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Posts from — January 2010

Urban Farmway – New York City

farmwayLarger image here.

Farmscape woven into the Urban Fabric

By Trevor Boyle and Justin Fong

“The site was directly across from a park that during WWII was used for victory gardens, and so that idea was brought into it as well. The elevated ‘walkway’ is used as a growing surface, translating the urban stacked density into a farming notion, instead of the sprawling countryside that’s usually seen.

“Southern facing walls on the buildings are also plant walls on the exterior, with a modular steel frame. The actual fruit/vegetable growing floor space is only around 30% of the total for the building; it’s more about introducing the idea back into mainstream daily life. The square footage is enough to be able to feed 200 people throughout a year, so it’s more about growing for the community around the site than being able to mass produce and feed the whole city, though that would be possible with another iteration.

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January 31, 2010   Comments Off on Urban Farmway – New York City

How school gardens are cheating our most vulnerable students

atlanticImage: Lim Rosen

Cultivating Failure

by Caitlin Flanagan
the Atlantic Magazine
Jan/Feb 2010


Imagine that as a young and desperately poor Mexican man, you had made the dangerous and illegal journey to California to work in the fields with other migrants. There, you performed stoop labor, picking lettuce and bell peppers and table grapes; what made such an existence bearable was the dream of a better life. You met a woman and had a child with her, and because that child was born in the U.S., he was made a citizen of this great country. He will lead a life entirely different from yours; he will be educated. Now that child is about to begin middle school in the American city whose name is synonymous with higher learning, as it is the home of one of the greatest universities in the world: Berkeley. On the first day of sixth grade, the boy walks though the imposing double doors of his new school, stows his backpack, and then heads out to the field, where he stoops under a hot sun and begins to pick lettuce.

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January 29, 2010   1 Comment

Fallen Fruit – an activist art project


2nd Annual Fruit Tree Adoption- February 6th and 7th

Using fruit as our lens, Fallen Fruit investigates urban space, ideas of neighborhood and new forms of located citizenship and community. From protests to proposals for new urban green spaces, we aim to reconfigure the relation between those who have resources and those who do not, to examine the nature of & in the city, and to investigate new, shared forms of land use and property. Fallen Fruit is an art collaboration that began with creating maps of public fruit: the fruit trees growing on or over public property in Los Angeles.

Over time our interests have expanded from mapping public fruit to include Public Fruit Jams in which we invite the citizens to bring homegrown or public fruit and join in communal jam-making; Nocturnal Fruit Forages, nighttime neighborhood fruit tours;

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January 29, 2010   2 Comments

Goats the new chickens

goatJennie Grant gets a kiss from her goat Snowflake after milking time at her home in Seattle on Tuesday. Snowflake produces about a half-gallon of milk a day, Grant says. (Mike Urban/P-I)

Pet Parade: Goats the new chickens

Jan. 29, 2010
United International Press

MADISON, Wis., Jan. 29 (UPI) — As urban farming gains strength, small goats are proving popular as entertaining and intelligent pets in backyards throughout the United States.

While many communities still ban goats, other cities such as Seattle, Portland, Ore., and Oakland, Calif., are changing zoning laws to accommodate small goats.

In Portland, the newspaper Willamette Week predicted goats will replace chickens as must-have backyard companions this year.

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January 29, 2010   2 Comments

School Adds Weeding to Reading and Writing

PSschoolA rendering of what the Edible Schoolyard at P.S. 216 is to look like.

Published: January 19, 2010
New York Times

THOSE who believe trends start on the West Coast and are perfected on the East Coast might add to their argument a garden planned for an elementary school in Brooklyn.

This summer, supporters will tear up a quarter-acre of asphalt parking lot behind P.S. 216 in the Gravesend neighborhood and start building the first New York affiliate of the Edible Schoolyard program, developed by the restaurateur Alice Waters of Chez Panisse.

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January 28, 2010   Comments Off on School Adds Weeding to Reading and Writing

Alemany Farm – Bring the Land to the People


By: Allison Arieff
Pepsi Refresh Project
January 27th, 2010


The complete antithesis of the rural idyll that many might associate with farming, the 4-1/2 acre Alemany Farm is located just off the decidedly non-bucolic Highway 280 in San Francisco, adjacent to a public housing project. But its tough exterior contrasts sharply with its benevolent mission of educating, engaging, and feeding its urban constituency through the organic food it grows. I spoke recently with Alemany’s co-manager, Jason Mark, who, when he’s not harvesting carrots and kale, is editing the quarterly environmental magazine, Earth Island Journal.

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January 28, 2010   Comments Off on Alemany Farm – Bring the Land to the People

Growing Bridges: Community Gardens and Civic Governments

MonteraySketchbook image by Anthony Zierhut. The Monterey Road Eco-Community Garden opening. Larger image here.

By Alex Chisholm
A thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts of Leadership
2008 – 150 pages


Community gardens and other forms of urban agriculture (UA) make vital contributions to the environmental sustainability, food security, and economic prosperity of urban life. Community gardens also improve cities’ social, recreational, and aesthetic qualities. Yet growers continue to struggle for access to land and mechanisms to expand agriculture within cities. An umbrella organization that advocates and negotiates for land access and favourable government policies on behalf of growers could be an effective tool for increasing UA within the City of Vancouver.

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January 28, 2010   1 Comment

Baltimore’s newest urban farming venture – a trio of plastic-skinned hoop greenhouses

hoopAArtwork by Galadriel Rosen

Lake Clifton greenhouse project harvests 1st crops
Installation’s backers hope to produce fresh food, ‘green’ jobs

By Timothy B. Wheeler
Baltimore Sun reporter
December 17, 2009

Though it’s nearly freezing outside, fresh arugula, kale and more greens are flourishing in Hoop Village. That’s the name given to Baltimore’s newest urban farming venture – a trio of plastic-skinned hoop greenhouses on the historic Lake Clifton schools campus.

The structures, finished in October, are already yielding harvests that will provide wholesome snacks to some city elementary students this winter. And students at the three Lake Clifton schools are helping to raise the food they’ll be eating.

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January 27, 2010   Comments Off on Baltimore’s newest urban farming venture – a trio of plastic-skinned hoop greenhouses

Backyard Harvest one yard at a time – Minneapolis-Saint Paul

ninjaPhoto by WontonBrutality

From their program website:

Backyard Harvest’s mission is to strengthen the Twin Cities local foods infrastructure one yard at a time by turning lawns into nourishing and healthy landscapes. We connect eaters directly to their food, neighbors to one another, and urban farmers to professional opportunities.

Backyard Harvest is a community-building program in urban Permaculture. The program provides both garden fresh food and garden education for homeowners, renters and neighborhoods, as well as entrepreneurial and small-scale food production training for our farmers. Our farmers contract with homeowners, renters and communities to create gardens in their backyards, maintain the gardens and harvest all of the produce weekly for each family.

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January 27, 2010   Comments Off on Backyard Harvest one yard at a time – Minneapolis-Saint Paul

Urban Planning for Community Gardens: What has been done overseas, and what can we do in South Australia?

aussieimageIllustration by Robin Tatlow-Lord

By Elise Harris
An Honours thesis submitted as part of a Bachelor in Urban and Regional Planning School of Natural and Built Environments University of South Australia
October 2008



Community gardens have been shown to have positive social, nutritional and educational benefits for their users, and improve the amenity, safety and patronage of the surrounding area. They also tie into wider themes of sustainability and food security. Despite these benefits, urban planners, as the keepers of land and determiners of land use, have had little to do with community gardens. This thesis will explain the benefits of community gardens and detail planning policies throughout the world that support community gardens. Lastly, recommendations will be made on how the South Australian planning system can better support community gardens.

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January 26, 2010   Comments Off on Urban Planning for Community Gardens: What has been done overseas, and what can we do in South Australia?

Opportunity for 10 Canadians to study urban agriculture in Cuba

Permaculture Cuba! An Immersion Experience in Sustainable Urban Agriculture in the Heart of Cuba

For seven weeks in May and June of 2010, ten Canadians will have the opportunity to experience first hand the thriving urban agriculture and permaculture movements in Cuba. Based in the beautiful city of Sancti Spiritus, participants will work hand-in-hand with local leaders and practioners on a variety of fascinating projects producing food in the heart of the urban setting. Grounded in a model of partnership and collaborative learning, the program will include:

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January 26, 2010   Comments Off on Opportunity for 10 Canadians to study urban agriculture in Cuba

Drought driving rise in urban agriculture in Zimbabwe

hararePhoto: Tonderai Kwidini/IPS
Small-scale farmer Ruth Chikweya working on her land near Harare.

By Varaidzo Dongozi
26 Jan 2010
Reuters AlertNet

HARARE, Zimbabwe (AlertNet) – Olivia Chitingo has been a farmer most of her adult life.

As a communal farmer in Murehwa district, approximately 120 kilometres east of Harare, the 46-year-old over the years grew maize, both as a cash crop and for her own consumption.

From her two hectares of land, she managed to produce 16 tonnes of grain each season, which was then ground into sadza, Zimbabwe’s staple food.
Most of it she sold to Zimbabwe’s Grain Marketing Board and mobile milling companies, and from each harvest she earned an average of $4,240, enough to meet most of her and her family’s needs.

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January 26, 2010   Comments Off on Drought driving rise in urban agriculture in Zimbabwe

Vancouver Compost Demonstration Garden welcomes Winter Olympic visitors

gardenjan2010webPhoto by Michael Levenston. Larger image here (4MB)

This is January!

It’s January, there’s no snow in our Vancouver garden (it’s up on the surrounding mountains). We’ve been out in the mild weather sprucing up the place for visitors from around the world who are already arriving for the Winter Games which begin February 14.

Fresh mulch is spread on the garden paths (Elm and London Plane wood-chips donated by the Park Board), our cob (clay/sand/straw) tool shed covered by a green roof is on the left next to the recycled metal entrance gate; the building in the top right corner holds our compost toilet and the new “red dragon” electric compost bin; a large Bay Laurel tree sits in the centre front of the picture; the wood-chip paths lead through the back fence into our teaching area and beyond to yet another garden, which we’ve named the “Youth Garden” where our dry-stack stone keyhole garden is located.

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January 26, 2010   Comments Off on Vancouver Compost Demonstration Garden welcomes Winter Olympic visitors

Most WWOOFers come from urban, non-agricultural background

taiwanwwoofTaiwanese WWOOFers.

Network gives urban volunteers a taste of organic-farm living

A group that goes by the acronym WWOOF connects urban volunteers interested in natural food production with organic farms in need of help. Business is booming.

Author: Dany Mitzman
Deutsche Welle

Ezster Matolcsi and her huband Fabrizio Romagnoli, a couple with two small children, run an organic farm called the Azienda Agricola Angirelle. It lies in the hills outside Bologna, Italy.

The two have been hosting volunteers from the World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farm, or WWOOF, for the past four years.

The WWOOF network was set up in England in 1971 by a London secretary named Sue Coppard; she wanted to create a way for city people to experience the countryside and support the organic farming movement at the same time. Volunteers – called wwoofers – offer their services in exchange for free board and lodging.

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January 26, 2010   Comments Off on Most WWOOFers come from urban, non-agricultural background

Utah’s Urban Farmers – Agricultural Activity on the Wasatch Front


By John C. Downen, Research Analyst
2009 | Volume 69, Number 3
Bureau of Economic and Business Research
University of Utah


This study examines urban farming along Utah’s Wasatch Front. It covers agricultural activity in Weber, Davis, Salt Lake, and Utah counties using data from the USDA’s Census of Agriculture from 1974 to 2007. It begins by looking at the amount of farmland and farms, as well as the distribution of farm sizes. Next we consider farm ownership and operator characteristics, noting that most farms on the Wasatch Front are sole proprietorships. The study then turns to farm finances, based on data from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, and an analysis of direct sales and current organic practices. A summary concludes the piece.

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January 25, 2010   Comments Off on Utah’s Urban Farmers – Agricultural Activity on the Wasatch Front