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

Posts from — April 2010

Taking farming to the skies

5storeyThis drawing by Kubala Washatko Architects Inc. shows a five-story farm that Growing Power is considering building at its existing 2-acre property on W. Silver Spring Drive. Led by Will Allen, the nonprofit is close to launching a $7 million to $10 million fund-raising campaign for the project.

Milwaukee’s proposed 5 story urban farm

By Karen Herzog
the Journal Sentinel
April 29, 2010


Now all Allen and Growing Power’s board of directors must do is find $7 million to $10 million to build the farm that Allen has been envisioning for nearly two decades to take his nonprofit enterprise to the next level.

Backers say the futuristic urban farm designed to intensively produce vegetables and fish could become an icon for Milwaukee, and a model for cities around the world to grow affordable, healthful food close to consumers. It also could create a whole new industry with thousands of jobs for urban farmers and those who design and build city farms around the world, Allen said Thursday.

[

April 30, 2010   1 Comment

Will Allen and term ‘Urban Farm’ make Time Magazine’s list of TOP 100 in 2010

Photo by Jimmy Fishbein, Time

In our annual TIME 100 issue we name the people who most affect our world

By Van Jones
Time Magazine
Apr. 29, 2010

At one time, the term urban farm sounded like an oxymoron. No longer. (My red ink. Mike) A new movement is sprouting up in America’s low-income neighborhoods. Some urban residents, sick of fast food and the scarcity of grocery stores, have decided to grow good food for themselves.

One of the movement’s (literally) towering icons is Will Allen, 62, of Milwaukee’s Growing Power Inc. His main 2-acre Community Food Center is no larger than a small supermarket. But it houses 20,000 plants and vegetables, thousands of fish, plus chickens, goats, ducks, rabbits and bees.

[

April 30, 2010   Comments Off

Urban farmers stake claim on parkade rooftop

roofunionOrganizers Seann Dory (left) and Bryce Gauthier will help plant seeds at 211 East Georgia St. Photograph by Dan Toulgoet, Vancouver Courier

Farm will produce fruit, vegetables

By Sandra Thomas
Vancouver Courier
April 28, 2010


The city’s first rooftop urban farm atop a parkade on East Georgia Street could become a model for similar projects across Vancouver, says Seann Dory, manager of sustainability for United We Can.

“This will be a fully functioning farm that will create and support a social enterprise and increase job creation,” Dory said.

[

April 30, 2010   Comments Off

Teaching children to garden has benefits that last beyond harvest

kidmastersRebekah Boley, Brianna Boley, Nicole Saxton, Christopher Saxton and Jennifer Saxton harvest food to be donated to a local food pantry through the Hidden Lake Gardens Junior Master Gardeners program. Photo by Karen Gentry.

Junior Master Gardeners program

By Sue Van Fleet
GateHouse News Service
Apr 27, 2010


“Kids love to play in the dirt,” says Stephen Boley. “At least my children love to play in the dirt.”

And once spring hits, many an adult is ready to do the same, as they prepare garden beds, visit greenhouses and get ready to enjoy one of America’s favorite pastimes.

But involving children in gardening can be more of a challenge, says Karen Gentry, education coordinator and horticulture educator at Hidden Lake Gardens in Tipton, Mich. Part of her mission is to get kids less focused on technology and more tuned to nature. The benefits can extend beyond better nutrition and exercise, she says, as they often grow up to be good stewards of the land.

[

April 30, 2010   Comments Off

Brooklyn Grange will be a 1 acre rooftop farm


Brooklyn Grange – New York

Brooklyn Grange will be a 1 acre rooftop farm situated in New York City. Such a commercially-viable rooftop farm has yet to be realized in this country. We will use simple green roof infrastructure to install over 1 million pounds of soil on the roof of an industrial building on which we will grow vegetables nine months of the year. Being in the country’s largest city, the farm will create a new system of providing local communities with access to fresh, seasonal produce. We plan to expand quickly in the first few years, covering multiple acres of New York City’s unused rooftops with vegetables. The business has many environmental and community benefits, and allows our city dwelling customers to know their farmer, learn where their food comes from, and become involved.

[

April 29, 2010   Comments Off

Little City Gardens makes a go of urban agriculture in San Francisco


A blend of over 25 varieties of lettuces, brassicas, fava greens, herbs, wild greens and edible flowers

Chloe Roth
San Francisco Chronicle
April 29, 2010


Can two people earn a living wage growing and selling produce within the city of San Francisco? This is the question that Brooke Budner and Caitlyn Galloway set out to answer when they launched Little City Gardens in the Mission District of San Francisco. Armed with a commitment to urban gardening, a business plan and high hopes, but free of any pretensions that the answer to their question would be a resounding “yes,” Budner and Galloway are taking Little City Gardens to the next level. That is, with a little help from the global community.
“…How does your garden grow?”

[

April 29, 2010   Comments Off

Girls Inc of NYC on Rooftop Farm

Girls Inc of NYC on Rooftop Farm from Mary Matthews on Vimeo.

Girls Inc. of NYC

Girls Inc. of NYC members from the Urban Assembly Institute answered the President’s call to service by volunteering at Rooftop Farms in Brooklyn, NY. The girls helped clean, plant and compost, and learned that they can help the environment by growing and eating local produce…even in New York City.

[

April 29, 2010   Comments Off

Celebrity Jennie McCarthy helped start a community garden


Good Food Garden at the Arroyo Head Start center

August 2009

In 2009, McCarthy helped Weight Watchers kick off Lose For Good by participating in a ceremony where the company donated a “Good Food Garden” to the Arroyo Head Start center in Altadena, CA, run by the Center for Community and Family Services, Inc. The Arroyo Head Start center serves underprivileged children in the community and until now did not have funding to build a sustainable garden for the kids to use for educational and nutritional purposes.

This community garden, designed and installed by Teich Garden Systems will bring healthy and fresh food to a community in need. Jenny McCarthy and David Kirchhoff broke ground in the garden and actually planted along side the young students.

[

April 29, 2010   Comments Off

Researchers Work to Ensure Safety of Urban Gardens


K-State’s National ‘Brownfields’ Research Funded by EPA

By Staff of Kansas City infoZine
April 29, 2010


Manhattan, KS – infoZine – Spring is in the air and urban gardens are sprouting up all over the country.

“Increasingly, urban agriculture is being done on a community basis, rather than an individual basis,” said Kansas State University assistant professor of agronomy, Ganga Hettiarachchi. “There are now more than 18,000 community gardens in the U.S. and Canada,” she said, citing American Community Gardening Association data.

Some of those gardens are on once-vacant lots and land where buildings once sat. Such locations are convenient for city-dwellers and make productive use of land that otherwise might be weedy, trash-strewn lots. There is a potential downside, however.

[

April 29, 2010   Comments Off

Showdown in the garden patch – one neighbour’s garden is another neighbour’s blight

vanclawnSara St. Vincent and Ander Gates work on their garden at their East Vancouver home. City initiatives have urged homeowners to avoid pesticides, leave their grass clippings on the lawn and plant vegetables and flowers. Photo by Brett Beadle for the Globe and Mail

Vancouver lawn-loving homeowner says neighbours’ ambitious vegetable plot is an eyesore eating away at his bungalow’s property value

Jane Armstrong
Globe and Mail
Apr. 28, 2010


When Sara St. Vincent looks at the tangle of yellow kale flowers swaying in her front yard, she sees a nutritious vegetable, soon to be part of her dinner plate. What her neighbour, Ken Dyck, sees are unsightly weeds, eating away at his property values.

A messy urban conflict has erupted on a quiet east Vancouver street, pitting a lawn-loving homeowner against a group of young counterculture renters who’ve turned their front and backyards into vegetable crops.

[

April 29, 2010   Comments Off

Making urban farming legal

rodaleGood urban agriculture legislation brings a harvest of nutritional, aesthetic, social and cultural improvements.

Pressure and creativity are loosening old rules that kept farming in the country.

By Krista Hozyash
Rodale Institute

Krista Hozyash recently served as a communications intern at the Rodale Institute. She received her Masters of Environmental Management from Duke University’s Nicholas School of the Environment, and plans to aid communities with conservation and sustainability initiatives.


The crow of roosters in New York City neighborhoods is an increasingly familiar sound, as is the chatter of gardeners working in community plots on rooftops and abandoned lots. NYC and other metro areas around the nation are engaging with the organic agriculture movement to establish local food systems that address concerns of food deserts, childhood obesity and inequality of access to fresh, healthy, whole foods.

[

April 29, 2010   Comments Off

Is urban agriculture the way of the future, or simply a hobby for people who have backyards?

angelmorganAngel Morgan P-Patch Community Garden in Seattle. Photo by Collin Dunn

Seattle radio interview with three experts

Steve Scher
KUOW Radio 94.9FM

This year has been declared the year of urban agriculture in Seattle. Is urban agriculture more than just growing food in P–Patches and backyard gardens? What is local government doing to support food production within the city? Some urban areas in Asia produce more than 60 percent of their food within city limits. Could Seattle be that fertile? Is urban agriculture the way of the future, or simply a hobby for people who have backyards?


Darrin Nordahl is the city designer at the Davenport Design Center in Davenport, Iowa. He has taught planning at the University of California at Berkeley, and is the is the city designer at the Davenport Design Center in Davenport, Iowa.

[

April 29, 2010   2 Comments

400 Woolly Pockets in 40 foot long edible wall

woolysmallPhoto by Shannon Sturgis. See larger image here.

Woolly Pockets in schools

Last Thursday, Earth Day, Woolly Pockets installed a giant (40’X8’) “Living Green Wall” of edible plants and lush Native New York plant species on the Southern plaza of Union Square in New York City. The project was in conjunction with New York Restoration project for the 40th anniversary of Earth Day.

Starting in the morning, Miguel from Woolly Pockets and a team from New York Restoration Project planted the 400 Woolly Pockets and hung them on this remarkable wall. Miguel did this to help kick off the NYC Grows festival, but more importantly to spread the word about his Woolly Pocket School Program (there are over 20 in LA already and he wants to start building them in New York soon).

[

April 29, 2010   Comments Off

Cities Grapple with Rise of Urban Agriculture

growpittsPhoto by growpittsburgh.

Pittsburgh plans for urban farmers

By Erika Beras
Ohio River Radio Consortium


PITTSBURG, PA (WEKU) – Urban agriculture is growing. And its not just city-dwellers frequenting farmer’s markets for their vegetables, eggs and honey – more of them are interested in growing or cultivating it themselves. That’s leaving officials scrambling for ways to regulate the new farmer that’s cropping up in American cities, farmers like Jana Thompson.

Thompson grew up on farms. Seven years ago she moved to Pittsburgh. Although she had a garden she missed having a connection to nature. So, first came the bees. (Nat Sound from the Hives) 70,000 of them, in open-bottomed hive boxes on her roof. Then came the chickens – three Salmon Bantams. (Nat Sound of Chickens) Next, she wants to raise rabbits for meat. But then she received an email with some troubling news.

“The first code the city proposed everything I’m doing here would have become illegal,” says Thompson.

[

April 28, 2010   Comments Off

An Ode to Farming

saffronA Kashmiri farmer tills a saffron field in Pampore, a town south of Srinagar. Images of agriculture around the world. A slideshow. 27 beautiful images here. Lest we forget where our food comes from.

Attention Whole Foods Shoppers – Stop obsessing about arugula. Your “sustainable” mantra — organic, local, and slow — is no recipe for saving the world’s hungry millions.

By Robert Paarlberg
May/June 2010
Foreign Policy

Robert is B.F. Johnson professor of political science at Wellesley College, an associate at Harvard University’s Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, and author of Food Politics: What Everyone Needs to Know.


From Whole Foods recyclable cloth bags to Michelle Obama’s organic White House garden, modern eco-foodies are full of good intentions. We want to save the planet. Help local farmers. Fight climate change — and childhood obesity, too. But though it’s certainly a good thing to be thinking about global welfare while chopping our certified organic onions, the hope that we can help others by changing our shopping and eating habits is being wildly oversold to Western consumers. Food has become an elite preoccupation in the West, ironically, just as the most effective ways to address hunger in poor countries have fallen out of fashion.

[

April 28, 2010   1 Comment