I'm going to make just one prediction for 2009:
Urban gardens will become as de rigueur as weekly trips to the farmer's market.
Of course, I'm not the first to notice the idea of urban food production coming into the forefront. Last year saw the launch of San Francisco's Victory Garden pilot project and Wired magazine had an article on Urban Farming as well. Most likely you saw Slow Food Nation's Victory Garden at City Hall or you may have even heard about Graze the Roof, a Summer rooftop edible garden at Glide Memorial. While those projects are over, the idea of producing food in an urban setting has only just begun.
If you want to become an urban farmer, consider enrolling in Alemany Farm's Apprenticeship in Ecological Horticulture. It's a year long hands-on program that will teach core principals of food production such as soil fertility and composting, propagation and planting, seasonal tree care, water-wise irrigation, plant identification, integrated pest management, and crop planning.
If becoming a farmer is not quite your thing, but you still want in on the conversation, check out OPENrestaurant at Yerba Buena. Join members of Slow Food Nation and the urban farming community for OPENrestaurant, a socially engineered informal dinner created by a collective of restaurant professionals. Share a simple meal while chewing on the question: How can the urban landscape be productive? Buy a meal ticket and enjoy dinner and a glass of wine while learning more about urban farming, foraging and gleaning from people directly involved in these practices or simply show up for the discussion.
What: OPENrestaurant with Slow Food Nation, a discussion and dinner prepared by Jerome Waag and Stacie Pierce of Chez Panisse and Chris Kronner formerly of Serpentine and Slow Club.
Where: Grand Lobby, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, 701 Mission St, San Francisco
When: January 6th, 2008, 7 pm
How: Buy a meal ticket, $20 or $15 for Yerba Buena members. Or call the box office at 415.978.2787. The discussion is free for those who do not choose to dine with the group.
Why: Get a head start on planting for Spring, receive seed packets and enjoy local beer and wine, white beans and greens from city farms, pork rillettes, bread from Tartine and dessert.