urban farm

Zucchini Parmesan Bites

I made these from a gigantic zucchini that was hiding under a few big leaves in my garden. I somehow overlooked it until it was of monstrous proportions, about 12 inches long and 4-5 inches in diameter. 

These little bites are crispy and delicious and I highly recommend this versatile way of cooking zucchini. Once baked, you can layer these with tomato sauce and make zucchini parmesan. You could also cut them into the shape of french fries, instead of circles, in the first step, then crumb coat, bake, and serve with burgers. I like eating them as appetizers with home made ketchup! Yum!

Here’s how I made these inexpensive and scrumptious treats:

Heat oven to 400.

Spray a cookie sheet with olive oil spray. 

Slice zucchini into ¼ inch thick circles (or in the shape of french fries), dip in scrambled egg that’s been seasoned with salt and pepper. Dredge in bread crumbs that have been seasoned with ¼ cup parmesan cheese, pinch of celery salt, couple grinds of black pepper, sprinkle of onion powder, shake of garlic powder and ½ tsp smoked paprika.

Place the zucchini rounds on the cookie sheet, spritz with a little olive oil spray, and top each one with a little fresh grated parmesan cheese.

Bake at 400 for 10 minutes, flip each one over, return to oven for 10 more minutes until desired doneness.  Serve with homemade ketchup or marinara sauce.  Yum!

Uncommon Ground: the perfect name for America’s greenest restaurant

With a list of accolades that doesn’t stop, Chicago’s Uncommon Ground is anything but common. Named“Greenest restaurant” in America in 2011 and 2013, winner of the governor’s sustainability award, the country’s first certified organic rooftop farm, restaurant of the year, green business of the year…the list goes on and on. And now the owners are adding: “first organic brewery in the state” to that list.

Read more here.

A farmer once told me that nature doesn’t make bad colors only people do.  Here are freshly harvested runner beans in all of their glory.  This photo is not retouched in any way, these are the bean’s true colors.  Magic.

How to Build at Farm at a Museum: WORKac’s P.F.1 at PS1

Before MoMA PS1′s courtyard held Andrés Jaque’s COSMO, it played host to P.F.1 (Public Farm One) by WORKac. The New York-based firm won the prestigious Young Architects Program in 2008 with an urban farm concept that evokes the look of a flying carpet in the midst of landing. Constructed from large cardboard tubes, its top surface became a working farm, blooming with a variety of vegetables and plants. Acting as an interactive bridge between outside and inside, P.F.1 created multiple zones of activity, including swings, fans, sound effects, seating areas, and a pool at its center. At the end of the summer, its inexpensive components were broken down and fully recycled. Both Andrés Jaque/Office for Political Innovation and WORKac will be participating in the Chicago Architecture Biennial this October. 

Maximize Vertical Space In Your Urban Orchard

Squeeze your favorite fruits in to your limited urban space by implementing one or more of these alternative tree-growing methods.

Trees, vines, and shrubs are focal points in any garden, but most backyard orchardists aren’t blessed with enough acreage to match their ambitions. It’s a constant fight to cram all those spectacular specimens spotted in the nursery into increasingly crowded plots, and to do it beautifully. The only solution to this conundrum is to efficiently use the only space remaining: Get ready to go vertical—and sculptural!

While art forms like topiary and bonsai are established ways of making living sculptures of ornamentals, there is also a world of possibilities in making fruiting plants into Axel Erlandson-esque works of art. It’s the perfect marriage of form and function.

The Patient Gardener (pictured above), a proposed two-story living retreat made of cherry trees designed by the Swedish architectural team at visiondivision, is at the extreme end of fruit tree sculpting. Their project is projected to reach, ahem, “fruition” six decades from now. For the hobby orchardist on a shorter timeline, here are some simpler forms a living fruit tree sculpture can take.

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