Posts from — October 2009
Matthew “Quint” Redmond walks a lettuce field in Lakewood. Redmond sees a future where homes are engulfed by farms that feed them — and make income by also selling to local restaurants. His 944-home project in Milliken is ready to break ground. (Craig F. Walker, The Denver Post)
“Agriburbia” sprouts on Colorado’s Front Range
Six years ago, Matthew “Quint” Redmond suggested to Milliken planners that a corn farm north of Denver could increase its agricultural value and still anchor nearly a thousand homes.
“I got laughed out of the room,” Redmond said.
Today, Milliken’s 618-acre Platte River Village is ready for construction, with 944 planned homes surrounded by 108 acres of backyard farms and 152 acres of drip- irrigated community farms. The plan is for the farms to feed local residents and supply restaurants while paying for community upkeep. And Redmond, a 47-year-old planner-farmer, has 13 other Front Range projects mulling his “agriburbia” concept.
October 31, 2009 1 Comment
New Report Reveals Untapped Potential for Food Production on Oakland’s Public Land
Oakland, CA (October 30, 2009) – A new report released today identifies 1,200 acres of vacant and underutilized public land in Oakland, California, that could potentially be used for food production. If only half of this land were cultivated using intensive ecological farming methods, the authors conclude that these “commons” could contribute at least five percent of the city’s recommended vegetable needs to the local food system, a significant step towards Oakland’s goal sourcing a third of its food locally.
The report, entitled “Cultivating the Commons: An Assessment of the Potential for Urban Agriculture on Oakland’s Public Land”, also emphasizes urban agriculture’s potential contributions to Oakland’s sustainability goals. In addition to producing fresh and nutritious food, urban farming creates green jobs, and provides and other environmental services, green space, and educational opportunities.
October 30, 2009 No Comments
Beatrix Potter, ‘Benjamin Bunny nibbling lettuce leaf’ © Frederick Warne & Co. 2006
The Real Mr. McGregor’s Garden
Written by Victoria and Albert Museum
“Before she married in 1913, Beatrix Potter would accompany her family on three-month summer holidays in the countryside. In 1903 the Potters rented Fawe Park, a large, comfortable house in the Lake District, on the edge of Lake Derwentwater. Here, Potter was able to escape outdoors, sketching the terraced gardens that sloped down towards the lake and the beautiful fells beyond. The kitchen garden, with its greenhouses, cold frames and potting shed was a favourite retreat and inspired the setting for The Tale of Benjamin Bunny (1904).
October 30, 2009 3 Comments
10 minutes from the Introduction to Victorian Kitchen Garden.
The Victorian Kitchen Garden
The Victorian Kitchen Garden was a 13-part television series produced in 1987 for BBC Two (Must see. Mike). It recreated a kitchen garden of the Victorian era at Chilton Foliat in Wiltshire. The presenter was the horticultural lecturer, Peter Thoday, the master gardener was Harry Dodson.
Harry James Dodson (1919 – 2005) was an English gardener who became a celebrity as a result of the BBC television documentary series, which featured his professional expertise and his reminiscences.
October 29, 2009 9 Comments
A Flemish Kitchen Garden: La Coupeuse de Choux
By Henri De Braekeleer (1840-88)
ca. 1864 (painted)
oil on canvas
Place of origin:
Antwerp (possibly, painted)
The Antwerp artist Henri de Braekeleer belonged to a family of painters. Influenced by 17th-century Dutch genre paintings, he specialised in humble scenes of everyday life, as in this example, in which a woman in peasant dress bends over to cut a cabbage. These were popular in a period of increasing industrialisation.
October 28, 2009 No Comments
Re-Imagining New York: Designing Urban Farms to Feed New York City
Forum by The Municipal Art Society of New York
2009 MAS Jane Jacobs Forum, November 3, 2009
Is farming amidst New York City’s concrete jungle–through small urban garden plots or multi-story buildings–a realistic possibility? Or will we rely on large farms on the periphery of the city? Our panelists delve into the economic development and urban design implications of the fundamental question: Can New York, a city whose population is growing while its acreage is shrinking, eventually grow enough food within its boundaries to become self-sufficient?
October 28, 2009 No Comments
Trengwainton House, near Penzance, Cornwall. Gardens are open to the public. All photos. NTPL/Andrew Butler
Kitchen garden crops are gradually being reintroduced into the productive area. Visitors can climb on to a raised platform to take in the scale of the walled gardens and their unique raised beds, built to the dimensions of Noah’s Ark, as described in The Bible.
See photos of the Kitchen Garden. Follow – “Read More”.
October 28, 2009 No Comments
Carrot City: Designing for Urban Agriculture
Curators: June Komisar, Mark Gorgolewski and Joe Nasr
The exhibition Carrot City: Designing for Urban Agriculture, was shown at the Design Exchange (DX) in Toronto earlier this year. The exhibition explores the relationship of design and urban food systems as well as the impact that agricultural issues have on the design of urban spaces and buildings as society addresses the issues of a more sustainable pattern of living.
The exhibit generated a huge amount of interest, including press articles, blog entries, YouTube submissions, and thousands of visitors.
October 26, 2009 No Comments
This electric, indoor compost unit comes from Korea. Photo Michael Levenston
The Red Dragon
You plug it in and hook up the exhaust pipe so that it vents outdoors. Then add a sawdust/enzyme mix and 2 litres of water to the machine. That’s it. You can add any food waste AND DOG WASTE to the mix and it will decompose the organic material.
That’s the promise. We are presently testing the machine at the Vancouver Compost Demonstration Garden to see if it lives up to that promise.
October 24, 2009 6 Comments
Sharon Lane with one of her three chickens in the coop atop her garage in Berkeley, Calif. “I’m discouraged but I’m determined to figure this out,” she said of her flock’s mystery ailments. Photo by Dean C.K. Cox
By Kim Severson
October 22, 2009
The New York Times
THE Bay Area is unmatched in its embrace of the urban backyard chicken trend. But raising chickens, which promises delicious, untainted eggs and instant membership in the local food movement, isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.
Chickens, it turns out, have issues.
They get diseases with odd names, like pasty butt and the fowl plague. Rats and raccoons appear out of nowhere. Hens suddenly stop laying eggs or never produce them at all. Crowing roosters disturb neighbors.
October 24, 2009 No Comments
Berlin. An oasis in the middle of the city: All over the country — whether on the outskirts of cities or in otherwise hard-to-use spaces, such as next to train tracks — you will find little garden plots, known as Schrebergarten, which can be rented from cities for a few hundred euros per year. By Verlag W. Wächter / Brigitte Einführ
Urban Farming Under Threat
Popular Mini-Gardens in Berlin May Soon Be Paved Over
By Christian Schwägerl
Oct 15, 2009
Tiny urban gardens are everywhere in Berlin and they have been for decades. But now, the city government is threatening to level many of them to make way for new construction. A battle is looming.
Berlin prides itself on being in the vanguard of a number of trends — and it might have found itself another one. In this case, it’s what climate experts and city planners call “urban farming.” Many see the drive to produce foodstuffs within cities — rather than carting them in from far away — as the farming of the future.
October 18, 2009 No Comments
New biological pest control laboratory at the forefront of a global revolution in urban food production.
Deborah Henderson, director of the Institute for Sustainable Horticulture at Kwantlen Polytechnic University in Langley. Photo By Bill Keay. Vancouver Sun
Food Production: Kwantlen lab on cutting edge of pest control. Langley university to work on process that uses predators, parasites and microbes to fight destructive insects
By Randy Shore
16 Oct 2009
The Vancouver Sun
A new biological pest control laboratory opening today at Kwantlen Polytechnic University will place B.C. at the forefront of a global revolution in urban food production.
The lab — the first of its kind in North America — will develop insect-and microbe-based pest control systems for use on small-scale farms and in areas where farming and housing share space.
October 16, 2009 1 Comment
Sir Thomas More (7 February 1478 – 6 July 1535) sketch by Holbein. Thomas More’s Utopia was written in Latin towards the close of 1515.
The gardens in Amaurot, the capital city of Utopia
“There lie gardens behind all their houses. These are large, but enclosed with buildings, that on all hands face the streets, so that every house has both a door to the street and a back door to the garden.
“They cultivate their gardens with great care, so that they have both vines, fruits, herbs, and flowers in them; and all is so well ordered and so finely kept that I never saw gardens anywhere that were both so fruitful and so beautiful as theirs. And this humour of ordering their gardens so well is not only kept up by the pleasure they find in it, but also by an emulation between the inhabitants of the several streets, who vie with each other. And there is, indeed, nothing belonging to the whole town that is both more useful and more pleasant.
October 15, 2009 No Comments
Hungry City: How Food Shapes Our Lives
By Carolyn Steel: Food urbanist
Published: 26 Mar 2009
“The question of how to feed cities may be one of the biggest contemporary questions, yet it’s never asked: we take for granted that if we walk into a store or a restaurant, food will be there, magically coming from somewhere. Yet, think of it this way: just in London, every single day, 30 million meals must be provided. Without a reliable food supply, even the most modern city would collapse quickly. And most people today eat food of whose provenance they are unaware.
October 14, 2009 No Comments
by Rock Portrait Photography. Urban-rural Vietnam. “Fish, shrimp and rice farms from my balcony.” Larger image here.
Developing urban agriculture is one of the targets for Ho Chi Minh City.
Oct 1, 2009
HCM CITY — Switching from traditional crops to urban farming is an inevitable process due to the rapid urbanisation taking place in HCM City, an expert has said.
Speaking at a conference in the city’s Binh Chanh District yesterday, Truong Hoang, deputy director of the municipal Steering Committee for Agriculture and Rural Development, said farmlands have been shrinking by an average of 1,176 ha every year since 2000 and what is left is not enough for normal agriculture.
October 14, 2009 No Comments
Peter Kalm’s Travels into North America
From the earliest days of settlement in North America, town and country Kitchen Gardens were essential to the survival of the new inhabitants. One traveller, the Swedish naturalist Peter Kalm, has written extensively about what he saw during his travels in French Canada in 1749 (Volume 3) and he spends considerable time writing about the plants that were grown and used in people’s gardens.
His three volume Travels into North America : containing its natural history, and a circumstantial account of its plantations and agriculture in general, with the civil, ecclesiastical and commercial state of the country, the manners of the inhabitants, and several curious and important remarks on various subjects is a treasure trove of fascinating history of life in North America 250 years ago.
October 13, 2009 No Comments
Photo by Michael Levenston. Chestnuts up in the tree. Porcupine quill-like burs encase the nuts.
Most people find Horse Chestnuts (Aesculus hippocastanum) lying on the ground in the Fall. They are a beautiful, shiny brown nuts but inedible. However, there are in Vancouver a few Spanish Chestnut or Sweet Chestnut trees (Castanea saliva), the nuts of which are edible, and elderly Asian and European residents are quick to harvest them as they fall to the ground. They often use long poles to hit them out of the trees.
October 12, 2009 10 Comments
Photo: very local wine called “Côte de Rodeløkka”
The Wine Farm in Rodeløkka
There’s nothing wrong with red or black currants, but grapevines are both more fun and inspire more cooperation. Just ask Olav and Betsy Heen, who make wine from self-grown grapes in Rodeløkka, Oslo.
Olav and Betsy Heen managed to convince their neighbors in Oslo, Norway, to join them in growing grapes on the south facing walls of their houses. The result is a very local wine called “Côte de Rodeløkka”. They’ve had record crops of 75 kilos of grapes between them, but normally end up with 30 – 40 kilos, enough for 25 to 30 litres of wine. At 60 degrees North, comparable to Labrador or Anchorage, cultivating grapes is pretty impressive.
October 12, 2009 2 Comments
Holyfield said, ‘I will give you 40 acres for the solar farm and another acre for the children’s garden’ — continues,
“In addition to this milestone solar project, an additional acre of my land will be used to create a working organic garden to teach neighborhood youth the importance of going green. The organic garden will be installed in cooperation with local community groups and administered by the Evander Holyfield Foundation.”
October 9, 2009 No Comments
Photo by Michael Levenston
Bears are a part of city life in many municipalities in and around Vancouver. Our Hotline receives calls from residents about bears strolling into yards and knocking over compost bins in North Vancouver, Port Coquitlam, Whistler, Squamish and parts of Vancouver Island.
Laurie Chambers of Lund, BC, designed and built this beautiful bear-proof composter and we are lucky to have one at the Vancouver Compost Demonstration Garden.
October 8, 2009 2 Comments