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Posts from — April 2008

Repairing the Local Food System: Long-Range Planning for People’s Grocery


Alethea Marie Harper, May 2007
Award-Winning Master’s Thesis, 160 pages
Landscape Architecture and Environmental Planning
University of California, Berkeley

“West Oakland is a community with limited access to healthy food. My work for People’s Grocery, a local nonprofit, will help the neighborhood and the nearby agricultural community work together to repair the local food system. Local production, self-sufficiency, and restoration of knowledge and local bonds are emphasized throughout. This project exemplifies how analysis and planning can combine pragmatism with idealism, creating a realizable vision for a thriving neighborhood and a robust local food system.

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April 30, 2008   Comments Off on Repairing the Local Food System: Long-Range Planning for People’s Grocery

Southlands: A Vision for Agricultural Urbanism


Presented by: Southlands Community Planning Team
Delta BC, Canada. April 2008. 40 pages
A charrette will be led by Andrés Duany, a founder of the Congress for the New Urbanism and one of the premiere planners worldwide.

Agricultural Urbanism (AU) is an approach to integrating growth and development with preserving agricultural resources and enhancing elements of the food system. The cornerstone of AU is creating an urban environment that activates and sustains urban agriculture with important elements such as educational programs, small-scale processing opportunities and a farmers’ market or other local sales conduits. AU offers an alternative to the practice of separating places where people live and where agricultural activities occur. Central to the concept of AU is the idea of integration not separation, transitions not buffers.

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April 28, 2008   2 Comments

City Farmer Nominated for the YMCA Power of Peace Award


Peace and urban agriculture – from the City Farmer nomination letter:

· They cultivate calmness and tranquility at their location and within their programming – as much as they cultivate vegetables, herbs and fruits.

· They train people in how to do urban agriculture, with the idea of promoting economic and environmental sustainability – important aspects of peace-building.

· They educate about food security – a potential source of tension internationally.

· In addition to supporting urban agriculture, they advocate for the importance of a sound rural agricultural base, which is vital to good development.

· Inclusiveness is an important part of their philosophy – they are committed to working with a diverse group of people, whether economically, ethnoculturally, socially or in terms of physical or mental challenges.

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April 27, 2008   Comments Off on City Farmer Nominated for the YMCA Power of Peace Award

Bustan Brody, One of Sixteen Community Gardens in Jerusalem

Video in Hebrew shows the community garden’s beginnings in 2005.

Bustan Brody today by Michael Green in
Green Prophet – Forecasts on Israel’s Environment April 17, 2008

“The centre-piece for the Bustan, which translates to ‘orchard’ in both Hebrew and Arabic, are its many fruit trees, which Zavidov says are the ‘backbone’ of the garden’s ecosystem. Priority is given to native species including pomegranate, fig, almond and arava (willow) which, along with the sights and smells of the vegetable patch and herb bushes, owe much of their fertility to the steaming heaps of compost in the far corner, which turn kitchen waste and garden clippings into soil (with the help of bacteria, heat and a few worms).

Link to “How Does Your (Community) Garden Grow?”

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April 24, 2008   Comments Off on Bustan Brody, One of Sixteen Community Gardens in Jerusalem

Green Acres II: When Neighbors Become Farmers – Suburban Arugula Is Organic and Fresh, but About That Manure…

Article in The Wall Street Journal.
By KELLY K. SPORS, April 22, 2008

“… Start-up costs for a one-eighth-acre farm run about $5,500, says Ms. Christensen of Spin-Farming. That includes a walk-in cooler to wash and store fresh produce, a rotary tiller and a farm-stand display. Annual operating expenses, including seeds and farmers-market stall fees, can add about $2,000. Such a farm can generate $10,000 to $20,000 in annual sales, she says. That’s “an entry point into farming to see if they have a talent for it,” Ms. Christensen says. “Those that do will eventually be able to expand and increase that income level quite substantially.”…”

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April 24, 2008   Comments Off on Green Acres II: When Neighbors Become Farmers – Suburban Arugula Is Organic and Fresh, but About That Manure…

In the ‘New York Times’, Michael Pollan Writes about Planting Some of Your Own Food


Food gardening is back in fashion and Michael Pollan brings it to a new audience … readers of the New York Times. Read his well-written article especially the concluding five paragraphs about urban agriculture.

Published: April 20, 2008
Photo credit: Alia Malley

“A great many things happen when you plant a vegetable garden, some of them directly related to climate change, others indirect but related nevertheless. Growing food, we forget, comprises the original solar technology: calories produced by means of photosynthesis. Years ago the cheap-energy mind discovered that more food could be produced with less effort by replacing sunlight with fossil-fuel fertilizers and pesticides, with a result that the typical calorie of food energy in your diet now requires about 10 calories of fossil-fuel energy to produce. It’s estimated that the way we feed ourselves (or rather, allow ourselves to be fed) accounts for about a fifth of the greenhouse gas for which each of us is responsible.”

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April 21, 2008   Comments Off on In the ‘New York Times’, Michael Pollan Writes about Planting Some of Your Own Food

Growing an Educational Garden at Your School: A Study of the Hawai`i Experience


“Far more than simply a ‘how to’ manual, this guidebook is a collection of a wide variety of experiences depicting school gardens across the state of Hawai`i. This book features teachers who plant gardens with their students to educate across multiple disciplines—math, geography, history, biology, and language arts.

“Stories of gardens that are more than just gardens abound, such as the school that parlayed lessons of growing things into lessons of entrepreneurship by turning a productive garden plot into a model farm business to assist in funding field trips.

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April 21, 2008   1 Comment

Metropolitan Livestock


Interview on Michael Olson’s Food Chain Radio #586

USDA Photo by: Arthur Rothstein

“The price city people around the world pay for animal protein is going through the roof. And so we ask: Can livestock be raised in the city?

“As the economies of developing nations produce more prosperity, more people seek to add the highly concentrated protein of animals into their diet. Where beef, pork and poultry were once luxuries, they are now day-to-day staples. And given the huge populations of developing nations like China and India, the demand is huge.

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April 20, 2008   Comments Off on Metropolitan Livestock

How Far Can Urban Agriculture Go?  Bogota, Columbia


Photo by Hannah_Y_Juan
Plantings by displaced people in Bogotá’s main plaza.

Article from Latin American Press, April 10, 2008

“Usually when you think of agriculture, you think of a farm, of production per hectare and of profitability. But not in this case,” says Claudia Marcela Sánchez, the coordinator of Bogota mayoralty program that has trained over 40,000 of city’s residents in urban agriculture.

“You can’t compare it with traditional agriculture, which has the aim of generating income,” she says. “This program has goals of building social fabric, and of appreciating agricultural practices.”

“I don’t spend money on lettuce and other vegetables now, because I cultivate them on my terrace,” says Ariznalda Camallo, a resident of Mochuelo, on the southern fringes of Bogota, “Food is so expensive at the moment, so it saves me 80,000 Colombian pesos [US$40] a month.” The Urban Agriculture program estimates average monthly wage in Ciudad Bolivar, the largest and poorest district in the capital, at 200,000 Colombian pesos, or $110, less than half the minimum monthly wage of about $250.

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April 19, 2008   Comments Off on How Far Can Urban Agriculture Go?  Bogota, Columbia

Edible Estates: Attack on the Front Lawn


“The Edible Estates project proposes the replacement of the domestic front lawn with a highly productive edible landscape. It was initiated by architect and artist Fritz Haeg on Independence Day, 2005, with the planting of the first regional prototype garden in the geographic center of the United States, Salina, Kansas. Since then three more prototype gardens have been created.

“Edible Estates: Attack on the Front Lawn documents the first four gardens with first-hand accounts written by the owners, garden plans, and photographs illustrating the creation of the gardens, from ripping up the grass to harvesting a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, and herbs.”

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April 15, 2008   Comments Off on Edible Estates: Attack on the Front Lawn

Home Farmer Magazine


New British magazine.

“Well Clayton in Manchester was just about the most inner city district in the country and we lived the ‘Good Life’ there. Only we didn’t really know it was the good life – it was just life. In amongst the back streets, where everything was purple from the dye works or noisy and full of smoke from the wireworks, we had hens and their eggs, pigs for their meat, and by the river there was an old man who kept sheep with whom we’d do a swap – a clutch of plucked hens for half a lamb.

“Within sight of my bedroom you could see the remains of Manchester United’s first stadium, the power station, a dozen factories, including the one that the Germans bombed, my school, rows of back to back houses and a few dozen little farms, because we all did our own. Own food, own furniture, own everything really.”

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April 14, 2008   Comments Off on Home Farmer Magazine

Urban Jungle


As food prices soar, could a project that saw fruit and vegetables grown in town-centre planters and parks be a blueprint for the future?

Urban Farming Initiative, Middlesbrough, England, U.K.
Article in The Guardian, March 26, 2008

“People visiting Middlesbrough last year may have wondered why there were radishes and pumpkins being grown where they might have expected to see carnations and dahlias. All over the town, disused urban spaces were turned into fertile corners bursting with freshly grown fruit and vegetables as more than 1,000 residents took part in a project aimed at changing the way they think about food. This year, the results could be even more spectacular.

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April 14, 2008   Comments Off on Urban Jungle

Barney Bear’s Victory Garden


I just can’t get enough of the great Victory Garden material made over 60 years ago! This 1942 Barney Bear’s Cartoon was directed by Rudolf Ising. Barney unsuccessfully attempts to keep a mole out of his Victory Garden.

April 13, 2008   Comments Off on Barney Bear’s Victory Garden

Victory Garden Resurgence

When we started City Farmer in 1978, our staff spent a good deal of time researching wartime gardens. The term “Victory Gardens” is making a comeback as you can see in this April 12th, San Francisco Chronicle article, Bring Back the WWII-era Victory Garden.

The US World War II film embedded above (20 minutes long), a favourite of ours, shows us how people were encouraged to grow food by their governments – – the US, Canada and Britain all promoted Victory Gardens.

“The Holder family in Maryland lays out a quarter acre Victory Garden during World War II. Most of the gardening work is done by Grandpa Holder and his teenage grandchildren Rick and Amy and from the looks of the film, it is backbreaking work. There is the garden of peppers, tomatoes, pole beans, potatoes, asparagus and sweet corn. Then, there is the late garden with beets, squash, late potatoes, late cabbage, kale, collard greens and three rows of turnips.

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April 13, 2008   1 Comment

SPIN Cities: Farming Where We Live


Canadians Wally Satzewich and wife Gail Vandersteen teach city farmers how to earn money from gardening small lots.

For aspiring and practicing urban, home-based, backyard and front lawn farmers.

“Had I known about the feasibility of sub-acre farming when I started my farming career 20 years ago, I would never have bought large acreage in the country, and would have instead fulfilled my farming aspirations more easily and with less expense in the city.” – Wally Satzewich

“SPIN is the first commercial organic-based farming system for land bases under an acre in size, and it takes the challenges posed by urbanization and turns them to a farmer’s advantage by capitalizing on limited space and resources.”

Workshop Program, May 19, 20, 2008 Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania.

SPIN Farming web site.

May 10th, 2008 “SPIN-Gardening” Workshop in Portland, Oregon information here.

April 9, 2008   Comments Off on SPIN Cities: Farming Where We Live