New Stories From 'Urban Agriculture Notes'

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These ten urban agriculture projects have changed the food system in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Newly Completed Community Garden at CRC.

The Ritz-Carlton Hotel is home to 100,000 honey bees, which produce around 70 pounds of chemical-free honey annually for the hotel restaurant and spa.

By Eden Kinkaid
Christian Science Monitor
Food Tank
June 22, 2015


Charlotte, North Carolina, is home to a diverse network of urban agriculture projects transforming the city’s landscape and its local food system. While each project has unique objectives and strategies, all share similar goals: to increase access to healthy food, and give back to the community. Here are 10 urban agriculture projects currently growing in the Queen City.

100 Gardens designs and installs aquaponic systems in urban settings. The organization considers aquaponics, the practice of growing fish and vegetables in an integrated system, to be a model for sustainable food production. 100 Gardens uses aquaponic laboratories (“AquaLabs”) in places like schools and prisons to teach science, technology, math, and engineering in a hands-on way.

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July 5, 2015   No Comments

Children’s book: The Gardener – 1997


But it is in a secret place that Lydia Grace works on her masterpiece — an ambitious rooftop garden –

By Sarah Stewart (Author), David Small (Illustrator)
Square Fish

Lydia Grace Finch brings a suitcase full of seeds to the big gray city, where she goes to stay with her Uncle Jim, a cantankerous baker. There she initiates a gradual transformation, bit by bit brightening the shop and bringing smiles to customers’ faces with the flowers she grows.

But it is in a secret place that Lydia Grace works on her masterpiece — an ambitious rooftop garden — which she hopes will make even Uncle Jim smile.

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July 4, 2015   No Comments

National Institute of Food and Agriculture Grant Aims to Assure Food Safety in Urban Gardens of Detroit

waynesUrban garden at Wayne State University. Photo by Julie O’Connor.

A team of researchers led by Wayne State University has recently launched an initiative to determine the prevalence of contaminants in urban agriculture soil in Detroit

Wayne State University Division of Research
June 24, 2015

Urban gardens are becoming more commonplace across Detroit and other major urban cities throughout the United States. These gardens offer a source of free or inexpensive healthy food for the public and educate community members about food production and rehabilitating the local ecosystem. The revolution of urban agriculture has the potential to address many economic, environmental and personal health issues.

With urban agriculture gaining popularity for improving local and sustainable food systems, the question of food safety has become a growing concern. To ensure the safety and sustainability of this food supply, there is a need for more information on physical, chemical and biological contamination in urban agricultural environments, particularly contaminants such as heavy metals, antibiotics, pesticides, foodborne bacteria and more.

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July 4, 2015   No Comments

Why Joining the Urban Agriculture Movement Will Make You Healthier

washgarCommon Good City Farm produces food for low-income neighborhoods in the District of Columbia.

In 2014, the USDA reported a total of 8,268 farmers markets nationwide, an increase of 76 percent since 2008. That increase was partly due to demand for more local food.

By Corinne Ruff
US News and World Report
June 23, 2015


As a gardener and researcher of human rights for adequate food and nutrition, Anne Bellows, professor of food studies at Syracuse University, says these urban farms play an important role in retaining public health.

“It’s important to understand and be aware of what the huge multitude of benefits are,” she says. “The food and the nutrition are important, but also very critical are benefits like access to green, quiet, safe space where other people are meeting and working – some place that is a refuge.”

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July 3, 2015   No Comments

What Kale and Arugula Have to Do with Reducing Recidivism in Miami, Florida

nationsUrban Greenworks executive-cirector James Jiler and Roger Horne, director of community health relations, share some freshly picked fruit from Cerasee Farm. See more photos of inner city gardens in Miami here. Photos by Ryan Stone.

This group is soothing inner-city tensions, spade in hand.

By Chris Peak
Nation Swell
June 18, 2015


It’s mango season in Miami, and James Jiler’s kitchen counter keeps filling with bags and bags of the tropical fruit. The towering mound accumulates nearly faster than he can slice the mangos apart or blend them together in a summer daiquiri.

Tasty as the fresh fruit is already, it’s even sweeter to Jiler because of where it comes from: many of the mangoes were nurtured and picked by at-risk youth, halfway house residents and the formerly incarcerated. As the executive director of Urban Greenworks, Jiler provides green jobs and environmental programs like planting in urban spaces or science education in schools to troubled residents of Miami. Since the organization’s start in 2010, roughly 55 people have been employed by the nonprofit, plus hundreds more have served as volunteers.

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July 3, 2015   No Comments

Portland has 358 plots in nine different community gardens.

rportlMatthew Day (front) and Brad Hammond, two of 80 volunteers helping to create community garden plots on Portland’s Eastern Prom, put down newspapers as one of the ‘no-dig’ layers that help to cover the grass and turn it to compost. Photos by Whitney Hayward/Staff Photographer.

Sixty new plots will make a dent in the 200-plus waiting list for a community garden spot.

By Beth Quimby
Portland Press Herald
June 21, 2015


Dozens of volunteer gardeners on Saturday transformed a section of lawn on the Eastern Promenade into 60 new community garden plots for Portland residents.

And they did it all without having to dig up any sod.

The event, called a “permablitz,” was organized by the Resilience Hub, a Portland nonprofit that promotes permaculture, or ecologically friendly agriculture and social design; Cultivating Community, a Portland nonprofit that promotes better access to healthy, local foods; and Portland’s Urban Agriculture Sub-Committee. About 80 volunteers showed up to create new planting beds behind the tennis courts.

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July 2, 2015   No Comments

Los Gatos, Saratoga: County identifies land pockets for urban farming


There are 1,074 of vacant lots that have been identified by Santa Clara County as potential urban agriculture incentive zones.

By Judy Peterson
San Jose Mercury News Saratoga
June 17


There are minimum requirements for the program, including parcel size. Parcels must be at least 4,356 square feet in size but no larger than three acres. In addition, the parcel must be in an urban agriculture incentive zone. It cannot have any dwellings, although tool sheds, greenhouses and produce stands are OK. Also, the entire parcel must be utilized for agricultural activity.

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July 2, 2015   No Comments

South Africa: Urban agriculture helps Cape Town grow


“There’s absolutely no reason for food insecurity anywhere, just 100m2 can feed a family of four year-round with all the fresh veggies they could dream of.”

By Patrick Domburg
July 2015

Cape Town’s growing interest in urban agriculture is set to change the city’s attitude towards food security and sustainable food production.

Across the world, in spaces where food was often taken for granted, more people are becoming aware of the urgent need to embrace urban agriculture on a citywide scale and work across socio-economic divides.

Rob Small, Co-Director of Abalimi says, “There’s absolutely no reason for food insecurity anywhere, just 100m2 can feed a family of four year-round with all the fresh veggies they could dream of.”

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July 2, 2015   No Comments

Mapping Urban Agriculture in Chicago


Much of the 64 acres of land Taylor found were home gardens, illustrating what private yards, decks, and roofs are bringing to the local food movement.

By Susan Coser
June 16, 2015


With the Chicago Urban Agriculture Mapping Project, researchers are on a mission to find where and how much food is grown within the Windy City. This data was once only available in the form of a hodgepodge of community-garden lists that weren’t always complete or accurate. For instance, when John Taylor, a graduate student at the University of Illinois, compared one of those lists to what he could see on Google Earth in 2012, he found that just 13 percent of the listed gardens produced food.

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July 1, 2015   No Comments

Feature documentary looking at the latest science about the health benefits of children re-connecting with nature

“I think that city farms could play a massive part in future health!”

By Toni Harman,
Producer / Director, A Probiotic Life

As well as the general point about the need for our children to reconnect with nature, the film explores the latest science that suggests young children could really benefit from being more exposed to more farm microbes.

We recently returned from filming on an Amish farm in Indiana where the children have remarkably low rates of asthma and allergies – the scientists hypothesise that a diet of locally sourced organic food plus the children being exposed to the microbes from farm animals from a very young age – these could be conferring considerable health benefits for the Amish children.

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July 1, 2015   No Comments

China: Villages changed into cities liberating women from farm drudgery


She spent her childhood working in the fields, feeding the family’s pigs. The destruction of rural China became for Xiao Zhang a liberation – and an opportunity. This is the story of how her life changed as much as her country.

By Carrie Gracie
BBC News
June 22, 2015
(Must See. Mike)


She’d started helping with the farm work almost as soon as she could walk and when she was 11, she dropped out of school.

“Every family was poor but we were poorer,” she says.

“My mother was often ill. As the eldest I always had to help out, feeding the pigs, working in the fields, looking after the little ones.

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July 1, 2015   No Comments

Famous Paris Department Store, Boulevard Haussmann, has Rooftop Food Garden


Housing 150 plant varieties and a fully organic, chemical-free soilless cultivation system made from 5,400 square feet of hemp and wool panels that recycles its entire water usage.

By Trendstop.Com
June 17, 2015


In Paris, Galeries Lafayette is taking up the challenge to make the city a more bio-diverse and eco-friendly place with a new urban farming initiative. The famous department store has teamed up with the French Association of Soilless Cultivation to create a hanging fruit and vegetable garden, which is the first instalment in an ongoing citywide project aiming to not only inspire city dwellers to ‘grow their own,’ but also to develop a new economic activity for the capital.

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June 30, 2015   No Comments

Oregonians can now add four cannabis plants to their backyard vegetable gardens

Should I grow marijuana indoors or outdoors? | ‘Growing Grass’ (Part 1) In the first video of our growing marijuana series, we met with cannabis farmers, Michelle and Tyson Haworth, who explain the pros and cons of indoor and outdoor growing.

“If you leave them out in weeks of rain,” he said, “you will just get rotten marijuana.”

By Noelle Crombie
The Oregonian/OregonLive
June 27, 2015


You’ve got to be 21 or older to possess and grow cannabis in Oregon and your yard should be a private place where neighbors and passersby can’t easily see your plants.

Oregon’s new marijuana law allows people not only to possess marijuana, but also to grow it at home. Every household may have up to four marijuana plants.

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June 29, 2015   No Comments

Resident of Kawaala, Uganda, a Kampala suburb grows food on small lot

nairsacHarriet Nakabaale shows some crops in eggshells that she grows as part of her extended farming in her sack garden.

“We need people, especially in the urban areas to engage in agriculture, regardless of limited land. And the answer is sack farming.”

By Mathias Wandera
The Monitor

“I started by collecting huge sacks that had been dumped around my neighbourhood. Given that I have always had a poultry house, I was able to compost chicken manure that had accumulated in the coop. This I mixed with black soil to enrich the soil. But I did not just fill the sacks with the soil, I had to place small pebble stones at the middle of the sack, right from bottom to top, then filled the sack with soil leaving the stones erect in the middle,” the mother of three says.

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June 29, 2015   No Comments

Urban and suburban agriculture project begins in Republic of Cabo Verde

Republic of Cabo Verde,[5] is an island country spanning an archipelago of 10 volcanic islands in the central Atlantic Ocean. Located 570 kilometres (350 mi) off the coast of Western Africa, the islands cover a combined area of slightly over 4,000 square kilometres (1,500 sq mi).

Funded by the FAO with a total of US$400,000

Macua Hub
June 19th, 2015


A project aimed at urban and suburban production of fruit, vegetables, roots, tubers and ornamental plants will begin in the capital of Cabo Verde (Cape Verde), Praia, said the country’s Minister of Rural Development, Eva Ortet.

The minister, cited by newspaper A Semana, said the project, to be carried out by the central government, was part of a United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) programme to create subsistence green belts in cities and surrounding areas that it calls “urban and suburban agriculture.”

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June 28, 2015   No Comments