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Posts from — February 2009

Next American City spoke with Despommier about what vertical farms would mean for cities and for the globe.


Meet Farming’s Future

By Hamida Kinge
Feb 19th, 2009
Next American City

The way skeptics see it, Dickson Despommier has a lot of explaining to do: He’s got big plans for the future of farming. By 2050, the planet will have to feed three billion additional mouths, and traditional farms, which threaten food security by deforestation, the use of fossil fuels and ecosystem destruction, will not be able to hack it. Dr. Despommier, an environmental health scientist at Columbia University, believes the answer lies in the vertical farm, a glass-walled structure that can be designed as tall as a typical skyscraper, and can be located inside city bounds or around city limits.

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February 23, 2009   1 Comment

1849 – Chartist cottage at Rosedene – Food garden plot under cultivation.


Photo Credit: © NTPL/Robert Morris

Vegetables growing in the garden at Rosedene the cottage in which early Chartists lived, first occupied in 1849, County Worcestershire. Residents were given a plot of land to cultivate fruit and vegetables to supplement their income, and diet.

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February 23, 2009   1 Comment

Uncovering the Plot: Investigating Urban Agriculture in Dublin

The map above shows the location of allotment sites in the Dublin area. See interactive map here.

By Michael Cullen
September 2008

A thesis submitted to the Dublin Institute of Technology in part fulfilment of the requirements for the award of M.Sc. in Culinary Innovation and Food Product Development

This study investigates Urban Agriculture (UA) in Dublin. This concept encompasses those who are engaged in growing their own in an urban environment. The study investigates why there has been a rise in UA over the past 15 years with the focus of the study being on allotments, a historical form of UA.

The objectives of the study include investigating the concept of urban agriculture, to examine the history of allotments in Dublin, to aid an understanding of modern UA in Dublin. The study focuses on the motivations of the allotment holders as well as uncovering the types and varieties of food being produced on their allotments.

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February 21, 2009   Comments Off

One day she gets herself an allotment. Now she has dropped the Prozac.


See larger image here.

February 21, 2009   Comments Off

England’s National Trust creates 1,000 new allotment plots

October 1942: Champion gardener 89 year old John Hall carries a pile of his prize winning vegetables, at his allotment at Foots Cray. Photo by Reg Speller

Trust helps fuel grow your own revolution

February, 2009
The initiative comes as demand for growing spaces is at an all time high – with more than 100,000 people currently on allotment waiting lists – as people look to spend more time with friends or family, exercising in the outdoor ‘gym’ and enjoying the fresh food they can produce.

It has been estimated that these new growing spaces could produce up to around 2.6 million lettuces per year, 50,000 sacks of potatoes or, alternatively, mixed produce worth up to an estimated £ 1.5 million.

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February 20, 2009   Comments Off

British Waterways plans to grow more food alongside canals

An artist’s impression of a canal boat being used to grow food. Photograph: British Waterways.

Feb 19, 2009
BYM News

British Waterways’ Chairman, Tony Hales said: ‘British Waterways is very excited to be part of the Capital Growth project. The 100-miles of canals and rivers we care for in London provide a green corridor through the city, offering an escape from the hustle and bustle of the streets.  We are working with Capital Growth to identify any suitable pockets of land along London’s waterways that we or others might not be using, and matching them up with local groups and schools looking to grow their own food. 

‘We are also looking into more creative options, such as giving a new lease of life to some of our retired workboats, saving them from the breaker’s yard and converting them into floating vegetable gardens, moveable feasts that could provide growing opportunities in even the most built-up of areas. 

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February 20, 2009   Comments Off

City Slicker Farms builds backyard food gardens for low income West Oakland residents

Leslie, from City Slicker Farms, dropped by our Demo Garden and told us about her work in West Oakland.

City Slicker Farms helps low income West Oakland residents grow produce to feed their families. Staff help build organic vegetable gardens and provide the ongoing assistance, supplies and materials necessary for successful growing. For those who want to sell produce, they provide the markets necessary for sales and also work with growers to ensure quality.

City Slicker Farms website here.

February 20, 2009   Comments Off

Today’s harvest – Parsnips – taken from the ground on February 19


A sunny, West Coast winter day in Vancouver – – Sharon dug up parsnips from our garden beds and we’ll have them for dinner tonight. Just a month ago the garden was buried in snow. But today, in mid-February, we found food for supper. These parsnips were planted last spring.

See the Compost Demonstration Garden today on the webcam here.

February 19, 2009   Comments Off

One Student’s Passion for Urban Agriculture

Redefining Boundaries: Urban Agriculture
By Tiffany Tong

A Terry talk

Imagine University of British Columbia’s (UBC’s) most fascinating and engaging students coming together for a day, giving ‘the talk of their lives,’ sharing their ideas and discussing their visions for UBC and the world. Now imagine being there, with students, alumni, faculty, administration, and members of the general public watching this unfold and partaking in the various discussions, and think of all the possibilities that this idea-share holds.

February 18, 2009   Comments Off

Students Riding Tractor at the Victory Garden, 1943

Students Riding Tractor at the
Victory Gardening 1943. Mount Holyoke Digital Collections.

February 14, 2009   Comments Off

Mount Holyoke College Botany Class – 1905

1905 Botany Class. Mount Holyoke Digital Collections.

February 14, 2009   Comments Off

Income from Your Backyard: Farm to Main Street

Fred 1900 garden.jpg
Photo: 1900 garden produce, Alberta.

By Jac Smit
Jan. 16, 2009

Backyard gardening, poultry or small livestock is today mostly presented as supplementing household nutrition and/or income. A lot of the media presents it as a hobby, which has some health and economic sideline benefits.

My personal history began as a teenager. My brother and I grew vegetables on a half acre, with USDA 4-H advice. We sold to two markets; retail at a roadside/intersection stand and wholesale to a girl’s summer camp. My father delivered.

At about the same time my ‘uncle Ben’ supported his family by growing tobacco in his small backyard in Amsterdam during the German occupation. He sold to German soldiers for cash. And he kept a few chickens for family protein.

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February 9, 2009   Comments Off

Added Value’s Red Hook Community Farm in South Brooklyn, New York


Added Value’s mission is to promote the sustainable development of Red Hook Brooklyn, by nurturing a new generation of youth leaders. We work towards this goal by creating opportunities for South Brooklyn’s youth to expand their knowledge base, develop new skills and positively engage with their community through the operation of a socially responsible urban farming enterprise. In six years Added Value has trained more than 120 young people, while founding the Red Hook Farmers’ Market and CSA and growing a local food system. In addition to our core urban agriculture activities, Added Value runs farm based learning programs for more than 250 elementary school students each week.

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February 9, 2009   Comments Off

Nuestras Raíces promotes urban agriculture in Holyoke, Massachusetts

Photo: La Finquita community garden.

Urban agriculture has proven to be an effective way to promote community development because it is a way for the residents of downtown Holyoke to maintain a connection to their culture while putting down roots in their new home. Most of our members grew up on the farms of rural Puerto Rico and many first came to the Northeast as migrant farm workers.

Though they may live in the city now, they are farmers at heart. They have lifetimes of experience in agriculture and it is part of their heritage. Projects based on agriculture, such as markets and community gardens, build on the skills and knowledge that participants already have, and are proud to have the opportunity to use to improve their community and to teach to a younger generation.

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February 9, 2009   Comments Off

I, Gloria M. Arroyo, President of the Philippines, by the power vested in me – by law, do hereby order – Rolling Out The Backyard Food Production Programs In The Urban Areas – January 16, 2009


Malacañang, Manila
By The President Of The Philippines

Executive Order No. 776
Rolling Out The Backyard Food Production Programs In The Urban Areas

WHEREAS, two-thirds of the world is in recession, though the Philippines is not;

WHEREAS, it is not business as usual; government agencies must hit the round running;

WHEREAS, the government should take advantage of the window of opportunity, i.e. declining inflation and interest rates and good weather;

WHEREAS, the government has committed Three Hundred Billion Pesos (P300,000,000,000.00) to economic stimulus programs, including comprehensive livelihood and emergency employment program (CLEEP), that will save or create millions of new jobs.

WHEREAS, part of CLEEP consists of backyard food production programs like Gulayan ng Masa and the Integrated Services for Livelihood Advancement (ISLA) for subsistence fisherfolk.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, GLORIA M. ARROYO, President of the Philippines, by the power vested in me by law, do hereby order:

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February 6, 2009   Comments Off