New Stories From 'Urban Agriculture Notes'

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Goats Clean Up Parks and Educate Communities on Urban Farming

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Due to their unique digestive systems, goats are able to consume invasive weeds without redistributing any of the seeds in their excrement.

By Aine Creedon
Non Profit Quatrely
Jun 16, 2017

Excerpt:

Amy Weaver, owner of Five Fridges Farm, says the most surprising outcome of the project has been the community support that has erupted. Over the past few years, the goats have become a big hit with local residents, which flock to visit the hard workers cleaning up their parks.

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June 22, 2017   No Comments

Philippines: Millennials told to use ‘Farmville’ expertise in own urban gardens

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Sioco said the disinterest of the young people toward gardening nowadays could also be attributed to the loss of knowledge transfer on planting and agriculture.

By Jasper Y. Arcalas
Business Mirror
June 15, 2017

Excerpt:

The CGC chief said his company is innovating ways to encourage the millennials to venture into organic urban gardening, one of which is rolling out convenient means of gardening through the use of latest available technologies in the market.

“What we do right now is that we continuously innovate to make it a lot easier for people to venture into urban gardening, like for the millennials,” he said. “We have two technologies working on right now: one is aquaponics and the second is barrel gardening.”

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June 22, 2017   No Comments

Bowery Farming raised $20 million for its “post-organic” vertical farm

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Bowery Farming cofounder and CEO Irving Fain.

“We are a tech company that is thinking about the future of food.”

By Amy Feldman
Forbes
June 14, 2017

Excerpt:

The new financing, announced this morning, brings Bowery’s total take to $27.5 million. The company declined to disclose valuation, but it’s clearly a big bet on something that for many years had been little more than a dream. “We are a tech company that is thinking about the future of food,” says Bowery’s co-founder and CEO Irving Fain.

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June 21, 2017   No Comments

Homesteader to Restauranteur – San Diego’s The Red Door

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Watlington to transform her half acre back-yard garden into a vibrant urban farm that now supplies the restaurant with nearly 100 percent of its produce in the summer and 50 percent during the winter.

By Lisa Kivirist
Mother Earth News
June 14, 2017

Excerpt;

Are you a homesteader with a dream launching your own food business one day? Perhaps a restaurant showcasing farm to table fare? Trish Watlington, owner of The Red Door Restaurant, shares four of her success strategies that launched her from backyard gardener to San Diego’s leading local food entrepreneur. I’d also call her an “ecopreneur,” given her focus on the environment and making the world a better place.

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June 21, 2017   No Comments

New York City Rooftop – Hell’s Kitchen Farm

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How does their garden grow? Kiddie pools, pots, and hanging planters play host to good green things on the roof of Metro Baptist Church. Photo by Rebecca Fiore.

Hell’s Kitchen Farm Project (HKFP), a 4,000-square-foot volunteer-run rooftop garden containing 52 kiddie pools, 38 pots, and 20 rail hanging planters tasked with growing fresh, organic fruits, and vegetables.

By Scott Stiffler
Chelsea Now
June 14, 2017

Excerpt:

There aren’t a lot of affordable grocery stores in this area and there was a concern that low-income people, especially the food pantry clients who weren’t really able to eat fresh, healthy vegetables,” Debbie Mullens, a third-year volunteer, said.

Lettuce, tomatoes, Swiss chard, kale, collared greens, radishes, scallions, mustard greens, bok choy, apples, blueberries, and raspberries grow in the kiddie pools and pots, while herbs are grown in the rail-hanging planters.

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June 20, 2017   No Comments

Cincinnati City Council hopes to turn vacant, blighted properties into urban farms

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Cincinnati City Council is considering a new pilot program that could flip as many as 10 vacant parcels of land into gardens ready for planting anything from herbs to cucumbers.

By Amanda Seitz
WCPO
Jun 15, 2017

Excerpt:

Supporters believe the humble start to this project could ultimately alleviate some of the city’s most stubborn problems: food deserts, unemployment and blight.

“It will assist in taking that blight, that was a negative, and not only improving the look, but providing sustenance to the area as well,” said Cincinnati City Councilman Kevin Flynn, who proposed the program.

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June 20, 2017   No Comments

“Family farm agriculture is the heart of Pennsylvania,” says Willie Nelson, founder and president of Farm Aid.

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Sheryl Crow and Willie Nelson onstage for the 32nd annual Farm Aid food and music festival taking place Sept. 16 at the KeyBank Pavilion in Burgettstown, Pa., outside Pittsburgh.

In Pittsburgh, 30 miles east of the concert venue, urban farming has thrived.

By Thom Duffy
Billboard
6/13/2017

Excerpt:

Pennsylvania is also considered the birthplace of organic agriculture and a leader in sustainable agriculture practices. In Pittsburgh, 30 miles east of the concert venue, urban farming has thrived. The organization Grow Pittsburgh has launched more than 60 farms to increase access to fresh food and farm training programs for young people.

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June 19, 2017   No Comments

Why it’s important for black farmers to take the lead on Detroit’s urban farms

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Oakland Avenue Urban Farm. Photo by Tom Perkins.

What black organizations like Neighborhood B.U.G. and their allies are trying to do is, in part, restore ownership for a heritage of farming and gardening that never went away, but was overlooked, perhaps even within the community itself.

By Brian Allnutt
Detroit Metro Times
June 14, 2017

Excerpt:

Thorpe from Neighborhood B.U.G. says that the perception of his organization really changed when people realized it was being run by African-Americans. “In the beginning we had a couple of problems because people didn’t know who we were,” he says. “They thought we were probably a white organization. … Now we don’t have anything locked up, we don’t have any fences. … The community is just receptive because they see nothing but blacks, young black people out there gardening and it makes people stop, from old to young.”

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June 19, 2017   No Comments

Students across Canada use “space” tomato seeds to investigate the effects of outer space on seed germination

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The award-winning Tomatosphere™ program has engaged more than three million students since its inception in 2001.

From their website.

Excerpt:

In the spring, participating classrooms receive two packages of tomato seeds. One package contains seeds sent into space or treated in space-simulated conditions. The other contains untreated “control” seeds. Students plant the seeds and conduct experiments to explore the effects of the space environment on the germination of tomatoes. Through Tomatosphere™, students learn how to conduct a scientific experiment and compare the number of seeds that germinate for the two groups of seeds.

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June 18, 2017   No Comments

What makes urban food policy happen? Insights from five case studies

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Nairobi (Kenya): Enabling Urban Agriculture Thanks To Constitutional Change And Civil Society Activism.
and
Detroit (USA): Obtaining new powers to regulate and promote urban agriculture.

Lead authors: Corinna Hawkes and Jess Halliday
By the International Panel of Experts on Sustainable Food Systems (IPES-Food).
2017

Excerpts:

2. Nairobi (Kenya): Enabling Urban Agriculture Thanks To Constitutional Change And Civil Society Activism.

As in many East African cities, urban agriculture has been a fixture of life for many poor resi-dents of Nairobi since the late 1970s and 1980s. Yet for many years the city government was vigorously opposed to it, and farmers’ efforts to feed their families were regularly disrupted by law enforcers on public health and land ownership grounds.

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June 18, 2017   No Comments

China: Shanghai’s first urban farm at an open community

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Residents at Anshan No.4 Village place green plants in the community farm Baicaoyuan Garden. — Mao Xinhui

Children see the constant change of the fruits and vegetables everyday which is not available elsewhere,” Liu added.

By Huang Jianjian and Li Xinran
Shanghai Daily
June 13, 2017

Excerpt:

A small piece of farmland hiding on a rooftop, at a residential quarter or surrounded by tall buildings, is not only for urbanites to retain their nostalgia but also an organic way to open and comfort people’s minds.

It varies from time to time whether rice paddy, vegetables, fragrant herbs are the best choice to be planted in the soil of downtown. A mini farm featuring a pond, blue iris and a variety of aquatic plants was displayed in Yangpu, during a recent urban farm exhibition. A small herbal garden with chamomile, mint and basil was also exhibited during the event at the Knowledge & Innovation Community Garden.

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June 17, 2017   No Comments

One community garden at a time: how New Yorkers are fighting for food justice

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We didn’t call it food justice before – we called it survival.’ Photograph: Edward Helmore for the Guardian.

Tanya Fields’ Libertad Urban Farm joins a city-wide movement to redistribute resources to poor communities that are systemically deprived of healthy food

By Edward Helmore
The Guardian
12 June 2017

Excerpt:

For the past three summers, Tanya Fields produced a veritable cornucopia of fruits and vegetables at the Libertad Urban Farm in the South Bronx. But then disaster struck: “We got burglarized three times by a crackhead. He took everything. The pears, the grill – anything he thought had value. He knocked down the shed, destroyed the tomato vines and stole the eggplant.”

These difficulties are surely a setback, but they have not dulled Fields’ commitment to the issues of food justice and food equality, an emerging aim of community-focused activism across the US sometimes described as “communities exercising their right to grow, sell, and eat healthy food”.

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June 17, 2017   No Comments

Israel: Ultra-Orthodox kids grow a green thumb in ‘mitzvah’ gardens

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The gardens, like this one in Modiin Ilit on March 22, 2017, follow the commandment of kilayim, which requires that each species is planted a certain distance from the other. (Melanie Lidman/Times of Israel)

“We’re in a city, we’re not in a moshav or village where we’re exposed to the ideas of orchards and gardens,” Rivkie added.

By Melanie Lidman
The Times of Israel
June 11, 2017

Excerpt:

Families have also gotten into the spirit of the garden. As a year-end gift, Rivkie gave each student a mint plant to grow at home and use for the end-of-Shabbat Havdalah service, which makes use of a pleasant-smelling herb. Rivkie said one girl’s family grew so much mint they gave cuttings to their relatives, and now the whole extended family uses their own mint.

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June 16, 2017   No Comments

Urban farming reaches new heights at 49ers’ Levi’s Stadium, Santa Clara, California

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Emily Saeger, full-time gardener at Faithful Farms, harvests produce to send downstairs to the Levi’s Stadium kitchens. (Courtesy Isha Salian)

The Atlanta Falcons are following suit with a raised-bed garden of their own. Boston’s Fenwick Park set up a rooftop garden in 2015, and San Francisco’s AT&T Park boasts a vegetable garden behind center field.

By Isha Salian
The Mercury News
June 10, 2017

Excerpt:

Taken together, the unexpected confluence of professional sports and organic gardening signals just how far the sustainability conversation reaches — but also accentuates the role corporate patronage plays in enabling green urban design. Authentic local food production and energy savings aside, these gourmet, microgreen-rich enterprises are a far cry from the gritty, empty lot urban farms that defined the urban agriculture movement for the last two generations.

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June 16, 2017   No Comments

Musician ‘Prince’ Generously Supported Urban Agriculture

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Taja Sevelle is an advocate for urban farming in Detroit but that’s after her musical career was touched by Prince.

Taja Sevelle: “We would be down to $2 and get a call. He’s sending some money. He donated part of his perfume sales. He did a concert in New York. He just had a big heart, you know.”

Fox 2
Apr 21, 2016

Excerpt:

“He helped urban farming, you know. He saw the vision. We talked to Paisley, and he saw the big vision because he’s a big visionary and he really wanted the world to love each other and you know that’s what, that’s what I’m about. That’s what my music’s about. That’s what my work with urban farming is about. I saw all this unused land in the city and I had lived on a farm for three years and I thought why are people struggling to eat when we can plant food on this land

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June 15, 2017   No Comments