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Posts from — February 2008

Urban Agriculture in Providence, Rhode Island

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“The Providence Urban Agriculture Task Force envisions doubling the amount of food being grown in and around Providence in the next ten years. This will be achieved by increasing the number of home gardeners, community gardeners, community gardens, commercial community agriculture projects, and urban agriculture businesses.

“In Providence, 59 food gardens were counted in about 5 hours of walking in 4 neighborhoods. Fifty-nine food gardens is an undercount, and only a very small part of the City’s 25 neighborhoods was surveyed.

[Read more →]

February 22, 2008   Comments Off

Farming the Concrete Jungle

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Article from In These Times, August 24, 2007

“In cities across the country urban farmers are growing communities, greening the landscape and revolutionizing food politics.”

“In Brooklyn, Added Value has turned an old asphalt baseball diamond into a full-functioning farm. And in Philadelphia, Mill Creek Farm is using storm runoff to irrigate its urban farm. Indeed, community agriculture projects are sprouting up in cities across the country—in San Francisco (Alemany Farm), Buffalo (Massachusetts Avenue Project), Birmingham, Ala. (Jones Valley Urban Farm), and Houston (Urban Harvest).”

Read the whole article here.

February 22, 2008   Comments Off

Impacts of Urban Agriculture – Highlights of Urban Harvest Research and Development, 2003-2006

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Along with the IDRC and the RUAF, Urban Harvest, headquartered in Lima, Peru, is a major centre for international urban agriculture development. This recent publication, 2007, is available for download as a 64 page PDF (3.2MB).

“Although many migrants move to cities in the
expectation of more and better-paid jobs than in the
country-side, we know that many cities have as much as
90% informal employment, meaning occasional and
precarious opportunities for earning income. Urban crop
production and livestock-keeping have been shown to be
complementary activities to casual non-farm work for
many families and improving their income-generating
potential can help them move out of poverty.

[Read more →]

February 21, 2008   Comments Off

Ecocity Farm

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“Ecocity Farm is an improved aquaponics system of food production which combines the breeding of fish with the growing of vegetables and, importantly, is designed for use in areas where farmland is at a premium – namely the urban, village and suburban environments where 75 per cent of the world’s population live.

“The Ecocity Farm produces more food per square metre than any other farming system, because unlike existing aquaponic systems, the Ecocity Farm produces little to no waste. All solid wastes within the system are converted into nutrients (through a biofilter) and used to “nourish” the vegetables. The system is also drought proof as all water is continually recycled within the system.”

Link to short video. Video loads slowly.

February 15, 2008   Comments Off

Planning Magazine – ‘Saving the World Through Zoning’ – January 2008

This month’s issue of ‘Planning’, a magazine produced by the American Planning Association, has an article that touches briefly on urban agriculture under the title ‘food security’. (page 32) The article is ‘Saving the World Through Zoning – the sustainable community development code comes to the rescue.’

“…The vast expanses of vacant lots in cities also have enormous potential for urban gardens. Surveys show that Chicago has over 70,000 vacant lots and Detroit 60,000. Not only can these lots help provide healthy food at low cost to city dwellers, but as the national Urban Agriculture Report observed, urban agriculture has a regenerative effect … when vacant lots are transformed from eyesores – weedy, trash-ridden dangerous gathering places – into bountiful beautiful, and safe gardens that feed people’s bodies and souls.” Zoning regulations can help push this transformation…”

Link to Planning magazine. The article is available to subscribers only.

[Read more →]

February 14, 2008   Comments Off

CBC Radio: Diet For A Hungry Planet – Urban Agriculture

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Joe Nasr, one of the authors of the classic book ‘Urban Agriculture – Food Jobs and Sustainable Cities’, spoke about city farming on CBC’s ‘The Current’ today. The show can be heard as a podcast linked below. Joe Nasr, co-founder of the North American Urban and Peri-Urban Agriculture Alliance, teaches urban agriculture at Ryerson University in Toronto.

Hear the CBC show here (the second story).

[Read more →]

February 12, 2008   Comments Off

Gardens as Everyday Culture – an International Comparison Conference May 22nd–24th 2008, Germany

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Includes many urban agriculture topics including: City Farming in London; Urban gardens in Buenos Aires; Urban farming – Organiponicos in Santa Clara, Cuba; Gardening at the riverbank in Addis Abeba / Ethiopia; Urban Farming – Gardens in Detroit; and ‘Jardins partagés’ in Paris – urban gardens in the context of sustainable urban planning.

“New gardens of everyday life and use are becoming widespread in cities around Germany and other European countries. Whereas experts still concentrate on traditional types of gardens, changed kinds are emerging, especially joint projects such as ‘International Gardens’ by and for migrants, ‘self-harvesting-gardens’ or vegetable patches in public parks. Phenomena like these are identified as forward-looking elements in urban development which require closer examination.”

See full poster and program here(PDF):

February 12, 2008   Comments Off

Science Magazine: “Upending the Traditional Farm”

February 11, 2008 issue. Special issue on ‘Cities’.

“Cities are taking over farmland. Could they someday take over the job of farming, too?”

“…One goal of Dongtan is to grow enough food to replace lost productivity as farmland is urbanized, says Peter Head, director of Arup, a design company leading the project. “The big question is whether it is economically viable,” he says. Head predicts that the lesson learned in China will propel a fundamental shift in the world’s approach to agriculture. “It isn’t a matter of whether we think it would be nice to do urban farming or not,” he says. “It’s a matter of whether we are going to survive.”…”

This short article is available for purchase from science.org here. Unfortunately it is expensive at $10.

February 11, 2008   Comments Off

The RUAF’s Urban Agriculture Magazine

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If you haven’t read this magazine, you can start right now because all issues are available on-line. It is the only scholarly magazine published on urban agriculture. Pictured above is the latest issue No. 19, dated December 2007. You are invited to contribute to the next issue No. 20 ‘Sustainable Use of Water in Urban Agriculture’ to be published July 2008.

All issues are on-line here.

“The RUAF (or in long form, Resource Centres on Urban Agriculture and Food Security) has functioned since 1999 as a global network of 6 regional organisations that share a common vision on urban development and poverty reduction and together implement an international programme focussed on urban agriculture and food security.”

[Read more →]

February 10, 2008   Comments Off

February 28 – March 1, 2008 Urban Agriculture Conference

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Don’t miss ‘Pollinating Our Future’ in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA. Still time to see urban agriculture experts speak. Michael Ableman, Jac Smit, Chukou Thao, Jerry Kaufman, Will Allen, Mark Winne , Sharon Adams, Harry Rhodes, Orrin Williams, Michael Olson, Marcia Caton Campbell MCRP, PhD, Wally Satzewich and Gail Vandersteen, Martin Bailkey, PhD , Joe Nasr, PhD, James Kuhns, Margaret Krome , Dennis Lukaszewski, Tyra Rodgers.

Visit conference site for details here.

Reports and Reflections From the First International Urban Agriculture Conference: “Pollinating Our Future”.

February 10, 2008   Comments Off

Canada’s IDRC – “From Urban Wasteland to Food and Flowers”

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My unsung hero of urban agriculture is the Canadian organization, the IDRC (International Development Research Centre) based in Ottawa.

“Through more than 90 research projects in 40 countries over the past decade, IDRC has helped the cities in the South develop urban agriculture policies and methods that are increasing the food supply, raising income levels, and protecting health — and at the same time improving management of urban waste, water, and land.”

And my unsung urban agriculture hero within that organization is Luc Mougeot. From the early 1990′s, he and others in his department have created and funded innovative projects that have literally changed the world.

[Read more →]

February 10, 2008   Comments Off

Heifer Funds Many Urban Agriculture Projects

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Heifer International based in Little Rock, Arkansas, funds many urban agriculture projects. I counted 22 including: Revision House Urban Agriculture Project, Dorchester, MA; East New York Farms! Brooklyn, NY; The City Farms, New York, NY; God’s Gang Planting Dreams Fish and Worm Project Chicago, IL; Growing Home Urban Farm, Chicago, IL; Somali Bantu Refugee Food Security, Training and Community Building Project, Portland, OR; and Birmingham Urban Gardening Society Community and School Garden Project, Birmingham, AL.

“From rooftops to vacant lots, Heifer International’s Urban Agriculture program is growing goodness, changing lives and building communities in the heart of North America’s big cities. Heifer supports grassroots organizations that help communities reclaim and support local food systems.”  

See Heifer’s urban agriculture projects here.

They also produced a 42-minute video documentary on urban agriculture, titled “Seeds, Hope & Concrete.”

[Read more →]

February 9, 2008   Comments Off

World Meteorological Organization: Climate Change – Urban Agriculture

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The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) recommends ‘urban agriculture’ at a regional meeting in Asia.

“WMO recommends countries invest more in urban and indoor agriculture that can assist greatly in providing food for the hundreds of millions of people living in the growing cities of Asia.

“In view of the growing populations in Asia and the need for secure access to food for these populations, indoor and urban agriculture is also receiving special attention to make most efficient use of space using controlled environments,” said WMO Secretary-General Mr Michel Jarraud in Geneva.”

[Read more →]

February 8, 2008   Comments Off

Vacant Lot in Downtown Vancouver to Become Garden of Hope

I visited with Shandelle and Peter in an empty lot in the heart of Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, where they plan to start a garden for the neighbourhood. Peter, who works at the Portland Hotel, part of the PHS Community Services Society, describes who lives in the buildings surrounding the garden. Shandelle is excited by the food growing potential of the lot and how it can help the people she works with.

[Read more →]

February 6, 2008   1 Comment

City Farmer Workshop on Organic Food Gardening – March 2008

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Every year in March, City Farmer head gardener, Sharon Slack, teaches classes on ‘how to grow veggies at home’. Once again in 2008, our sign-up book is filling up with eager students who will get the unique experience of learning how to garden both in a warm classroom and also in our demonstration garden, ‘hands-on’.

[Read more →]

February 5, 2008   Comments Off