In Part IV of our publication on Non-Urban Renewal, we will introduce the details of our Urban Agriculture Pilot in conjunction with the city of Glens Falls.
What Is An Urban Agriculture Pilot
When we think of cities, we think of buildings. These are assets of these cities which can easily be transformed, revitalized, and given new meaning. The Glens Falls Urban Agriculture Pilot (UAP) will do just that by developing a self-contained, easily-replicable, scalable, transferable vertical farming system within distressed, underutilized and/or vacant commercial and industrial properties in New York state. It will be designed to grow a wide variety of vegetables, herbs and plants for the purpose of closer (local) food production, distribution, and consumption by Glens Falls constituents.
Why Glens Falls, New York
The City of Glens Falls has been reimagining, repositioning and reinventing itself as the commercial, cultural and innovation gateway to the Adirondack region. Some key moments include:
- From an economic development perspective, this transformation took a major step forward in 2017 when Glens Falls became the first Capital Region recipient of the $10 million NYS Downtown Revitalization Initiative (DRI). Two DRI projects in particular – construction of “The Market on South Street,” a year-round farmer’s market and community center; and the relocation of the SUNY Adirondack Culinary School to a downtown space nearby – have created an opportunity to expand the City’s “locavorian” footprint.
- A more recent city partnership with the New York Power Authority (NYPA) to install smart city components like parking sensors and air quality monitors as part of the city’s LED smart streetlight conversion, highlights the city’s selective embrace of technology to enhance quality of life, create business opportunities, increase government efficiency, reduce energy use, and save money.
The opportunity to leverage agricultural development through public-private partnerships is a reflection of cities, such as Glens Falls, looking for innovative ways to develop or repurpose downtown spaces, and to create “new economy, green recovery” jobs for displaced workers.
What Are The Benefits Of This Urban Agriculture Pilot
The goal of this pilot program will be to create a business model that can be easily adapted to various sizes and styles of buildings with minimal alteration. We believe that this project can help communities across New York State pursue a green path of recovery as they navigate this period of economic transition as businesses recover from the impact of COVID. Ultimately, through its success, we will be able to provide a successful model to be replicated at site-independent locations anywhere and everywhere, 24/7, 365 days a year.
By introducing this concept, cities like Glens Falls, will achieve
- A modular, scalable model for growing year-round crops in northern climates
- An alternative model to traditional supply chains that rely on diesel trucks transporting fresh produce long distances in disposable plastic packaging
- A new way to use long-abandoned buildings and structures
- Temporary possibilities for communities seeking to fill empty commercial spaces vacated by COVID-related business closures
- Targeted job opportunities through an emerging technology industry focused on local, sustainable means and markets
In Part V of the Non-Urban Renewal series, we will dive deeper into each of the benefits of the Urban Agriculture Pilot and introduce the partners that we’ll be working with to achieve this project’s goals.
By Riyana Razalee