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Posts from — December 2008

Our Gardens Yesterday and Today – 1917 cartoon

Mr. Patriot’s front garden in Town, as it was.

mr Patriot2.jpg
And as he hopes to have it this year. Potatoes, Parsnips, Turnips.

By W.K. Haselden
Daily Mirror, Great Britain
19 Jan. 1917

December 31, 2008   Comments Off on Our Gardens Yesterday and Today – 1917 cartoon

Restaurant opens 2,500-square foot Organic Rooftop Farm – first to be Certified Organic in the USA

Photo: Scott Stewart, Sun-Times. Helen Cameron inspects the veggies growing on the roof of her restaurant. “I come up once a day to see what’s ripe,” she said. Six tons of soil were carried up to the roof. Larger image here.

An uplifting aspiration – Uncommon Ground has reached new heights in its efforts to bring food production back to earth.

By Dave Hoekstra
Chicago Sun-Times
September 3, 2008

In late July the folks at the Uncommon Ground restaurant, 1401 W. Devon, opened their 2,500-square foot organic rooftop farm. The lofty mission is to deliver organic produce for the downstairs restaurant and to use the garden to teach adult volunteers and children how to grow food organically in an urban, roof-top environment.

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December 28, 2008   1 Comment

1889 Vegetable Garden in Spring – Japan


By Asai Chu
Meiji Period, dated 1889.
Tokyo National Museum
Link to larger image here.

December 24, 2008   Comments Off on 1889 Vegetable Garden in Spring – Japan

Vancouver’s Compost Garden Buried in Snow

See larger image here.

Record snowfalls in Vancouver, a city known for its mild winter weather, have buried plants and composters. Not even the squirrels are out burying peanuts in our garden beds. City Farmer’s greenhouse webcam caught this white scene today. More snow is on the way, and then milder temperatures are forecast after Christmas.

Keep up with the Compost Garden weather by watching our webcam here. (Updated hourly.)

December 23, 2008   Comments Off on Vancouver’s Compost Garden Buried in Snow

Acres of barren blocks offer chance to reinvent Detroit

The map above by Dan Pitera, a professor of architecture at University of Detroit Mercy. About 30% of Detroit is now vacant land — about 40 square miles, by one estimate — as the city’s population has shrunk from a peak of 2 million in the early 1950s to 900,000 today. Abandoned houses dot empty lots that were once blocks of homes and businesses. Farms, forests, hobby gardens and recreation areas are some suggestions urban planners are considering for using the space.

By John Gallagher
Detroit Free Press
December 15, 2008

Detroit’s thinning population is vividly – some would say disturbingly – illustrated in a new map that is creating a buzz in local planning circles.

The map shows how to tuck the land mass of Manhattan (23 square miles), San Francisco (47 square miles) and Boston (48 square miles) — and their combined populations of nearly 3 million people — into Detroit. All three urban areas fit snugly within Detroit’s 139 square miles with room to spare.

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December 23, 2008   1 Comment

Curtis 50 Cent Jackson Community Garden Opening Celebration

(Photo by Joe Corrigan/Getty Images North America)

On November 3, 2008, 50 Cent, along with New York Restoration Project founder Bette Midler, had the honor of celebrating the opening of the The Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson Community Garden in Queens on 117-19 165th Street. A native of Jamaica, Queens, 50 Cent and his G-Unity Foundation joined forces with NYRP to bring landscape architect Walter Hood’s designs to life in his old neighborhood as part of his personal mission to give back to the community that has supported him over the years. Students from neighborhood schools and members of the community toured this learning garden, which was designed very much with them in mind. Students and residents now have the opportunity to utilize this space for educational purposes, as well as for fun uses such as barbeques and social gatherings.

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December 19, 2008   Comments Off on Curtis 50 Cent Jackson Community Garden Opening Celebration

PhD Thesis –  Urban agriculture and urban planning in Tanzania

Demolition of structures and urban agriculture lots on road reserves and harassment to smallholder farmers in road strips areas are common: Photos, January 2006 at Ubungo Darajani.

Improving urban land governance with emphasis on integrating agriculture based livelihoods in spatial land use planning practise in Tanzania

By Wakuru Magigi
From Moshi (Tanzania) (2008)
200 pages (6MB)


This study examines spatial land use planning and urban agriculture practises in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania, one of the rapidly urbanising cities in Sub-Saharan Africa. It demonstrates how urban agriculture livelihood can be integrated in spatial land use planning and improve urban land governance by taking Goba, Chango’mbe ‘A’ and Ubungo Darajani as case study settlements. Location and periurban typology are theoretical premises used in this study. These help in understanding the policy and practical premises that constrain urban agriculture livelihood integration in urban land use planning processes and land management principles.

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December 19, 2008   3 Comments

Room to Grow: Participatory Landscapes and Urban Agriculture at New York University


By Adam Brock
September, 2008

A research paper I (Adam Brock) wrote under supervision from NYU professor Natalie Jeremijenko in Summer 2008. The conclusion? It’s not lack of land that’s preventing us from growing food on campus – it’s the politics of centrally-controlled space.


Urban Agriculture presents a promising means of addressing at least three critical issues facing cities: food security, ecological health, and community development. As an urban research university with an increasing commitment to sustainable practices, NYU is in an ideal position to contribute to this emerging discipline. Although the neighborhood around NYU’s core is uncommonly dense, the University owns several acres of under-utilized outdoor space within this core that could potentially be suitable for cultivation.

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December 18, 2008   Comments Off on Room to Grow: Participatory Landscapes and Urban Agriculture at New York University

African Indigenous Vegetables in Urban Agriculture – forthcoming book


Edited by Charlie Shackleton, Margaret Pasquini, Axel Drescher
Published by Earthscan Publications Ltd.
320 pp., June 2009

This book provides a comprehensive synthesis of current knowledge of the potential and challenges associated with the multiple roles, use, management and livelihood contributions of indigenous vegetables in urban agriculture in sub-Saharan Africa. There has been growing research and policy effort around urban agriculture in the region over the last two decades, but never has it been integrated with work on under-researched crops such as indigenous vegetables. These species have multiple advantages, including low input requirements, adaptability to African environments, high nutritional value and marked biodiversity, cultural and local food security significance.

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December 18, 2008   Comments Off on African Indigenous Vegetables in Urban Agriculture – forthcoming book

Agriculture in Urban Planning


Agriculture in Urban Planning – Generating Livelihoods and Food Security

Edited by Mark Redwood
Published with IDRC by Earthscan Publications Ltd.
272 pp., figures, tables & photos, January 2009

This volume, by the world’s leading experts on urban agriculture, examines concrete strategies to integrate city farming into the urban landscape. Drawing on original field work in cities across the rapidly urbanizing global south, the book examines the contribution of urban agriculture and city farming to livelihoods and food security. Case studies cover food production diversification for robust and secure food provision; the socio-economic and agronomic aspects of urban composting; urban agriculture as a viable livelihood strategy; strategies for integrating city farming into urban landscapes;

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December 18, 2008   Comments Off on Agriculture in Urban Planning

In the wake of three hurricanes Cuba again turns to its urban gardens

Reuters Photo. A man works in an urban garden in Havana October 24, 2008.

By Esteban Israel
Dec 15, 2008

HAVANA (Reuters) – After the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, Cuba planted thousands of urban cooperative gardens to offset reduced rations of imported food.

Now, in the wake of three hurricanes that wiped out 30 percent of Cuba’s farm crops, the communist country is again turning to its urban gardens to keep its people properly fed.

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December 17, 2008   1 Comment

South Africa’s Enviro Solutions Centre


“Focusssing on the growing of food gardens in private and public spaces, building communities around these food gardens & providing healthy nutritious food which frees us from the financial burden of rising food costs.”

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December 17, 2008   Comments Off on South Africa’s Enviro Solutions Centre

1912 – Vancouver – People raised chickens in the city then

Rose Belasoff feeding chickens in her back yard, 346 Union Street, Vancouver; [1912] Source: Jewish Museum and Archives of British Columbia; L.8782. See larger image here.

Chickens were allowed in the city then, but not now. The photo above shows Rose Belasoff feeding chickens in her back yard in Vancouver in 1912. Rose’s home is just a block from Chinatown in an old neighbourhood named Strathcona, just a stone’s throw from downtown. Some of the people who started City Farmer in 1978 lived only a block away from this house.

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December 16, 2008   2 Comments

Langston Hughes with neighborhood children at the Children’s Garden in Harlem – 1955

Photo by Don Hunstein, 1955
Link to larger image here.

From The Life of Langston Hughes By Arnold Rampersad

In the backyard at 20 East 127th Street, (Mr. Langston’s home) where the lawn in the summer of 1954 was dense and green, a gardener named Mr. Sacred Heart, a follower of the evangelist Father Divine, planted some flowering shrubs. In front of the house, at Langston’s request, someone planted Boston Ivy that crept up the walls and eventually luxuriated, so that everyone knew in which house on the street had lived the poet Langston Hughes. But most of the patch of earth beside the front steps, about six feet square, was barren from years of trampling by neighbourhood children, who had little time for flowers. Langston decided to rescue it, and teach the children a tender lesson at the same time. He named the plot their garden.

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December 15, 2008   Comments Off on Langston Hughes with neighborhood children at the Children’s Garden in Harlem – 1955

City Farmer’s Keyhole Garden

City Farmer’ s Keyhole Garden from Michael Levenston on Vimeo. See HD High Definition version by clicking through on the video to Vimeo.
Also see alternative HD High Definition version on YouTube.

James Scale of Celtic Stonescaping is building our keyhole garden for us out of local basalt rock. The video shows progress by day two after volunteers hauled six tons of rock and gravel into our back Youth Garden yesterday. What a contrast, sun and mild one day, snow and cold the next; well it is December and the rest of the country is minus 30 degrees.

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December 12, 2008   1 Comment