New Stories From 'Urban Agriculture Notes'

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1943: Vice-President Henry Wallace’s Victory Garden

Rare film outtakes. Various scenes Wallace working around corn and tomatoes. Link to film here.

Henry A. Wallace was editor of Wallaces’ Farmer and Iowa Homestead until he was selected as Secretary of Agriculture by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt in 1933.

33rd Vice President of the United States under President Franklin D. Roosevelt, In office January 20, 1941 – January 20, 1945

Excerpts from The Wallace Centers of Iowa, sustainable food & civility initiatives and Henry A. Wallace – An Authentic American Dreamer

At the turn of the 20th century, corn shows were at the height of popularity, and judging criteria stressed physical uniformity of ear and kernel type. In 1903, Henry A. participated in a corn judging short course, and when he questioned the value of the “beauty contest” in predicting the yield, the instructor encouraged him to plant each of the 40 ears on an ear-to-row basis the next season and compare yields.

Wallace grew his first experimental plot while still a high school student and found that the ear which had placed first in the show yielded among the poorest. He chose some of the best-yielding seed and sold 10 bushels for $10 per bushel. This was the start of his life-long involvement with the improvement of corn through genetic selection.

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December 13, 2017   No Comments

Canada: Something fishy about downtown Toronto’s Waterwheel Farms

Solutions to growing local produce may be as close as Queen Street West

By Katherine Forte
Toronto Obeserver
December 4th, 2017

Excerpt:

Wheeler began a small aquaponics farm in his apartment five years ago, when he got tired of his store-bought greens going rotten too quickly. All of his education on aquaponics farming came from research and translating knowledge gained from growing up on his family’s open-field farm in Northern Ontario. He works as a financial analyst for a renewable energy provider. He jokingly refers to himself as “a renewable energy crusader by day and an urban farmer revolutionist by night.”

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December 13, 2017   No Comments

India: Now, grow vegetables in your living room with this self-watering modular farm

“Our goal is to make families around the world self-reliant with respect to food and Altifarm is our first product. All our learning from multiple projects at my industrial design studio over the last eight years has been distilled into development of Altifarm,” shares Raj.

By Chhavi Tyagi
Economic Times
Dec 4, 2017

Excerpt:

Ergonomically-designed, Altifarm comes across as a one-stop solution for all constraints related to urban farming – space, time, and erratic lifestyle. Consisting of 3 or 4 tiers (depending on your preference), Altifarm provides 1sqm of space to farm while utilising only as much of footprint as a chair does. The shelves are height-adjustable, giving you the freedom to choose a variety of saplings. The farm is designed with a wall hugging rear and is fitted with wheels to provide mobility.

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December 13, 2017   No Comments

NYC passes new urban agriculture bill

The bill will create a new digital hub will help organize urban farmers throughout the city

By Pat King
Metro
December 11, 2017

Excerpt:

The New York City council passed a bill today that will create the city’s first centralized digital hub meant specifically for urban agriculture. This hub will be run entirely by the city and will hopefully be seen as a resource for both new and established businesses.

This bill, entitled 1661-A, is sponsored by council member Rafael Espinal, at the request of Eric L. Adams, the Brooklyn Borough President, and passed overwhelmingly with a 47-0 vote in the City Council. According to Espinal, this bill will bring a new excitement to New Yorkers who are looking to go green and healthy with the expansion of the urban agriculture sector.

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December 12, 2017   No Comments

Australia: A Bountiful Harvest – Community Gardens and Neighbourhood Renewal in Waterloo

This research importantly affirms that community gardens can make a positive contribution to community development in public housing estates.

By Linda Bartolomei, Linda Corkery, Bruce Judd, Susan Thompson
NSW Department of Housing
The University of New South Wales
Faculty of the Built Environment School of Social Work, 2003

Excerpt:

The Gardens provide many positive opportunities for cross-cultural interactions. Indeed, the Gardens are a multicultural place where participants develop better understandings of cultural difference through the sharing of recipes and plants. There were many stories of how participating in the Gardens has helped to diminish cultural boundaries and negative racial stereotypes. The Gardens also provide an important cultural continuation of the home that has been left behind. This assists with developing feelings of belonging and worth for many gardeners born outside Australia.

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December 12, 2017   No Comments

Milwaukee: Growing Power’s loss saddens community leaders

The Growing Power cafe and market, at 2719 N. Dr. Martin Luther King Drive, is permanently closed after the nonprofit ran into financial difficulties. (Photo by Elliot Hughes)

Growing Power’s website has been stripped of all content and workers could be seen emptying the cafe-market at 2719 N King Drive on Wednesday. The institution has dissolved.

By Elliot Hughes
Milwaukeens
December 1/ update Dec 10, 2017

Excerpt:

That news hits hard for some community leaders, who appreciated Growing Power for its green, sustainable food practices, its influence on urban farming and the healthy food it spread throughout the city. But those interviewed feel good about the future of urban farming and that of Dr. Martin Luther King Drive, where the nonprofit had a cafe-market.

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December 11, 2017   No Comments

New Zealand: 2017 Gardena Gardener of the Year winners are Thames Bright Smile Community Gardens

Rebekah Manley-Campbell (left) and Samantha Claire have worked to create the most inclusive community garden in New Zealand. Photo Christel Yardley/Stuff.

The garden is named for the original Bright Smile mine which had been located there in the late 1800s.

By Mei Leng Wong
Nz Gardener
December 4 2017

Excerpt:

Rebekah Manley-Campbell and Samantha Claire work at the Bright Smile Community Garden in the Coromandel town, which is managed and run by the Supported Lifestyle Hauraki Trust, an organisation set up to care for people with a wide range of physical and mental challenges.

As the duo are keen to ensure the garden is a welcoming place for everyone, they make sure that there is something here for everyone – whatever their interest or ability, young or old.

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December 11, 2017   No Comments

Urban Farmers pick up excess fruits in yards in Contra Costa County

Tangerines are picked by Pat Alger, of Brentwood, left, Vicki Grant, of Pleasanton, center, and Anirban Chowdhury, of Antioch, at a tree where the owner donated all the fruit in in Oakley, Calif. Fruit is picked up by White Pony Express and distributed to food banks. (Susan Tripp Pollard/Bay Area News Group)

The program divides the various Contra Costa County communities in sections with a group volunteer harvest leader that takes care of each section.

By Roni Gehlke
East Bay Times
December 3, 2017

Excerpt:

While we usually think of helping feed those in need during this time of year, The Urban Farmers harvest fruit from trees all year-long and requires a lot of volunteer help to keep the program going. Not only are they always looking for those who are interested in donating their harvest, but they are always in need of volunteers to harvest the fruit.

The program divides the various Contra Costa County communities in sections with a group volunteer harvest leader that takes care of each section. When a call comes in that trees are ready to harvest a section, the harvest leaders organizes volunteers to help harvest. Harvest leaders are also on the list of volunteers needed. This program only takes a few hours a month for harvest leaders and volunteer harvesters.

A few students from local high schools looking to fulfill their community service hours even have gotten in on the fun of volunteering for this group.

“While our (high school) seniors are required to earn community service hours, this is one activity they love to do and look forward to,” said Brentwood resident and Oakley’s Freedom High School science teacher, John Sierra. “Many of them have never picked their own food, and they’re tasting things like persimmons and pomegranates that many have never had before.”

Read the complete article here.

December 11, 2017   No Comments

Philippines: Taguig, Manila launches newest urban farm on its Charter Day celebration

Taguig Integrated Urban Farm. And watch evening, opening celebrations here.

The city’s agriculture office chief assured their urban gardening program favors organic farming where pesticides, fertilizers, genetically modified organisms, antibiotics, and growth hormones are not used on crops.

By Martin Sadongdong
Manila Bulletin
December 9, 2017
(Must see. Mike)

Excerpt:

City Agriculture Office officer-in-charge Emelita Solis said the urban farm integrated various kinds of urban farming setups like gardens showcasing vertical farming to wooden rack and pole gardens.

She said the creation of the integrated farm served as one way to engage residents in urban farming practices for food production.

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December 10, 2017   No Comments

Africa: Urban agriculture, dietary diversity and child health in a sample of Tanzanian town folk

In short, we identified urban agriculture as one channel through which dietary diversity can be increased and, ultimately, improved child health can be achieved in the cities of developing countries.

By Natascha Wagner & Luca Tasciotti
Canadian Journal of Development Studies
Nov 27, 2017

Abstract:

Undernutrition and micronutrient deficiency continue to be two of the major health burdens in less developed economies. In this study, we explore the link between urban agriculture, dietary diversity and child health, using weight-for-age and height-for-age Z-scores. The study makes use of two rounds of observational data for urban Tanzania and employs an instrumental variables estimation approach. We show that practising urban agriculture leads to the consumption of a greater variety of food items and the health status of urban children living in households practising urban agriculture significantly improves in the short and, more importantly, long term.

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December 10, 2017   No Comments

Whole Foods helping Backyard Growers grow

Backyard Growers has built the Willowood Community Garden.

Launched in February 2014, Whole Cities Foundation is the third independent nonprofit foundation established by Whole Foods Market.

By Joann Mackenzie
Gloucester Times
Dec 1, 2017

Excerpt:

Gloucester’s Backyard Growers has grown yet another garden, this one with the help of Whole Foods Markets’ Whole Cities Foundation.

Backyard Growers was awarded a $5,000 Community First Grant by the nonprofit foundation, one of three founded to support thriving, self-sustaining local community food systems.

The money, received earlier this fall, has helped add a garden of raised beds — this one in Willowood public housing on Maplewood Avenue — to Backyard Growers’ 67 edible garden beds already in place and thriving in low-income housing communities throughout the city.

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December 10, 2017   No Comments

Petition: We need an urban agriculture plan, not a website, to grow more food and jobs in NYC!

Little boy with sack of vegetables from the community garden at the Casa Grande Valley Farms, Pinal County, Arizona. Lee, Russell, 1903-1986, photographer, Created / Published 1940 Apr.

The revised Intro #1661-A is a completely different bill that we cannot support.

By Susan Chin
Design Trust for Public Space
Dec 8, 2017

A comprehensive urban agriculture plan is necessary for establishing an efficient citywide land use scheme for growing food. We need streamlined and effective regulation to expand and strengthen the City’s 900+ farms and gardens – the largest number of any U.S. city – but also better coordination integrating urban agriculture into existing plans, programs, and policy-making processes in city government, and for creating more transparent and participatory processes to enable gardeners and farmers to influence decision-making on urban agriculture. Boston, Chicago, Atlanta, and Denver have plans that have encouraged innovative land and space use, spurred job creation, refined food policy, and supported mission-based gardeners to expand their efforts – why not New York?

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December 9, 2017   No Comments

Inside a farm hidden under the streets of Paris in an abandoned parking garage

Since late 2016, La Caverne/Cycloponics has grown vegetables in a 37,700-square-foot farm underneath the streets of Paris.

By Leanna Garfield
Business Insider
Dec 6, 2017

Excerpt:

It’s an underground farm by La Caverne/Cycloponics, a local indoor farming startup that harvests lettuce, herbs, and mushrooms in a space it calls la caverne (the cave).

The 10-person team calls its farm “the cave.” It’s located beneath a 300-unit affordable housing complex. The space was formerly an abandoned parking garage.

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December 9, 2017   No Comments

Special Issue: ‘Food growing in the city’ – Landscape and Urban Planning

Click image to see larger file. Demonstration garden, Bryant Park, 42nd Street and Fifth Avenue, New York, New York. Visitors studying gardening notices. Photo shows Bryant Park with New York Public Library; two boys, one on roller skates, and a man reading the notices. Garden is a project by the National War Garden Commission, 1918. Johnston, Frances Benjamin, 1864-1952, photographer.

Taken together, the papers suggest that urban agriculture models need to be recognised more widely within mainstream urban planning and the urban development process.

Landscape and Urban Planning
Volume 170, February 2018, Pages 1-5
(Must see. Mike)

Food growing in the city: Exploring the productive urban landscape as a new paradigm for inclusive approaches to the design and planning of future urban open spaces

By Richard Coles, Sandra Costa

Abstract:

This special issue considers food growing in the city. It presents a series of papers which explore the interface between urban growing initiatives and the planned city, and identifies the development of the movement in different world regions and situations. It explores the characteristics of different food growing and urban gardening scenarios regarding the inherent properties of the urban agriculture/food growing complex as an urban movement, its drivers and the niche that it occupies within the city.

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December 8, 2017   No Comments

South Africa: Johannesburg’s new “agripreneurs” dig for green gold on skyscraper rooftops

Nhlanhla Mpati, an agripreneur, tends to his plants at the garden he set up on top of Johannesburg’s iconic ‘Chamber of Mines’ building in the central business district on November 15, 2017. Inna Lazareva/Thomson Reuters Foundation

In the next three years, about 100 more farms will be set up in the city besides the two now running, and the scheme is already attracting many applications from would-be young entrepreneurs.

By Inna Lazareva
Reuters
Dec 1, 2017

Excerpt:

The soaring “Chamber of Mines” building in central Johannesburg, a hub for South Africa’s mining industry, is a symbol of a bygone era when pioneers began flocking here in the late 19th century to dig for gold.

Today, it is also the site of a new venture aiming to entice the city’s unemployed youth into green entrepreneurship.

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December 8, 2017   No Comments