7 elaborate urban farms

  • Photo by Irwin Miller

    It's possible to become a real farmer with 25 square feet of space, even if skyscrapers are your neighbors.

    But it does take a bit of planning and innovation. Luckily, there is a core group of artists, designers and farmers leading the charge to help city-dwellers lower their food costs, eat local and turn their urban homes into homesteads.

    Britta Riley, a young artist and technologist, turned her small Brooklyn apartment window and some water bottles into a prototype for a hydroponic window farming system. It started by yielding one salad's worth of veggies per week and ended up in the American Museum of Natural History, thanks to her sleek and modern design that once looked like an elaborate web of water bottles. Artist Fritz Haeg started an Edible Estates project that transformed 15 useless front lawns from Kansas to Istanbul into agricultural marvels worthy of places like the Tate Modern museum in London.

    With the "moderate cost" of food for the average 19 to 50-year-old man in the U.S. at $295.90 per-month, according to the USDA, why wouldn't you want to feed yourself from the land where you're already paying to live? Plus, filling an urban space full of leafy vegetables, fruit trees, roosting chickens and buzzing bees is a lot more beautiful than covering one in concrete.

    Here are seven city-dwellers who are doing just that.

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    Ilyce R. Glink is an award-winning, nationally-syndicated columnist, best-selling book author and founder of Best Money Moves, an employee benefit program that helps reduce financial stress. She also owns ThinkGlink.com, where readers can find real estate and personal finance resources.