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Living costs too high? Try growing your own food, minister urges Malaysians

Agricultural and Argo base minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri looking at the ‘terung ular’ after officiating the Urban farming event in Penang, June 29, 2015. Picture by K. E. Ooi

“In Malaysia, a family spends an average of RM350 per month on vegetables alone and by growing some of these vegetables, the costs of purchasing the vegetables can be cut to a significant amount,” he said.

By Opalyn Mok
Malay Mail Online
June 29, 2015


GEORGE TOWN, June 29. More Malaysians should consider following the trend of urban farming, Agriculture and Agro-Based Industry Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said today, pointing out that it would not only help alleviate the burden of soaring living costs but also helps families eat healthier home-grown products.

He said at a time when living costs are increasing, it is more economical for Malaysians to start urban farming by growing their own vegetables in their gardens, backyard or even in their apartment balconies.

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July 7, 2015   No Comments

Ethnicity as a determinant of agriculture in an urban setting – Evidence from Tanzania

Slide from Mr. Graham Mercer.

Agriculture remains one of the main livelihood strategies in Africa not only in rural areas, but also in an urban context. However, little is known about the role ethnicity plays in urban and periurban agriculture.

By J. Schlesingera, E. Munishib, A. Dreschera
Volume 64, August 2015, Pages 138–145


Ethnic association is a major determinant of involvement in agriculture.

Wachagga have much better access to productive resources than other ethnic groups.

Land ownership regimes in the urban area of Moshi remain dominated by traditional norms and agreements.

Social embeddedness remains important in the course of urban growth.

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July 7, 2015   No Comments

Thesis: Business models in urban agriculture

wagroofPhoto by By Shuang Liu

Great diversity in their business operations was found among the 46 projects.

By Shuang Liu
Master thesis – Rural Sociology
for degree of the Master in Organic Agriculture at Wageningen University, The Netherlands
Via the blog of Han Wiskerke J.S.C. Wiskerke
Professor and Chair of Rural Sociology
Feb 2015


In this research, I took urban agriculture as a revenue generating and job creation activity by focusing on more market-oriented projects. I tried to describe individual urban agriculture business operations under the framework of the business model. An online questionnaire was distributed worldwide followed with statistical analysis. The questionnaire was designed using nine business building blocks from Business Model Canvas. Based on the reported business characteristics, a cluster analysis was performed in order to find patterns underlying the diversity of their businesses. In total 46 respondents from 18 countries across 6 continents completed the questionnaire and as sucht contributed to the results of my thesis.

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July 7, 2015   No Comments

The world’s most beautiful greenhouses are underwater, and growing strawberries off Noli, Italy

June 27, 2015 Fontanesi checks on the immersed biospheres. The underwater greenhouses take advantage of the high carbon dioxide levels, allowing the plants inside to grow at accelerated rates. Photo by Olivier Morin.

The company plans to roll out a much smaller aquarium version of the biospheres that people can experiment with in their own homes

By Robert Gebelhoff
Washingtonn Post
June 30, 2015


But this is no ordinary greenhouse: It’s 20 feet under water, anchored to the floor of the sea just off the coast of Noli, Italy.

This is Nemo’s Garden, an experimental project in its fourth year, operated as part of the family-run Ocean Reef Group.

The balloon-like biospheres take advantage of the sea’s natural properties to grow plants. The underwater temperatures are constant, and the shape of the greenhouses allows for water to constantly evaporate and replenish the plants.

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July 6, 2015   No Comments

Long Beach, California City Council to ease rules on chickens, goats and bees

Vice Mayor Suja Lowenthal is one of the major sponsors of the recommendation.

Donna Marykwas shed tears after the Council voted in favor of the changes. She had founded Long Beach Grows, an organization dedicated to educating the public about urban agriculture.

By CJ Dablo
Signal Tribune
June 26, 2015


Proponents of urban agriculture in Long Beach tasted a new victory at the City Council meeting on June 23. City council members unanimously approved a recommendation to request a change to the municipal rules governing chickens, goats and bees. The city attorney will be required to return to the Council with a new ordinance, which will require two readings to be fully passed.

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July 6, 2015   No Comments

Little Critter: A Green, Green Garden


The author has published over 300 children’s titles

By Mercer Mayer (Author, Illustrator)
HarperCollins (March 1, 2011)

Little Critter® and his family plant some vegetables. After lots of watering, weeding, and waiting, they enjoy a delicious meal—all from their green, green garden.

Mercer Mayer began writing and illustrating children’s books in 1966, and since that time, he has published over 300 titles. Open almost any of the award-winning author/illustrator’s books, and out may pop dragons, cuddly monsters, wonderful creatures, and endearing critters.

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July 5, 2015   No Comments

Big City, Little Farms: A Look at Urban Agriculture

Maryknoll School students working in air raid garden, Punahou, Honolulu, Hawaii, ca. 1942. Description on photograph of three boys working in an air raid garden at the Maryknoll School in Punahou. “Lettuce-a-plenty from air raid gardens. School desks on porch.Click on image for larger file.

And while in some situations, urban farming is more of a luxury rooted in the desire to know more about one’s food, in others it is a promising means of making good food affordable.

By Grow Intelligence
Providing data, Driving progress
Jun 2015


Air pollution can also be a destructive reality: in polluted areas of China, for example, crop yields have decreased by 25%. Additionally, although the idea of using wastewater as a form of irrigation may be environmentally romantic—given that the practice offers fertilization and removes dirty water from streets—the water used in this practice can also store disease-causing pathogens. Building a common understanding, standards and practice when it comes to wastewater use will be essential in ensuring the safety of crops produced.

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July 5, 2015   No Comments

These ten urban agriculture projects have changed the food system in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Newly Completed Community Garden at CRC.

The Ritz-Carlton Hotel is home to 100,000 honey bees, which produce around 70 pounds of chemical-free honey annually for the hotel restaurant and spa.

By Eden Kinkaid
Christian Science Monitor
Food Tank
June 22, 2015


Charlotte, North Carolina, is home to a diverse network of urban agriculture projects transforming the city’s landscape and its local food system. While each project has unique objectives and strategies, all share similar goals: to increase access to healthy food, and give back to the community. Here are 10 urban agriculture projects currently growing in the Queen City.

100 Gardens designs and installs aquaponic systems in urban settings. The organization considers aquaponics, the practice of growing fish and vegetables in an integrated system, to be a model for sustainable food production. 100 Gardens uses aquaponic laboratories (“AquaLabs”) in places like schools and prisons to teach science, technology, math, and engineering in a hands-on way.

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July 5, 2015   No Comments

Children’s book: The Gardener – 1997


But it is in a secret place that Lydia Grace works on her masterpiece — an ambitious rooftop garden –

By Sarah Stewart (Author), David Small (Illustrator)
Square Fish

Lydia Grace Finch brings a suitcase full of seeds to the big gray city, where she goes to stay with her Uncle Jim, a cantankerous baker. There she initiates a gradual transformation, bit by bit brightening the shop and bringing smiles to customers’ faces with the flowers she grows.

But it is in a secret place that Lydia Grace works on her masterpiece — an ambitious rooftop garden — which she hopes will make even Uncle Jim smile.

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July 4, 2015   No Comments

National Institute of Food and Agriculture Grant Aims to Assure Food Safety in Urban Gardens of Detroit

waynesUrban garden at Wayne State University. Photo by Julie O’Connor.

A team of researchers led by Wayne State University has recently launched an initiative to determine the prevalence of contaminants in urban agriculture soil in Detroit

Wayne State University Division of Research
June 24, 2015

Urban gardens are becoming more commonplace across Detroit and other major urban cities throughout the United States. These gardens offer a source of free or inexpensive healthy food for the public and educate community members about food production and rehabilitating the local ecosystem. The revolution of urban agriculture has the potential to address many economic, environmental and personal health issues.

With urban agriculture gaining popularity for improving local and sustainable food systems, the question of food safety has become a growing concern. To ensure the safety and sustainability of this food supply, there is a need for more information on physical, chemical and biological contamination in urban agricultural environments, particularly contaminants such as heavy metals, antibiotics, pesticides, foodborne bacteria and more.

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July 4, 2015   No Comments

Why Joining the Urban Agriculture Movement Will Make You Healthier

washgarCommon Good City Farm produces food for low-income neighborhoods in the District of Columbia.

In 2014, the USDA reported a total of 8,268 farmers markets nationwide, an increase of 76 percent since 2008. That increase was partly due to demand for more local food.

By Corinne Ruff
US News and World Report
June 23, 2015


As a gardener and researcher of human rights for adequate food and nutrition, Anne Bellows, professor of food studies at Syracuse University, says these urban farms play an important role in retaining public health.

“It’s important to understand and be aware of what the huge multitude of benefits are,” she says. “The food and the nutrition are important, but also very critical are benefits like access to green, quiet, safe space where other people are meeting and working – some place that is a refuge.”

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July 3, 2015   No Comments

What Kale and Arugula Have to Do with Reducing Recidivism in Miami, Florida

nationsUrban Greenworks executive-cirector James Jiler and Roger Horne, director of community health relations, share some freshly picked fruit from Cerasee Farm. See more photos of inner city gardens in Miami here. Photos by Ryan Stone.

This group is soothing inner-city tensions, spade in hand.

By Chris Peak
Nation Swell
June 18, 2015


It’s mango season in Miami, and James Jiler’s kitchen counter keeps filling with bags and bags of the tropical fruit. The towering mound accumulates nearly faster than he can slice the mangos apart or blend them together in a summer daiquiri.

Tasty as the fresh fruit is already, it’s even sweeter to Jiler because of where it comes from: many of the mangoes were nurtured and picked by at-risk youth, halfway house residents and the formerly incarcerated. As the executive director of Urban Greenworks, Jiler provides green jobs and environmental programs like planting in urban spaces or science education in schools to troubled residents of Miami. Since the organization’s start in 2010, roughly 55 people have been employed by the nonprofit, plus hundreds more have served as volunteers.

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July 3, 2015   No Comments

Portland has 358 plots in nine different community gardens.

rportlMatthew Day (front) and Brad Hammond, two of 80 volunteers helping to create community garden plots on Portland’s Eastern Prom, put down newspapers as one of the ‘no-dig’ layers that help to cover the grass and turn it to compost. Photos by Whitney Hayward/Staff Photographer.

Sixty new plots will make a dent in the 200-plus waiting list for a community garden spot.

By Beth Quimby
Portland Press Herald
June 21, 2015


Dozens of volunteer gardeners on Saturday transformed a section of lawn on the Eastern Promenade into 60 new community garden plots for Portland residents.

And they did it all without having to dig up any sod.

The event, called a “permablitz,” was organized by the Resilience Hub, a Portland nonprofit that promotes permaculture, or ecologically friendly agriculture and social design; Cultivating Community, a Portland nonprofit that promotes better access to healthy, local foods; and Portland’s Urban Agriculture Sub-Committee. About 80 volunteers showed up to create new planting beds behind the tennis courts.

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July 2, 2015   No Comments

Los Gatos, Saratoga: County identifies land pockets for urban farming


There are 1,074 of vacant lots that have been identified by Santa Clara County as potential urban agriculture incentive zones.

By Judy Peterson
San Jose Mercury News Saratoga
June 17


There are minimum requirements for the program, including parcel size. Parcels must be at least 4,356 square feet in size but no larger than three acres. In addition, the parcel must be in an urban agriculture incentive zone. It cannot have any dwellings, although tool sheds, greenhouses and produce stands are OK. Also, the entire parcel must be utilized for agricultural activity.

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July 2, 2015   No Comments

South Africa: Urban agriculture helps Cape Town grow


“There’s absolutely no reason for food insecurity anywhere, just 100m2 can feed a family of four year-round with all the fresh veggies they could dream of.”

By Patrick Domburg
July 2015

Cape Town’s growing interest in urban agriculture is set to change the city’s attitude towards food security and sustainable food production.

Across the world, in spaces where food was often taken for granted, more people are becoming aware of the urgent need to embrace urban agriculture on a citywide scale and work across socio-economic divides.

Rob Small, Co-Director of Abalimi says, “There’s absolutely no reason for food insecurity anywhere, just 100m2 can feed a family of four year-round with all the fresh veggies they could dream of.”

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July 2, 2015   No Comments