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Vertical Farms in the City

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BetterLife Growers will use ‘tower gardens’ like these to grow lettuce and herbs in Atlanta. Photo: Scissortail Farms

Traditional, rural farming is far from being replaced by all of these new technologies, experts say. The need for food is simply too great. But urban projects can provide a steady supply of fresh produce, helping to improve diets and make a city’s food supply more secure, they say.

By Bryan Anselm
The Wall Street
May 14, 2017

Billions of people around the world live far from where their food is grown.

It’s a big disconnect in modern life. And it may be about to change.

The world’s population is expected to reach 9.7 billion by 2050, 33% more people than are on the planet today, according to projections from the United Nations. About two-thirds of them are expected to live in cities, continuing a migration that has been under way around the world for years.

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May 22, 2017   No Comments

India: Urban farming gaining popularity

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Senthil Kumar Natchimuthu, a resident of Coimbatore, grows herbs and vegetables organically in his garden.S. Siva Saravanan

There are organisations in cities such as Chennai that guide and support rooftop kitchen gardens, urban gardening in institution buildings, etc.

By Amrita Ragavendiran
The Hindu
May 14, 2017

Excerpt:

As we get into the farm, the very red red-chillies and red okra catch our eyes. “The red okra seeds came from a friend who’s family has been growing it over generations. Red okra is not easily available in the markets in Coimbatore.”

Brinjals, broad beans, tomatoes, and pumpkins are among the vegetables that 44-year-old Senthil Kumar has been cultivating for a little over a year now. And, all on five acres in the city.

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May 22, 2017   No Comments

How tech-enabled urban farms can work for Singapore

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Comcrop – Singapore. A 6,000-square-foot urban farm on a downtown rooftop. Click on image for larger file.

How would an urban farm here commercialise and scale up?

By Paul Teng & Christopher Vas
The Newspaper
May 13, 2017

Excerpt:

Consumer data collected by researchers at Murdoch Singapore from markets such as Malaysia, Thailand, Hong Kong, Singapore and Australia showed that consumption of high-value leafy and non-leafy vegetables and fruits by these urban populations is on the rise and likely to grow by over 20 per cent in the future.

Plus, some of these markets were found to be not price sensitive. Instead, they are more focused on getting nutritious, safe and certified products.

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May 22, 2017   No Comments

Portugal: Lisbon develops urban farming as part of its anti-crisis strategy

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The city plans on expanding the green space available for farming by converting a six hectares swamp into a large urban farm dedicated to the formation of unemployed inhabitants.

By Luc Berman
New Europe
June 8, 2015

Excerpt:

About five hundred families are currently managing and eating from the vegetables and fruits they harvested from their green plot. By 2017, the city aims at doubling the number of families benefitting from this program by transforming a few of the 25 hectares of green spaces still available in the city.

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May 21, 2017   No Comments

Peace, plants and hip-hop in Colombia, South America

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Hip-hop and agriculture might seem like a strange mix. But El AKA believes it’s the perfect partnership to unite the community. “Hip-hop attracts young people, and agriculture the older ones,” he told DW.

By Katharina Wecker
Deutsche Welle
May 11, 2017

Excerpt:

With big Creole earrings, a bandana, and the crotch of his trousers hanging between his knees, Luis Fernando Alvarez looks more like a rapper than a farmer. Actually, he’s both.

Luis, or “El AKA” as he is known in Colombia’s biggest city of Medellin, has brought his two passions together with the initiative Agro Arte – agricultural art.

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May 21, 2017   No Comments

‘Doomsday’ seed vault meant to survive global disasters breached by climate change

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The Global Seed Vault. By Crop Trust.

Fortunately, no seeds were damaged

By Alessandra Potenza
Verge
May 19, 2017

Excerpt:

The seed bank designed to preserve the world’s crops and plants in the event of global disaster isn’t prepared to withstand the greatest global disaster facing our planet: global warming. Melting permafrost on the Norwegian island of Spitsbergen, where the Svalbard Global Seed Vault is located, has seeped into the seed bank, raising questions of how the structure will be able to survive in the future as the Earth keeps warming.

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May 20, 2017   No Comments

UK: Londoners Are Growing Food All Over The City

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Mural at the Bonnington Square Garden Association. Click on image for larger file.

Bonnington Square, Vauxhall; Skip Garden, King’s Cross; Calthorpe Project, King’s Cross; Myatt’s Fields Park Greenhouses and Beehives, Camberwell; St Mary’s Secret Garden, Hackney; The Culpeper Community Garden, Islington; Allens Gardens, Stoke Newington; Curve Garden, Dalston; Grow Mayow, Sydenham

By Kate Hodges
Londonist
May 12, 2017

Excerpt:

Curve Garden, Dalston: Built on an old railway line, Dalston’s Curve Garden is a well-used community hub. There are beds that Dalston residents use for growing lettuce, tomatoes, herbs and peppers, a cafe that sells delicious, home-baked cakes and food made from local supplies, a pavilion for rainy-day picnics, and a greenhouse, complete with cosy woodburning stove and even cosier cat.

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May 20, 2017   No Comments

Philippines: Baguio launches backyard gardening contest, urges residents to help produce food

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Self-taught agriculturist Danny Agliam is being invited to be a resource speaker in several trainings to share his knowledge on urban agriculture, which he has been practicing for several years now in his rooftop garden at P. Zamora Street in Baguio City. Photo Harley Palangchao.

The councilor said the search also aims to encourage residents to produce medicinal plants which in the long run will help preserve the biodiversity of traditional plant varieties.

By Liza Agoot
Philippines News Online
10/05/2017

Excerpt:

Councilor Leandro Yangot Jr., chairman of the committee on trade, commerce and agriculture at the city council who spearheads the search, said “the main objective of this program is the establishment of urban gardens or backyard farms in the city to promote organic food production particularly among the marginalized sector of the population in order to achieve a degree of food security and diversity.”

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May 19, 2017   No Comments

Meet The Ladies Who Are Growing Food In Los Angeles

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Manju Kumar of Sarvodaya Farms. Photo Clarissa Wei.

“I really wish there was some way we can revert to a more agrarian culture,” Manju Kumar, farm manager of Sarvodaya Farms in Pomona says.

Link TV
May 10, 2017

Excerpts:

When Kumar, originally from India, moved to the greater Los Angeles area in 1986, she started growing food in her backyard. She kept it simple, like burying her food waste in the garden to increase fertility. Her fruit trees and vegetables weren’t particularly producing in abundance, but it was better than nothing

“And then I went to the Los Angeles Arboretum and learned about permaculture,” she says.

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May 19, 2017   No Comments

A Inside View of Hong Kong’s Hidden Rooftop Farms

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Click on image for larger file.

Born out of a fear of contaminated foods, the city’s budding interest in high-altitude gardening may help heal an increasingly fractured – and ageing – society.

By David Robson
BBC
17 May 2017
(Must see. Mike)

Excerpt:

A butterfly perching on a lettuce leaf is not normally a cause for marvel. But I am standing on the roof the Bank of America Tower, a 39-floor building in the heart of Hong Kong’s busiest district, to see one of its highest farms. The butterfly must have flown across miles of tower blocks to reach this small oasis amidst the concrete desert.

“You just plant it out and nature comes and enjoys it,” says Andrew Tsui. We are joined by Michelle Hong and Pol Fabrega, who together lead Rooftop Republic, a social enterprise that aims to turn the city’s dizzying skyline green.

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May 18, 2017   No Comments

Detroit Urban Farming Plan Shifts to Be More Neighborly

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Core Orchards Detroit.

He says anything is better than a lot of what currently surrounds his home, mostly long stretches of empty fields that are only mowed twice a year or burnt-out properties.

By Serena Maria Daniels
Next City
MAY 9, 2017

Excerpt:

Glen Jones would have liked to see new housing go up on the empty lot that abuts his property on Detroit’s east side. Maybe a new business that would bring jobs to the neighborhood.

When he and other residents saw renderings of an 11-acre redevelopment project that would instead convert the vacant land into one of the city’s first large-scale U-pick orchards featuring the Michigan apple, they balked. Though the nonprofit behind the urban agriculture project said it would employ some locals, Jones says the plan did not sit well with some.

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May 18, 2017   No Comments

GrowTO Urban Agriculture Action Plan, Toronto

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Urban Food Policy Snapshot

By Cameron St. Germain
New York City Food Policy Centre
May 9, 2017

Excerpt:

Progress to date

Numerous urban agriculture projects have popped up in Toronto since the GrowTO action plan was adopted. They are located in empty lots, on rooftops, in schoolyards, and on residents’ personal property.

Entrepreneurs and community organizers have looked to urban farming opportunities as a means of supporting economic development, the creation of small businesses, and to build up and enhance communities. Many farmers are now exploring ways to grow indoors or in shipping containers using hydroponics, or other systems, in addition to the many programs and businesses growing outside and in public spaces.

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May 17, 2017   No Comments

Canada: Alberta Community Garden helps women in Rwanda

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Shirley Ross won the University of Alberta’s Community Advocate Award Monday for her work at the university’s two-acre Green and Gold Community Garden.

A team of 100 volunteers grow more than 60 varieties of vegetables and sell them, with all proceeds going to the Tubahumurize Association in Rwanda to help women who have been traumatized by genocide and domestic abuse.

By Kevin Maimann
Metro
May 15 2017

Excerpt:

The garden is the association’s core source of funding and helps finance trauma counselling, health education, sewing and embroidery training and small business loans for the women.

“With the counselling programs that are provided, sometimes they’re speaking for the first time about their experience. They can be part of groups where they know that they’re not alone,” Ross said. “It helps them both socially but also economically.”

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May 16, 2017   No Comments

Resident starts community garden in front yard in Coventry, Rhode Island

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“People have asked me why my own front yard and I think why wouldn’t I? I have the real estate. I have the space and I have the time.”

By Kendra Lolio
Coventry Courier
May 8, 2017

Excerpt:

“I like to be busy and this is a good way to give back to the community,” said Whittinghill, a semi-retired kitchen and bath designer. The idea for the garden came in February, when she had been mulling over options for landscaping on the property, trying to figure out what to do with the front lawn. Her home, which she bought 10 years ago, is set back quite a ways from the street, leaving her with a quite expansive amount of space and no idea what to do with it.

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May 16, 2017   No Comments

Reuters Africa: No set menu to feed cities’ growing appetite

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Yet despite the benefits of urban farming, simply boosting the numbers of city farmers will not guarantee that cities can feed everyone or protect their food supply, experts say.

By Astrid Zweynert
Reuters Africa
May 15, 2017

Excerpt:

“Local agricultural production has to be part of a diverse food system to become a reliable secure food source for growing urban populations,” Pay Drechsel of the International Water Management Institute in Colombo told the Bonn conference.

Migration from rural areas to fast-growing cities in the developing world adds more complexity as an increasing number of people living in informal settlements and slums turn to urban farming, studies have shown.

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May 15, 2017   No Comments