New Stories From 'Urban Agriculture Notes'

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Garden to Table Restaurants

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The Pyramid Restaurant in the Fairmont Hotel in Dallas boasts local, sustainable American cuisine, using fresh ingredients from a terrace garden. The full and fresh 3,000-square-foot rooftop vegetable and herb garden includes a greenhouse. Photo from The Fairmont Dallas.

Eat ultra-local at these great garden-to-table restaurants

By Michael Harlan Turkell
USA Today
April 2014

Excerpts:

The concept of farm-to-table has been trending for a while, yet some restaurants don’t have to rely on local farms for everything. We’ve gathered a slew of kitchens around the country that grow and serve vegetables, fruits and herbs from on-site gardens, usually cared for by the chefs and restaurateurs themselves. Chef Dennis Marron of Poste Moderne Brasserie and Bar in Washington, D.C. cultivates an array of fresh produce and herbs in Poste’s courtyard garden.

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April 23, 2014   No Comments

Urban farming at NE Portland’s Madison High School keeps teens engaged

It’s not a Portlandia sketch.

By Nicole Dungca
Oregon Live
April 08, 2014

Excerpt:

There is, indeed, an “urban farming” course at Madison High in Northeast Portland.

Teacher Susan Wiencke sometimes laughs at how the class seems to fit the Portland stereotype, but that doesn’t take away from the genuine enthusiasm her students have in the garden.

Wiencke, who also teaches a sustainable agriculture course, said students love working with a hands-on curriculum.

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April 23, 2014   No Comments

Inner city kale on the rise! Urban farmers in BC transforming yards

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Katie Ralphs and Ruth Warren.

Katie Ralphs and Ruth Warren are the women behind City Beet, an urban farm in Vancouver that grows 50 different crops on 14 yards

By Christina Turner
Rabble.Ca
April 10, 2014

Excerpt:

City Beet’s practices demonstrate, almost to an extreme, how environmentally friendly urban farming can be. They grow all of their produce in the same 10-block radius, get around by bike and members pick up their weekly produce share at a local café.

Ralphs admits that she and Warren struggle with the question of food accessibility. Local food is expensive and remains out of reach for many, especially in a stratified city like Vancouver. “We only really interact with people who can afford to join our CSA or own a house that we can farm on,” Ralphs says.

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April 22, 2014   No Comments

Forum discussion: What can cities hope to get from community gardens and urban agriculture?

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Marie Desbons illustratrice.

“Every month we host a Global Roundtable on a specific question in The Nature of Cities. Writers from diverse perspectives offer a brief response.”

The Nature of Cities
Apr 7, 2014

Participants:

As Deputy Mayor Naomi Tsur led Jerusalem’s recycling revolution, and integrated urban nature into city planning in major projects such as the Gazelle Valley Urban Nature Park and the Railway Park.

Gareth Haysom is a researcher at the African Food Security Urban Network based at the African Centre for Cities at the University of Cape Town.

David Dixon FAIA leads Stantec’s new Urban Group. Wiley will publish his Urban Design for an Urban Century, with Lance Brown, this Spring.

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April 22, 2014   No Comments

Growing the Benefits of Urban Agriculture in New York City

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Five Borough Farm II

Authors:
Lee Altman, Urban Planning Fellow
Liz Barry, Outreach Fellow
Martin Barry, Green Infrastructure Fellow
Christopher Englese, Video Fellow
Kaja Kühl, Urban Planning Fellow
Philip Silva, Outreach Fellow
Barbara Wilks, Green Infrastructure Fellow

Design Trust for Public Space
March 2014

Part how-to guide and part reference, Five Borough Farm II: Seeding the Future of Urban Agriculture in New York City builds on the findings from the first Five Borough Farm publication to equip farmers and gardeners, support organizations, policymakers, and funders with the tools and information to measure, maximize and expand the benefits of urban agriculture.

New York City’s community gardens and urban farms come in all shapes and sizes. Some gardens squeeze into narrow vacant lots once occupied by stately brownstones. Some farms sprawl across industrial rooftops the size of city blocks. Some grow dense with fruits and vegetables while others focus on giving neighbors a quiet open space where they can relax and get to know each other.

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April 21, 2014   No Comments

Two long-promised big Detroit urban agriculture efforts get underway

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Michelle Lutz, farm manager for the RecoveryPark project, helps assemble a high tunnel Friday. ‘I hope to grow some really great food that the metro Detroit population really needs,’ she said. Photo by Jarrad Henderson/Detroit Free Press.

RecoveryPark, Hantz Woodlands projects finally get started

By John Gallagher
Detroit Free Press Business Writer
Apr 21, 2014

Excerpt:

On Friday, the RecoveryPark project off East Grand Boulevard began construction of a “high tunnel,” a sort of greenhouse measuring 30 by about 145 feet, in which more than two dozen varieties of herbs and vegetables will be grown for sale to local restaurants and markets.

And on May 17, about 500 volunteers are expected to plant thousands of saplings for the Hantz Woodlands urban forest project on about 20 acres of cleared, vacant land on Detroit’s east side.

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April 21, 2014   No Comments

Hotel apiaries are the bee’s knees

Travel video showing honey used by hotel chefs

By Ashley Day
USA Today
April 2014

The next wave in the urban agriculture trend…make that swarm…is here: Hotel honeybees housed in on-site apiaries.

April 20, 2014   No Comments

Grow Dat Youth Farm at City Park teaches leadership through growing in New Orleans

“This year we hired 40 students,” Gilligan said, out of 80 applicants from several high schools.

By Judy Walker
The Times-Picayune
April 07, 2014

Excerpt:

Three years ago, I walked with Johanna Gilligan on a few acres of City Park near a bayou that had been designated for the project she founded, the Grow Dat Youth Farm. Basically, it’s teaching leadership and high-quality job training to teens through growing vegetables.

“It’s a holistic experience,” said Gillian, with lessons in stewardship and learning that hard work yields results. “You can’t teach that in a better way.

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April 20, 2014   No Comments

The Downside to Farming Downtown

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Duck! I am literally ducking from the non-organic food scraps that might get thrown at me by the people about to read this week’s column.

By Mijune Pak
Westender
April 9, 2014

Excerpt:

Reserving ‘unwanted land’ (hard to think any even exists in Vancouver) for growing produce isn’t a bad thing, but maximizing valuable space needs to be considered.

Vertical farming or rooftop farming are two suggested urban-farming methods, but the upkeep cost of a vertical farm is outstanding — think of implementing a hydroponic system to start.

As for a rooftop garden, it also requires a pricey drainage system and it’s small scale, but so are the standard community gardens now.

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April 20, 2014   No Comments

Keeping Philadelphia’s soil safe

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Stephen P. Peterson has been examining the presence of lead and other potentially harmful heavy metals in the soil in Fairmount Park—the largest inner-city park system in the U.S. and the site of some urban agriculture. Photo by Joseph V. Labolito.

Older industrial cities like Philadelphia tend to have higher lead and heavy-metals concentrations in their soil than the national average.

By Preston Moretz
Temple University
News Center

Excerpt:

“Everywhere I went in the park—no matter how old the area was or how dense the woods were—the levels of lead and other metals were well above Philadelphia’s normal level, which is already above the national average,” he said.

All but one of the urban gardens tested were in raised planting beds where the soil had been brought in from elsewhere, so heavy-metals levels were low. “The Fairmount Park people are doing it right bringing in fresh topsoil, but these raised beds can still see their lead levels increase, because they can be influenced by the areas around them,” he explained.

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April 19, 2014   No Comments

Big city farming in Chicago

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Green goodies: Farm supervisor Maureen Maitland works with micro greens at Urban Till in Chicago. David Pierini/staff photographer.

Neighborhood-based urban farm aims to revolutionize food supply chain

By Timothy Inklebarger
Austin Weekly News
April 8th, 2014

Excerpt:

The owners of Urban Till, which operates the 30,000-square-foot urban farm, opened their doors to a select group of about 100 restaurateurs, chefs, sustainable food advocates and industry insiders for the first time on March 21. The facility gives them a glimpse into what the budding entrepreneurs say is the future of farming

Participants met at a bar in Chicago’s West Loop and were bused out to the location, which Urban Till’s owners want to remain secret for now. They were treated with gourmet delicacies and high-end cocktails using the farm’s myriad variety of greens and herbs.

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April 19, 2014   No Comments

RUAF: Urban Agriculture as a Climate Change and Disaster Risk Reduction Strategy

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RUAF Urban Agriculture Magazine No. 27, March 2014

RUAF-Foundation (International network of Resource centres on Urban Agriculture and Food security)
March 2014

Excerpts:

This issue is prepared with support of the UN Habitat Cities and Climate Change Initiative. It reports on the joint urban agriculture programme implemented by RUAF and UN Habitat. This issue also shares findings of a CDKN funded innovation project on monitoring urban agriculture impacts on climate change.

Cities and climate change are virtually inseparable. Cities are major contributors to Green House Gas (GHG) emissions and thus climate change.

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April 18, 2014   No Comments

A Kale of Two Cities: Cultivating Social Justice

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La Finca Del Sur.

Urban agriculture pioneers have repurposed vacant land, greened the city, created community space, and introduced city dwellers to fresh local food.

By Nevin Cohen and Kristin Reynolds
Huffington Press
Apr 14, 2014

Excerpt:

In many ways, cultivating social justice is more important than bringing in a bountiful harvest because simply growing more food in the city, as healthy and delicious as it may be, will never feed all those in need. Even a vastly expanded urban agriculture system will not ensure healthy communities until cities address the roots of food system disparities: poverty, discrimination, and unequal power and privilege. That’s how urban agriculture can really make a difference.

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April 18, 2014   No Comments

Reflections on Urban Farming in Russia

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“When we started making Growing Cities, a new documentary about urban farming in America, we never imagined where it would take us.”

By Dan Susman
Growing Cities
April 17, 2014

Excerpt:

Most recently, we had the opportunity to travel to Moscow, Russia, as part of the Ecocup Film Festival and with the support of the US Embassy. I spoke with many students and citizens there about urban agriculture, which is a relatively new concept for Russians. However, that isn’t to say they don’t have a long history tied to the land.

Almost every time we showed the film, someone would ask, ‘have you heard of dachas?’ At first, I had no idea, though by the third or fourth time I had a pretty good understanding. Dachas (literally meaning ‘something given’ in ancient Russian) are peri-urban seasonal homes, which usually have small land allotments attached. These plots were first given out to loyal vassals starting in the late 17th century with Peter the Great, though now Russians from all classes have these plots.

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April 17, 2014   No Comments

Would a District of Columbia “food czar” help urban farmers?

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Gail Taylor says her urban farming is a “hobby” because current laws can’t support it as a business.

D.C. council mulls adding a “food czar”–which could mean more urban farms, local food, and green initiatives for all.

By Whitney Pipkin
Elevation
April 08, 2014

Excerpt:

The food czar and council could help establish a better business and tax structure for small farms like Gail Taylor’s Three Part Harmony Farm in the city. Taylor says she considers her business more of a hobby right now because it’s not a 501(c)(3) and, therefore, she can’t afford the D.C. taxes or apply for grants that would help pay her bills.

“I have another job to pay my bills and buy supplies,” Taylor testified at the hearing. “The city has not developed the necessary laws to support [urban] farms outside of that nonprofit framework.”

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April 17, 2014   No Comments