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Posts from — May 2011

University of Nebraska Extension Service creates urban agriculture website

New Website Aimed At Helping Urban Agriculture

By Dan Moser
IANR News Service
May 31, 2011


Ask five people to define “urban agriculture,” and you’ll likely get five different answers. It’s community gardening, economic development and an interest in locally grown foods. It’s education, green-thumb therapy and family togetherness. And more.

However one defines it, urban agriculture has emerged as a movement in American cities. It has a special place in a state such as Nebraska, where agriculture is still the number one industry even though increasing numbers of people have no direct tie to it, say University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension experts.

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May 31, 2011   Comments Off

Urban China is starting to embrace the shoots of a new, green revolution

Yan Zong Wang on his allotment on the outskirts of Beijing. Photo by Adam Dean.

China goes organic after years of ‘glow in the dark pork’ and ‘exploding watermelons’

After years of nerve-racking food scares from “melamine milk” to “glow-in-the-dark” pork and “exploding watermelons” urban China is starting to embrace the shoots of a new, green revolution and is going organic.

By Peter Foster
The Telegraph
29 May 2011


From a runner-bean spotted spiralling along the balcony balustrade of a Beijing apartment, to long waiting-lists for allotments, a plethora of gardening websites and a mushrooming of organic farms and shops, Chinese families are increasingly looking to “grow their own”.

In recent years China has been hit by a number of food scandals and fears about safety have lingered. In 2008, 300,000 babies became seriously ill and six babies died after being given formula contaminated with the industrial chemical melamine.

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May 31, 2011   Comments Off

“Plant This Movie” – an Urban Farming Documentary in the making

Director Karney Hatch’s second feature documentary, will explore urban agriculture worldwide.

“I grew up on a farm, and though I’ve spent most of my adulthood in cities, I’ve always remained connected to the farming lifestyle. My grandparents were huge gardeners, too, so I’ve had the bug for many years. When I first moved to Los Angeles in 2000, I became aware of the idea of urban farming and how much sense it made, especially in a semi-desert like Southern California which steals (sorry, no other word fits!) most of its water from elsewhere. I began researching the documentary in earnest in 2009, and filming began in Los Angeles last year and now is ramping up with this ambitious filming trip which will take me to Asia, Africa and Latin America before returning to the US for additional filming into the Spring of 2012.

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May 30, 2011   1 Comment

Incorporating Urban Agriculture into Urban Planning: The Tale of Three Cities

A comparative study: Urban Agriculture in Vancouver, Dar es Salaam and Copenhagen
Independent Study by Afton Halloran
University of Copenhagen
Faculty of Life Science
Jan 21, 2011

Although generally thought of as a livelihood strategy for the urban poor in developing countries, urban agriculture is prevalent in both the global South and North. Urban agriculture has been heralded for its environmental, social and economic benefits. However, in some cities it is an unrecognized practice and some typologies of urban agriculture are even treated as illegal.

Urban planning has an important influence in determining the structure of a city. This paper argues that urban planners are important stakeholders, which influence the successfulness urban agriculture legitimization and its incorporation into the urban environment.

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May 30, 2011   Comments Off

Suburban farmers for 25 years in the western suburbs of Sydney Australia

“The choko (sechium edule) is a real survival food, prolific and easy to grow, with multiple uses (although they can be a bit bland unless spiced up, unlike this site!). They do, of course, grow on vines not trees but we have an old orange tree which the choko vines grow up every year and this has been christened the choko tree. Thus the choko provides sort of a symbol for the intent of this site.”

Nevin and Linda Sweeney’s website is named “Under the Choko Tree”

By Nevin and Linda Sweeney
Website includes 161 articles on their experiences.


Back in the late ‘70s I packed up my new bride and set off for the wilds of…………….. Western Sydney! Well it was a little bit wild back then. The estate had no shops and no public transport but the housing and the loans were cheap and so we found ourselves on a 600 m2 block with an east-west facing, brick veneer, 3 bedroom house.

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May 30, 2011   Comments Off

“Now it’s time for the gardeners and environmentalists to claim their stake in the ideals and the heroes that formed the nation.” Andrea Wulf, LA Times

Thomas Jefferson’s vegetable garden at his home of Monticello. Photo: Monticello/Thomas Jefferson Foundation.

Gardening as politics: Digging the Founding Gardeners

America’s Founding Fathers knew the importance of gardening and the environment. Today’s efforts — urban farming, composting, even drought-tolerant yards — echo their ideals.

By Andrea Wulf
LA Times
May 29, 2011
Andrea Wulf’s book “Founding Gardeners — The Revolutionary Generation, Nature and the Shaping of the American Nation” is published by Knopf.
Copyright © 2011, Los Angeles Times


Most people today, however, don’t regard gardening as an overtly political act, as it was for the Founding Fathers. But it can empower people and local communities. The rise of urban farming and gardening across the country in the past decade and the increasing interest in local produce is one example — it gives Americans control over their food and its production, which for the most part is in the hands of industry and huge conglomerates.

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May 29, 2011   Comments Off

Urban Farming at a Historic Germantown Homestead

Over a period of four months, beginning in January 1797, she describes a “productive garden filled with vegetables and fruit trees.”

Wyck Historic House and Gardens in Philadelphia

By Meghan Gelardi Holmes
Rutgers University
May 26, 2011


This season marks the fifth year of an urban farming experiment at Wyck Historic House and Gardens. The 18th-century homestead, located in the heart of upper Germantown in Philadelphia, has been a museum since the early 1970s. With the help of an extensive collection of artifacts and documents, the house relates three hundred years of history – the daily trials and tribulations of one family of Philadelphia Quakers. Except it hasn’t always been clear who’s listening.

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May 28, 2011   Comments Off

City Moms want to know about farming

Photo via Blogging Farmer.

The non-farm public does not understand the science behind operating a farm.

By Jo Ann Hustis
Morris Daily Herald
May 28, 2011


Research has shown that non-farm consumers in the United States admit they do not know much about agriculture, and that their actual experience with farmers and farming is limited.

“Farmers in general are finding out it’s more important than ever to tell what’s happening on our farms. City people have different ideas of what we’re doing,” she said of the FOOD research program initiated by a coalition of farm leaders who represent the five largest Illinois farm groups.

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May 28, 2011   Comments Off

Video: Farmville – Urban Agriculture gets Growing in Ottawa

A Canadian Geographic video

Written, shot and edited by Marc Ellison
Music by Kevin MacLeod
May 27, 2011

Subjects include:
Jesse Payne – Vegetable Patch founder
Donna Kasbrick – Ottawa resident
Meg McCallum – Manager, Centretown Citizens Ottawa Corp.
Erin Krekoski – Policy Coordinator, Just Food

May 28, 2011   Comments Off

Potential of urban agriculture in Bangladesh

Photo: Star

In the near future, urban and semi-urban agriculture will be accepted and implemented as a major intervention in food security and social security programmes

By Syed Anwarul Haque
The writer is a former Professor of Soil Science, Bangladesh Agricultural University.
The Daily Star
May 27, 2011


Floriculture is an important aspect of Dhaka daily life. Every day there are marriages, birthday parties, meetings etc. where flowers are essential to grace the occasion. Growing markets have also sprung up in different corners of the city to cater the needs of the city dwellers. It creates a lot of job opportunities for the hither unemployed people and brings money to improve their livelihood.

To meet the demand of the huge population of Dhaka, a vast quantity of fruits is needed. To meet the demand and earn money out of selling fruits, fruit plantations have developed in a small scale in the city as well as in the periphery in a scattered way.

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May 27, 2011   Comments Off

Pedal power takes Kelowna urban farmer’s crops to market

Curtis Stone SHAW TV interview, May 24th 2011.

“In any other system of agriculture, profits are totally diluted through all the machinery, mortgage and lease payments that you have, plus all your transportation costs.”

By Adrian Nieoczym
Globe and Mail
May. 26, 2011


Kelowna, BC. Mr. Stone describes himself as a “pedal-powered urban farmer.” Now in his second year, he works three-quarters of an acre spread between six plots located in other people’s backyards. “With the land that I’m running now, I could feed about 120 families,” he said.

A former musician who had not even gardened before starting his business, Mr. Stone is quickly emerging as a leader in the growing urban agriculture movement known as SPIN (small-plot intensive) farming. This past winter, he delivered paid workshops in California and B.C., sharing his techniques with other would-be urban farmers. He recently accepted a gig to do the same next year in India.

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May 27, 2011   Comments Off

Bees Please – Mason Bee Castle

‘Bees Please’ box is in harmony with its surroundings in Vancouver BC

By Chloe Bennett Design
May 2011

From her blog:

Life has been busy since the last post. This April, we finally installed the ‘Bees Please’ Mason Bee Box in the roundabout at Yew & 6th in Kitsilano. The design process was fast and furious, as we raced to meet Mother Nature’s deadline (mason bees emerge from their cocoons late March / April). Thanks to Doug Patterson, Landscape Architecture professor at UBC, for his support and guidance.

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May 26, 2011   1 Comment

British Government ‘climbs down’ over allotments

Rt. Hon. John F. Spellar MP.

Stated quite clearly that they do not “intend to remove Local Authorities statutory duties to provide allotments.”

26th May 2011 News Release

Warley MP John Spellar who has been campaigning against proposed changes to allotments legislation has welcomed a climb-down by the Department for Communities and Local Government.

The Government had issued a Consultation Paper on Legal Duties on Local Councils which could be removed. Among those were obligations under the 1908 Allotment Act to provide allotments. John Spellar and other MPs had warned that this could lead Councils, especially those facing financial pressure, to reduce their commitment to allotments.

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May 26, 2011   Comments Off

City Councillor questions city’s urban farming initiative in Boston

Archive photo from 45 years ago. Date: 1966. Description: Youth working on Roxbury/Dorchester Community Beautification Program project site. Label reads: “The lot was cleared of two abandoned automobiles and several truck loads of trash. Railroad ties and top soil were put in place to form small flower gardens.” Group: Freedom House (Roxbury, Boston, Mass.). Northeastern University Library.

Community members will also be able to meet with prospective farms to discuss their proposals before starting to farm

By Gintautas Dumcius
Dorchester Reporter
May. 26, 2011


City Councillor Charles Yancey and several disgruntled residents faced off against Menino administration officials this week, claiming they were not informed about the city’s attempt to temporarily turn four city-owned vacant lots in Dorchester into urban farms.

Proponents say the farms would put the vacant lots to use, improving community access to affordable and healthy food by allowing cultivation of crops and composting of materials on properties that range from a quarter acre to a half-acre. The properties, owned by the Department of Neighborhood Development, include 131 Glenway St., 18-24 Standish St., 23-29 Tucker St. and the parcel between 94 Ballou Ave. and 116 Ballou Ave.

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May 26, 2011   Comments Off

Couple planting in plot near school require police, FBI check

The city has forbidden Jacob de Raadt from gardening in a plot beside Nicomekl Elementary. Photograph by: Les Bazso, The Province.

Red tape trips up green thumb in Langley, BC

By Cheryl Chan
The Province
May 25, 2011


All Jacob de Raadt wants to do is plant some vegetables.

Instead, the 68-year-old Langley gardener’s visions of a bountiful harvest are getting nipped in the bud by what he calls “absurd” bureaucratic requirements.

When de Raadt and his wife Lydia paid $15 for a community garden plot beside Nicomekl Elementary near their townhouse in March they were told they had to undergo a criminal record check for the last five years.

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May 25, 2011   3 Comments