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Future uncertain for Berkeley community garden

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Ashby Community Garden from Woven Multimedia on Vimeo.

The owner of the parcels has not paid his property taxes for five years.

By Frances Dinkelspie
Berkeleyside
February 4, 2016

Excerpt:

Making matters more complicated is the fact that the owner seems to have disappeared. Tax notices sent to his Las Vegas property have been returned to the tax collector’s office, according to members of the garden. Members have not communicated directly with him in some time, although they have a good lead on where to find him.

“He’s really difficult to locate but he knows we are there and he’s fine for us to be there,” said Jenny Shore, a garden member.

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February 8, 2016   No Comments

Is it safe to eat apples picked off city trees?

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Wellesley College student Ciaran Gallagher checks the lead content in an apple tree in Cambridge.

Urban canners and college researchers are testing city-grown fruit to see if it is safe

By Bella English
Boston Globe
Nov 23, 2015

Excerpt:

Last month, the Wellesley researchers announced some unexpected results of their early tests: Not only are they safe, but fruits off city trees — or sidewalks — may be more nutritious than those on store shelves.

“We’re excited about these initial results, and the biggest surprise is the micronutrients,” says Brabander. “I think there’s a growing realization that urban environments can support a wide range of agricultural activities, from food projects to community gardens to foraging.” He and his students presented their methodology and preliminary results to the Geological Society of America’s annual meeting in Baltimore.

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February 8, 2016   No Comments

India: Jaipur Municipal Corporation is framing bylaws for making terrace vegetable farming mandatory

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The official further said a variety of vegetables, including leafy ones, tomatoes, brinjal and chillies can be grown on the terrace with the help of the kit, which is available in the market.

By Ajay Singh
Times of India
Feb 3, 2016

Excerpt:

“Under the smart city mission, we are working on framing bylaws to make city terraces green. We picked this cue from some foreign countries where partially covering the rooftops of new buildings with plants or solar panels is a must. We are planning to replicate the same in Jaipur,” says Ashutosh Pednekar, chief executive officer (CEO), JMC.

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February 7, 2016   No Comments

Richmond, Virginia: ‘So much is happening in urban agriculture in the city and region’

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Produce from the 31st Street Baptist Church urban farm helps provide fresh vegetables to the homeless and hungry to whom it serves daily hot lunches. Photo courtesy of Linda Marshall.

Talk about urban farming in Richmond and the 31st Street Baptist church is a good place to start.

By Tina Griego
Richmond Magazine
Jan 31, 2016

Excerpt:

Pastor Henderson put two-and-two together and said to his congregation: “It’d be a shame to obtain this land and do nothing with it for a couple years. Let’s create a garden.”

He turned to Mrs. Pearcie, a congregant possessed of a green thumb so mighty, the pastor could only marvel.

[Read more →]

February 7, 2016   No Comments

Istanbul’s farmers fight to keep historic urban agriculture

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An aerial view of Yedikule gardens.

Istanbul is struggling to keep its centuries-old farming plots due to the drive for modernisation. Dozens of farmers face being kicked off the land they have cultivated for generations.

By Van Meguerditchian
The Observers
Feb 5, 2016
(Must see. Mike)

Excerpt:

The Yedikule (“Castle of the Seven Towers”) gardens, planted and taken care of by local farmers for generations, are located right outside the old city walls in the southern tip of European Istanbul. The area is a UNESCO-protected site that contains the old walls that guarded what was then Constantinople from outside invaders.

After losing most of their storage areas and sheds in January, when city authorities dismantled them by force, the farmers and their families now fear they will lose their gardens by this spring – and that Istanbul’s city center will lose its 1,500-year-old agricultural practice.

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February 6, 2016   No Comments

The Backyard Orchardist

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A complete guide to growing fruit trees in the home garden, 2nd Edition

By Stella Otto
Illustrated by Glenn Wolff
Foreword by Peter Hatch
Chelsea Green
Nov 2015

For novice and experienced fruit gardeners alike, The Backyard Orchardist: A complete guide to growing fruit trees in the home garden has been the go-to book for home orchardists for over 2 decades. This expanded and updated edition–organized into 6 easy-to-follow sections–offers even more hands-on horticulture. Award-winning author Stella Otto starts by systematically guiding readers through the all-important first steps of planning and planting the home orchard. Learn to:

• evaluate and build healthy soil

• choose the best planting site

• select fruit trees that are easy to grow and appropriate for your climate

[Read more →]

February 6, 2016   No Comments

Urban farming work sows discord in Toledo, Ohio

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Thomas Jackson cleans up a pile of wood chips, branches, and tree stumps around his Milburn Avenue home in Toledo. Mr. Jackson said he is preparing the land so he can establish urban agriculture in the area. Photo by Lori King.

Officials cite lack of proper permits, neighbors add complaints

By Tom Troy
Toledo Blade
Feb 1, 2016

Excerpt:

A Toledo man’s effort to establish “urban agriculture” in Toledo’s central city is running up against nuisance complaints brought by neighbors.

Thomas Jackson, 44, of 1489 Milburn Ave., has piled up wood chips on seven parcels centering on Auburn and Milburn avenues.

He said his goal is to produce organic vegetables. Neighbors think he’s storing wood chips from his tree-removal business.

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February 6, 2016   No Comments

Potential for urban agriculture on former farmland at Bredtvet and Gaustad, Oslo, Norway

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A study of soil resources, current land use, and users’ and stakeholders’ desires and perceived challenges

By Cristina Gil Ruiz,
NIBIO Report
Norwegian Institute of Bioeconomy Research
Jan 2, 2016

SUMMARY:

Oslo has experienced an increase in the number of urban agriculture (UA) projects and growth in public interest. The study investigated how user groups could carry out UA projects in two apparently unoccupied plots of former farmland: Bredtvet and Gaustad. Soil characteristics, current land use, users’ desires, and the challenges they perceived for the development of UA projects were studied. It seems possible to integrate UA projects in both areas without disturbing current land uses, thereby leading to
the recuperation of the soil resources of the former farmland. UA can have multiple purposes, such as food growing, social integration, community building, and health improvement. Major challenges hindering UA projects result from lack of institutional support and funding.

[Read more →]

February 5, 2016   No Comments

Ottawa’s second-largest community garden threatened by proposed Carlington health centre rezoning

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The community garden contains 150 plots and has been around for more than 20 years.

By Matthew Pearson
Ottawa Citizen
February 3, 2016

Excerpt:

The planning committee will vote next week on zoning changes to allow a community health centre in Carlington to build new housing units for seniors, but the proposed addition could come at the cost of a large community garden.

The Carlington Community Health Centre at 900 Merivale Rd. wants to build a four-storey addition with 42 one-bedroom units, as well as expand the health centre. Current zoning for the site doesn’t permit residential units and restricts the community health and resource centre to a smaller share of the building’s footprint.

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February 5, 2016   No Comments

From N16 to SW9: How London’s Urban Farmers are Cultivating the City

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Kate Hofman and Tom Webster of GrowUp Urban Farms. Photo by Akira Chatani.

One of the most expensive cities in the world, London is not known for its urban agriculture. Yet a new generation of farmers is starting to change all that by transforming the city’s underground tunnels, industrial warehouses, and rooftops into urban acreage.

By Fiona Symington-Mitchell
Modern Farmer
February 3, 2016

Excerpt:

Former management consultant and a graduate of Climate-KIC, Kate Hofman believes to produce food in our cities we simply need to find the right products to grow in the right places. “This is why we think acquaponics and vertical farming is the right combination,” she says. “You are making the most effective use of space, while looking at food production holistically.”

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February 5, 2016   No Comments

Stephenville, Texas – Half-acre: The urban farm next door

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Milton Horner hangin’ out with his goat buddies on the family’s urban farm behind their house in Stephenville.

“We had 21 squash plants, got about 200 cantaloupe, and we had watermelon, 40 tomato plants, and three rows of 60 okra plants,” Woodrow says.

By J. Michael Ross
Stephenville Empire-Tribune
Jan 29, 2016

Excerpt:

Asked to tell us about the family’s urban farming and beekeeping, Woodrow replies, “I think people would be amazed by what we get out of a one-half-acre urban farm. We have bees, goats, chickens, ducks, a vegetable garden, several kinds of fruit trees – peaches and pears ? and six pecan trees.”

Everything on the Horner Urban Farm is eco-friendly and efficient. Witness the 2,500-gallon rain-water collection system and drip lines running to various parts of the growing spaces.

[Read more →]

February 4, 2016   No Comments

The Hop Grower’s Handbook

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hopp

The Essential Guide for Sustainable, Small-Scale Production for Home and Market

By Laura Ten Eyck and Dietrich Gehring
Chelsea Green
Sept 2015

It’s hard to think about beer these days without thinking about hops.

The runaway craft beer market’s convergence with the ever-expanding local foods movement is helping to spur a local-hops renaissance. The demand from craft brewers for local ingredients to make beer—such as hops and barley—is robust and growing. That’s good news for farmers looking to diversify, but the catch is that hops have not been grown commercially in the eastern United States for nearly a century.

[Read more →]

February 4, 2016   No Comments

Cuba Struggles to Feed Itself as Lack of Cash Slows Rise of Urban Farming

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“Organic agriculture was essentially forced upon Cuba,” Sinan Koont, an economics professor at Dickinson College in Pennsylvania, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

Voice of America
Reuters
February 04, 2016

Excerpt:

“The government is trying to make more of these organic farms,” urban farmer Antonio Loma told the Thomson Reuters Foundation. “But it’s a lot of work for very little money.”

The 10 employees who work with Loma at the Rotondo de Cojima farm, a 10-minute drive from central Havana, earn the equivalent of $25 per month, making it difficult to attract qualified workers or capital to expand production, Loma said.

Taking a break beside the store where all the farm’s food is sold directly to local residents, Loma said Cuba turned to urban agriculture because it had to.

[Read more →]

February 4, 2016   No Comments

India: Bengaluru Nuclear Medicine Doctor Cultivates Her Urban Garden

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She hopes that a day might come when she would be able to reach a level of sustainability where there is no need to buy vegetables and greens from the market.

By Sahana Prasad
Deccan Herald
Jan 29, 2016

Excerpts:

A green patch houses leafy vegetables and medicinal plants like spinach, amaranthus, insulin plant, basale, doddapatre, bramhi, amrutaballi and others.

“Ours is a zero-waste home. We recycle almost everything. Vegetable scraps are composted and I have introduced earthworms in that area, which produce rich vermicompost. Bokashi (a fancy Japanese way of making a compost activator) may be a little tedious for beginners, but it helps in quicker composting. Jeevamruta is a microorganism-rich concoction made in our backyard regularly using cow dung.”

[Read more →]

February 3, 2016   No Comments

Risk of lead poisoning from urban gardening is low, new study finds

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Kids get creative with kale in an urban garden in Tacoma, Washington.Kristen McIvor

“It is highly unlikely that urban agriculture will increase incidences of elevated blood Pb for children in urban areas. This is due to the high likelihood that agriculture will improve soils in urban areas, resulting in reduced bioavailability of soil Pb and reduced fugitive dust.”

By Michelle Ma
University of Washington
Feb 2, 2016
(Must see. Mike)

Excerpt:

Using compost is the single best thing you can do to protect your family from any danger associated with lead in urban soils. Good compost will also guarantee that you will have plenty of vegetables to harvest.

That’s the main finding of a paper appearing this month in the Journal of Environmental Quality. The University of Washington-led study looked at potential risks associated with growing vegetables in urban gardens and determined that the benefits of locally produced vegetables in cities outweigh any risks from gardening in contaminated soils.

[Read more →]

February 3, 2016   No Comments