"Sustainability" is such a catchy phrase, what do we really mean by sustainable agriculture? The wonks can debate it, but there is no single definition for what we deem as "right" agriculture. The models of ag below are a few theories or special circumstances for farming, all fitting under the general title of sustainable agriculture. Perhaps you will prescribe to some of these...Add more to expand the horizon of the future of food and farming!

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Urban Agriculture
Biodynamic Agriculture

Urban Agriculture

  • Commercial Urban Agriculture Training Program Growing Power’s Commercial Urban Agriculture Training Program is modeled on Growing Power’s many successful years of urban agriculture production. It is designed for individuals who have made the decision to farm commercially IN THE CITY!

American Community Gardening Association(ACGA) -- Information center, programs, publications, links, newsletter, Locate A Garden, Greening Events, and more.
City Farm Project Encouraging NYC community gardeners to understand and appreciate the concepts of community food security, and to be motivated to grow, distribute, and market more food within their communities.
City Repair Project An all-volunteer grassroots organization helping people reclaim their urban spaces to create community-oriented places.
Crossroads Resource Center Tools for community self-determination
Ecology Action A model of agriculture - GROW BIOINTENSIVE® Sustainable Mini-Farming — that nurtures soil, produces high yields, conserves resources and can be used successfully by almost everyone. Our goal is to help this system be known and used locally — on a worldwide scale.
Journey to Forever (City farming page) A pioneering expedition by a small, mobile NGO involved in environment and rural development work, starting from Hong Kong and travelling 40,000 kilometres through 26 countries in Asia and Africa to Cape Town, South Africa. Has a great resource list.
Resource Centres on Urban Agriculture and Forestry

The Complete Book of Self Sufficiency by John Seymour, Foreword by E. F. Schumacher, 1976, 1997, 2003, Dorling Kindersley, ISBN 0751304263
Seymour has been described as the 'guru' of self sufficiency and says it all in this book. From planning a 1 or 5 acre plot to crop rotation, from making bread to building a furnace. Essential accessory to self-sufficiency, whether you need to remove a tree stump, butcher livestock, harness a ploughhorse, plan a dairy or dress stone. Features many forgotten crafts that have been lost in favour of convenience food and supermarkets. Comprehensive. Great drawings and all the information you need. 312 pages. From Powell's Books:

MetroFarm: The Guide to Growing a Big Profit on a Small Parcel of Land by Michael Olson, 1994, ISBN 0-963787-60-8
According to a recent US Census of Agriculture, the most productive farmland in the United States is in the Borough of the Bronx, the second most productive farmland is in the City of San Francisco. How to earn up to eight times the average personal income on as little as one acre of land. Written for both the experienced and the novice, MetroFarm presents the modern and centuries-old technologies used by space-intensive farmers from around the world. Photos, charts and illustrations. From MetroFarm Online:

How Does Our Garden Grow: A Guide to Community Garden Success by Laura Berman, FoodShare Community Gardening Co-ordinator, FoodShare, Toronto -- An extensive manual on community gardening and community organizing. The manual addresses various aspects of community organizing including fundraising, organizational structure, leadership, suggested rules and regulations for peaceful co-existence among gardeners, site acquisition and site selection, as well as site design, maintenance guidelines, tools and equipment, gardening with children and for people with disabilities. Appendices provide horticultural information, composting and soil testing fact sheets and reference and resource lists. Detailed "month by month" sections provide succinct startup information for any community garden, regardless of location. For more information, contact order, contact

The Urban Farmstead: Your Guide to Self-sufficient Living in the Heart of the City by Kelly Coyne and Erik Knutzen
The Urban Homestead is the essential handbook for a fast-growing new movement: urbanites are becoming gardeners and farmers. Rejecting both end-times hand wringing and dewy-eyed faith that technology will save us from ourselves, urban homesteaders choose instead to act. By growing their own food and harnessing natural energy, they are planting seeds for the future of our cities.
If you would like to harvest your own vegetables, raise city chickens, or convert to solar energy, this practical, hands-on book is full of step-by-step projects that will get you started homesteading immediately, whether you live in an apartment or a house. It is also a guidebook to the larger movement and will point you to the best books and Internet resources on self-sufficiency topics.

Toolbox for Sustainable City Living: A Do-it-Ourselves Guide, Written By: Stacy Pettigrew and Scott Kellogg, Illustrated: Juan Martinez and Beth Ferguson
A guide for creating locally-based, ecologically sustainable communities in today's cities. Its straightforward text, vibrant illustrations and accessible diagrams explain how urbanites can have local access and control over life's essential resources: food production, water security, waste management, autonomous energy, and bioremediation of toxic soils. Written for people with limited financial means, the book emphasizes building these systems with cheap, salvaged and recycled materials when possible. This book will be an essential tool for transitioning into a sustainable future threatened by the converging trends of global warming and energy depletion.

The City Farms Toolkit
Information was gathered from various sources throughout New York City, State and beyond to create this comprehensive guide to urban agriculture in NYC. The City Farms Toolkit is comprised of over 70 tipsheets touching on everything from planting calendars to soil care to season extension. This toolkit also contains a resources directory linking community gardeners to over 100 relevant agencies and organizations. Although this toolkit was developed specifically for city farmers in New York, most elements are useful to hobby gardeners, urban farmers and organic growers everywhere.

Use Your Roof: A Guidebook of Resources and Considerations for Rainwater Catchment, Roof Gardens and Solar Power
From Bay Localize in Oakland. Compiled and written by Ingrid Severson. With excerpts from Tapping the Potential of Urban Rooftops.Edited by Aaron Lehmer, Kirsten Schwind and David Room.

Regional Organizations
Growing Power (Milwaukee and Chicago) is a non-profit organization and land trust supporting people from diverse backgrounds and the environment in which they live by helping to provide equal access to healthy, high-quality, safe and affordable food.

Farm Lab in Downtown Los Angeles has become a short-term multi-disciplinary investigation of land use issues that are related to sustainability, livability, and health.

City Farmer Canada's office of Urban Agriculture

Biodynamic Agriculture

Biodynamic agriculture takes a wholistic view of farming, whereby the farm is regarded as a living organism. In cultivating life from soil, the ecology of the earth is related to that of the cosmos. Fertility of the soil, biodiversity conservation, and utilizing on-farm inputs to the extent possible are a few of the principles of biodynamic agriculture. Medicinal compost and soil preparations are used to influence the health of the soil, plants, animals, and farm, similar to the healing properties of homeopathy. Biodynamic methods of farming have stemmed from lectures given by Rudolf Steiner in 1924; practical principles of organic agriculture are combined with awareness of ecology and the specific farm environment.




Biointensive Farming

GROW BIOINTENSIVE Sustainable Mini-Farming is small-scale farming focused on nurturing the soil, producing high yields, and conserving resources - all in any place around the world. The folks who developed this system of farming have based the practices on ages-old traditional ag methods. The eight essential principles of GROW BIOINTENSIVE are: Double-Dug, Raised Beds; Composting: Intensive Planting; Companion Planting; Carbon Farming; Calorie Farming; Use of Open-Pollinated Seeds; A Whole-System Farming Method.


Permaculture involves designing human settlements and perennial farming systems that mimic natural ecological relationships. People are trained in core design principles whereby they are capable of developing self-sufficient environment/communities. In some ways, permaculture has become a lifestyle ethic as well as an agro-ecological design theory.

  1. Introduction to Permaculture by Bill Mollison
  2. Gaia’s Garden by Toby Hemingway
  3. Earth User’s Guide to Permaculture by Rosemary Morrow
  4. The Basics of Permaculture Design by Ross Mars
  5. Permaculture: Principles and Pathways Beyond Sustainability by David Holmgren
  6. How to Make a Forest Garden by Patrick Whitefield

Courses and Workshops
West Coast
Kenwood Permaculture