New Stories From 'Urban Agriculture Notes'
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Vietnamese Americans dream of a new urban farm in New Orleans but fear post-Katrina environmental hazards

vietmanmarketHigh in iron and a mainstay in Southeast Asian cuisine in stir fries, Kokong or Vietnamese water spinach is traditionally grown along the edges of rice paddies. Gardeners in New Orleans East grow it along the canals near Michoud.

Battling the Chef Menteur Landfill

By Kari Lydersen
Colorlines
December 9, 2009

Tung Duc Tran’s backyard is a lush tangle of life. On a steamy New Orleans summer day, Tran, 80, leaves the cool of his small home to stroll under the trellises hung with bitter melons and fuzzy squash shading an assortment of carefully tended crops. The garden consumes the modest yard sloping down to the Maxent Lagoon, a canal whose waters are nearly obscured by an explosion of aquatic vegetation laced with a few old tires and other trash.

Like many elderly Vietnamese American people in the close-knit Versailles neighborhood on New Orleans’ east side, Tran grows his own vegetables to eat and share with friends and neighbors. But in recent years he has felt less confident consuming his produce, because he fears contamination from the lagoon that often spills over onto his land, and in the soil itself, which was swamped by the toxic floodwaters of Katrina four years ago.

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December 15, 2009   Comments Off on Vietnamese Americans dream of a new urban farm in New Orleans but fear post-Katrina environmental hazards

The Rooftop Gardener – Christmas card greeting by Diz Jeppe

Rooftop GardenersmallLarger image here.

The artist, Diz Jeppe, comments on what inspired her to create this work.

This is – obviously – a Soviet influenced poster. Stylistically, it was inspired by a Soviet Art and Architecture history course, but the artwork is from an original drawing of mine. As far as I can tell, rooftop gardens didn’t exist in early Soviet years, but had they been there they might have helped supplement the needs of the urban population during crippling food shortages.

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December 15, 2009   1 Comment

WorldWatch Institute – Danielle Nierenberg’s urban agriculture stories from Africa


Danielle visits an urban farming project in Kibera and talks about the importance of agriculture in improving nutrition and incomes in urban settings.

Urban Agriculture in Africa

Danielle Nierenberg is a Senior Researcher at the Worldwatch Institute and co-Project Director of State of World 2011: Nourishing the Planet. Her knowledge of sustainable agriculture issues, in particular factory farming and its global spread, has been cited widely in the New York Times Magazine, the International Herald Tribune, the Washington Post, and other media.

The following stories, videos and links are from Nourishing the Planet’s Weekly E-Newsletter, and include highlights from Danielle’s time in Kenya, where she met with farmers and visited projects on the ground to learn about and analyze environmentally sustainable ways of alleviating poverty and hunger.

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December 15, 2009   Comments Off on WorldWatch Institute – Danielle Nierenberg’s urban agriculture stories from Africa

46 Community Gardens in the Capital Region of New York

chefalbanyNoah Sheetz, Executive Chef of New York State picks some fresh produce from his plot at the Lincoln Park Community Garden in Albany. Photo by Michael P. Farrell

Gardens ripe with tales of Albany – Urban community plots are a fertile ground for diverse crops and a variety of people

By PAUL GRONDAHL
Times Union
August 23, 2009

ALBANY — Dressed in his formal chef’s whites, Noah Sheetz, Gov. David Paterson’s executive chef, ambled across Eagle Street from the Executive Mansion and picked his way through the bounty of the community garden that borders Lincoln Park.

From neatly ordered, weed-free rows in a corner plot he tends, Sheetz yanked up a fistful of ruby beets the size of baseballs and sliced off a head of broccoli as wide as his palm.
“This has worked out really well and it’s great to learn from the other gardeners,” said Sheetz, a Culinary Institute of America graduate with solid restaurant credentials.

As Sheetz commiserated about tomato blight and an influx of pesky beetles, gardener Euthia Benson, who grew up in the Deep South, told a story about how her mother taught her to grow tasty okra when she was a young girl.

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December 15, 2009   Comments Off on 46 Community Gardens in the Capital Region of New York