New Stories From 'Urban Agriculture Notes'

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Why are women doing most of the work on so many urban farms?

womnyMaggie Cheney, center, the director of farms and education for the food-access group EcoStation:NY, at the Bushwick Campus Farm in Brooklyn with Kristina Erskine, left, and Iyeshima Harris, garden managers. Photo by Erin Patrice O’Brien for The New York Times.

Mother Nature’s Daughters

By Michael Tortorello
New York Times
Aug. 27, 2014

Excerpt:

This is where the speculation begins — and, inevitably, the stereotypes. Are women more willing to nurture their communities (and also their beet greens)? Are men preoccupied with techie farm toys like aquaponics? Is gender the reason the radio at the Queens Farm washing station is always stuck on Beyoncé and Alicia Keys?

More significant, if urban ag work comes to be seen as women’s work, what will that mean for the movement’s farming model, mission and pay?

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September 1, 2014   No Comments

The Rapid Growth of Community Gardens in Canada

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Sylvia watering her garden. Photo by Dylan Copland.

Vancouver now has over 75 of them; Halifax 25; and Ottawa, at least 40.

By Dylan Copland
Nature Canada
August 2014

Excerpt:

Vancouver has instituted tax breaks for landowners who develop green spaces on their property. The city now allows developers to classify community gardens as class eight recreational property, reducing the cost owed to the government to about a third of typical commercial property tax fees.

In Ottawa, Just Food, in concert with garden organizers and the city government, works with an $85,000 a year budget to provide tools, equipment and construction and gardening materials to those looking to work in or organize a community garden.

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September 1, 2014   No Comments

City Farm at MIT – Open source food

One MIT scientist hopes to farm without soil for city life

By Mona Lalwani
The Verge
August 27, 2014
(Must see. Mike)
Excerpt:

At MIT Media Lab in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Caleb Harper’s CityFARM demonstrates the future of food production. He grows plants through aeroponics, a system that produces plants without soil. Plants are hooked up to servers and misting mechanisms. LEDs fill in for the sun and ladybugs (purchased on Amazon) occasionally make an appearance. Plants are periodically sprayed with a nutrient-rich mist that provides optimal pH balance. Light and temperatures are closely monitored. The environment nurtures plants that have twice the nutrient density of their conventional counterparts. Lettuce, bok choy, and tomatoes have already fed the scientists in the lab.

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August 31, 2014   No Comments

10 Innovative Urban Agriculture Enterprises in Memphis

As of 2012, the adult obesity rate of Tennessee was up to 31.1 percent, with 11.9 percent of adults diagnosed with diabetes.

By Nora Kako
Food Tank
Aug 23, 2014

Excerpt:

1. The American Heart Association Teaching Garden of Bethel Grove Elementary School is representative of the more than 40 school gardens planted in East Memphis. The teaching garden’s program “combines nutrition education with garden-based learning” to give students a hands-on experience of healthy eating. Cigna HealthCare, who sponsored the opening of the garden, hopes to sponsor at least one new school garden each year.

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August 31, 2014   No Comments

Sam Kass, the Obamas’ Foodmaster General, Loves the Kitchen Garden

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Michelle Obama and the family’s personal chef, Sam Kass, in the White House kitchen garden in 2010. Photo Charles Dharapak/Associated Press.

Kass takes inner-city students in Washington on tours of the White House garden

By Jennifer Steinhaueraug
New York Times
28, 2014

Excerpt:

Mr. Kass is expected to stay through the end of the president’s second term as one of the last remaining original staff members of this White House, perhaps for no other reason than his love of the garden, where 1,000 pounds of food are grown each year, much of it served on the premises.

“He has this bizarre affection for a fig tree,” said Eddie Gehman Kohan, whose blog, ObamaFoodorama.com, documents the eating life of the White House. She was describing a tree that grew from a sapling donated to the White House by Monticello, Thomas Jefferson’s estate. Once, she said, the tree was accidentally yanked up and tossed with the weeds, but Mr. Kass rescued it.

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August 30, 2014   No Comments

The farm-to-vase movement: Local flower farms sprout on urban lots around New Orleans


Four New Orleans flower farms give a shout out to their favourite flowers.

The vast majority of cut flowers sold in the United States today are imported from Colombia, the Netherlands, Kenya, Israel

By Susan Langenhennig
NOLA.com – The Times-Picayune
August 20, 2014

Excerpt:

More than a decade ago, the soft-spoken gardener began growing roses, lilies, lavender and other flowers and fragrant herbs on a formerly blighted lot, now laid out in a neat parterre.

Interest in the less-traveled bouquet is finally catching up with her.

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August 30, 2014   No Comments

Look no further than a Vancouver apartment complex to see the latest food trend in action

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Tenant gardeners, from left, Sarah Anton, Evan Doan, Christine Cheveldave (landlady), Gordon Rudy, Gosia Piasecka (at back), Katie Fritz, Robin Young and Genevieve Beaulieu Roy in their thriving organic garden in East Vancouver. Photograph by: Steve Bosch.

The tenants, all in their 20s, have taken over more and more lawn areas at the complex and carved out spaces for growing food.

By Steve Whysall
Vancouver Sun
August 28, 2014

Excerpt:

Tenants each have their own individual garden spots where they are free to grow what they prefer, but there is a community plot shared by the entire group

However, in reality, produce from all the plots is freely shared and everyone is permitted to harvest what they need from any of the spaces.

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August 29, 2014   No Comments

Veggie Van distributes free vegetables residents in Easton, Pennsylvania

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Easton’s Veggie Van distributes locally grown fruits and vegetables to residents of the West Ward. The van is operated by students from Lafayette College’s Technology Clinic in collaboration with the West Ward Neighborhood Partnership.

Last year’s Veggie Van distributed more than 1,500 pounds of produce over a seven-week period.

By Joshua Cohen
Lehighvalley Live
August 23, 2014

Excerpt:

About 75 to 80 people are expected each day of operation at the Veggie Van. Malinconico says most who come to the Veggie Van are regular visitors. In fact, reusable bags have been distributed to them with the expectation they will be returned at the end of the Veggie Van’s season.

The crops distributed at the Veggie Van each week are grown all over the area. A large portion of the vegetables are from Lafayette’s LaFarm. Other donations come from Easton Urban Farm, Crayola Gardens and other community gardens throughout Easton.

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August 29, 2014   No Comments

Recording artist ‘Kimbra’ wrote and recorded at an Los Angeles urban farm

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Kimbra taking a selfie with Ramses, the leader of Goudsmit’s flock. Just after this pic, Ramses lost his temper and chased Kimbra around the property. Photo courtesy of Kimbra and Rosa Goudsmit.

Kimbra said in an interview on Consequence of Sound that after the 2013 Grammy Awards, she needed a place without “too much stimulus” to write her new album.

By Jared Sichel
Jewish Journal
Aug 21, 2014

Excerpt:

Kimbra said in an interview on Consequence of Sound that after the 2013 Grammy Awards, she needed a place without “too much stimulus” to write her new album. In Goudsmit’s words, Kimbra needed the laid back environment to “stomach the idea of living in L.A.”

Next thing, Goudsmit had a rising pop star in her house, writing and recording songs for her newest album, feeding her chickens, meditating and doing yoga in the backyard, and occasionally getting locked out of the house at night when Goudsmit forgot that her young housemate, unlike her, stayed awake past nightfall.

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August 28, 2014   No Comments

Urban Farms Build Resilience Within Singapore’s Fragile Food System

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A crew of volunteer “aunties” weed and harvest basil at the ComCrop rooftop farm, set high above Singapore’s Orchard Road. Photo by Maureen Pao for NPR.

Singapore imports more than 90 percent of its food from some 35 countries.

By Maureen Pao
NPR
August 20, 2014

Excerpt:

Like other urban farms in Singapore, one of Sky Greens’ advantages is how little water it uses, relying primarily on collected and recycled rainwater. And its system of hydraulic-powered rotating troughs means less spent on electricity, and even less water is wasted.

“The troughs come down and go into the water and go up. So there’s no leaching of the water,” Ngiam explains. “If you are planting on the soil, what the farmer does is pour a lot of water, and then it just leaches out. For us, every drop is used by the plant.”

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August 28, 2014   No Comments

A peak time to examine community garden etiquette in Los Angeles

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Community gardens involve many personalities, and they may come into conflict — even if they haven’t met in person. Photo by Ringo H.W. Chiu / For the Times.

“With this many plots and people gardening so close to one another, there are bound to be issues.”

By Kimberly Stevens
LA Times
Aug 19, 2014

Excerpt:

With community gardens growing in popularity and expanding rapidly, more personalities come into play, and that can make for conflict. Renner has heard about almost every breach of etiquette imaginable. Fruit and vegetable theft tops the list, in his opinion. “It happens in every garden, and I’ve seen people ready to take out a shovel or a machete if they can catch the thief,” he said.

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August 27, 2014   No Comments

Proposal to turn San Francisco’s Candlestick Park stadium into a gigantic hydroponic greenhouse

candle Click on image for larger file.

Occasional concerts in between times of harvesting and planting

By San Francisco-based IwamotoScott Architecture

Surrounding the stadium is a new green-roofed, terraced podium that interfaces with the surrounding Candlestick Point redevelopment master plan, sheltering beneath it a marketplace for locally-produced urban agriculture and food goods.

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August 27, 2014   No Comments

Can Urban Agriculture Work on a Commercial Scale?

luf
Montreal’s Lufa Farms developed an e-commerce model for fresh food. Farming the world’s cities will require marketing savvy as much as skill at growing food in urban settings.

An urban farm in Montreal is scaling the industry “with more software than farmers.”

By Flavie Halais
City Lab
Aug 22, 2014

Excerpt:

Lufa is also developing its own in-house technology. The company has just received a patent for a system that allows it to grow 30 percent more food on the same area. Meanwhile, the IT team is developing a suite of iPad apps for greenhouse management. One of them, which helps manage insect populations, will soon be made available to all organic growers. “We’ve decided it’s too valuable for us not to be going out to the world and saying, ‘Use it for free,’” says Hage.

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August 26, 2014   No Comments

Astor Free Community Garden in Jersey City

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Leila Harrison, 3, is known to the community as “Lady Astor” and has grown up working in the the Astor Free Community Garden. Photo by Julie Kayzerman.

Seven hundred and sixty-six people had to be able to eat,” she said of the number of people she believes have been affected by the garden.

By Julie Kayzerman
The Jersey Journal
Aug 15, 2014

Excerpt:

“This was a garbage lot!” Bland said of the garden that is in full bloom growing watermelons, onions, squash, beets, carrots, potatoes, grapes, peppers, cantaloupes, okra, kale, strawberries, corn and cherry tomatoes — all planted by people of all ages to produce organic free food to feed the community.

The garden brings together all different generations with 3-year-olds working alongside senior citizens, who come to the garden to relax in a safe, positive environment.

“It’s very hands on, she eats, she touches, she smells and it’s good because she’s learning,” said June Glenn-Lawson, who recently cooked the squash that her granddaughter, Leila, planted and grew.

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August 26, 2014   No Comments

Young volunteers ‘excluded’ from working at City Farm in London

kidsdisShola Fellows and Claudia Cruz at the Farm Family protest.

30 children and young people with disabilities looked after animals at Brooks Farm

By Natalie Glanvill
This is Local London
19th August 2014

Excerpt:

A group of young volunteers, which has helped out at a city farm for 30 years, will not be allowed to work there after it changed hands, it has emerged.

The ‘Farm Family’, which includes about 30 children and young people with disabilities, or those at risk of getting involved in crime, looked after animals at Brooks Farm in Skeltons Lane Park, Leyton, when it was managed by Waltham Forest council.

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August 26, 2014   No Comments