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Posts from — October 2008

Davie Village Community Garden – Vancouver

Davie Village Community Garden from Michael Levenston on Vimeo. See High Definition version by clicking on the link.
Also see alternative HD High Definition version on YouTube.

David Buddle of Prima Properties describes a new community garden located at the busy corner of Burrard and Davie Streets in the heart of the West End in Vancouver. Landscape contractors put the finishing touches on the garden, bolting down public benches and raking soil in the beds as a rainy Halloween evening approaches.

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October 31, 2008   3 Comments

Networking Event on Urban Agriculture and Food Security, World Urban Forum, Nanjing, November 5, 2008


The RUAF Foundation, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, International Development Research Centre, Urban Harvest (CGIAR), the Chinese Urban Agriculture Association and the Nanjing Agriculture and Forestry Bureau are organizing a networking event “Urban and Peri-urban Agriculture for Resilient Cities (Green, Productive and Socially Inclusive)” to take place on Wednesday, November 5th, 14.00-16.00 hours, in the Auditorium, at the World Urban Forum in Nanjing, China. There will also be a booth at the Exhibition and a tour to some urban and peri-urban agricultural sites.

See program flyer here.

October 30, 2008   1 Comment

The Urban Potato: It’s Time Has Come


1st prize: Eitan Abramovich, Peru
“Harvest of native potatoes”
International Year of the Potato World Photography Contest

The Urban Potato: It’s Time Has Come
By Jac Smit
October 29, 2008
From the Desk of Jac Smit

A few years ago I stood on the roof of a hospital in Port au Prince, Haiti. The surface was half straw and other half organic thrash and half potato foliage. A week later I visited a friend in Washington DC. He took me out to his porch and there was a bale of hay [wire bound] with potato foliage on three sides.

I soon learned that these two cases were examples of “Lazy Man Farming”. Lazy Man was invented in Germany in the 19th Century. Its most cited practice is roadside cultivation in Newfoundland Canada. There the farmers collect seaweed, off load it on the side of the road, and insert seedlings.

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October 30, 2008   1 Comment

East End Allotment Inspires Cookbook Authors – Moro East


Moro East by Samuel Clark, Samantha Clark
November, 2007

In Moro East, Sam and Sam Clark renew their passion for the food of Spain and the Muslim Mediterranean, but this time they find their inspiration a little closer to home … in an East End allotment.

Bordered by the River Lea and the Grand Union Canal, on its own little island, Manor Garden allotments may seem a world away from Moorish Spain or Morocco. However, once beyond the gates, you are transported to the Eastern Mediterranean by a community of Turks and Cypriots who cultivate and cook an extraordinary range of ingredients, many of which are integral to the food served at Moro. It is here that Sam and Sam took on their very first allotment.

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October 28, 2008   Comments Off on East End Allotment Inspires Cookbook Authors – Moro East

Backyard Revolution – The Canberra Times, Australia

Concrete Jungle – The jilted generations are turning the mean streets green

By Jake Lynch
Canberra Times, Oct 22, 2008
(Australian journalist looks at North American urban agriculture and reports for an Australian readership.)

As my first American winter gave way to my first spring, I saw veggie patches sprouting up all over the place – in backyards, but also on the strip in front of houses, and in planter boxes on concrete pathways. The local school built a garden out front where people were free to take whatever grew there. The proliferation reminded me of some poorer cities in Asia where people grew food for survival.

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October 27, 2008   Comments Off on Backyard Revolution – The Canberra Times, Australia

UA Magazine no. 20 – Water for Urban Agriculture


The RUAF’s Urban Agriculture Magazine 20 is out. “Water for Urban Agriculture”

• Sustainable Use of Water in Urban Agriculture
• Using Treated Domestic Wastewater for Urban Agriculture and Green Areas; The case of Lima
• The Use of Reservoirs to Improve the Quality of Urban Irrigation Water
• Adapting to Water Scarcity: Improving water sources and use in urban agriculture in Beijing
• Improving Decision-making on Interventions in the Urban Water Systems of Accra

Read the complete issue online here.

October 27, 2008   Comments Off on UA Magazine no. 20 – Water for Urban Agriculture

MSNBC TV feature – Food from your backyard

“As the global food crisis drags on, urban farmers are on the rise. NBC’s Dawna Friesen looks at cutting costs by growing your own dinner.” 6 minute video.

The camera travels to many of the stories you see on this web site ( including London backyards, balconies, historical wartime footage, city farmers in Cuba, Chicago gardeners selling to restaurants, greenhouses on NY roofs, vertical farms, Royal Park and White House food gardens, and the Edible Estates author. This video reaches a huge worldwide TV audience.

October 27, 2008   Comments Off on MSNBC TV feature – Food from your backyard

The City of Fresno is Trying to Evict Hmong Gardeners

Photo by Mike Rhodes

City of Fresno Wants to Destroy Garden to Make Way for Police Station

By Mike Rhodes,
Indybay, Oct 21, 2008

The City of Fresno is attempting to evict a group of Hmong gardeners from plots they have farmed for 13 years. The Hmong Community Garden, which sits on 4 acres of public land, provides food for 300 members of the Hmong community. Spokesperson Mai Summer Vue said that to the gardeners, the garden is “a way of life, a peace of mind, food for their family, exercise, therapy, stress relief, and it eases their mental health issues…caused by the Vietnam War.”

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October 27, 2008   Comments Off on The City of Fresno is Trying to Evict Hmong Gardeners

1940 Film – Children learn to be urban farmers

Watch 1940 Kids Learn to Food Garden

1940 ‘Gardening’ an instructional sound film. (10 minutes)
Produced by Erpi Classroom Films Inc.
In collaboration with Ellen Eddy Shaw, MA
Brooklyn Botanic Garden
Encyclopedia Britannica Films – ‘Bring the world to the Classroom”

October 26, 2008   Comments Off on 1940 Film – Children learn to be urban farmers

1918 – The Child’s Food Garden


The Child’s Food Garden – ‘with a few suggestions for flower culture’
School Garden Series.
By Van Evrie Kilpatrick, 1918
Principal of the Carlisle School, New York City and assigned to supervision of School and Home Gardens. President of the School Garden Association of America
65 pages. Includes many photos and illustrations


Every boy and every girl who has a garden at home, or who is given a plot in a school garden, ought to learn to do the work successfully. Yet, as the author has found, children, especially those who live in cities and towns, know little or nothing about producing anything from the soil, and since the teacher cannot always be present to direct the work, there is a danger that discouraging mistakes will be made.

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October 26, 2008   Comments Off on 1918 – The Child’s Food Garden

Metro Vancouver eyes sky-rise farming


Surrey may be home to region’s first vertical greenhouse

By Kelly Sinoski, The Vancouver Sun
21 Oct 2008

Rooftop gardens and vertical greenhouses could be a sign of the times in Metro Vancouver as the region wrestles with ways to tackle a global food crisis and the effects of climate change.

And Surrey could lead the trend, with at least one developer considering building a so-called vertical farm in Whalley, which is slated to become the region’s second downtown.

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October 21, 2008   2 Comments

Documentary – ‘Homegrown’ The 21st Century Family Farm


The Film

HOMEGROWN follows the Dervaes family who run a small organic farm in the heart of urban Pasadena, California. While “living off the grid”, they harvest over 6,000 pounds of produce on less than a quarter of an acre, make their own bio diesel, power their computers with the help of solar panels, and maintain a website that gets 4,000 hits a day. The film is an intimate human portrait of what it’s like to live like “Little House on the Prairie” in the 21st Century.

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October 20, 2008   1 Comment

In every backyard, a garden plot

Photo by Donald Street Farms

Entrepreneurs set out to farm unused residential yards – and make money to boot

By Moira Dann
The Globe and Mail
October 20, 2008

VICTORIA — It all started in June for Deb Heighway with a call from her brother, Craig, proving that good ideas grow roots and flourish quickly. He had declared himself CPO – “chief pitchfork operator” – of an urban farming venture in Vancouver, and he urged her to give the concept a try.

“The timing was right, as I had just finished a contract,” said Ms. Heighway, who works helping people who have suffered brain injury. “And I said: ‘Why not?’ ”

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October 20, 2008   Comments Off on In every backyard, a garden plot

Revised bylaw will welcome urban farming – Victoria BC 2008

World War 1 poster. 1914-18. Canada Food Board
Artist: Joseph Ernest Sampson 1887-1946

2008 – Revised bylaw will welcome urban farming
By Bill Cleverley, Times Colonist
October 04, 2008

Farming will soon become a legitimate home occupation in Victoria. Victoria councillors have approved changes to the municipality’s zoning bylaw to include urban agriculture as an allowable home occupation for up to two people living in a house.

The change won’t mean dairy cattle or hogs competing for space in your neighbour’s garden shed, though. Under the bylaw, urban agriculture will defined as the growing of fruit or vegetables only.

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October 19, 2008   1 Comment

Ford Motor Company Gives $100,000 to ‘SEED Wayne’


$100,000 gift helps feed needy – Grant to WSU nourishes urban gardens, other food resources

Darren A. Nichols, The Detroit News
October 17, 2008

Efforts to feed the needy in Detroit with locally grown produce got a $100,000 boost on Thursday from a Ford Motor Company grant.

Wayne State University officials said the money will support the school’s Sustainable Food Systems and Engagement in Detroit (SEED) program. It will aid ongoing efforts to establish urban gardens and other sustainable food resources at Wayne State and throughout Detroit.

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October 19, 2008   Comments Off on Ford Motor Company Gives $100,000 to ‘SEED Wayne’