While the majority of the population now lives in urban areas, the vast majority of our food still comes from far distant rural farms using increasingly destructive strategies to maximize their yield. All of a sudden, however, technology and the market are giving producers the opportunity to scale urban agriculture up to help make cities sustainable. Innovations in remote sensing, data conglomeration, irrigation design, and lighting are enabling farmers to grow healthy produce on a tiny footprint with fewer dangerous chemicals. In the process, urban farmers can reuse waste as construction material and fertilizer, while operating farms distributed throughout cities in derelict and underutilized spaces. Mitch Hagney farmed in the dirt of Massachusetts, Kentucky, and Costa Rica, and trained in retail and commercial hydroponics in New Hampshire and Arizona before co-founding LocalSprout, a hydroponic farming company, in San Antonio. Besides growing local produce, he?s worked for local produce companies such as Greenling and the Pearl Farmers Market. Outside of LocalSprout, he serves as a board member on San Antonio?s Food Policy Council and teaches Urban Farming at VentureLab.
: humanism.org extra: the miracle of the slave
The Miracle of the Slave (also known as The Miracle of St. Mark, 1548) is a painting by the Italian Renaissance artist Jacopo Tintoretto. Currently housed in the Gallerie dell'Accademia in Venice, northern Italy, it was originally commissioned for the Scuola Grande di San Marco, a confraternity in the city. It portrays an episode of the life of Saint Mark, patron saint of Venice, taken from Jacopo da Varazze's Golden Legend. The scene shows, in the upper part, the saint intervening to make invulnerable a slave about to be martyred for his veneration of another saint's relics. All the figures are inscribed into an architectonic scenario.
The city grew wealthy from trade caravans; the Palmyrenes were renowned merchants who established colonies along the Silk Road and operated throughout the Roman Empire. Palmyra's wealth enabled the construction of monumental projects, such as the Great Colonnade, the Temple of Bel, and the distinctive tower tombs. The Palmyrenes were a mix of Amorites, Arameans, and Arabs. The city's social structure was tribal, and its inhabitants spoke Palmyrene (a dialect of Aramaic); Greek was used for commercial and diplomatic purposes. The culture of Palmyra was influenced by Greco-Roman culture and produced distinctive art and architecture that combined eastern and western traditions. The city's inhabitants worshiped local Semitic deities, Mesopotamian and Arab gods.