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Posts from — December 2010

Urban farming teen brings 4-H to Seattle


“Tons of these urban farming families have kids”

By Michael Harthorne
KOMO Communities Reporter
December 29th 2010

Nina Finley washes one of her chickens. She is starting Seattle’s first 4-H Club. Courtesy of Nina Finley/4-H.
At 9 years old, Wallingford resident and Seattle Academy student Nina Finley decided she wanted to be a farmer and, by necessity, an urban farmer. The rest of the city finally caught up to her.

During the past seven years, while she was commuting to and from the suburbs to show her rabbits, chickens and ducks at 4-H events, Finley noticed an explosion in the number of livestock, vegetable patches and urban farming organizations in the city.

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December 30, 2010   Comments Off on Urban farming teen brings 4-H to Seattle

Urban homesteading for dummies – Denver TV show

The production team is busy shooting more shows for the series, and they have already begun pitching the pilot episode to national TV networks.

The Urban Conversion is best described as urban homesteading for dummies

The show host Rodman Schley is the ultimate dummy! Rodman is a fiscally conservative businessman, who is on a socially responsible quest to reduce his own current carbon footprint. In doing so, he inserts himself into “extreme green” situations to learn the ins and outs of an off-the-grid sustainable urban homestead lifestyle.

Experience the internal conflict and humor that ensues, as the worlds of the extreme green and conservative city slicker collide. The Urban Conversion is about educating the dummy (Rodman), and ultimately educating urbanites about making small changes that can significantly reduce environmental impact.

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December 30, 2010   1 Comment

University of Toronto Sky Garden uses the BIOTOP system


The minds behind the Sky Garden: CivE graduate students Kyla Smith, Sarah Wilson and Heather Wray. Toronto’s Sky Garden. “Our final harvest was 214 kg!! Based on prices of local, organic vegetables at Toronto farmer’s markets, we estimate the market value of all this produce at $2700!!”

Engineering Graduate Students Complete Harvest

U of T Faculty of Applied Sciences and Engineering
Sept. 2010


But with space in Toronto at such a premium, where can you find a place to plant? Try looking up. Way up. If you’re on campus in the heart of U of T Engineering, you just might spot a leafy green or two.

Tucked under the clouds atop the conjoining rooftops of the Galbraith and Sanford Fleming buildings is the Sky Garden.

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December 29, 2010   3 Comments

What’s the Best Way to Turn a Parking Lot into a Garden?


Photo: OSU scientist Joe Kovach’s test site in Wooster, with his parking-lot plantings in the center and his polyculture plots on the lawn at the left.

Ohio State University Urban Farming Study

By Kurt Knebusch
Ohio State University Extension
Dec 22, 2010


WOOSTER, Ohio — An old asphalt parking lot might not seem like a good place for a garden.

But in urban areas it can be. It tends to be cheap open land. And an Ohio State University expert on intensive small-scale horticulture has started a three-year study on what works best there.

Joe Kovach, who specializes in maximizing fruit and vegetable production in limited spaces, is comparing three ways to do it in empty, abandoned parking lots: in giant-sized pots and in raised beds on top of the blacktop, and in trenches cut right through it.

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December 29, 2010   1 Comment

The s’Cool Gardens Program at Adams Elementary School

The s’Cool Food Initiative envisions the children of Santa Barbara County making healthy food choices throughout their lives.

The s’Cool Food Initiative is a project of the Orfalea Fund. In keeping with its long history of involvement in children’s health and education initiatives, the Orfalea Fund devoted the 2007-2008 school year to conducting a comprehensive, county-wide, school food needs assessment and educational campaign focusing on the connection between school food and the health of the community.

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December 29, 2010   Comments Off on The s’Cool Gardens Program at Adams Elementary School

Robot harvests food in the city by Julie Dillon


“Urban Agriculture”

By Julie Dillon
Freelance illustrator
Education: BA in Fine Arts from Sacramento State University

Clients include Wizards of the Coast, Roto Studio, Paizo Publishing, Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab, Volta Creations, Fantasy Flight Games, Fantasist Enterprises, and Orson Scott Card’s Intergalactic Medicine Show.

“This was a piece I did a few months ago for ‘Crossed Genres’ “Science in my Fiction” publication. A robot has been carefully tending gardens planted on abandoned highway overpasses.”

See more of the artist’s work here. And here.

December 29, 2010   Comments Off on Robot harvests food in the city by Julie Dillon

How one urban farmer battled red tape to sell local food and flowers in LA


Silver Lake Farms’ delicious microgreens: pea shoots (pictured above) and radish greens.

Struggling to Start a Farm in Los Angeles

By Karen E. Klein
Business Week
Dec. 28, 2010


Kolla enhanced her soil with organic compost and planted it with dozens of annual and perennial varieties not usually sold by commercial florists. She invested about $15,000 in a truck and materials, including seeds, soil mix, and a market stand. “I had 14 rows, 15 feet each, of annuals such as sweet peas, ranunculus, cornflowers, anemones—dainty, old-fashioned flowers that people seem to really respond to because they are so quaint,” Kolla says.

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December 28, 2010   Comments Off on How one urban farmer battled red tape to sell local food and flowers in LA

An Economist video – BrightFarms greenhouses in New York

Video: BrightFarm Systems is vying to run commercial greenhouses on New York’s rooftops. We tour their first projects, on a boat and a school

Urban Farms of Today by the Economist.

December 28, 2010   Comments Off on An Economist video – BrightFarms greenhouses in New York

Holsman Selected To Chair Joint Committee on Urban Agriculture


Holsman tours Growing Power in Milwaukee.

“Urban Agriculture has the potential to supply a reliably sustainable source of nutrition in the event of an interruption in supply due to drought, disease or disaster.”

Missives From Missouri
26 December 2010

The Missouri General Assembly’s newly established Joint Committee on Urban Agriculture held its first organizational meeting on Thursday afternoon. On the agenda for the committee’s inaugural meeting was election of a chairperson and vice-chair, as well as the approval of a slate of nominees to serve on a technical advisory subcommittee. When it came time to select a committee chair, Representative Tom Loehner (R-Koeltztown) nominated Representative Jason Holsman (D-Kansas City).

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December 28, 2010   Comments Off on Holsman Selected To Chair Joint Committee on Urban Agriculture

What Works: Feeding Cities – In Africa


Currently, the majority of urban farmers live in Asia, but as Africa’s cities continue to grow—by 14 million people every year—they are increasingly becoming centers for food production and innovation.

By Danielle Nierenberg
Nourishing the Planet
This post is part of a series where Nourishing the Planet asks its readers: What works?


In Accra, Ghana, the International Water Management Institute (IWMI), a non-profit organization working in Asia and Africa to improve water and land management for farmers and the environment, is working with farmers to increase harvests and improve sanitation. Many urban farmers use waste water to irrigate their crops and to clean their produce, causing a sanitation concern.

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December 28, 2010   Comments Off on What Works: Feeding Cities – In Africa

Asian Vegetables


A Guide to Growing Fruit, Vegetables and Spices from the Asian Subcontinent

By Sally Cunningham
Eco-Logic Books

The author, Sally Cunningham, has been a professional organic gardener for nearly 30 years. She has been Deputy Head Gardener at the prestigious Ryton Organic Gardens and worked on a variety of projects from setting up Community Allotments to gardener at Belgrave Hall, a garden founded in 1500. Her work with the Plantcultures project (run jointly by Kew Botanical Gardens and Leicester Museums) gave her an opportunity to fulfill a lifelong ambition.

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December 27, 2010   Comments Off on Asian Vegetables

Micro-organisms (algae and phytoplankton) and micro-livestock (insects) for urban food production


Third Millennium Farming – Farmers have returned to the city transformed – a mix between biowaste engineers, biologists, and botanists – managing high tech farms integrated into our buildings’ systems and city infrastructures.

By Jakub Dzamba
Masters of Architecture Studies
University of Toronto
Dec. 2010

This project proposes an idea named third millennium farming (3MF) that is about harnessing the abilities of micro-organisms (algae and phytoplankton) and micro-livestock (insects) to rapidly reproduce, for the purpose of food production. A detailed research project that resulted in the publication of a research paper indicates that 3MF food production strategies have a significantly SMALLER FOODPRINT than current crop farming and livestock rearing methods. Additionally, these new farming operations could be fed with certain types of city bio-wastes creating a new, and more sustainable, type of food chain.

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December 26, 2010   1 Comment

Urban farming 2.0: No soil, no sun


Co-founder of Big Box Farms co-founder Sam Miller-McDonald, inspecting a hydroponic lettuce crop, thinks indoor farming can be made more energy-efficient than traditional agriculture. Photo by Big Box Farms.

Urban agriculture is a growth industry

By Jennifer Alsever,
CNN Money
December 23, 2010


Forget the conventional wisdom that says veggies must be grown on vast farms in the Midwest. What if commercial-scale crops took root inside cavernous city warehouses, without sunlight or soil?

Call it urban farming 2.0. Over the past decade, city agriculture has largely been the province of non-profit organizations, school groups, renegade gardeners and restaurants sowing seeds on rooftops. But the newest breed of city farmers are business folk. In their hands, urban agriculture is scaling up to meet a rising demand in city centers for safe, organic and locally grown food.

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December 26, 2010   Comments Off on Urban farming 2.0: No soil, no sun

Advancing Urban Farming in Vancouver


Project Introduction and Phase One Summary

An introduction to a lively project aimed at aiding urban farmers in developing viable urban farming businesses in Vancouver and a summary of Phase One of this three-phase project: the inaugural meeting of Vancouver Urban Farmers.

By Chris Thoreau and Wesley Regan
December 2010
24 pages.


With the City of Vancouver looking to support urban food systems and a green economy as two of ten areas of focus in becoming the Greenest City in the World by 2020, the time is ripe to engage urban farmers so as to identify their needs in order to build and maintain successful urban farming businesses.

Chris Thoreau … is coordinating a three-phase project aimed at gathering urban farmers together to collectively identify the barriers, challenges, benefits, and opportunities in urban farming in Vancouver.

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December 20, 2010   2 Comments

An Effort to Reduce Adverse Effects of Wild Mushroom Consumption in Nepal


A Girl Chopping Collected wild mushroom. Photo by Tika Ram Aryal.

Mushroom poisoning is a great problem in Nepal

Tika Ram Aryal
Department of Science and Environment Education, Tribhuwan University, Prithivi Narayan Campus,
Pokhara, Nepal
E-mail:tikaramaryal2000 (at)


Mushroom poisoning is a great problem in Nepal. Every year dozens of people died and hundred of people fall sick due to consumption of poisonous wild mushroom. Local people have been using wild mushroom in their diet as well as a source of income, but they do not have proper scientific knowledge about the identification of edible and poisoning mushrooms. This practice has caused severe poisoning and even death. Here is no any responsible organization to reduce the death of due to consumption of wild mushroom. An effort has been made with the aim to reduce casualty of people due to consumption of wild mushroom through different awareness programmes, training, and brochure distribution at the most vulnerable parts of Nepal which were identified from the published report in various national newspapers in 2008 and 2009.

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December 18, 2010   3 Comments