New Stories From 'Urban Agriculture Notes'

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Watch Berkeley’s free lecture series on fixing the world’s broken food systems

Michael Pollan’s Edible Education 101 lecture, “A Brief History of the Modern Food System” streamed live from the University of California, Berkeley, Jan 26, 2015

By Vlad Savov
Verge
January 28, 2015

Excerpt:

Some of the world’s preeminent food policy thinkers and researchers are taking part in a new Edible Education lecture series at UC Berkeley this spring semester, and their lectures are being made available to stream online. Starting this Monday with an introductory note from Michael Pollan (video above, jump to the 9-minute mark to skip the preamble), the series will be updated weekly with contributions from Marion Nestle, Eric Schlosser, and Raj Patel. You can stream those live on the day itself and participate in a Q&A on Twitter and Facebook, or you can just pick up the video on YouTube later on.

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January 28, 2015   No Comments

Students reveal results of indoor grow lighting trials

Ralph and Watts learned that although the two bulb fixture would be less costly up front, the four bulb fixture produced more than double the harvest.

By Stephen Dafoe
Morinwille News
Jan 2015

Excerpt:

Eight months after receiving a $10,000 grant from BP Canada through their A+ Energy Program, Morinville Community High School’s Urban Agriculture class showed off the results of their Indoor Grow Lighting Trials.

“We received a grant to be able to buy a variety of indoor growing lights,” said MCHS Urban Ag teacher Neil Korotash. “The students have been experimenting with different grow lights to see which ones work best for this [classroom] type of setting or for average homeowners that want to grow some herbs at home.”

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January 28, 2015   No Comments

City Farming In Sana’a, Yemen: A Hobby With Potential

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Introducing rural practices to an urban environment carries risks, but it may help solve Yemen’s chronic food insecurity.

According to WFP statistics, the average price for a sheep in Sana’a was at least YR39,000 ($181) at the end of 2014, which represented a 30 percent increase on the previous year.

By Nasser Al-Sakkaf (author), Mohammed Al-Samawi (photographer)
Yemen Times
26 January 2015

Excerpt:

He has been city farming ever since, and says the company of his sheep help him feel closer to home. “We are used to raising sheep, I don’t think I would be able to live without doing so. Every day I clean after them, I give them feed and even our leftovers.”

As a matter of necessity, Muhammad’s relationship with his sheep has grown increasingly intimate. Following several cases of theft amongst urban sheep herders in 2012, he decided to move his flock of ten sheep into the third floor of his house, where they remain today.

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January 27, 2015   No Comments

North Brooklyn Farms is Laying New Roots this Spring

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North Brooklyn Farms via Facebook.

North Brooklyn Farms is on a year-to-year lease for the next three to five years.

By Sara Ventiera
Village Voice
Jan. 15 2015

Excerpt:

Situated right on the East River, the new space will feature similar elements to the previous plot — the actual farm, an open lawn, Brooklyn Bike Park, the Sunday supper series — but it will include new and improved components such as more shaded areas, a covered patio, pick-your-own produce, grass craters and recliners, a series of workshops, and new dinner options.

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January 27, 2015   No Comments

Asheville, N.C. man begins drive to establish urban farmers

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Sunil Patel, right, of Patchwork Urban Farms, and Darcel Eddins of Bountiful Cities, check out a chicken at the urban farm in Asheville, N.C., that the two are collaborating. Patel’s vision is to create an environment where the land that produces people’s food is the land on which those same people already live, work and play.

If all this land in this city just sitting there can actually be productive land, I’ll be able to take advantage of it in a farm-to-table way.”

By Mike Cronin
Asheville Citizen-Times
January 16, 2015

Excerpt:

Patel’s vision is to create an environment where the land that produces people’s food is the land on which those same people already live, work and play.

Patel and Patchwork have obtained permission to use six plots of land through crop sharing. Those plots range from a tenth of an acre to 1.5 acres. They are located throughout Asheville and in Swannanoa.

Patel plans to form more land partnerships this year, he said.

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January 27, 2015   No Comments

Living Garden Creations hopes to spur urban gardening in Kokomo, Indiana

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Adam Renshaw and Haley Martin stand in front of what will become The Living Garden Juice Bar on N. Phillips Street on January 14, 2015. Photo by Kelly Lafferty Gerber.

Duo plan juice bar, community garden sites in downtown Kokomo

By Martin Slagter
Kokomo Tribune
Jan 16, 2015

Excerpt:

Martin and Renshaw will implement the next chapter of The Living Garden with Living Garden Creations, which will include a start-up Living Garden Juice Bar and a Kokomo Urban Agriculture Initiative, with business and residential locations already donating land for 10 different project sites.

The result, Martin said, will be a balance between a business and nonprofit model to help Kokomo make good use of its urban green spaces.

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January 26, 2015   No Comments

Second Midwest Urban Farmers Summit (MWUF Summit)

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March 14 and 15, 2015 at The Plant in Chicago.

By Katie Williams
Chicago Patchwork Farms
Jan 25, 2015

The summit will provide an opportunity for urban farmers from across the region to come together and discuss the unique benefits and challenges of growing food on a production scale in their cities and towns. The idea was born out of a breakout session of production-based urban farmers at the 2012 Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Service (MOSES) conference, in which it became immediately clear we shared the same questions and that talking with each other was a valuable experience.

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January 26, 2015   No Comments

Clearwater, Florida to consider permitting microbreweries, encouraging urban farms

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Clearwater gardeners.

He said planning staff also recommends amending the development code to identify areas where food production would be viable and to support urban agricultural activities.

By Mark Schantz
Gazette Correspondent
Published: January 16, 2015

Excerpt:

Proposed changes include adding urban farms as a permissible use in industrial, research and technology districts and community gardens in most residential districts, as well as institutional districts. The amendments also address hydroponics or other food production facilities in existing and new buildings.

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January 25, 2015   No Comments

Urban agriculture is bringing food production back into our cities

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We’re about to see a lot more growing of produce in our cities as urban farming steps in to help boost global food production

By Ryan McChrystal
Elite Business Magazine
07 January 2015.

Excerpt:

GrowUp started off by building a prototype demonstration farm – the GrowUp Box – 18 months ago following a successful Kickstarter campaign. It consists of a greenhouse above a shipping container where the fish live. “We set up first of all because we wanted to have something up and running to show people that food can be grown in cities using aquaponics.”

Originally built at London Bridge, the box moved to Stratford as part of a bigger project called Roof East – formerly an empty rooftop carpark, now a haven for food lovers. “Since December last year, we have been working on the business model for scaling aquaponic urban farming to a commercial model in cities like London, looking at the different operation models and at some variations in production systems,” says Hofman.

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January 25, 2015   No Comments

1953 – Gardener Mopsy – ‘Be a vegetarian and be beautiful’

mop1Click on image for larger files size.

By Gladys Parker

From Wiki:

Mopsy was a comic strip created by Gladys Parker in 1939. It had a long run over three decades. Parker modeled the character of Mopsy after herself. In 1946, she recalled, “I got the idea for Mopsy when the cartoonist Rube Goldberg said my hair looked like a mop. That was several years ago, and she has been my main interest ever since.”

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January 24, 2015   No Comments

10 Projects Incorporating Urban Agriculture

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Place of Hidden Waters Tacoma, Washington. Photo by Tucker English.

By Ron Nyren
Urban Land. The Magazine of the Urban Land Institute
January 5, 2015

Excerpt:

The coastal Salish people of the Pacific Northwest traditionally lived in longhouses—long, narrow structures built out of cedar that housed multiple families alongside a shared outdoor space. In designing the Place of Hidden Waters for the Puyallup Tribal Housing Authority in Tacoma, Washington, Seattle architecture firm Environmental Works Community Design Center followed the longhouse model in structuring 20 new townhouses along an outdoor linear gathering place, as well as renovating 26 existing townhouses and a gymnasium on the site. To protect an important wildlife corridor, development is clustered on the eastern half of the site.

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January 24, 2015   No Comments

The History of Urban Agriculture in Somerville, Massachusetts

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The City of Somerville was founded in 1842

Jan 15, 2015

Excerpt:

If you think local food is new in Somerville, think again! Our friends at the Somerville Garden Club put together this cool brochure on Somerville’s agrarian history with a timeline of key events starting in the 1600’s.Many of the family and street/place names that you see around town today and were once farms and there was both a pickle company and a vinegar company!

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January 23, 2015   No Comments

Healthy city harvests: Generating evidence to guide policy on urban agriculture

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This book asks questions about the contribution of urban agriculture to food security of urban households, about the safety of crops and animal foods from urban producers in different places, and about ways of developing policy to promote safe and healthy food production.

Editors: Donald Cole • Diana Lee-Smith • George Nasinyama
International Potato Center (CIP) and Makerere University Press, 2008
260 pages

Excerpt from Forward by Richard Stren:

From the perspective of local governments, this is one of the first books which explores, in a truly multidisciplinary fashion, the complex range of issues which both help explain why urban agriculture takes place, and looks carefully at the important obstacles to its effective uptake in a particular local context. From different professional viewpoints we learn about health benefits of urban farming for children’s nutritional status, about health risks from heavy metal and organic contaminants in food and about the proper management of urban livestock to reduce risk. We also learn about the history of public health efforts to control illness and disease in 19th century Europe and America, as a backdrop to the construction of colonial building and public health regulations that were commonplace in African cities by the 1940s.

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January 23, 2015   No Comments

Prison Garden: Gangsters, Swastikas, Tweakers and Permaculture

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Neaners (center), Larry (far right), at the first garden site, during Neaners’ first month home from prison.

When you try to create a beautiful, sprawling permaculture garden with guys you meet in jail, it might not look like the glossy design handbook.

By Chris Hoke
Modern Farmer
January 21, 2015

Excerpt:

When we designed a permaculture-style garden this last year, we had lofty visions. Our organization works with migrant farmworkers and folks we meet in the jail where we visit as regular chaplains. We seek out and serve the people society uses up or throws away — deporting them or locking them up in social dumpsters.

We already had the gang and drug recovery home, but this new garden would be a site of healing, healthy work in the soil, reconciliation with the natural world after years of trauma, drugs, violence and prison cells. Back to nature. Wendell Berry kind of stuff.

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January 22, 2015   No Comments

Terrace farming in India – Chennai’s new rage

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“Being on the terrace, the plants require frequent watering, at least twice a day during summer. Getting the right containers for each plant is also very important.”

By Nitya Menon
The Hindu
Jan 15, 2015

Excerpt:

G. Ramakrishnan, a horticulturist, says his phone does not stop ringing these days, with people calling him up with doubts on mastering the art of terrace gardening.

With the space allotted to gardens in apartments rapidly shrinking, the terrace is being transformed to make up for the lack of green spaces.

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January 22, 2015   No Comments