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Posts from — January 2011

Urban Agriculture – Growing Healthy, Sustainable Places

American Planning Association Book

By Kimberley Hodgson, Marcia Caton Campbell, Martin Bailkey
Published by APA Planning Advisory Service, 2010
Paperback, 148 pp.

Urban agriculture is rising steadily in popularity in the United States and Canada-there are stories in the popular press, it has an increasingly central place in the growing local food movement, and there is a palpable interest in changing cities to foster both healthier residents and more sustainable communities. The most popular form of urban agriculture, community gardening, contributes significantly to developing social connections, building capacity, and empowering communities in urban neighborhoods.

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January 31, 2011   2 Comments

Pasadena’s ‘Urban Homestead’ family sets record harvest

The Dervaes harvested 7,030 pounds of organic produce on 1/10th acre in 2010 – a record since they started keeping track 10 years ago

Excerpt from the Urban Homestead site:

These last few days, I too have been anxiously waiting the final harvest tally from Justin who’s been going through the invoice books to tally the herbs and edible flower boxes that we harvested and sold (which came to 117 lbs for the year).

On a side note, we just couldn’t figure out how to calculate the weight of 100 plus flats of wheat grass that we grew last year, so we just left them out of the final tally. Oh well.

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January 31, 2011   2 Comments

First AeroFarms Unit Installed This Week in Jeddah

AeroFarms will incorporate a water vapor harvester from AWG. It literally squeezes water from air.

By Susan Kraemer
Green Profit
January 24th, 2011


AeroFarms, a company whose vertical skyscraper farming idea we have covered before, is now beginning to introduce a new way of farming to the Middle East that could have as radical an effect on the future of our food supply, as when we switched to farming from hunting and gathering. This will be a very major change.This week AeroFarm’s first unit has just been installed in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, under the support and partnership of Saudi Arabia’s Sheikh Saleh Boqshan, who is spearheading the project.

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January 30, 2011   1 Comment

When eating organic was totally uncool

Hmong Farmer. Photo by Victor Bareng. Minority Farmers in America.

Before hipsters got rooftop gardens, my poor, refugee family ate that way because we had to. And we were ashamed.

By Pha Lo
Jan 6, 2011


To me, the organic food movement has become dizzyingly, surreally chic. Farmers have become rock stars; the most exclusive restaurants name-check them so much you can almost see dirt on the menu. But before organic produce exploded into a $25 billion industry, before city gardening became cool, I grew up in a Hmong refugee community, living the urban organic lifestyle not because it was fashionable, but because we were poor. I couldn’t wait to leave it behind.

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January 29, 2011   1 Comment

Counsel to Cities: Feed Thyself

“Urban agriculture is about revitalizing and transforming public spaces, connecting city residents with their neighborhoods in a new way and promoting healthier eating and living for everybody.”

By Neal Peirce
January 30, 2011
Washington Post Writers Group


Lester R. Brown, president of the Earth Policy Institute, goes so far as to define “a food bubble economy — created by overpumping aquifers and overplowing and overgrazing land, and overloading the atmosphere with carbon dioxide.” Like the U.S.-born housing bubble before it, Brown predicts bursting of the food bubble will ricochet worldwide with dire consequences including “survival itself” at stake for peoples living on the lower rungs of the global economic ladder.

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January 28, 2011   Comments Off on Counsel to Cities: Feed Thyself

Will Allen visits Vancouver

Pro-basketball player-turned farmer, Will Allen is involved in more than 70 urban agriculture projects and outreach programs around the world. Matthew Hoekstra photo.

Former basketball pro spreads urban farming seed

By Matthew Hoekstra
Richmond Review
January 27, 2011


Born the son of a sharecropper, Allen became a standout basketball player in high school despite his father’s strict rule: no sports until farm chores were done. He earned a basketball scholarship and later played professionally in the U.S. and Europe, where he reconnected with his farming roots.

It was in Europe where he saw farmers use intensive methods on small plots. He started his own garden there, growing food for his family and teammates.

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January 28, 2011   Comments Off on Will Allen visits Vancouver

Kitchen Cultivator

Dimensions: 24″wide x 34.5″ high x 24″ deep. Urban Cultivator™ was conceived after many years in the hydroponic industry – an industry with an unwarranted bad reputation.

Both Kitchen Cultivator and Commercial Cultivator

Our goal is to take hydroponic growing where no company has gone before. From basements and backrooms to a focal point of any proud chefs kitchen. Local is the way to go. Now you can have an active hand in the food your loved ones eat no matter where you live. Connect to your food, connect to your family.

The Kitchen Cultivator is an all in one indoor home garden. You get 365 days of perfect growing conditions for all of your favorite herbs and veggies. No more soggy super market herbs going bad in your fridge… just fresh crisp herbs from your very own garden.

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January 28, 2011   Comments Off on Kitchen Cultivator

Indian corporation takes urban farming classes

TCS, the pioneer of software services in India, attends urban farming workshop in Mumbai

Urban Leaves blog
Jan. 27, 2011


After a brief introduction of the activities of Urban Leaves by Shri Uday Acharya, Preeti started explaining the fundamentals of Natueco science agriculture, city farming and its importance in our daily life – as a source of fresh home grown produce, assurance of being organic as also being a refreshing activity involving community bonding. The demonstration of available cultivable land with the help of an Apple was an eye opener for everyone to know how little amount of cultivable land is actually available for feeding the entire worlds population.

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January 27, 2011   Comments Off on Indian corporation takes urban farming classes

Blogger posts video of Japanese urban gardens

By a Canadian in Kobe
Jan 27, 2011


“Many people in Japan’s urban centers live in pretty cramped quarters. Even owning your own house doesn’t guarantee you will have enough space for a lawn or garden. It is actually quite rare to see a home in the city that has a front or back yard. Of course many people, especially seniors, come from more rural backgrounds and have a desire to keep their thumbs green. How do they do it? They maintain their desire for gardening by creating small garden plots wherever they can find the space.

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January 27, 2011   3 Comments

CNN reports on Mexico City’s urban agriculture


Picture image above. See video here.

Video report

January 27, 2011

CNN’s Richard Quest reports on Mexico City’s example of growing your own food in small city space.

See video here.

January 27, 2011   Comments Off on CNN reports on Mexico City’s urban agriculture

Monkeys in the garden – a pest control idea from India

Monkey going after fruit at breakfast buffet. Photo by JakeChalkley.

The snakes death of course was the signal for the most joyous chatterings and gambols.”

From a very old, undated, New York Times article

“The gentleman had a garden where he grew delicious fruit. The sacred monkeys easily scaled the walls and helped themselves. They were not content with simply eating, but amused themselves with throwing half-munched fruit at each other. To shoot these pests was out of the question, and to hit them with stones was impossible, as they easily dodged any missile that might be thrown at them.

An idea struck the Englishman one day, and he at once proceeded to carry it into effect with great success. He got a large basket of the largest potatoes that were to be found and had them boiled.

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January 27, 2011   3 Comments

Saint Paul’s egg/plant urban farm supply: a hip shop for the neo-rural renaissance


“There’s something about working with your hands, to make what you need, that’s so much better than just going out and buying something,”

By Elizabeth Millard
The Line Media
Jan. 26, 2011


Matson started the store in April 2010, after growing weary of driving to far-flung feed stores to feed her small flock of backyard chickens.

She was familiar with retail operations, having managed bookstores in the past, but left that profession to stay home with her kids. She’d pondered a shift to garden design, and earned a Master of Agriculture in Horticulture at the University of Minnesota, while working at a garden center.

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January 26, 2011   1 Comment

Chasing Chiles – Hot Spots Along the Pepper Trail


Forthcoming March 2011

by Kurt Michael Friese, Kraig Kraft, Gary Nabhan
Chelsea Green Publishing Company

Chasing Chiles looks at both the future of place-based foods and the effects of climate change on agriculture through the lens of the chile pepper—from the farmers who cultivate this iconic crop to the cuisines and cultural traditions in which peppers play a huge role.

Why chile peppers? Both a spice and a vegetable, chile peppers have captivated imaginations and taste buds for thousands of years. Native to Mesoamerica and the New World, chiles are currently grown on every continent, since their relatively recent introduction to Europe (in the early 1500s via Christopher Columbus).

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January 25, 2011   Comments Off on Chasing Chiles – Hot Spots Along the Pepper Trail

Toronto 1915: The Patriotism of Production


In the spring of 1915, The Vacant Lots Cultivation Association in conjunction with the Toronto Rotary Club established over 80 garden allotments across the City of Toronto in under-utilized and vacant spaces.

From Soiled and Seeded Magazine
Issue 2 – Winter 2011


Below is an article reproduced from The Rotarian, Volume VII, No. 5 November 1915, describing the success of the project’s inaugural year. The accompanying photos, not appearing in the original publication, are located in the City of Toronto Archives.

Vacant Lot Cultivation Yields $5,700
By B. A. Trestrail, Toronto Rotary Club

The land donated by citizens for public use for this purpose was divided into approximately one-eighth acre lots. A supply of ten varieties of vegetable seeds, a peck of seed potatoes, two dozen tomato plants and fifty cabbage plants were furnished free with each allotment.

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January 25, 2011   Comments Off on Toronto 1915: The Patriotism of Production

Modern Homestead: Grow, Raise, Create


Upcoming book title – April 2011

By Renee Wilkinson
Fulcrum Publishing

Renee Wilkinson was raised as part of a long generation of homesteaders dating back to her great-grandparents in 1852. She calls herself a city girl at heart, and living in Portland, Oregon, has allowed her to straddle city and country life at the same time. Follow Renee as she shares the life of a city homesteader, or as she would say, “City chick gets her hands dirty on her urban homestead, planting an edible garden, raising backyard chickens, preserving the harvest, and working toward a greener future.”

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January 25, 2011   1 Comment