Best Cities For Urban Farming

With the rising awareness around the negative environmental impacts of large-scale farming, there has been a recent trend towards urban farming.  According to a 2013 report from the US Department of Agriculture, around 15 percent of the world’s food is now grown in urban areas, and it seems like a trend that’s only continuing.  Urban farming can be everything from a tomato patch in a vacant lot by your apartment to growing herbs on your rooftop.  I recently came across an article by data scientists from Redfin, who combed through thousands of home listings for farm-friendly keywords to find the best cities for urban farming.  Here is what they found:

Eugene Oregon

People in Eugene love their gardens, and it isn’t uncommon to see vegetables or chickens in yards.  There are six community gardens in the city, with more than 300 plots in-between them.  The local store “The Eugene Backyard Farmer” sells a variety of urban farming supplies, making it easy for people to take up.  And since the city cheaper and has more space than Portland, Eugene is the ideal place for Oregonians who wants to live more sustainably.  The city’s allowed residents to keep more animals on their property, helping to further facilitate urban agriculture.

Burlington VTVermont’s “big” city has a reputation for being green, has nearly 400 community gardens to back that up.  From an extensive community gardening program to strong farm-to-school programs, the city offers plenty of benefits to urban farmers.  The city also has an innovative and progressive municipal policy that supports urban livestock and garden structures.

Jason Cohen Pittsburgh Santa Rosa According to the economic development and marketing coordinator of the city, Santa Rosa was built in part on merging “urban” and “farming”.  Urban farming is a central part of the city, providing food security and jobs while creating local entrepreneurs.  It’s in a very biodiverse region of the state, allowing residents to produce high-quality foods and artisan products, which are often sought out by many of the top chefs and restaurants in the Bay Area.

Greenville, SCMuch of the demand for farm-friendly housing in this upstate South Carolina city comes from health-conscious millennials who are interested in the city’s high quality of life, low living costs and tech job opportunities.  Such local organizations as Gardening For Good, Mill Village Farms, Reedy River Farms and the Greenville County Parks & Rec Department have all spearheaded the urban farming movement in the city.  

Orlando, FLApart from its role as a mecca of amusement parks, Orlando has been involved in community gardening initiatives.  While Orlando is behind other contenders on the list for food production, people have been pouring full energies into changing that, including several nonprofits.

San Francisco CAIt might be expensive here, but the city has made great strides to promote urban farming.  Urban Agriculture Program donated more than 11,000 plants to gardeners in the city last year, and organizations like the San Francisco Urban Agriculture Alliance, Community Grows and Slide Ranch offer a community for those interested in urban agriculture.

Albuquerque NMCity zoning in New Mexico’s largest city permits homeowners to keep livestock on their property.  The sunshine, moderate high desert climate and local resources here all support sustainable farming.  The Old School is a hub of experts that offer all sorts of classes on urban farming, often for very cheap.

Columbia, SCWhile not many areas in the city of Columbia let you keep chickens, there is farmland north of the city and several schools teach farming and gardening practices.  The local organization City Roots grows 125 different types of fruits and vegetables, as well as keeps bees for honey and pollination and raises chickens for eggs.

Tampa FLThe growing popularity of healthy food and farm-to-table dining has led to an increase in urban farming in Tampa.  Gardening groups are getting larger and larger, and the urban farming trend here has been encouraging Tampans to eat and get healthier while leading more sustainable lifestyles.

Raleigh-Durham NCThere’s been a lot of transformation in Raleigh, with old factories being turned into restaurants and downtown becoming a more popular place to live.  One of the hip things in Raleigh right now is chickens, and downtown is filled with green spaces and community gardens throughout the city.



Business Trends For 2016

2015 has been a crazy year, filled with excitement and ups and downs.  It might be hard to believe, but the new year is almost upon us, and it seems that a lot of the business trends of the past year shall continue.  I recently came across an article that discussed some of the year’s highlights, and how you can leverage them in 2016.  Listed here is what this article had to say:

Screen Shot 2015-12-22 at 11.30.11 AM

Internationally expanding your business: Not being a part of global real estate means missed opportunities.  This doesn’t just mean plugging into a global agent or broker network, but translating marketing materials into multi-lingual websites and brochures, having multi-lingual agents and understanding how people in different parts of the world do business.

The sharing economy: Having just an office and a great website isn’t enough.  Global connections helps to make you part of the Sharing Economy, which promotes peer-to-peer-based sharing of access to goods and services through community-focused online technology platforms.  Uber and Airbnb are some of the companies leading the way in this field, and the concept is just starting to introduced into the real estate industry.

Keeping up with consumer expectations: While there has been more attention paid to this, it’s still a relatively new concept in the real estate industry.  Agents still rely too much on independent contractors to consistently deliver a great experience before, during and after a sale, although the sad fact is that it doesn’t always happen.

Promote your performance at the hyperlocal level: Positioning yourself as an expert in local markets is a great way to stand out against the competition, both local and national.  Instead of talking about how great your company is, talk about the information about the market that you have.  This is one of the foundations of delivering a great consumer experience.

Responsive design can’t be ignored: While responsive design has been around for years, in 2015 it appears to have really established itself.  Mobile usage has skyrocketed and now directly affects how the real estate industry communicates and collaborates.  If your site isn’t built on responsive, mobile-friendly design, then your clients won’t have a good experience and could look elsewhere.  Google’s algorithms will recognize if you aren’t responsive, which in turn will damage your site’s rankings.  If you can be an early adopter of responsive design, your site will look great and give you that edge over your competitors.

Digital marketing is cheaper, faster and better: Although this one seems obvious, brokers aren’t always quick to pick up on it.  Using digital marketing means tracking analytics, trends and other important factors to help you save money, run your business better and make the right choices.

Pittsburgh a Winter Wonderland for Renters

Even when Pittsburgh isn’t 60 degrees in December, the city is full of fun options for young city residents. With an abundance of activities geared toward youthful city denizens, the city has transformed itself year-round into a place that appeals to younger residents. At Jason Cohen Pittsburgh, we invest in properties that we subsequently rent, often to twenty- or thirty-something residents who are flocking to the city. For investors looking to rent their assets, Pittsburgh is an optimal location and the abundance of initiatives that attract young residents ensure that the city will continue to thrive for landlords.

Pittsburgh offers of an array of winter activities for fitness enthusiasts to be outdoors even in the winter months. Several holiday-themed 5K races as well as yoga events keep active folks busy outdoors even when the temperatures dip. The ice rink in Schenley Park offers adult-only skating on Friday evenings for those who want a peaceful night on the ice. The annual Polar Bear Plunge is a chance for cold lovers to dive into one of the local rivers and prove their mettle.

Winter is also the time for beer festivals at the convention center where craft brew enthusiasts can warm up from the cold by tasting the interesting ales, lagers, and the like from the region and beyond. The South Side will even host a chili cook-off and street festival. The Pittsburgh winter can’t stop the quarterly gallery crawls downtown, nor the monthly low-bey Unblurred on Penn Avenue.

In addition to Pitt basketball, the city offers other affordable sports entertainment for younger residents. The Penguins offer discounted tickets to students to enable the city’s youth to experience hockey at Consol Energy Center. The Student Rush program epitomizes Pittsburgh’s commitment to making the city an attractive place for young people to live and rent.

As real estate investors, we at Jason Cohen Pittsburgh strive to make our repositioned rental properties appeal to these young residents that have been part of an influx to the city. We strategically invest in properties in areas of the city that appeal to a younger demographic and renovate, adding amenities to suit their active lifestyles. From the activities being offered this winter, we think that this trend is catching on. The city’s amenities make it attractive to young renters, therefore a great place to invest in rental properties.