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Posts from — February 2011

Richland Farms in LA – Farming in Compton’s core

Nathaniel Bryant washes one of his five horses in Richland Farms, a unique rural community tucked into the urban core of Compton. Other residents raise goats and poultry. Photo by Mark Boster.

Residents of a small rural enclave in the middle of the city raise goats, chickens and horses, hearkening back to the city’s agricultural foundations. But they fear their way of life is under attack.

By Ann M. Simmons
Los Angeles Times
February 20, 2011


Over the years, the city has imposed limits on certain animals, granted variances allowing for multiple structures on a single lot and introduced new parking restrictions.

“They are sabotaging the community so that developers can eventually come in and take over,” said Wilkins, a retired teacher with the Los Angeles Unified School District.

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February 20, 2011   4 Comments

Contaminated land derails Vancouver urban farm expansion plans

Workers trucked in hundreds of meters of organic soil to build the raised beds at Vancouver’s SOLEfood farm. Photo courtesy of SOLEfood. Contributed by Luke Brocki

“We’re giving them the land for nothing, We certainly haven’t set aside a budget for cleaning up this land.”

By Luke Brocki
Open File
February 18, 2011


The trouble with land is that it’s practically impossible to make more of it. Despite the City of Vancouver’s plans to see its flagship urban farm expand to new locations, SOLEfood farm is getting a hard lesson in real estate: the city’s few empty lots are either slated for development or are long-abandoned and contaminated industrial sites.

“Unfortunately the soils are not usable,” says seasoned farmer and author Michael Ableman, the man in charge of growing food at the social enterprise in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. “We cannot move forward and allow people to grow edible crops in soil that’s going to essentially poison those crops,” he says.

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February 19, 2011   1 Comment

Behind the Scenes: the Lindsay Urban Farm

Michael Madfis, works in the Lindsay Urban Farm in northwest Fort Lauderdale. Photo by Kara Starzyk.

Community farm brings growth, pride and jobs to the northwest Fort Lauderdale neighborhood


Be kind to our garden!”

That was the call from a group of six 18-to-25-year-olds standing on the corner when Karen Procelli, behavior specialist at Sunland Park Elementary School, walked by with a group of students on their way to the Lindsay Urban Farm for an educational field trip and tasting.

“They were watching the garden … there was a real sense of pride,” Procelli said about the huddled six.

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February 19, 2011   1 Comment

San Francisco Planning Commissioners support urban agriculture zoning legislation

Photo of Eli Zigas addressing the Commissioners. Taken by Blair Randall.


By Brooke Budner and Caitlyn Galloway
Little City Gardens
Feb. 18, 2011


What you can’t see in this photo is the sea of supporters squeezed into the Public Hearing room, lining the walls, sitting on the floor, overflowing into the hallway, and peering into the room from a small window. There were urban gardeners, rural farmers, business owners, families, students, teachers, chefs, neighbors young and old, all listening attentively as the Planning Commissioners eventually announced their unanimous support for the proposed legislation to amend San Francisco zoning code.

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February 18, 2011   Comments Off on San Francisco Planning Commissioners support urban agriculture zoning legislation

Attempt to trademark name “Urban Homesteading” causes furor

I Am An Urban Homesteader, Nyah Nyah

By Erica
Northwest Edible Life
Feb 16, 2011


Today a veritable shitstorm of anger blew flew through the urban homesteading community. The Dervaes are an urban homesteading family (or institute, or church, depending on how they are defining themselves at any particular moment) that have been building their own mini-farm for over 25 years in Pasadena, California. Recently they trademarked the phrases “Urban Homesteading”, “Urban Homesteader” and over a dozen other terms. Yesterday the family began sending “cease and desist” letters to bloggers, libraries (!) and organizations using the now-tradmarked terms. Facebook pages using the term “Urban Homesteading” were yanked.

My community’s reaction to all this? Well, let’s just say I’ve never seen a bunch of greeny hippies more armed for bear and ready for blood. Pretty universally, the Dervaes’ attempted enforcement of their iffy trademark claim was seen as a betrayal of the community, a forsaking of the values of modern urban homesteading and a push beyond the reasonable.

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February 18, 2011   7 Comments

Troisième édition de l’École d’été sur l’agriculture urbaine

Du 15 au 19 août 2011 à Université du Québec à Montréal, Montréal (Canada)

Pour une troisième année consécutive le Collectif de recherche sur l’aménagement paysager et l’agriculture urbaine durable (CRAPAUD), en association avec l’Institut des sciences de l’environnement, vous convie à cinq jours de formation sur l’agriculture urbaine (AU) et ses différentes facettes. Cette école se veut un creuset multidisciplinaire à l’émergence de l’agriculture urbaine. Il se veut un lieu et moment de rencontre entre les différents acteurs de l’agriculture urbaine au Québec, mais aussi d’ailleurs.

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February 17, 2011   1 Comment

Seeding North Vancouver’s first urban farm

“This is a really about how to integrate agriculture into the community.”

By Jessica Linzey
Open File
February 16, 2011


High above a ravine at the eastern edge of North Vancouver is a scrubby strip of land popular with dog walkers. Not much grows here. Even the grass struggles up in patches. The soil is largely compacted glacial till, land created out of fill from the Highway 1 cut that runs directly to the east. Ten metres below surface is an old dump, decommissioned in 1950s.

Welcome to Loutet Park, site of the city’s first urban farm.

Nearly two years in the making, the Loutet Park Urban Agriculture Project is the brainchild of greenskins lab’s Daniel Roehr and Isabel Kunigk, landscape architects who saw an opportunity in North Vancouver’s so-called “Green Necklace” to convert underused, taxpayer-owned green space–space that takes a lot of cash to keep green–into profitable, entrepreneurial, agriculture land.

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February 17, 2011   Comments Off on Seeding North Vancouver’s first urban farm

Composting goes electric

Community composting – is this it?

By Colleen Kimmett
Open File
February 14, 2011


When Michael Levenston was offered the chance to bring a dragon into his demonstration garden in Kitsilano, he was skeptical. After some convincing, the Red Dragon–a cherry-red electric composter–found a new home.

“So far it’s working like it’s supposed to,” Levenston says. “I’m very excited about making clean, good quality compost.”

The Red Dragon–about the size of a bar fridge–is the smallest of a line of electric composters distributed by GreenGood Composters. It runs on 60 to 80 kilowatts of electricity per month (about four dollars’ worth), and can turn up to 100 kilograms of food waste into several kilograms of compost in 24 hours. It was so effective, in fact, that City Farmer recently started using a larger version, the White Dragon.

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February 17, 2011   1 Comment

At Wattles Farm in LA, 30 years of work bears fruit

The community garden is positioned in what had been the lower fruit orchard of the Wattles estate

By Jeff Spurrier
Los Angeles Times
February 16, 2011


As in most community gardens, Wattles Farm has a rule against trees in personal plots, lest the shade impede crops and raise tensions among neighboring gardeners. One exception here is the lemon tree in the space gardened by Gina Thomas, head of the tree committee. “It was here before I was,” she says. “So it was grandfathered in.”

It’s fitting. Thanks to her decades-long effort, the variety of fruit-bearing shrubs and trees in Wattles’ common areas is staggering: bananas, mangos, papayas, nectarines, apples, guavas (including lemon, strawberry and pineapple guavas), key lime (grafted onto an orange tree by Thomas 30 years ago), dwarf tangerines, olive, figs, Oro Blanco grapefruit, Washington navel oranges, blood oranges, persimmons, pomegranates, Chinese pear, cherimoya, peach, apricot. The list of multicultural delights goes on and on.

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February 16, 2011   Comments Off on At Wattles Farm in LA, 30 years of work bears fruit

Cornell’s Controlled Environment Agriculture – that’s hydroponics in hoop houses

Growers handbooks on hydroponic lettuce, spinach and pak choi

Controlled Environment Agriculture (CEA) is an advanced and intensive form of hydroponically-based agriculture. Plants are grown within a controlled environment so that horticultural practices can be optimized.

CEA techniques are not simpler than older systems for growing plants. Indeed, they demand sound knowledge of chemistry, horticulture, engineering, plant physiology, plant pathology, computers and entomology. A wide range of skills as well as a natural inclination to attend to details are necessary for a person to operate a successful CEA production in either a research or commercial setting.

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February 16, 2011   1 Comment

Wil Bullock gets urban kids into the farming life

Isaiah Rambert (left) and Wil Bullock examine vegetables at the Powisset Farm in Dover. The City Harvest program will move from the Dover farm to the Bradley Estate in Canton.

“We bring in kids from the Boys and Girls Clubs and we teach them about the outdoors.”

By Kate Shively
GateHouse News Service
Feb 15, 2011


RANDOLPH — What do inner city teenagers and farming have in common? Wil Bullock, a Randolph environmentalist and farm educator, has made it his personal mission to strengthen the connection between the two.

Bullock, 29, was awarded a $10,000 TogetherGreen Fellowship to expand his City Harvest Youth Corps, a program that hires teenagers from inner city communities to teach them about local agriculture.

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February 16, 2011   Comments Off on Wil Bullock gets urban kids into the farming life

2011 Summit Urban Farming Initiative training program

This program is targeted at new and emerging urban farmers and market gardeners in Akron and Summit County.

OSU Extension in Summit County, in partnership with the Summit Food Policy Coalition, announces the 2011 Summit Urban Farming Initiative (SUFI) training program.

This training program will be offered from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. on Thursday evenings from February 17th through March 24th. The program will teach how to plan, budget and conduct a successful urban farm venture. Topics will include business planning, marketing, creating a niche, finding land, working with farmers’ markets and other topics essential to the development of urban agricultural businesses.

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February 15, 2011   Comments Off on 2011 Summit Urban Farming Initiative training program

Mumbai urban garden produces brooms reports Preeti Patil

Our gardener showed me three brooms he had made from the leaves of the coconut tree

By Preeti Patil
Natueco city farming
February 15, 2011


Our coconut tree on the terrace was planted 10 years ago on the terrace, when we were totally inexperienced about farming activities. One of our staff members from the kitchen brought this sapling from his native village and so this tree established itself in these grey surroundings.It has been a sight of wonder and joy as people discovered it;s presence. Many wondered how the roots did not affect the slab, how the weight of the tree did not cause cracks etc…Although this tree has not yet given us any coconuts, it is a source of great joy. It is said that 1 coconut tree can sustain 1 family. I am not surprised.

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February 15, 2011   1 Comment

Watch urban farmers at work in Ghana

This video shows urban agriculture in Ghana

Produced by: Ileia, Mildred Samuel
(Very useful video. Mike.)

February 14, 2011   Comments Off on Watch urban farmers at work in Ghana

Container and Vertical Gardening from Job S. Ebenezer

Another kind of vertical garden

Technology for the Poor
Job S. Ebenezer, President
Prepared by John Otting

“This garden uses discarded wooden pallets to make an “A” frame structure which can stand alone. There are 7 shelves on it and each shelf can hold three containers. Therefore, one “A” frame garden can have 21 containers in a 5’x5′ area. I use three to four discarded grocery bags to make these containers. Apartment dwellers with small spaces can very easily set up a vertical garden like the one described. If you find it worthwhile, please post it on your site.” Job S. Ebenezer

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February 13, 2011   6 Comments