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Posts from — October 2011

Compost’s secret ingredient – Leaves!

Time to collect your leaves for the coming 12 months

The number one secret to making good compost in a backyard bin is leaves. Every time food scraps go in, add a handful of leaves to the mix. At Vancouver’s Compost Garden, we collect enough leaves in the Fall to last the whole year.

Today Maria and I went down to Kitsilano Beach in Vancouver to collect bags of leaves and just happened to meet ‘Captain’ Kirk who was driving a tractor pulling a leaf vacuum sweeper for the Park Board. He shared with us where the leaves go and how they fertilize the City’s parks.

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October 31, 2011   1 Comment

Vancouver political party highlights its support of urban agriculture before municipal elections

‘Vision Vancouver’ – Community gardens and food security

By VoteVision, Press Release
Vision is a Vancouver, BC, political party
Oct 25, 2011

Take a walk through the expanded Cottonwood Community Gardens on Raymur Avenue or the newly formed Mount Pleasant Gardens on Ontario and West 16th and you’ll see the potential for growing food in an urban setting. Tomatoes, bok choi and apple trees abound! Vision Vancouver sees the potential too – we even built a community garden at City Hall.

In 2010, Vision Vancouver established 450 new community garden plots in the city. It’s just one of the ways Vision Vancouver is support urban agriculture and food security. Vancouver now has approximately 3260 community garden plots.

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October 31, 2011   Comments Off

Clepsydra Urban Farming

Clepsydra is a a vertical farm linked through a bridge to host buildings with a scale applicable to new housing developments, existing urban blocks, diverse type of buildings (hospitals, dorms, hotels, supermarkets)

Project by Bruno Viganò – Florencia Costa
via Agritecture
2011-10-31

Excerpt:

“The autonomy of the stories facilitates the creation of the appropriate environment for each crop allowing year round production. The 1500 sq ft footprint urban lot prototype produces the equivalent to 6 acres of farmland for certain crops or 40 tons of tomatoes a year. The prefab structural frame is built with mechanically assembled steel rods needing no welding, enable fast mounting, disassembling and maintenance operations. The enclosure is made of a transparent, resistant structural plastic membrane (ETFE). Clepsydra can be composed into multiple kits creating sustainable neighborhoods and cities.”

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October 31, 2011   Comments Off

Jazz great Rene Marie sings for audience at kitchen for the homeless

From YouTube notes:
“Rene and her Trio dropped in on the Emmanuel Dining Room (an organization that feeds the homeless) in Wilmington Delaware on the morning of her performance at the Clifford Brown Jazz Festival. What a delightful experience to see the faces light-up with sheer enjoyment when she performed this number.”

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October 30, 2011   Comments Off

Uncle Sam signs up chickens for the War effort in 1917

There were many poultry magazines 100 years ago, perhaps as common as our computer magazines today. They were full of photos, stories and ads for a large audience. The North American population was closer to its rural roots then. But even during the First World War, people looked back to a time when they were more involved in agriculture. Mike

From the Editorial
Everybodys Poultry Magazine
September 1917

“… to increase the production of poultry and eggs, to increase the general interest and especially to, in some way, bring back the thousands upon thousands of small and backyard breeders who flourished years ago, who kept high grade standard-bred stock, and were in part at least, producers as well as consumers.”

“There are great questions requiring consideration and united action, but this one of the backyard breeder in city and village alike is foremost of all.

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October 30, 2011   1 Comment

Giant wasp nest found just in time for Halloween at Vancouver’s Compost Garden


Maria holding wasp nest. Photo by Michael Levenston.

Sheryl: “… A dark shadow that looked like an alien head.”

When staff aren’t giving tours, answering the Compost Hotline, or talking to the media, they are gardening our 1/4 acre ‘office’ in Vancouver. Our front garden is landscaped with native British Columbia plants that we don’t have to water in the summer.

This week Sheryl was doing some Fall clean-up out front on an attractive bush. “It was quite the feeling to be pruning away and then to reveal this dark shadow that looked like an alien head, but upon closer inspection it was a beautiful, perfect, huge wasp nest.”

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October 29, 2011   1 Comment

Grow your own food and chop £1,300 from the grocery bill


Fruits of their labours: The Dunn family at their London allotment.

A salad may cost £1.50 in the shops but a packet of 100 seeds less than £1.

By Toby Walne
This is Money – UK
Oct 24, 2011

Excerpt:

Autumn is the ideal time for gardeners to prepare for the following year – and possibly knock £1,300 off the annual grocery bill.

Research from the National Society of Allotment & Leisure Gardeners has found that allotment holders spend an average £202 growing vegetables and fruit every year that would sell for £1,564 in shops.

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October 29, 2011   Comments Off

Burpee Home Gardens “I Can Grow” Youth Garden Award Gives a BOOST to School, Community Gardens Nationwide

Garden Grant Application Available Online, Due Dec. 23, 2011

Press Release
Oct. 25, 2011

Burpee Home Gardens(R) is now accepting applications for the 2012 “I Can Grow” Youth Garden Award. In its third year, the “I Can Grow” program continues to support urban school and community gardens in cities across the United States. To date, the “I Can Grow” program has provided more than 8,000 vegetable and herb plants to help create 16 gardens nationwide.

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October 28, 2011   Comments Off

Grow Studio – a design consultancy specializing in urban agriculture


Harlem Community Farm.

Grow Studio is a diverse team of professionals and consultants with combined experience in architecture, planning, graphics, engineering, agriculture and landscape architecture.

Grow Studio is a design consultancy specializing in urban agriculture. We offer the talent and expertise of EOA / Elmslie Osler Architect to forward-thinking clients who want to bring the many benefits of growing fresh food into their communities. Using extensive research, we create agricultural systems whose various parts are connected through a BIG design idea. These systems are fully integrated into new or existing commercial, residential, community and civic projects. We believe that the benefits of growing fresh, healthy food combined with extraordinary design creates more livable and sustainable communities.

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October 28, 2011   Comments Off

TEDxClaremontColleges – Jesse DuBois – The Urban Farming Revolution

Jesse DuBois is an urban agriculturalist. He moved to Los Angeles to become a screenwriter, but instead got caught up in reshaping the food system. He is the CoFounder and currently serves as the Chief Eclectic Officer for two start-ups: Farmscape, an urban farming maintenance company, and Agrisaurus, a web-based polyculture gardening assistant. Horticulturally, he is a big fan of the nightshade family.

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October 27, 2011   Comments Off

Shipping containers grow lettuce in Atlanta


Backhaus estimates that Podponics will turn out 40-50 tons of green per year

By Sara Rich
The Atlantic
Oct 26, 2011

Excerpts:

The six containers, or “pods,” represent a trial-and-error process through which Podponics found their way to a cost-effective means of production. They’re still iterating toward a better way to enter the boxes without disrupting the interior environment. For now, Backhaus pulls open the door they same way a dock worker would, and we stand in an aisle between floor-to-ceiling rows of lettuce, growing through holes in white PVC pipe. The hydroponic lights illuminate the greens like a food styling set.

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October 27, 2011   Comments Off

Seeding the City: Land Use Policies to Promote Urban Agriculture

Written by Heather Wooten, MCP (PHLP) and Amy Ackerman, JD (Consulting Attorney)
The National Policy and Legal Analysis Network to Prevent Childhood Obesity (NPLAN)
October 2011 – 40 pages

Introduction – Excerpt

Communities can support, promote, and preserve urban agriculture through land use laws. Land use policies can assist in securing access to and ensuring the preservation of land for agricultural uses. Zoning regulations can ensure that agriculture occurs in suitable locations and under the proper conditions. But there is no one-size-fits-all urban agricultural land use policy. Urban areas vary in availability of land for agriculture, population density, soil suitability, and resident interest. This toolkit sets forth a framework and model language for urban agriculture land use policies that communities can tailor to their particular context and needs.

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October 26, 2011   Comments Off

American Grown: Michelle Obama’s New Kitchen Garden Book

How the White House Kitchen Garden Inspires Families, Schools and CommunitiesForthcoming April 10, 2012

By Eddie Gehman Kohan
Obama Foodorama
Oct 24, 2011

Excerpts:

In the book, which is more than likely to be a bestseller, Mrs. Obama will describe how daughters Malia, 13, and Sasha, 10, “were the catalysts for change for their family’s eating behavior which inspired her national initiative to address childhood obesity and resulted in the idea to plant a vegetable garden on the South Lawn,” according to Crown’s publicity blurb. The book will include recipes from the White House chefs, as well as resources on gardening and other food access projects.

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October 26, 2011   Comments Off

First lady Michelle Obama visits two urban farms in Chicago


First lady Michelle Obama visits Growing Power Urban Farm, Tuesday, Oct. 25, 2011, in Chicago with Mayor Rahn Emanuel. The farm is a seven acre site on the city’s South Side that produces healthy food year round. (AP Photo/M. Spencer Green)

Michelle Obama Urges Mayors to Adopt Chicago’s Food-Desert Fight

By Blair Euteneuer
Bloomberg
Oct 25, 2011

Excerpt:

The first lady joined Emanuel and eight other mayors, along with chief executive officers of several food retailers. Emanuel announced one of Chicago’s major urban farm networks, Growing Power, has signed a memorandum of understanding with Walgreen Co. and Aldi to sell locally grown produce. The farms would offer job opportunities and economic development.

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October 26, 2011   Comments Off

Oxford, England allotment holder wins top city honour


Overall winner Reg Curnock.

“He’s an inspiration, but even though he is 75 he can still out-dig us any day.”

By Debbie Waite
Oxford Times
20th October 2011

Excerpt:

The former Pressed Steel worker, from Brambling Way, Blackbird Leys, said: “I’ve had an allotment for more than 40 years. It’s lovely to know my grandchildren who live locally are all enjoying fresh veg.

“Keeping an allotment is hard work and commitment is key, but without this patch of ground and my vegetables I would just be sitting indoors, watching TV. This keeps me fit and in the fresh air and I can deliver fresh fruit and veg to the family every week.”

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October 26, 2011   Comments Off