The Future of Urban Agriculture in U.S. Cities


Today, the U.S. population is over 316 million. In less than 40 years, the U.S. Census Bureau projects we’ll reach a national population of 450 million, a 42% increase. Where is this population going to live? The answer to that question appears relatively clear; the U.S. Census Bureau reports that America’s urban population increased by 12.1 percent from 2000 to 2010, outpacing the nation’s overall growth rate of 9.7 percent for the same period. Today, more than 82% of the U.S. lives in urban areas. [1]


Interesting questions result from this macro trend that may impact the future of commercial real estate.

How is this surging urban population to be fed? In example, traditionally, we’ve fumigated, hauled and distributed produce such as tomatoes from the Western U.S. food baskets 3,000 miles to New York City. But, does a tomato grown in California with a priority for breeding for appearance and the hardiness to travel long distances without rotting or damage provide a better product than a tomato grown by local New York City farmers focused on taste and nutritional value?
Does this change in demographic living patterns mean we’ll have to rethink our relationships between food production and food distribution?
Is there an adaptive re-use of economically, functionally or physically obsolete urban industrial buildings by owners for profitable urban farming?
5 Stone has been looking for solutions to these questions. And, in this article will try to not only answer them, but also to provoke further thinking.

New York City imports $1 billion in produce each year. This fact is a good starting point for our discussion. The bottom line for sustainable real estate investors is whether we can capture some of this market by creating urban farming tenancies that pay rent, generate local produce and create local jobs.

There is little debate that natural resources, fossil fuels, arable land and fresh water, (agriculture uses 70% of the U.S.’ fresh water) are made dearer by growing populations wanting to enter the middle class and the impact of Climate Change.[2] In fact, the extreme drought in the Western half of the U.S. has already pushed food prices higher.[2]

So we ask, are there methods to produce healthier crops that (i) are more nutritious and flavorful (ii) use no pesticides, herbicides fertilizers, or fungicides (iii) yield more abundantly and (iv) use less of a precious vanishing asset – clean fresh water?

5 Stone believes urban agriculture will create new ways to harvest value from adaptive reuse of physically, functionally, and economically obsolete light industrial warehouse space and/or their under-utilized rooftops in urban markets by encouraging Controlled Environment Agriculture (“CEA”) operators to become tenants. [Read more…]


9 Reasons You Should Drink Tea Every Day




drinking tea

(Article via The Huffington Post)


1. First things first, tea is way easier to make than coffee.

Most of the time, you need a whole machine to make coffee, and you may even have to grind some beans. To make tea, all you need is boiling water, tea and a cup. It’s that simple.


2. Green tea could have the power to help keep your bones healthy.

For elderly folks, studies have shown that drinking green tea may help lessen the risk of osteoporotic bone fractures.


3. Drinking unsweetened black tea could help fix bad breath.

If you have a case of halitosis, you may want to start drinking black tea. Researchers at the University of Chicago College of Dentistry found that black tea contains chemical components called polyphenols that slow down the formation of plaque-causing bacteria. The polyphenols also reduce “acid production levels,” helping to prevent periodontal disease.


4. It’s considered a “necessity of life” in China, so maybe it should be for you, too.

Along with firewood, rice, oil, “chiang” (fermented soy paste), salt and vinegar, tea is considered one of the things “people cannot do without every day,” according to the proverbial “seven necessities of life” created by the Sung Chinese people.


5. Tea has the power to calm you down.

Some research has suggested that valerian root tea could act as a safe and effective mild natural sleep aid. In a German study, 202 adults either took valerian extract or a prescription anti-anxiety drug. The people who took valerian extract reported “equal improvement in sleep quality, feeling rested and how long they slept as those taking the prescription drug.”


6. It’s kind of a presidential order.

If the President of the United States is obsessed with tea, then you should be too. A 2009 New York Times article that details the changes Obama made to the White House stated that the fridges were stocked with his favorite brand of organic tea: Honest Tea. Apparently, his favorite flavors are “Black Forest Berry” and “Green Dragon.”


7. It could relieve your seasonal allergies before you even get them.

If you’re suffering from seasonal allergies you may want to start your day with a cup of nettle leaf tea. While more research still needs to be done, a preliminary study followed 69 people and found that freeze-dried nettle leaf could “slightly improve allergy symptoms.”


8. Some experts believe that drinking tea can sometimes be better than drinking water.

Researchers at the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that tea rehydrates you just as much as water does by replacing fluids in your body. And because tea has antioxidants, there’s an added bonus. “Water is essentially replacing fluid. Tea replaces fluids and contains antioxidants so it’s got two things going for it,” public health nutritionist Dr. Carrie Ruxton said in an interview with BBC.


9. Afternoon tea. Need we say more?

There are parties dedicated to drinking tea, which include sandwiches that are delicious. Here’s a little history: In 1840, Anna Maria Stanhope, the seventh Duchess of Bedford, thought of the genius idea of having afternoon tea “to bridge the lengthy gap between luncheon and dinner.” In order to retain a good (but restrained) appetite for the sweet scones and iced cakes that accompany such an event, the preceding sandwiches that were eaten at this event needed to be filling but too filling. Thus came dainty mini crustless sandwiches that have lighter fillings like cucumber and eggs for a tasty, quick snack.




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Here is the first episode to our series “The Broccoli” …enjoy.

Click here to view episode.


NOAA: 2014 Is Shaping Up As Hottest Year On Record




(CNN) — The first ten months of 2014 have been the hottest since record keeping began more than 130 years ago, according to data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

That may be hard to believe for people in places like Buffalo, New York, which saw a record early snowfall this year.

But NOAA says, despite the early bitter cold across parts of the United States in recent weeks, it’s been a hot year so far for the Earth.

With two months left on the calendar, 2014 is shaping up to be the hottest year on record.

The average global temperature between January and October has been 0.68 degrees Celsius (1.22 degrees Fahrenheit) higher than the 20th century’s average global temperature of 14.1 C (57.4 F).

NOAA’s analysis is an important “health gauge” indicating an ominous trend for the planet, says CNN meteorologist Derek Van Dam.

“It’s becoming increasingly more difficult to be a skeptic of the causes of our warming planet,” he says.

Hottest October

This October was the hottest October on record globally, NOAA data showed. The mercury climbed more than one degree Fahrenheit above the 20th century average of 57.1 F.

It was the fourth warmest October on record for the United States, NOAA said.

“The record high October temperature was driven by warmth across the globe over both the land and ocean surfaces and was fairly evenly distributed between the Northern and Southern Hemispheres,” the agency said.

That’s significant, says Van Dam.

“Most notably, this record warmth is not contained to any specific part of the world. Meaning, we are all in this together,” he says. “So far this year, record-breaking warmth has been observed in at least every continent and major ocean basin of our planet. This is something we cannot ignore.”

Important benchmark

NOAA’s analysis breaks down global temperatures into two categories — land and ocean — then an average that includes both. The record high temperatures in October were recorded across both land and sea.

The surface temperature on land approached an important scientific benchmark. It was almost 2 degrees Celsius higher than the 20th century average for October of 9.3 C (48.7 F).

Scientists have long predicted that a change in global average temperature of just 2 to 3 degrees higher could spell disaster for the planet, contributing to catastrophic storms, sea level rise, dangerous storm surges and melting polar ice.

According to the non-binding international agreement on climate change — the Copenhagen Accord, reached in 2009 — any temperature increase above the 2 degree Celsius mark is “dangerous.”

NOAA said the ocean temperatures were also the warmest on record in October with an increase of 1.12 F over the 20th century average of 60.6 degrees.

Hot spots

“Record warmth for the year-to-date was particularly notable across much of northern and western Europe, parts of Far East Russia, and large areas of the northeastern and western equatorial Pacific Ocean, ” NOAA said. “It is also notable that record warmth was observed in at least some areas of every continent and major ocean basin around the world,” the agency added.

Of particular note, several countries have already seen an average temperature increase of more than 2 degrees Celsius in October 2014 compared to 20th century averages, including Australia, Germany, France, Switzerland, and Sweden.

There was also one notable cold spot on the map.

The average temperature this year in the midsection of the United States, which saw a severe winter, has been below the 20th century average.


Killer Mike Delivers Powerful Speech About Ferguson





3 Simple Tricks To Improve Running Form




By Jason Fitzgerald


1. Perfect your foot strike

Whether you strike heel, midfoot, or forefoot first, your foot should land directly underneath your body.


2. Run tall to run right

Simply put: Imagine a string is attached to the top of your head and an imaginary giant is pulling it upward toward the sky.


3. Know your cadence

To determine cadence, count the number of times your foot lands in one minute, then double. Ideal cadence for easy runs should be at least 170 steps per minute.


Eat Healthy: Global Cost Of Obesity Rises To $2 Trillion A Year


LONDON (AP) — A new report by the McKinsey Global Institute says that the global cost of obesity has risen to $2 trillion annually — nearly as much as smoking or the combined impact of armed violence, war and terrorism.

The report released Thursday focused on the economics of obesity and says 2.1 billion people — some 30 percent of the global population — are overweight or obese.

It also offers the stark prediction that nearly half of the world’s adult population will be overweight or obese by 2030 should the present trends continue.

McKinsey says there’s no single or simple solution to the problem, but global disagreement on how to move forward is hurting progress. The analysis is meant to offer a starting point on the elements of a possible strategy.

via Associated Press


Indoor farms – a fresh oasis in an urban desert


by  for Al Jazeera America

“Green Sense Farms is one of only a handful of commercial indoor farms in the United States.  Although it’s housed in a nondescript warehouse in an industrial part of town, it is also a feast for the senses with its columns of luscious greens bathed in a bright pink glow.  The glow is the result of thousands of red and blue LEDS  – one of the major innovations driving indoor or controlled environment agriculture.”

Read the full article after the jump

[Read more…]


Good News: Senate Rejects Bid to Force Approval of Keystone XL Tar Sands Pipeline


Despite strong lobbying by oil-industry allies, the U.S. Senate tonight defeated an effort to approve the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline. The Senate vote reaffirms a commitment to fight climate change. Taking leadership sometimes means saying “no.” This bill would have turned Congress into a permitting authority, overriding environmental law, and giving a green light to a pipeline project that would worsen climate change and threaten water quality. The Senate did the right thing to reject the misguided bill, and now the president should do the right thing and reject the tar sands pipeline.

Today was a good day for American leadership, showing that the big polluter agenda doesn’t stand up. There are likely to be many attempts to undermine our health and environment in the coming months, and we will need the same kind of leadership we saw tonight to protect our air, climate, lands and water.

[Read more…]


Top Five Regrets of the Dying


Sometimes we need mortality to help remind us about the beauty of life and focus on what have rather than what we don’t. This list was taken by a hospice nurse and it’s not surprising to see what made the list as they are all things that touch each of our lives as we struggle to pay attention to and make time for things that we truly love.

1. I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.

“This was the most common regret of all. When people realise that their life is almost over and look back clearly on it, it is easy to see how many dreams have gone unfulfilled. Most people had not honoured even a half of their dreams and had to die knowing that it was due to choices they had made, or not made. Health brings a freedom very few realise, until they no longer have it.”

2. I wish I hadn’t worked so hard.

“This came from every male patient that I nursed. They missed their children’s youth and their partner’s companionship. Women also spoke of this regret, but as most were from an older generation, many of the female patients had not been breadwinners. All of the men I nursed deeply regretted spending so much of their lives on the treadmill of a work existence.”

Check the full article after the jump.

[Read more…]


Monsanto Sues Maui County Over GMO-Ban Law





HONOLULU (AP) — Two agricultural companies are suing Maui County to challenge a new law banning the cultivation of genetically modified organisms.

Monsanto Co. and a Dow Chemical Co. unit filed the lawsuit in federal court in Honolulu on Thursday. They’re asking a judge to immediately prevent the law from taking effect and to invalidate the measure. County voters narrowly passed a ballot initiative last week that imposes the ban.

Monsanto Vice President John Purcell says the law interferes and conflicts with long-established state and federal laws that support the safe and lawful cultivation of GMO plants. The initiative’s authors sued the county in state court Wednesday to ensure the county implements the law.

Maui County spokesman Rod Antone says the county is unable to comment because of pending litigation.



The Broccoli Series.


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In an effort to capture and show the changing face of health, wellness, and environmental sustainability, Broccoli City in association with the California Endowment has created “The Broccoli” documentary series. [Read more…]


Just Grow It!


For his “Just Grow It” collection French artist Christophe Guinet (aka Mr. PLANT) fills and covers Nike sneakers with plants. Flowers engulf the fabric, soil and rocks are caked on the swoosh, and layers of bark replace popular styles of shoes. Each of the sculptures is living and matched carefully to each shoe.



A Couple of Ways You’re Making Your Life Harder Than It Has To Be



1. You ascribe intent.

Another driver cut you off. Your friend never texted you back. Your co-worker went to lunch without you. Everyone can find a reason to be offended on a steady basis. So what caused you to be offended? You assigned bad intent to these otherwise innocuous actions. You took it as a personal affront, a slap in the face.

Happy people do not do this. They don’t take things personally. They don’t ascribe intent to the unintentional actions of others. [Read more…]


10 Ways to Make a Great First Impression





As the old saying goes, you don’t get a second chance to make a great first impression. Therefore, it’s important to always be on your game and prepared to deliver a memorable introduction.

So, whether you’re preparing to pitch a potential client for business or looking to meet that special someone, the following list offers effective tools to help you seal any deal that comes your way.


1. Smile. This seems obvious but smiles can communicate more than words can say. Putting a smile on your face makes you look and feel confident, positive and energetic. [Read more…]