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Posts from — August 2010

Backyard flower farms

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Sarah Nixon, whose floral service is called, appropriately, My Luscious Backyard. Photo by Aaron Harris.

Local bouquets offer rarer, pesticide-free blooms

By Katie Hewitt
Globe and Mail
Aug. 27, 2010

Excerpts:

In Vancouver, Megan Branson of Olla Urban Flower Project maintains at least three backyard flower farms, from which she and partner Dionne Finch source dahlias, rudbeckia, giant sunflowers and even winter blooms such as Christmas roses. Constantly on the lookout for beautiful material, they also sometimes knock on doors to acquire blooms, approaching gardeners with particularly fecund inner-city plots.

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August 31, 2010   Comments Off

The Birds on That Brooklyn Rooftop? Chickens

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Photo by Annie Novak

Each bird lays a distinctive egg

By Annie Novak
The Atlantic
Aug. 31, 2010
Annie Novak is the founder and director of Growing Chefs, a field-to-fork food education program; the children’s gardening program coordinator for the New York Botanical Gardens; and co-founder of Eagle Street Rooftop Farm in Brooklyn.

Excerpt:

The eggs from our hens are given to the Rooftop Farm’s community supported agriculture (CSA) shareholders. Each bird lays a distinctive egg. The most fancy bird (the Polish) lays the most innocuous white egg, while plain white-feathered Francis lays eggs of a very pale blue. Tiny Beebe lays petite and perfect eggs with a distinctly narrow top. Lila’s are medium-sized and off-white. Wren and Pecked, regular layers both, produce brown and white eggs of a more substantial size. Between the six hens, we get about four eggs on any given day. Right before the eggs comes out, they crow and fuss, vying with the buzz of biplanes circling in to land on the stretch of water south of the United Nations.

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August 31, 2010   Comments Off

Seattle’s City Fruit sells some of its harvest to become financially sustainable

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Sustaining an Urban Fruit Gleaning Program. Photo by City Fruit.

So far this year, we’ve harvested 5,775 lbs. of fruit

By James
City Fruit
August 31, 2010

Excerpt:

One of the main reasons we started City Fruit was to develop ways  to become more financially sustainable, rather than depend on an ever-shrinking pool of grant money for funding.

As part of that, we’re experimenting with selling a small portion of the fruit we harvest – with a goal of selling no more than 20% of the usable fruit we harvest. So far this year, we’ve harvested 5,775 lbs. of fruit and have sold 448 lbs., so about 8%.

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August 31, 2010   Comments Off

Mayor of Boston opens chicken farm for people who had trouble with the law

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The Farm at Long Island Shelter.

Mayor says: “Bawk, bawk, bawk.”

Excerpt:

The hens came at the mayor’s suggestion to the 2 1/2 acre Serving Ourselves Farm, which brimmed yesterday with collard greens, plump pumpkins, acorn squash, and tomatoes engorged after a summer of sunshine. The labor that seeds, waters, weeds, and harvests the organic farm comes entirely from the residents of the Long Island homeless shelter and young people who had trouble with the law but are in a city program to help right their lives.

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August 31, 2010   Comments Off

Photo of the City Farmer’s entrance gate

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Gate by metal sculptor, Davide Pan.

Photo by Naomi Clement

Internationally acclaimed local metal sculptor, Davide Pan designed our gate. Pan welded together old gardening tools and bits of rusty metal to create the piece that locks down by night and lifts up above the garden by day. Creaking chains and “rocks in bondage” counterweights give medieval flair to the old-fashioned pulley system.

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August 31, 2010   1 Comment

Smart cities are (un)paving the way for urban farmers and locavores

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Los Angeles rental of a goat herd to clear weeds and other unwanted growth from Angels Knoll in Bunker Hill. Photo by Curt Gibbs.

Agribiz apologists ascribe these trends to a plague they call “agrarian nostalgia”

By Kerry Trueman
Grist
30 August, 2010

Excerpt:

The first link in this brave new food chain? Land tenure, zoning issues, and other regulatory hurdles that city folks have to contend with in order to grow food to feed themselves or sell to others. They’re also working on how to collect and compost food waste instead of shipping it to the landfill; how to increase the percentage of locally sourced ingredients in schools, hospitals, prisons, and other publicly run institutions; how to facilitate local food production and ease distribution bottlenecks; and how to support all kinds of urban agriculture, from school and community gardens to rooftop farms, aquaculture, chicken keeping, and bee keeping.

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August 31, 2010   Comments Off

USDA Announces Funding to Expand School Community Gardens and Garden-Based Learning Opportunities

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Students from the Bancroft Elementary School weigh vegetables during the White House Kitchen Garden harvest party, on the South Lawn of the White House. Official White House Photo by Samantha Appleton.

Peoples’ Garden School Pilot Program

USDA Office of Communications
08/25/2010

WASHINGTON, Aug. 25, 2010 – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced that USDA will establish a Peoples’ Garden School Pilot Program to develop and run community gardens at eligible high-poverty schools; teach students involved in the gardens about agriculture production practices, diet, and nutrition; and evaluate the learning outcomes. This $1 million pilot program is authorized under the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act. A cooperative agreement will be awarded to implement a program in up to five States. To be eligible as project sites, schools must have 50 percent or more students qualifying for free or reduced-price school meals.

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August 31, 2010   1 Comment

Urban Agriculture in Atlanta


A video survey of urban agriculture and community gardening in Atlanta. This story was featured on “This is Atlanta with Alicia Steele,” a Telly Award-winning and Emmy-nominated magazine show on PBA, Atlanta’s PBS Station. Produced by Jack Walsh. (Beautiful video. Mike)

City Gardens in Atlanta

This is Atlanta with Alicia Steele

At This Is Atlanta, we wanted to explore a kind of urban agriculture that brings people together — community gardens. A community garden can start out as simply as a few plots and some pooled resources, or they can grow to include classes, nature trails, and even chicken coops. Our story features these:

The Oakhurst Community Garden began as a grass-roots environmental education center and added gardening plots at the request of neighborhood residents.

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August 30, 2010   3 Comments

Best temp job in town: Pop-up gardens are appearing across London thanks to one pioneering enthusiast

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The main focus is the trees. Apple, pear, quince, apricot, cherry, blueberry, blackberry, strawberry

By Emma Townshend
The Independent
August 22, 2010

Excerpt:

Trundling along to buy a lunchtime sandwich the other day, admiring the floral bedding in my local park in Ealing, I spotted a little sign: “Pop-up Kitchen garden”. Now, we’ve heard of pop-up shops, restaurants and art galleries, but a pop-up vegetable garden? Exploring a little further, I found that a set of kitchen garden beds, neatly edged in wood, had materialised out of nowhere. It was a gorgeous surprise.

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August 30, 2010   Comments Off

Urban agriculture: weighing the pros and cons

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Photo by Michael Klassen

Heavy subsidies for urban agriculture in the long run will do more harm than good

By Mike Klassen
City Caucus
Aug. 29, 2010

Excerpt:

I’ve listened to the arguments, I’ve watched Food Inc. a couple of times, and my thumb couldn’t get much greener than it currently is. However, I’m not convinced by arguments put forward by the eat local movement that we must invest more land, time and financial resources into urban agriculture. This is not to suggest that I think we should eradicate community garden programs, but that we fully consider the costs of “being green” and weigh them against other city priorities.

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August 29, 2010   Comments Off

City Farming blooms with Baby Boomers in Japan

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Many of the “city farms” are in fact intended to be only cultivated at weekends

By William Andrews
Japan Trends
August 23, 2010

Excerpts:

J-Cast news is reporting that shimin noen (or farms located near cities) have increased threefold over the last 15 years, up to 3,382 sites for fiscal 2008, with local governments and NPOs inundated with applications for certain areas.

Around 70 per cent of these “farms” are 50 square meters, with the rental cost as little as 5,000 yen (about $58) for a year’s use. Many of these aspiring farmers are said to be middle-aged salarymen and retirees keen to get their fingers green.

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August 29, 2010   Comments Off

Viet Village Urban Farm – New Orleans

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This farm will create green jobs and provide healthy food to the community

The Viet Village Urban Farm project represents an effort to reestablish the tradition of local farming in this community after Katrina. New Orleans East was one of the most damaged areas of the city New Orleans during the storms of 2005. In response to the devastation, the community has organized around the idea of creating an urban farm and market as the center of the community. The farm, located on 28-acres in the heart of the community, will be a combination of small-plot gardening for family consumption, larger commercial plots focused on providing food for local restaurants and grocery stores in New Orleans, and a livestock area for raising chickens and goats in the traditional Vietnamese way.

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August 29, 2010   Comments Off

Time Magazine – New Orleans: A Farm Grows in the Lower Ninth

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Our School At Blair Grocery.

The Lower Nine urban farm concept is spreading

By Phil Blidner
Time Magazine
Aug. 27, 2010
Phil Bildner is Co-Executive Director of The NOLA Tree, a teen service organization.

Excerpt:

When the levee along the Industrial Canal failed back in 2005 and the wall of water drowned much of New Orleans’ Lower Nine, the area north of Claiborne Avenue — the poorest section of the neighborhood — was hardest hit. Not surprisingly, the stretch has been slowest to recover. Five years after the devastating hurricane, the area still does not have a supermarket or store that sells fresh produce. Today, where houses once stood, jungle-like growths have consumed the lands. Other homes, still abandoned, are slanted and Burtonesque.

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August 29, 2010   Comments Off

New York rooftop farm will grow close to 16,000 pounds of produce

The Brooklyn Grange: NYC’s Biggest Rooftop Farm from SkeeterNYC on Vimeo.

The Brooklyn Grange Farm

By Liza de Guia
Foodcurated
July 13, 2010

Excerpt:

The Brooklyn Grange estimates that they’ll grow close to 16,000 pounds of produce this growing season. Right now, they have enough produce for 3-4 more restaurant accounts in Queens or North Brooklyn (trying to stay as local as possible), so if you know of anyone who may be interested in meeting their $100 minimum give them a call. In addition, Ben will begin offering 20 CSA shares to a few lucky individuals who want a piece of The Grange produce for the entire season. The cost is a little under $20/week and will last for the next 16 weeks until the end of October or early November.

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August 28, 2010   1 Comment

Hanging Gardens, the first vertical garden project on an abandoned building in Detroit

Hanging Gardens from The D Show on Vimeo.

200 Woolly Pocket gardens filled with organic compost

A vacant structure in Detroit’s Midtown is now breathing new life thanks to the hard work of some volunteers from one local agency. Ryan Schirmang, a creative project manager at Team Detroit, helped organize the Hanging Gardens, the first vertical garden project on an abandoned building in Detroit.

Schirmang recruited 75 eager volunteers from the Dearborn office and dispatched them to the Forest Arms apartment building at the corner of Second and Forest, near Wayne State University. The apartment building, chosen as the site for this year’s project, was ravaged by a fire in 2008 and is currently in the process of being rehabbed to its former glory. Read more about the building here.

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August 27, 2010   Comments Off