big-picture look at the national effect of such a program, on-the-ground efforts to implement similar interventions are also key to understanding the impact of food subsidies and prescriptions. Such studies are underway or in planning stages: A $6 million study in California is providing medically tailored meals to patients and the 2018 Farm Bill included $25 million in funding for produce prescription pilot studies.

“This food as medicine approaches are gaining real traction,” Mozaffarian says. “If pilot studies are implemented and work, there’s a very real chance you could in the near future go to the doctor, a doctor could write a prescription for food, and an insurance company will pay for the part.”

The conversations around health-focused food subsidies also highlight that the barriers to healthy food are largely financial. “Food security is a money issue,” Nguyen says. “If you have the money, you can get healthy food.” While food deserts are important issues, they’re not the primary hurdle—and research shows that simply adding grocery stores doesn’t increase people’s consumption of healthy food or their health. “It’s not to say access isn’t an issue, but often times in low-income communities, it’s not the main thing,” she says.

Food prescription and subsidy programs that lower costs, though, can help, and are designed to stop healthcare problems and costs from ever appearing. “If our social structures aren’t aligned to support people meeting their basic needs to support health, we’ve chosen to pay for it in other ways. And then we have worse health outcomes,” Nguyen says.

In other words, if we’re worried about high blood sugar, food interventions might be a better bet than doctor’s visits and high-tech medicine. If we’re focused on making sure people are getting their blood sugar levels checked regularly, she says, it’s already too late. “Access to healthcare isn’t going to really stop the source.”

Source: Popular Science

How Gardening Can Help Millennials Cope with Stress in the Workplace

Simon Sinek interview “Millennials in the Workplace.” Simon talks about struggles millennials face in building confidence, having patience, learning social skills, and having a balance with technology and being more involved with the environment. I have taken some excerpts from that interview to explain how gardening, specifically urban farming can aid millennials in coping with these problems and becoming more fulfilled in their lives.

Sinek states that we have a generation growing up with lower self-esteem that doesn’t have the coping mechanisms to deal with stress and now you add in the sense of impatience. They’ve grown up in a world of instant gratification. You want to buy something, you go on Amazon and it arrives the next day. You want to watch a movie, login and watch a movie. You don’t check movie times. You want to watch a TV show, binge. You don’t even have to wait for week-to-week-to-week. Many people skip seasons so that they can binge at the end of the season…

Now having instant gratification can be a problem when it comes to not getting what you want in the workplace. Creating your garden at home can help and fight the mechanisms of entitlement. Having the ability to grow your own crops and nourishing food can reap the same rewarding effects as binge-watching your favorite show. Planting a variety of greens in different seasons builds patience and is having the satisfying impact that it comes from a person’s manual labor. Using different strategies of growing such as Permaculture or Hydroponics aid in being more focused and relaxed, which stimulates better workflow.

With the joy of cultivating crops and plants, millennials can share and trade with other locals, and build strong bonds when it comes to gaining knowledge of having a healthy diet and enjoying fresh quality food.

Simon says at the end of his interview that millennials, whether we like it or not, don’t get a choice, and now have a responsibility to make up the shortfall. We get to help this fantastic, idealistic, fantastic generation build their confidence, learn patience, learn the necessary social skills, find a better balance between life and technology because quite frankly it’s the right thing to do.

I agree with this and express that millennials now have a responsibility to save the earth and find new ways to fight food scarcity and build better logistics in distributing food locally in this country. Urban farmers have come out with eco-friendly systems that minimize the use of land, water, labor, and energy. Millennials can use gardening as a powerful tool to not only cope with stress and social skills but become more sustainable and aid in building a better planet, one garden at a time.

Farm Urbana is engaged in helping design and build edible gardens in urban environments.

Source: Ochen

Farm Urbana is now a certified GREEN Business

Mayor Robert Garcia and City Councilwoman Suzie Price held a ceremony in Belmont Shore to recognize the first group of small businesses including Farm Urbana as an official certified Green Business in the city of Long Beach. Office of Sustainability Communications Specialist Courtney Chatterson and Chief Larry Rich were instrumental in making Long Beach a greener and more sustainable city and having Farm Urbana be a partner of the California Green Business Network.

Being part of the California Certified Green Business Network is the clearest way to show our community and clients that we care to be part of a global awareness towards sustainability. Our certification shows Farm Urbana’s commitment to taking action to conserve resources and prevent pollution in both the facility and operations. It means that our business complies with environmental regulations in the areas of waste, energy, water, pollution prevention, and air quality.

We have been promoting sustainability in the past few years with our edible gardens and now is the perfect opportunity to align ourselves with other businesses in building a greener, more vibrant economy, and helping our communities thrive. For more information, please visit https://greenbusinessca.org/.

Permaculture: A Quiet Revolution – An Interview with Bill Mollison

permaculture

Fragments From An Interview By Scott London: Permaculture: A Quiet Revolution – An Interview with Bill Mollison

Permaculture from permanent and agriculture — is an integrated design philosophy that encompasses gardening, architecture, horticulture, ecology, even money management and community design. The basic approach is to create sustainable systems that provide for their own needs and recycle their waste.

Mollison developed permaculture after spending decades in the rainforests and deserts of Australia studying ecosystems. He observed that plants naturally group themselves in mutually beneficial communities. He used this idea to develop a different approach to agriculture and community design, one that seeks to place the right elements together so they sustain and support each other.

……

London: Permaculture teaches us how to use the minimum amount of energy needed to get a job done.

Mollison: That’s right. Every house should be over-producing its energy and be selling to the grid. We have built entire villages that do that — where one or two buildings hold the solar panels for all sixty homes and sell the surplus to the grid. In seven years, you can pay off all your expenses and run free.

London: Short of starting a farm, what can we do to make our cities more sustainable?

Mollison: Catch the water off your roof. Grow your own food. Make your own energy. It’s insanely easy to do all that. It takes you less time to grow your food than to walk down to the supermarket to buy it. Ask any good organic gardener who mulches how much time he spends on his garden and he’ll say, “Oh, a few minutes every week.” By the time you have taken your car and driven to the supermarket, taken your foraging-trolley and collected your wild greens, and driven back home again, you’ve spent a good hour or two — plus you’ve spent a lot of money.

London: Even though permaculture is based on scientific principles, it seems to have a very strong philosophical or ethical dimension.

Mollison: There is an ethical dimension because I think science without ethics is sociopathology. To say, “I’ll apply what I know regardless of the outcome” is to take absolutely no responsibility for your actions. I don’t want to be associated with that sort of science.

London: What do you think you’ve started?

Mollison: Well, it’s a revolution. But it’s the sort of revolution that no one will notice. It might get a little shadier. Buildings might function better. You might have less money to earn because your food is all around you and you don’t have any energy costs. Giant amounts of money might be freed up in society so that we can provide for ourselves better.

So it’s a revolution. But permaculture is anti-political. There is no room for politicians or administrators or priests. And there are no laws either. The only ethics we obey are care of the earth, care of people, and reinvestment in those ends.

Source: Scott London

Is the Future of Farming Vertical

New findings of operations that can benefit from “vertical farms”? Vertical food production can take advantage of stranded assets, such as old thermal power plants. Urban food production can offer to more consumers local fresh food produced sustainably with less waste.

vertical-farms

America is having to rethink where and how it produces its food. In the 21st century, the U.S. food system is likely to change even more than it did in the past century. Because of climate change, major production areas such as California will experience extremes in temperature and precipitation, generally growing hotter and drier — and all at a pace that appears to be happening sooner than predicted.

The U.S. food system needs to diversify production. But instead of expanding into grasslands or areas already used for other crops, we should think about growing food at scale in big cities. Would our food system benefit from “vertical farms”? And if so, can we seize an opportunity to use existing, stranded assets?
Vertical farms are usually indoor operations with stacked or wall-like planters that leverage networked technology to monitor and nourish plants precisely, often without the use of soil. At least 100 vertical food production startups are in U.S. cities, but few take advantage of stranded assets, such as old thermal power plants.
Thermal power plants have qualities that make them inherently amenable to vertical farming. They consume about 45 to 50 percent of all the water used to cool plants during power generation. Disposing of the hot water is both a nuisance and a cost. Heat, water, energy and captured slipstream emissions are all byproducts of energy generation and could be available for producing food.There are social advantages, too. In most urban areas, thermal power plants are surrounded by low-value brownfields that have little or no productive use. Many have had to be been taken over by cities for back taxes, and they are usually in “food deserts” — poor neighborhoods with little to no access to grocery stores with fresh produce. These areas could benefit from vertical farms and fresh produce.

Vertical farming can create business opportunities. The centralization and specialization of food production have put considerable distance between consumers and their food, both figuratively and literally. By creating vertical, urban food production, we can narrow that gap and give more consumers what they want: local food produced more transparently and sustainably, with less waste and fewer impacts.

Many parties have vested interests in the answers:
Power companies can benefit from added value; retailers can benefit from shorter supply chains and reduced waste; government agencies can improve local food systems; communities can eliminate their food deserts; tech companies can drive research and development, and academics and research institutions can build capacity about new ways to grow our food.

Source: GreenBiz

Apple Now Runs on Green Energy

A true achievement for Apple, to hit the magic 100% goal of running all its facilities and its worldwide fleet of Apple stores solely powered by renewable energy.

energy

The achievement of green energy is the culmination of a furious effort over the past six years that involved financing, building, or locating new renewable energy sources, such as solar and wind farms, near the company’s facilities. Apple says it now has 25 operational renewable energy projects–with 15 more now in construction–in 11 countries. Just eight years ago, only 16% of its facilities were powered by renewable energy. By 2015 that number had increased to 93%, then to 96% in 2016.

Along the way, in 2013, Apple signaled its seriousness about green initiatives by hiring former EPA administrator Lisa Jackson as VP of the environment, policy, and social initiatives. CEO Tim Cook wanted Jackson to focus Apple’s environmental initiatives, and perhaps act as a respected emissary to Washington, D.C. She’s done both.

The overarching goal of Apple going 100% green is, of course, is to reduce harmful emissions from dirty fuels. The company says it’s reduced its greenhouse gas emissions (CO2e) by 58% since 2011, preventing 2.2 million metric tons of CO2e from entering the atmosphere. But Apple’s own progress as measured by the numbers isn’t the only point. In places where it has facilities, the company has often been a catalyst, working with local utilities and regulators to build new solar or wind farms that pump new green power onto the public grid. Jackson told me Apple especially likes to do this in markets where the majority of the existing energy comes from ecologically unfriendly sources like coal or oil. “It’s an approach that’s really important because you’re growing the clean energy market around you,” she says.

Lisa Jackson is optimistic about energy’s renewable future. “As the markets continue to develop, I don’t see anything that’s going to stop the trajectory toward lower-carbon energy worldwide,” she says. “At some point, you’ll just see countries doing it.” When they do, Apple, along with other tech giants, will deserve some of the credit for getting the flywheel going–a contribution to the betterment of humanity which might well be as meaningful as any new gadget it will sell in its stores.

Source: Fast Company

PindFresh to Bring Urban Farming Revolution to India

Now, this is huge! Urban India is engaged in a true farming revolution: local organic food production from rooftop gardens to spaces between buildings and also indoor areas designated for farming.

urban-faming
The agritech startup Pindfresh is turning small plots or spaces between buildings or in buildings into usable farm space. From rooftop gardens to floors specifically designed to incorporate farming, to other spaces within ­­high-rises filled with racks of perfectly lined leaf vegetables, it is striving to bring about a farming revolution in urban India.

Apart from selling in-house home systems (hydroponic and others) and fresh produce (lettuce, rocket, basil, and mushrooms), it also runs programmes to train people (in schools and societies). By using hydroponics, cocopeat gardening, and other soilless techniques, Pindfresh is attempting to educate urban dwellers to use a technology which takes less space, demands lesser water and is completely free from pathogens and biological contaminants.

The urban population in India, which stands at 377 million, is expected to reach 600 million by 2031, according to a new UN-backed report. The increasing nutritional requirements of this fast-growing urban population will pose a huge challenge in the coming years. Due to the ever-increasing urban population and decreasing rural population that used to tend to frame as a traditional occupation, India imported $906.3 million (INR 5,897 Cr) worth of fruit and vegetables in 2016-17, while the figure in 2014-15 was $832 Mn (INR 5,414 Cr). As a result, Indian consumers are becoming victims of processed food as there is a wide gap in the supply and demand chain.

farming

The startup is attempting to make cities holistic in their requirements of food and vegetation. To that end, it is working towards creating systems by which people will actually eat the local and fresh produce – just as if the food is coming directly from the Pind. Essentially, they offer three services: creating and selling systems for home and commercial use; producing food using Pindfresh systems and selling it and holding workshops. The startup is grossing over a monetization strategy that involves making the vegetable saplings available for procurement by offices and houses. They have two types of customers: one who buys the plants to grow the vegetables themselves and those who only buy the vegetables. Pindfresh is also selling to wholesale markets.

Source: inc42.com

The Swedish Revolutionize Indoor Urban Farms

Planatgon-indoor-urban-farm

In Stockholm’s central Kungsholmen district, Owe Pettersson is hoping to sow the seeds of an indoor urban farm revolution. Pettersson is the chief executive of Plantagon, a new Stockholm-based urban farming venture set to kick off operations in the basement of an office block in the Swedish capital later this month.

“This will be one of the most advanced food factories located in a city that we have today,” says Pettersson, who has spent more than 25 years in the insurance and banking industries.
Plantagon’s early promises echo this nascent optimism. Pettersson calls the farm’s approach “agritechture”: the combination of agriculture, technology, and architecture hoping to revolutionize how we live and eat. The Swedish startup says it will be more efficient than similar enterprises. Plantagon plans to grow high-value foods ― mostly salads and herbs ― in a pumice-like substance rather than soil. Water for the plants is measured with scientific precision. It will also dehumidify the air and reuse any excess water to ensure zero waste.

Plantagon-seedlings

The seedlings used for the indoor farm

In conventional agriculture, the amount of water required to produce a kilo of food can vary from about 130 liters (34 gallons) of lettuce to 3,400 liters (900 gallons) of rice. In contrast, Plantagon says it will only need to use one liter per kilo for its crops. Energy is also a major issue for indoor urban farms, which have to create artificial sunlight. Although advances in the efficiency of LED lights have helped bring down energy consumption in recent years, plants use only about 1 percent of the artificial light produced. This leads to a colossal waste of energy, most of which disappears as heat. Plantagon says it will capture around 70 percent of this unused heat in its 6,500-square-foot basement farm, and pipe it into the heating system of the office block above. Oxygen produced by the plants will be sent to office workers via the building’s air conditioners.

The firm’s recent crowdfunding campaign raised 4.4 million Swedish krona ($559,000) that will help its ambition to install up to nine more urban farms across Stockholm over the next three years. The inaugural farm, which cost about $863,000, was backed by a group of private investors. Plantagon also has a charitable arm, which owns 10 percent of the business and commits to invest in innovative for-profit companies that seek to address societal challenges. People can invest in “generation shares” in the charity that cannot be cashed for seven generations.

The firm’s confidence that it can be profitable rests in part on reducing expenses, with lower costs for energy and water, and savings on rent. Plantagon has negotiated a three-year, zero-rent deal in exchange for the heating and clean air that its farm provides to the building.

 

Source:  Huffington Post

Bowery Farming Takes Urban Farming to New Heights

Bowery Farming greenhouse in Kearny, New Jersey, has a farm-to-table idea that takes on a whole new meaning. Co-Founder and CEO Irving Fain told Moore. “I became obsessed with this question of, how do you provide fresh food to urban environments? And how do you do that in a more efficient and sustainable way?” Fain was to build vertical farms in the skyscraper-saturated land near big cities that aren’t threatened by rain, snow or drought. Fain co-developed a software that anticipates and provides a plant’s every need.

“They have the perfect environment, the perfect nutrient profile for the certain stage of the plant and the different type of crop. So in many ways, it’s emulating the absolute perfect environment at any moment for a plant all the time,” he said.

Lush, leafy greens and herbs grow without pesticides with the help of robotics, under LED lights that mimic the exact spectrum of sunlight crops would get outside on a good day. But where’s the soil?

“The plants actually have their roots dangling down and they dangle not only into the water but the water that’s filled with all the nutrients that the plants actually need,” said Fain.

Bowery Farming is located eight miles from New York City, which he says speeds up the time from harvest to purchase to one day, versus the typical transit time of two to three weeks. Because of its vertical orientation, Fain says they can produce 100 times more greens than a traditional outdoor farm occupying the same footprint. Right now, Bowery Farming only produce leafy greens and herbs, but Fain says the company is hoping to broaden its product line to include a variety of produce.

This article was from CBS News New York and which they talk about urban farming not needing sunlight, soil, or land.

Source: CBS New York