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Posts from — June 2011

USA’s Largest Network of Community Gardens (NYC!) Deeded to Local Organizations

Carver Garden.

Thirty-Two Manhattan and Bronx Community Gardens Turned Over to Local Land Trusts

By Kristie Deptula
TK\PR Public Relations
June 28, 2011

This week, The Trust for Public Land, conveyed the first 32 of 69 New York City Community Gardens to the newly established Manhattan and Bronx Land Trusts. The 69 gardens make up the largest network of Community Gardens in the country. After initially saving these 69 parcels of land from destruction, which make up a total of eight acres with a current value of $7 million, from the City of New York 12 years ago, The Trust for Public Land has worked with community members and organizations to save and preserve the crucial green oasis. The remaining 37 gardens will most likely be conveyed to the Brooklyn-Queens Land Trust this fall.

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June 30, 2011   1 Comment

Owens Community College Unveils Northwest Ohio’s First Urban Agriculture and Sustainability Certificate Program

Owens’ Urban Agriculture and Sustainability Certificate Program will require 26 credit hours of coursework

June 13, 2011

PERRYSBURG TOWNSHIP, OH – Area residents with aspirations of learning how to grow, maintain, harvest, store and distribute local produce and animal products will now have the opportunity to begin their educational journey at Owens Community College as the academic institution’s Department of Science unveils a new Urban Agriculture and Sustainability Certificate Program. Beginning Fall Semester 2011, the new academic program will be offered on the Toledo-area Campus in Perrysburg Township and at The Source Learning Center in downtown Toledo.

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June 30, 2011   Comments Off

Youth Volunteers Harvest Food at Vancouver’s Compost Demonstration Garden

The connection between compost and food, and the education of children

Young people come to volunteer at Vancouver’s Compost Demonstration Garden as soon as summer holidays begin. Claire and Blair visited this week and helped us harvest our weekly donation basket of produce. They then delivered it to West Side Family Place.

Head Gardener Sharon Slack supervised the collection of vegetables and herbs, and provided the kids with a huge lesson in what lies beyond our supermarket shelves.

June 29, 2011   Comments Off

Crops out of concrete: Farming Hong Kong’s urban island

Osbert Lam examines a long bean plant on his rooftop farm ‘Eco-Mama” on June 16. The farm is one of an estimated 300 urban farming projects that now populate the city.

Hong Kongers themselves have historically been resistant to the idea of farming as a suitable pastime. “It is the lowest of our traditional caste system. In traditional Chinese culture, if you’re good at nothing else, you work on the farm.”

By Benjamin Gottlie
June 29, 2011


Lam’s farm — a humble 2,000 square feet — is one of an estimated 300 urban farming projects that now occupy Hong Kong’s high-rises, joining the broader, global movement of food sustainability projects in densely populated urban settings.

“Twenty years ago, locals thought that the soil here was dirty,” said Simon Chau, founder of the Produce Green Foundation, which manages Hong Kong’s first urban farm in Tsuen Wan. “Now, after 20 years, people have started to realize that it is rewarding and meaningful to grow something themselves and to eat it.”

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June 29, 2011   Comments Off

Urban agriculture issue heats up in Lantzville, BC

Dirk Becker, public speaker for social change.

Council will also establish an advisory committee consisting of two councillors and five at-large members to gauge public desires on how to evolve urban agriculture within the district.

By Toby Gorman
Nanaimo News Bulletin
June 20, 2011


Dirk Becker, owner of Compassion Farms, was cited in contravention of zoning bylaws in October. He was issued a 180-day cease-and-desist order to stop growing produce on his one-hectare property and selling it at farmers’ markets, an activity not allowed under the zoning laws for residential property.

Last week that order expired, but Becker says he has no intention of applying for a temporary use permit created earlier this year as a response not only to Becker’s situation, but to all Lantzville property owners while council develops a suitable bylaw to address urban agriculture.

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June 29, 2011   1 Comment

“City Farmers, Urban Agriculture”

A quiet and distinctly non-violent revolution is underway, especially among our nation’s youth: The resurgence of small farms, local food movements and community gardens all across this land of ours are grass-roots attempts to reclaim some measure of control over the most essential things in our lives—food, health and community. I am now convinced that urban agriculture, in all its forms, is a vital player in this cause.

By Keith Stewart,
The Valley Table, Number 54
The Horticultural Society of New York
June 10, 2011


IN MARCH OF THIS YEAR, I was invited to be a speaker and panelist at an Urban Agriculture Conference hosted by the Horticultural Society of New York. At first, I was hesitant to accept the invitation because I know very little about urban farming, and, to be honest, have never given it much thought. I’ve always thought of farming as something that goes on in the open fields and pastureland of the countryside, not in backyards behind Manhattan brownstones or on vacant lots in the Bronx.

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June 29, 2011   Comments Off

Introduction to Rooftop Urban Agriculture – The Horticultural Society of New York

A Course with Keith Agoada and Ben Flanner
Saturday, July 9

Learn about multiple approaches to growing food on rooftops through design and maintenance principles, and case studies drawn from across North America. This course:

Familiarizes participants with the diversity of physical applications of urban agriculture and the growing technologies that apply.

Explores the social, environmental and economic benefits of urban agriculture and rooftop farming.

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June 29, 2011   Comments Off

Urban farming more profitable than white-collar jobs for many Congolese

Kinshasa. Many city-dwellers are turning to urban farming to make a living. Photo: David Hecht/IRIN.

Green space throughout Kinshasa and other Congolese cities are being transformed into lucrative small urban farming enterprises that are doing a lot to raise incomes and lower malnutrition for urban residents.

28 June, 2011


“At first I doubted the ability of vegetable growers to pay back credit,” said Dick Mabiala, a credit agent at FINCA. “But I changed my mind when a lady growing fruit and vegetables took a $300 credit and came back to deposit $1,000 worth of profits into her account. The woman was only using two hectares of land for her enterprise.”

Farmers have seen their incomes increase dramatically. In Kinshasa and in the town of Lubumbashi the average annual income of each farmer increased from around $500 in 2004 to $2,000 in 2010. In Likasi town it rose from $700 to $3,500. There have been similar increases in other cities, according to the FAO statement.

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June 28, 2011   Comments Off

Halifax Regional Municipality to review rules that affect urban farmers

Jean Snow sells her vegetables on her deck.

Municipal staff will present their recommendations to the Harbour East community council this fall.

CBC News
June 28, 2011


A Dartmouth gardener is hoping the municipality will make it easier for people who want to run urban farms.

Jean Snow grows fruits and vegetables on her downtown Dartmouth property and her neighbours’ land. She sells her produce on her deck.

Technically, Lake City Farm is in violation of municipal rules. As a home business, Snow should be operating strictly out of her house and on her own land.

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June 28, 2011   Comments Off

Urban Agriculture, Part 1: The Community Gardens

Wright’s Sketches for Broadacre City.

“We will spread out, and in so doing will transform our human habitation sites into those allowing beauty of design and landscaping, sanitation and fresh air, privacy and playgrounds, and a plot whereon to raise things.” Frank Lloyd Wright

By Joëlle Payet
Pop-Up City
June 28, 2011


In 1932 Frank Lloyd Wright presented the so-called Broadacre City in his book ‘The Disappearing City’.

Often referred to as a Utopia, The Broadacre City is now celebrated through landscape urbanism projects all around the world. Often considered as the main ecological threat, the city can now play in addressing the environmental challenges and part of its regeneration will take the form of urban agriculture.

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June 28, 2011   Comments Off

Room for Urban Agriculture in Rotterdam

By Paul de Graaf

Since 2007 a group of Rotterdam citizens has been active under the name Eetbaar Rotterdam (Edible Rotterdam). Coming from different disciplines this expert group has been stimulating and initiating urban agriculture in Rotterdam, because they believe urban agriculture can greatly benefit the city.

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June 27, 2011   Comments Off

5-piece Urban Farming backpack set of tools

Design student’s idea for community gardeners on the go

By Olli Hirvonen (With Mirko Ihrig), third year industrial design student from Lahti Institute of Fine arts and Design, currently studying abroad in the Lund University’s Master Programme in Industrial Design.

Urban farming makes sense in many ways: It is good for your health, fitness, the environment and, since you grow your own food locally even for your budget. The five-piece “Urban Farming Tools”-set comes with a backpack in which all the tools find their place. The detachable handle of the bigger tools can be strapped to the outside of the backpack, so you can easily transport everything on the way to your plot.

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June 27, 2011   7 Comments

City Farms, Parks And Boston: Let’s Grow Up

Historic postcard of sheep grazing in Franklin Park, via Union Park Press – Dorchester Historical Society

Will urban food production ruin our economy, change our climate, and make our world a more miserable place to live?

By Meg Muckenhoupt
Union Park Press
June 21, 2011


It’s been days since Edward Glaeser published his urban farm-bashing piece in the Boston Globe, but I’m still annoyed. Glaeser, a professor of economics at Harvard University and director of the Rappaport Institute for Greater Boston, managed to argue against farms in a way that could extend to urban parks, gardens, zoos, swimming pools, and most sidewalks. He also ignored some intriguing trends in making urban farming more efficient, a.k.a. the Vertical Farm.

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June 27, 2011   2 Comments

The Importance of Urban Farmers Selling at Urban Farmers’ Markets

Justin and dad, last father’s day weekend, at Gordon Square, Cleveland, Ohio.

The opportunity for the public to randomly see other members of the public making mostly cash money out of local resources can be inspiring

By Justin “Old” Husher
The Garden Life and Times of Justin Husher
June 21, 2011


In the insider world of urban farming, there’s a lot of discussion as to how a farmer makes the most sales (and subsequent money) with the least amount of work. It’s the classic efficiency scenario that corporations and MBA programs use to rationalize all sorts of stuff. Most of these discussions eventually lean towards restaurant sales being a far superior means of earning money than selling at farmers’ markets in the inner city.

And in my experience, this is completely true. Selling a whole cooler of 20 heads of lettuce at $2.50 a head is a pretty awesome feeling. It normally only takes about ten minutes of transaction time, plus gas and driving expense, and it often leads to other sales. In modern capitalism, this approach is heralded.

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June 27, 2011   Comments Off

National Science Foundation grant: Students learn about urban farming practices

Seattle Central Community College.

SAgE, believed to be the nation’s first metropolitan-based community college sustainable agriculture program that emphasizes farming practices across diverse landscape types from urban centers to surrounding rural environs.

By Marlene Cimons,
National Science Foundation
June 21, 2011


“Urban agriculture doesn’t necessarily equate to production that occurs only in a metropolitan urban area,’’ says Jason Niebler, who directs the Sustainable Agriculture Education (SAgE) Initiative at Seattle Central Community College. “It means we are providing for growing population food needs from surrounding rural landscapes, as well as from the core urban landscape.’’

Picture a series of concentric circles, with an urban core that produces some food at varying capacities, surrounded by a series of outlying rings of small farms that become increasingly more rural with distance. The hope is that such land use planning, from the inner core to the outer rings, will encourage local ecologically sound sustainable food production. This, in turn, will create local jobs and decrease reliance on distant food products that originate from petroleum intensive large scale farms.

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June 26, 2011   Comments Off