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Posts from — January 2008

Chickens ‘Still’ in Soup

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Thirty years ago, the headline in the first issue of ‘City Farmer’ (our newspaper) was ‘Chickens in Soup’, a story about a Vancouver woman who was in trouble with municipal authorities for keeping chickens in her back yard. Recently the subject has popped up multiple times across North America.

Just before Christmas, Canada’s ‘As it Happens’ a national radio show, interviewed an Ann Arbor, Michigan Council Member who was championing the right of city residents to keep chickens.

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January 31, 2008   2 Comments

The Spirit Of Healing

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A Vancouver Urban Designer, Planner and Landscape Architect recounts her experience with gardens during her recovery from cancer.

“Having had cancer has allowed me certain freedoms I never had prior to my illness. One of those freedoms is the ability to talk openly and candidly about my experience. This piece entitled ‘The Spirit of Healing’ comes from a place deep inside. A place from which we all have the ability to seize and harness energy, but a place few of us tap into until we are confronted with a crisis in our lives. How each person harnesses his or her ability to heal is as different as each person is different.”

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January 31, 2008   Comments Off

Taiwanese Visitors at City Farmer’s Garden

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Throughout the year, City Farmer welcomes visitors to our Demonstration Garden. This group from Taiwan looks up at our web cam during a tour with Maria, our garden ‘Bug Lady’. Even in January there are many things to see including kale and swiss chard, still green and ready to eat. The visitors are part of a large organization representing over 100 organic farms in Taiwan. Last week, city planning students from Korea came by.

Our web cam. You never know who will be in the picture.

January 30, 2008   Comments Off

The City People’s Book of Raising Food

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First printed in 1975, this wonderful book inspired City Farmer to take action in 1978 and start our work promoting urban agriculture. The authors, Helga and William Olkowski, visited us in Vancouver in those early years and introduced Integrated Pest Management (IPM) to many people in the city. They also motivated one of our founding directors to get her Ph.D. in entomology.
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January 28, 2008   Comments Off

Agriculture in the City – A Key to Sustainability in Havana, Cuba

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“This book presents the results of a 3-year research project on the history and state of urban agriculture in Havana, Cuba. A multidisciplinary team of 15 professionals, coordinated by the authors, assess the long-term potential for including urban agriculture in the social economies of two areas of Havana, as well as in city-wide environmental management programs.”

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January 27, 2008   Comments Off

Kiva – Make a Loan Online to a Farmer in the Developing World.

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You can go to Kiva’s website and lend to someone in the developing world who needs a loan for their business – like raising goats, selling vegetables at market or making bricks. Each loan has a picture of the entrepreneur, a description of their business and how they plan to use the loan so you know exactly how your money is being spent.

I just made a loan to an entrepreneur named Hanifa Namutebi in Uganda. Hanifa is married, and has four children. Her current business is poultry farming. She has applied for a loan to purchase more birds and increase her business.

Entrepreneurial Urban Agriculturists should take advantage of this program.

Go to Kiva’s website to find out about making a loan.

January 24, 2008   Comments Off

Caracas, Venezuela Embraces City Gardening for Improved Nutrition, Jobs

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Photo: Urban farm located in central Caracas, Venezuelan next to the Hilton Hotel.

“In 2003, Venezuela, supported by FAO, launched a major experiment in urban agriculture. The government installed 4000 microgardens in poor neighbourhoods of Caracas and started 20 horticultural cooperatives in and around the city.

“Vegetables formerly brought from distant farms or imported from a neighbouring country are increasingly grown a few steps away from the family kitchen. Microgardens – metre-square shallow trays on wooden legs, filled with aggregate such as pebbles and fed a nutrient solution every day – have been set up by the national government in the city’s poor neighbourhoods, or barrios.

“A single tray can produce either 330 lettuces, 18 kilos of tomatoes or 16 kilos of cabbage a year in multiple harvests.

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January 23, 2008   1 Comment

Organic Cuba Without Fossil Fuels – The Urban Agricultural Miracle

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“Urban agriculture nationwide reduces the dependence of urban populations on rural produce. Apart from organoponicos, there are over 104 000 small plots, patios and popular gardens, very small parcels of land covering an area of over 3 600 ha, producing more than the organoponicos and intensive gardens combined [1]. There are also self-provisioning farms around factories, offices and business, more than 300 in Havana alone. Large quantities of vegetables, root crops, grains, and fruits are produced, as well as milk, meat, fish eggs and herbs. In addition, suburban farms are intensively cultivated with emphasis on efficient water use and maximum reduction of agrotoxins; these are very important in Havana, Santa Clara, Sancti Spiritus, Camaguey, and Santiago de Cuba.

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January 22, 2008   Comments Off

Your Seeds for Small Family Gardens in Desertified Area

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Prof. Dr. Willem Van Cotthem, Honorary Professor University of Ghent (Belgium), has set up a wonderful program to help people in desertified regions.

“In every village of the developing countries where we have constructed family gardens and school gardens in the past, there is now less risk of famine. Indeed, we have shown the people and the children how to produce their own vegetables and fruit trees with a combination of traditional methods and modern technologies, e.g. soil conditioning to keep a garden soil moistened with a minimum of irrigation water. Such things are never forgotten, even if these people move to urban areas, where they will try to set up a tiny little garden.”

“That is the reason why I make this appeal upon you : please help us to collect seeds of vegetables and tropical fruits that can be grown in family gardens and school gardens in desertified regions.”

Read more here.

January 21, 2008   Comments Off

Czar Nicholas II and His Family Working in Garden. 1917

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Photograph shows Czar Nicholas II and family gardening at Alexander Palace during internment at Tsarskoe-Selo, 1917.

Larger photo here.

January 18, 2008   Comments Off

Garden of a ‘$20 a month home’, 1917, Fairfield, Alabama.

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Food gardening in the front yard during World War 1.

See larger image here.

January 18, 2008   Comments Off

Kindergarten in a Vegetable Garden, circa 1899, Washington, D.C.

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Early photo of children gardening at school, USA, circa 1899.

See large version of photo here.

January 18, 2008   Comments Off

Urban Wilds: Gardener’s Stories Of The Struggle For Land And Justice

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“Under pavement. Under a shimmering crust of broken glass and weeds, the dark earth endures. We are dispossessed of our most basic human right – to cultivate the land. But in cities across North America, people are taking back this right and resisting corporate control of food and livelihood. Here are some of their stories. From the Motor City to Cuba, Oakland to the Bronx, here are the tales of digging for revolution in the belly of the beast, and radical rural organizing, guerilla gardening and community development. All in a dense, oversized, copiously illustrated tome. A veritable feast. Now in a new, expanded and updated lavish second edition featuring the best of The Guerilla Graywater Girls Guide to Water, urban beekeeping, medicinal herbs, balcony gardening and an illustrated guide to urban permaculture. ”

Paperback: 120 pages. 2002

Link to: Urban Wilds: Gardener’s Stories Of The Struggle For Land And Justice

January 18, 2008   Comments Off

Urban Agriculture and Land Conflicts in Zimbabwe: The Case of Glen Norah Suburb in Harare

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“The livelihood of a large number of people in cities in developing countries depends on urban agriculture. However, municipal governments to a large extent have looked upon agriculture as incompatible with urban development and as a relict from rural-urban migration that dwindles as cities and urban economies grow. Today economic hardships have necessitated the growth of Urban Agriculture (UA) in Zimbabwe and competition for land among the farmers themselves. Historically, no support has been given to poor urban farmers to enable them to have access to land to practice agriculture.”

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January 14, 2008   3 Comments

Cities Without Hunger – Community Gardens: São Paulo, Brazil

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“São Paulo, the capital city of the state of São Paulo (Brazil) and its metropolitan region are home to the world’s third largest urban population, with 19,385,332 inhabitants, only trailing behind Tokyo and Mexico City.”

“The area where our project holds a regularized, 100,000-square-meter (10 sq. ha.) arable plot – technically fit for the production of vegetables, greens, grains, fruit and medicinal herbs – is delimited by the districts of Terceira Divisão, Bandeirantes, Jardim Laranjeiras, Recanto and Pernambuco, whose population is formed mostly of migrants from Brazil’s poorer northeastern states in search of job opportunity and better living conditions.”

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January 13, 2008   Comments Off