New Stories From 'Urban Agriculture Notes'
Random header image... Refresh for more!

Posts from — November 2009

Community enCompass adding ‘hoop houses’ to lengthen urban farm growing season

hoopCarlos Avrard, strategic program director for Community enCompass, works on affixing the metal supports for a hoop house that is being assembled behind the Goodwill Industries of West Michigan’s corporate headquarters. Photo: Chronicle/Kendra Stanley-Mills

By Dave Alexander | Muskegon Chronicle
November 29, 2009

Community enCompass is taking the concept of the urban garden to the next level. Officials call it urban farming.

Playing off the successful half-acre garden plot that grew last summer on a vacant lot owned by Goodwill Industries, the Christian community development organization in Muskegon’s McLaughlin Neighborhood has created the McLaughlin Grows Urban Farm at Iona and Sophia streets.

With the help of the Community Foundation for Muskegon County and its Richard and Marilyn Witham Fund, the urban farm is adding “hoop houses” to extend the growing season year-round. The idea is to create business opportunities during economically tough times.

[

November 30, 2009   Comments Off on Community enCompass adding ‘hoop houses’ to lengthen urban farm growing season

Detroit Thrift Gardens of 1931 – The Depression Years


Linking the 1931 Thrift Gardens with the 1894 Potato Patch Plan through Mrs. Hazel Pingree Depew, the former Mayor’s daughter

Mayor Frank Murphy – the Detroit Years
By Sidney Fine
1984 Vol 3


The outstanding popular success of the Mayor’s Unemployment Committee (MUC) and, in the opinion of the mayor, “perhaps” its “most important undertaking,” was the Detroit thrift-garden program. The suggestion that the MUC undertake this activity came from Murphy himself, who had been reading George Catlin’s The Story of Detroit and had been impressed with the account of Hazen Pingree’s famous “potato patch plan” and the manner in which a substantial number of welfare families in Detroit during the depression years 1894-1896 had grown a portion of their food on vacant lots donated to the city for that purpose. The MUC decided in March, 1931, to undertake a similar program of “vacant lot gardening.”

[

November 29, 2009   Comments Off on Detroit Thrift Gardens of 1931 – The Depression Years

1918 War Gardens Cartoon – Poster

chicagowarPoster showing a cartoon from the Chicago Evening Post of a farmer waving a banner “War Gardens” as his cannon made from a bushel basket fires produce and a German figure sky high.

Chicago: R.R. Donnelley & Sons Co., 1918

[

November 29, 2009   1 Comment

Japan – Allotment near Fujigawa river

MtFujiPhoto by Chris Steele-Perkins, 1999

November 29, 2009   Comments Off on Japan – Allotment near Fujigawa river

Vietnam – Lang Son

vietnamBPhoto by Bruno Barbey, 1995

November 29, 2009   Comments Off on Vietnam – Lang Son

Mayor Hazen Pingree and the Potato Patch Plan of the 1890’s

pingreeDetroit Mayor Hazen S. Pingree

From Reform in Detroit – Hazen S. Pingree and Urban Politics
By Melvin G. Holli

Excerpt Page 70:

During the second summer of the depression (1894) Pingree launched his “potato patch plan,” which, as a work relief measure, has been described as one of the original contributions of the nineties. The Mayor’s scheme envisioned the cultivation of vacant lots by the city’s unfortunate, who were, in many cases, but a few years removed from a peasant agricultural economy of Europe. Since Detroit’s poor commission was near insolvency and the city treasury almost empty, Pingree called upon the churches to contribute funds for the purchase of ploes, implements, and seed. “the Mayor proposes to find out if those elegant churches are only for show or for doing some real good,” a Pingree aide told a reporter.

[

November 28, 2009   Comments Off on Mayor Hazen Pingree and the Potato Patch Plan of the 1890’s

Austin Texas adopts a resolution to promote urban farms and community gardens


Photo by Shelley Neuman/The Daily Texan. Larry Butler, owner and proprietor of Boggy Creek Farm, stands in front of the patch of arugula and mustard seed plants that makes up just a small portion of the Five-acre urban farm located in east Austin.

Big City Farm Life – Resolution encourages Austin residents to start their own organic farms

By Priscilla Totiyapungprasert

Daily Texan Staff

November 23, 2009

On a chilly Saturday morning, a steady stream of Austin residents lured by the promise of fresh organic vegetables trickled into east Austin’s Boggy Creek Farm, where tables of butternut squash and bell peppers greeted them.

A dirt path led visitors behind the market stand, where they found a three-acre plot of winter crops including beets, arugula, carrots and leeks.

Farms in the middle of major cities are not a common sight, but a recent City Council decision could make it easier for Austin residents to start their own farm like Boggy Creek.

[

November 26, 2009   Comments Off on Austin Texas adopts a resolution to promote urban farms and community gardens

CNN reports – Solutions – Urban Farms – Urban Communities Growing Fresh Food

A Food Revolution – Urban Communities Growing Fresh Food

November 24, 2009

Fresh vegetables and fruit can be hard to find in the inner cities, but one man is trying to change that.

November 25, 2009   Comments Off on CNN reports – Solutions – Urban Farms – Urban Communities Growing Fresh Food

Ample Harvest shares leftover garden produce

Excerpts from AmpleHarvest’s FAQ

Q. What exactly is the campaign?

A. It is a nationwide effort to diminish hunger in America by making it easy for millions of backyard gardeners across the country to quickly find local food pantries eager to receive freshly picked crops for their clients. enables gardeners to find food pantries within a specified distance of their home and then view the pantries desired day/time for receiving donations.

[

November 25, 2009   Comments Off on Ample Harvest shares leftover garden produce

10 x 10 project and Lawn to Farm envisioned by Urban Design Lab

teachgardenThe 10 x 10 project, comprising modular food production units distributed to schools, community centers, and Boys and Girls Clubs, would provide children with a hands-on, direct food production experience, as well as appreciation of fresh foods.

From of a report by Urban Design Labs (MIT and Columbia University researchers) called Curbing Childhood Obesity: Searching for Comprehensive Solutions.

MIT researchers think America’s obesity epidemic can be reversed via ‘foodsheds,’ in which healthier, more affordable food is produced and consumed regionally.
Excerpt From: Good food nation
Peter Dizikes, MIT News Office

In a report finished this October after meetings with food-industry leaders, the MIT and Columbia researchers propose a solution: America should increase its regional food consumption. Each metropolitan area, the researchers say, should obtain most of its nutrition from its own “foodshed,” a term akin to “watershed” meaning the area that naturally supplies its kitchens.

[

November 25, 2009   1 Comment

Overview of Urban Farming

overviewThis paper explores the growth of urban farming across the United States, and highlights three different case studies.

An Overview of Urban Farming
A Report from Green For All’s Capital Access Program


III. Urban Farming as a Business

Urban farms come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Almost all, however, share some basic startup costs. Assuming a plot of land of at least half an acre, a list of such costs would likely include:

• Rototiller ($4,500): a motorized plow that uses rotating tines or blades to cultivate the soil and get the land ready for planting. This is the only mechanized equipment necessary.
• Coolers ($4,000): Two upright produce coolers used to store fresh vegetables and prevent spoilage.
• Other equipment ($1,000): garden seeder, wheel hoe, standard-issue tools, harvesting bins, hoses, and sprinklers
• Sales & Marketing ($500): farmers market tables, display baskets, digital scale, signage
• TOTAL: $10,000

[

November 24, 2009   2 Comments

International Journal of Agricultural Sustainability to publish special Urban Agriculture Issue

IJAS_CoverForthcoming (mid/late February 2010) – Special issue: Urban agriculture: Diverse Activities and Benefits for City Society (Craig Pearson)

Editor in Chief: Jules Pretty OBE, University of Essex, UK
The International Journal of Agricultural Sustainability (IJAS) is a cross-disciplinary, peer-reviewed journal dedicated to advancing the understanding of sustainability in agricultural and food systems

Most of us live in cities. These are becoming increasingly complex and removed from broad-scale agriculture. Yet within cities there are many examples of greenspaces and local food production that bring multiple benefits that often go unnoticed. This book presents a collection of the latest thinking on the multiple dimensions of sustainable greenspace and food production within cities. It describes the diversity of “urban agriculture” and seeks a balanced representation between the biophysical and social : agriculturists, environmental scientists and social scientists: planners, landscape architects and community development specialists dealing with issues such as resource use, aesthetics and social cohesion. It deals with urban agriculture across scales -from indoor plants to farm-scale filtration of greywater – although it does not include greenhouse production.

[

November 23, 2009   Comments Off on International Journal of Agricultural Sustainability to publish special Urban Agriculture Issue

Agris Seijo rental farm in Seijogakuenmae Japan reported by Tokyo Green

Photo by Jared Braiterman PhD

Reported by Jared Braiterman PhD
in Tokyo Green

I visited Odakyu’s Agris Seijo rental farm in Seijogakuenmae in Setagaya and was prepared to be charmed by a community vegetable farm built by a rail company above their tracks. Three years ago, the Odakyu corporation rebuilt the station, undergrounded the railway, and used some of the new land to promote urban farming. But I left feeling somewhat strange that reclaimed land could be gated and restricted. Although it is the rail company’s property, I think they missed a huge opportunity to create a great space for the neighborhood.

[

November 23, 2009   1 Comment

Time Magazine names Valcent’s Vertical Farming Technology one of Top 50 Best Innovations of 2009


November 13, 2009

“Real estate – the one thing we’re not making any more of,” reports Time Magazine. “That might be good news for landlords but not for the world’s farmers, who have finite cropland to feed a growing global population. The answer: build up by farming vertically. Valcent is pioneering a hydroponic-farming system that grows plants in rotating rows, one on top of another. The rotation gives the plants the precise amount of light and nutrients they need, while the vertical stacking enables the use of far less water than conventional farming. But best of all, by growing upward instead of outward, vertical farming can expand food supplies without using more land.”

[

November 20, 2009   7 Comments

Bolivia Urban Agriculture – FAO film in Spanish

FAO/UN film (in Spanish) about urban agriculture in Bolivia involving young people. This film shows an FAO initiative which is improving city dwellers’ lives by helping them grow their own food.

November 20, 2009   Comments Off on Bolivia Urban Agriculture – FAO film in Spanish