April 21-28, 2013

Going Green in Kitchen and Garden

Urban gardens get a boost at the third annual Go Green Expo

By Lisa Rau
|  Thursday, Apr 12, 2012  |  Updated 1:38 PM PDT
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Groups hope to bring organic produce to inner city and undeserved communities.

Lisa Rau

Groups hope to bring organic produce to inner city and undeserved communities.

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Hot new green technologies like waterless car detailing and electric bicycles were showcased alongside hundreds of eco-friendly products and services April 15-17 at the third annual Los Angeles Go Green Expo.

Hundreds of presenters and nearly 5,000 guests filled the Convention Center to learn about new developments, even when it comes to basic necessities like food.

Businesses that promote urban gardening cite a common challenge: access to sunlight. Tall buildings and an abundance of trees pose a challenge for small-time farmers in Los Angeles. 

They need access to up to eight hours of direct sunlight per day to support fruit-bearing plants like tomatoes, zucchinis and peppers. Still, some educators get excited at the challenge of growing in a small space.

"When I teach a class, it's usually homeowners or apartment dwellers with a very small space," said Christy Wilhelmi, who teaches gardening and food design through her company, Gardenerd. "In four square feet, you can grow 16 heads of lettuce." 

Wilhelmi attributes her methods to the 1981 book, Square Foot Gardening by Mel Bartholemew, who taught growers how to reorganize seeds to maximize yield.           

Other companies shared the similar goal of increasing urban access to fresh produce. Los Feliz-based Farmscape installs and maintains gardens across the greater Los Angeles area, with a focus on school campuses. Other companies, such as Farm Fresh to You, ship fresh fruits and vegetables directly to customers' homes or businesses.

Food-focused Go Green presenters met with conference-goers over three days to showcase their services and encourage Los Angeles residents that easy access to organic produce in the city is within reach.

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