New Stories From 'Urban Agriculture Notes'

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Food policy searchable database contains over 100 policies

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Municipalities and counties got a big boost today with the unveiling of a searchable database with more than 100 newly adopted innovative, local government food system policies that can be shared and adapted across the country.

By Rachel Teaman
The Growing Food Connections Policy Database
October 20, 2014

The Growing Food Connections Policy Database, hosted by the School of Architecture and Planning at the University at Buffalo, will assist local governments as they work to broaden access to healthy food and help sustain local farms and food producers.

Growing Food Connections, a federally-funded research initiative to strengthen community food systems nationwide, has compiled over 100 policies governing issues as diverse as public investment in food systems, farmland protection, local food procurement and food policy council resolutions.
The Growing Food Connections Policy Database was launched today at the American Farmland Trust’s national conference, which includes sessions on food systems policy, in Lexington, Ky.

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October 21, 2014   No Comments

Top Ten Agriculture Projects in Dallas

Promise of Peace Community Garden Kickstarter program.

By Liz Essman
Food Tank
Oct 6, 2014

Excerpt:

Eat the Yard is a closed-loop urban farming operation in the Oak Cliff neighborhood. Food grows in one of several locations, including residential plots, urban rooftops, and in backyards. When ripe, crops are delivered daily to area markets and restaurants. Eat the Yard is proud to offer veggies picked the same day as sale, using biodiesel-run equipment. They also offer free compost services to restaurants using their products. In addition, they also grow soil and brew a concentrate called “Worm Shine” compost tea, a living cultural medium. Microbes in the tea help build a microclimate of soil diversity, improving the strength and nutrient content of the garden.

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October 21, 2014   No Comments

Science World staff visit City Farmer’s garden in Vancouver

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Head gardener Sharon Slack shows visitors the cold frame full of seedlings which will be harvested later this winter.

“We’re even more excited to have City Farmer here at the end of the month as part of our Around the Dome Science Festival”

By Lyndsay Fraser
Science World Blog
Oct 21, 2014

Excerpt:

First thing in the morning we jumped on our bikes and pedaled to our first stop of the day, City Farmer’s Compost Demonstration Garden. For 36 years, City Farmer has encouraged urban dwellers to develop their own green thumbs. It’s the perfect place to visit if you’re curious about composting at home or want to get inspired about growing your own food.

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October 21, 2014   No Comments

For students around the globe – Free MetroAg Online Course November 3-December 19, 2014

MSU
Michigan State University’s ‘Food Knowledge Cloud’. Open-access courses and resources to students around the globe.

In the Urban Agriculture course, there are items to read, videos, presentations and a weekly discussion question with a moderator

Instructor John Stone
Content Developers:
Dr. Henk C. van Latesteijn, Managing Director of Van Latentejin Consultancy and former CEO of TransForum
Dr. Chris Peterson, Michigan State University Professor and Director of the MSU Product Center- Food, Ag, Bio.
Sander Mager, Managing Director of Licence to Grow and former VP of TransForum
(Must see. Mike)

Excerpt:

This free, 6-week online course is designed to build awareness of metropolitan agriculture and how agriculture can play a vital role in cities around the world focusing on areas such as food production, recreation, waste management, and health care. The course is offered jointly through Michigan State University and MetroAg Innoversity. The course features archived webinars with experts around the world, resources for digging deeper and a facilitated discussion forum with weekly questions.

Led by Ph.D John Stone, Manager of Research & Engagement for the Global Innoversity Program in Metro Food at MSU http://globalinnoversity.org. This self-paced learning experience increases awareness of metropolitan agriculture and is designed to build a network of collaborators. The course is open to anyone.

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October 20, 2014   No Comments

Jones Valley Teaching Farm – Birmingham, Alabama

At Oliver Elementary School

Filmed on location in Birmingham, AL
Presented by 1504 in association with Dogtrot Studio
Produced by Tyler Jones
Music by Golden Youth

During her JVTF Fellowship, Lucy became the Farm Lab coordinator at Oliver Elementary School. Her experience had a profound impact on her career path and now she wants to work with young people. The Fellowship is what our Good School Food program is all about–providing transformative education through hands-on learning and access to fresh food.

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October 20, 2014   No Comments

The Poison Garden at England’s Alnwick Garden is filled with plants that can kill you

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The ornate black gates to the Poison Garden warn visitors of the deadly plants that grow within. Photo by Duncan Andison/Corbis.

Visitors to the Poison Garden are prohibited from smelling, touching or tasting any of them.

By Natasha Geiling
smithsonian.com
September 22, 2014

Excerpt:

“What’s extraordinary about the plants is that it’s the most common ones that people don’t know are killers,” the duchess says. Visitors are often surprised to learn that the laurel hedge, nearly ubiquitous in English gardens, can be highly toxic. But some visitors have had experience with laurel’s sinister side—the duchess has heard a few talk about how, after loading up their cars with pruned laurel leaves to take to the dump, drivers have fallen asleep behind the wheel of their car from the toxic fumes the branches emit.

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October 19, 2014   No Comments

Yard Too Small For A Garden? Grow Vegetables Vertically

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Paul Langdon, of Wethersfield, and his vertical portable hydroponic garden. Photo by Stephen Dunn / Hartford Courant.

Won first prize in the sustainability category last weekend at the Maker Faire

By Christopher Hoffman
Courant
Sept 26, 2014

Excerpt:

The 43-year-old software engineer turned to hydroponics, or gardening without soil. Langdon and his friend Curt Downing of Glastonbury designed and built a compact, vertical hydroponic garden that grows 160 plants and is controlled from a cell phone.

Langdon and Downing aren’t the only ones who think the garden — made of PVC pipe, downspouts and gutters — is cool. Earlier this month, their rig won first prize in the New York Maker Faire’s sustainability category.

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October 19, 2014   No Comments

Wenatchee, Washington, where pot is legal: Farming city makes room for a new crop

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Click on image for larger file. Gardener Dustin Hurst talks about his operation at Monkey Grass Farms, an indoor marijuana growing company operating in East Wenatchee, Washington. “Raising cannabis is my favorite thing, and I can’t think of anything else I’d want to do,” he said. Marc Lester / ADN. See complete slide show here.

City Mayor Frank Kuntz voted in favor of the initiative. Nationally, “I think that’s where we’re headed … whether you like it or don’t like it.”

By Laurel Andrews
Alaska Dispatch News
Oct. 16, 2014

Excerpt:

Drive through East Wenatchee, past rows of tidy apple orchards, and you’ll come across Gecko Growers marijuana farm. Visible from the road, a 12-foot wall rises around the marijuana plants, in striking contrast to neighboring farms that have no fences or visible security.

“Beautiful, isn’t it?” co-owner Kevin Dietz said on a sunny September afternoon, standing on the deck overlooking the outdoor grow. He watched with crossed arms as co-owner and master gardener Gary Bryant disappeared and reappeared among the farm’s 259 plants, some of which reached 13 feet into the sky.

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October 18, 2014   No Comments

Roaming city farm on derelict Hull sites aims to combat food poverty in UK

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Grand Design: An artist’s impression of how the farm could look.

“Empty land doesn’t do anything for the aesthetic of the city and our idea is to use these derelict spaces to create something that will add value.”

By Hull Daily Mail
October 08, 2014

Excerpt:

The mobile farm will be housed in ship containers that reflect Hull’s shipping heritage, which can be easily moved to different locations around the city.

Mark said: “The concept is simple – we build a temporary site on unused land and if a developer wants the site back, we can simply pick it up and shift it to a new home.”

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October 18, 2014   No Comments

The Growth of Allotment Gardens [Infographic]

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See the complete Infographic here.

In 2013, there were 78,827 people in English local authorities on allotment waiting lists.

By Wes Maxwell
Daily InfoGraphic
Oct 15, 2014

Excerpt:

Today, allotment gardens exist mainly to provide European urban populations with a source organic food unharmed by pesticides and chemicals used by large-scale produce distributors. According to today’s infographic, when used efficiently, allotment plots can “provide enough land to feed a family of four for a year”. At an average rate between £25-£125 ($40 -$200) per year to rent, allotment gardens provide those seeking to live a healthier, more organic lifestyle with an affordable personal space to do so. Unfortunately, allotments have been decreasing in popularity and frequency.

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October 17, 2014   No Comments

Chicago Slams Urban Farmer for Rats, Weeds in Former Vacant Lot

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Moah’s Ark Slammed by City. Mo Cahill was issued 25 building code violations at her home and farm on Touhy Avenue. Photo credit: DNAinfo/Benjamin Woodard.

The city has collected more than $19.5 million in fines since 2009 from property owners who have violated the ordinance governing weed growth.

By Benjamin Woodard
DNA Info Chicago
October 8, 2014

Excerpt:

An urban farmer who bought and then transformed a vacant lot into an urban farm and garden has been hit by the city with 25 building code violations.

Now she worries the city could take her to court and force her to uproot the farm.

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October 17, 2014   No Comments

Toronto’s mayoral candidates offer food for thought on urban agriculture

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Toronto mayoral candidate Olivia Chow.

Our leading mayoral candidates say they would cultivate city funding for more projects to grow food on surplus city land, create gardens

Rob Ford’s brother Doug did not respond

By Jennifer Bill
Toronto Star
Oct 15 2014

Excerpt:

Do our mayoral candidates have an appetite for urban agriculture? Farmers’ markets, rooftop gardens, food cultivation in residential backyards and agriculture projects in city parks are examples of urban strategies that could revolutionize the city’s food production and reduce dependence on foreign-grown foods. We asked our leading mayoral candidates about where they stood on urban ag.

Question: Do you support devoting more city funding or surplus city land for urban agriculture projects?

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October 16, 2014   No Comments

Student Travel Award – Alice Claydon will head to Cuba to study urban agriculture

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The 28-year-old is currently completing a postgraduate diploma in Landscape Architecture at Birmingham City University

Landscape Institute
Sept 12, 2014

Excerpt:

Why is urban agriculture so important?

“I’m looking at it from the perspective of increasing urbanisation being quite an important factor that landscape architects have to consider in their designs in the future. Since 2010, for the first time in human history, more people around the world now live in a city rather than in the countryside. By 2050, this proportion will rise to 7 out of every 10 people, or the equivalent of 6.7 billion people, living in an urban environment. The highly imperative and pressing issue of how to sustainably support these growing urban populations is already being considered and explored by landscape architects around the world.

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October 16, 2014   No Comments

Congressman Tim Ryan (D-Ohio) – ‘Retool the system by funding and supporting urban agriculture’

realrev
See Ryan’s new book here. Hardcover – October 14, 2014

“There should be a garden in every schoolyard, a kitchen in every school and a salad bar in every cafeteria…”

By Nicole Goodkind
Yahoo Finance
Oct 15, 2014

Excerpt:

Rep. Ryan believes the way to retool the system is by funding and supporting urban agriculture, subsidizing farmers who produce fruits and vegetables and creating markets for local growers. Ryan also believes that schools need to make changes.

“There should be a garden in every schoolyard, a kitchen in every school and a salad bar in every cafeteria so we can begin to teach our young people how to eat,” he says.

Of course, changing the agricultural industry isn’t easy. Agribusiness lobbyists have spent over $63 million so far this year and have contributed quite a bit to the campaigns of house members, including $694,007 to Ohio representative John Boehner. Going against big agriculture seems a bit like David going up against Goliath.

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October 15, 2014   No Comments

Concern that Cuba’s Organic Urban Gardens Now Cater to Private Businesses

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Restaurante El Templete, Havana, Cuba.

A model that sought to increase the availability of farm products (particularly fresh produce) and aimed at benefitting the low-income population through improved nutrition and job creation, has become the chief supplier of Havana’s private restaurants.

By Isbel Diaz Torres
Havana Times
Sept 17, 2014
(Must read. Mike)

Excerpt:

Early in the morning, while most of us are heading to our places of work, the owners of private restaurants send out their buyers to load up on any green thing to be found around the city.

Three or four cars parked in front of an organic garden is an unequivocal sign that one won’t be able to buy anything there, as the trunks of those cars are likely to be filled up with products. Before noon, there no vegetables left on the stands.

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October 15, 2014   No Comments