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Posts from — July 2008

‘Grow Your Own’ – New York Times Opinion Column -


Planting a Victory Garden on the lawn in front of San Francisco’s City Hall, July 2008. Photo by Scott Chernis

Article in NYT by Allison Arieff
July 28, 2008

“Earlier this month, my family spent a Saturday at San Francisco’s Civic Center Plaza, helping to plant a 10,000-square-foot Victory Garden sponsored by Slow Food Nation, a nonprofit organization that will be celebrating American food through art, music, lectures, tastings, school programs and the like over Labor Day Weekend. More than 250 volunteers and nearly a dozen Bay Area gardening organizations dedicated their time to plant the first edible garden in front of San Francisco’s City Hall since 1943.

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July 31, 2008   Comments Off

Building Commons and Community – Karl Linn’s Legacy


Publisher: New Village Press
(January 1, 2008) 376 pages

Places of peace
Gardens of green
Standing together, we’re growing
Visions of wholeness coming.

Friendship can be a reality
Harmony can be for you and me, Oh!

Places of peace
Gardens of green
Standing together, we’re growing.

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July 29, 2008   Comments Off

A Unique Urban Agriculture Course at UBC Farm

“Sowing the Seeds” Organic Farming Apprenticeship

I catch up with Sarah and Niki at UBC Farm where they are both hard at work harvesting and selling produce grown as part of a unique educational program. If they have dirt on their hands and faces, it’s because this is a real hands-on program, not simply another in-the-classroom academic course. (And I apologize to them for filming before they could wash up!)

The UBC (University of British Columbia) Farm is in Vancouver just minutes from the downtown core. The Farm is presently one of the ‘gems’ in our City, both a serene and active place at the same time, a site where so many worthy projects are happening, a farm where future projects will involve even more urban Vancouverites in their food system.

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July 28, 2008   Comments Off

Vancouver Backyard Gardener Sells his Produce at the Curb

Jordan sells his home-grown produce from a stand right in front of his home in Vancouver, BC. Every Sunday he harvests herbs, vegetables, fruit and also some eggs, and places them for sale at the end of his driveway. He calls his market stall “Southlands Farm”.

Now what if other backyard gardeners in his neighbourhood brought their extra harvested produce to him to sell. What if there was a Jordan with a table at the foot of a driveway in every neighbourhood in town. These would be true City Farmer’s Markets, Zero-Mile Market Stands.

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July 27, 2008   2 Comments

‘Garden Cycles Bike Tour’ – a Film Documenting Community Agriculture Efforts


Photo Credit: Len Spoden

Pedaling the Local Food Movement
Three D.C. Women Take a Three-Month Bike Trip to Montreal to Document Community Agriculture Efforts

By Adrian Higgins
Washington Post July 24, 2008;

The result is a low-budget documentary, “Garden Cycles Bike Tour,” which captures the spirit of their unusual 2,000-mile sojourn and the much larger movement that inspired it.

In the course of their three-month odyssey, the women found a community garden in the gutted ghettos of Baltimore, were run off the road by a truck in New Jersey, abandoned efforts to cycle across the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge in New York and got hopelessly lost in New England towns. They slept in the gardens of strangers, discovered new ethnic food and recipes and cemented their desire to change the world by growing vegetables.

Link to the article and video interview with the women filmmakers.

July 27, 2008   Comments Off

2nd BBC Podcast Explores ‘Farming in the City’ – in Hyderabad, India


Photo by Belinda Pryse. Elephant plant holders at Hyderabad hotel.

BBC’s OnePlanet: Farming in the City
By Andrew Luck-Baker
24 July 2008

Andrew Luck-Baker investigates the pros and cons of urban farming in India. Hyderabad is a city with a booming IT industry. Its streets are also home to thirty thousand buffalo – the animals behind the Indian city’s booming urban dairy businesses. But are the two compatible in a fast modernising city? And is re-using Hyderabad’s polluted waste water to grow vegetables good environmental practice – or a danger to consumers?

Link to BBC Hyderabad podcast.

July 26, 2008   Comments Off

Home Grown on CBC TV’s The National

The National is CBC TV’s premier news show, which is watched across the country. This clip, from July 25, 2008, produced by Margo McDiarmid, shows a growing awareness and interest in urban farming by both the media and the public.

City Farmer was interviewed for the show but due to time constraints was not included in the final edit. The producer had “too many different people in the story and not enough time to tell it”. She is interested in looking more deeply into urban agriculture … “I do hope to do some longer stories on food security and urban agriculture … you were very helpful and your website is a font of information.”

July 26, 2008   Comments Off

Visitors from Palestine, Kenya and Zambia Tour City Farmer’s Garden

These three young men are part of an international program organized by the YMCA. Sheryl showed them the major features of our Demonstration Garden and they shared with us some of their urban farming world far from Vancouver.

July 25, 2008   1 Comment

Country, the City Version: Farms in the Sky Gain New Interest


New York Times
Published: July 15, 2008

“The idea just caught the eye of another big city dreamer: Scott M. Stringer, the Manhattan borough president.

“When Mr. Stringer heard about the concept in June, he said he immediately pictured a “food farm” addition to the New York City skyline. “Obviously we don’t have vast amounts of vacant land,” he said in a phone interview. “But the sky is the limit in Manhattan.” Mr. Stringer’s office is “sketching out what it would take to pilot a vertical farm,” and plans to pitch a feasibility study to the mayor’s office within the next couple of months, he said.

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July 20, 2008   Comments Off

BBC Podcast Explores “Farming in the City” in Uganda’s capital Kampala

Kampala bags.jpg

IDRC Photo: by Frederick Ibanda (follow link). “Kampala residents have set up several flower and tree nurseries along the roads leading to residential districts; there they use polythene bags that once carried milk, fruit drinks and groceries as containers for seedlings. Also many residents now eat vegetables grown in re-used polythene bags.”

BBC’s OnePlanet: Farming in the City
By Andrew Luck-Baker
17 July 2008

“Andrew Luck-Baker goes in search of farmers growing crops and rearing livestock amid concrete and traffic, in this edition of One Planet.

“The world’s city dwellers now outnumber its rural folk, so it may become necessary to farm in cities in order to feed everyone. Andrew investigates how green urban agriculture is and whether it is safe.

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July 18, 2008   Comments Off

Four Interviews with City Farmers by “”


Image from “Old Macdonald Had An Apartment House” by Judi Barrett (Author), Ron Barrett (Illustrator).

Mark Fonseca Rendeiro, also known as ‘Bicyclemark’, has made four podcasts about urban farming.

Vertical Farming and the New Agricultural Revolution

There is more to urban farming than just growing crops on empty lots in cities. In fact, there is a type of urban farming that involves growing a lot more food in tall buildings, making use of the latest innovations of crop growing and energy usage. My guest, Professor Dickson Despommier of Columbia Universty explains what vertical farming is and why it is so important for the future of human existance.

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July 17, 2008   Comments Off

Saskatoon Berries and Ice Cream

Once a year we get to taste the exotic Saskatoon Berry, which is mainly grown in the Prairies. The Saskatoon Berries have a wilder flavour than Blueberries and we have to be quick to harvest them before the birds. Julia shows us the right way to pick them – have a bowl of ice cream with you at the bush.

July 16, 2008   Comments Off

Urban Farming Takes Root in Detroit


Photo of “Slumpy” in Brush Park, Detroit by KelBell.

By Matthew Wells
BBC News, Detroit
10 July 2008

But the idea of permanent social change, away from the old industrial core, is something that Detroit sorely needs, according to the editorial page editor of the Detroit News, Nolan Finley. “Today’s reality is that we have a lot of vacant space, and not much economic opportunity,” he said.

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July 16, 2008   Comments Off

Mojito – a Drink You Can Make in the Garden

Sheryl shows us how we can put all that mint growing in our Demonstration Garden to good use. This traditional Cuban highball should probably be made after work, not at ten in the morning when we put it together.

July 16, 2008   Comments Off

Farming The Front Yard!


A lengthly interview with two of City Farmer’s founders by Richard Whittaker, publisher of “Works and Conversation” magazine.

Bob Woodsworth:  “I did my Master’s in environmental economics in 1970. Dan Phelps, a physicist, and I did this huge study of energy movement through the city and nobody was doing an energy analysis of everything. Is it worthwhile getting into your car and recycling your glass bottles at a depot that’s ten miles away? Is that energy efficient? So energy was really foremost in my mind. I just thought food was an obvious example. If you could grow it, and recompost it, it would undercut a massive amount of energy transport. So it was an obvious one to study.”

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July 15, 2008   Comments Off