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Posts from — December 2011

Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall – River Cottage Urban Smallholding documentary series – 5 parts

River Cottage Urban Smallholding (1 of 5) “Beginnings”

During River Cottage spring (2008) Hugh helped a group of Bristol families start a smallholding on derelict council land.

A talented writer, broadcaster and campaigner, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall is widely known for his uncompromising commitment to seasonal, ethically produced food and has earned a huge following through his River Cottage TV series and books.

His early smallholding experiences were shown in the Channel 4 River Cottage series and led to the publication of The River Cottage Cookbook (2001), which won the Glenfiddich Trophy and the André Simon Food Book of the Year awards.

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December 31, 2011   1 Comment

Sacramento’s approach to growing food, growing plants, and growing people.

Soil Born Farms from Soil Born Farms on Vimeo.

Soil Born Farms Apprentice 2011

By Emily Pearson
December, 2011

When Shawn Harrison speaks he has the uncanny ability to make people listen. This has come in handy during his years as co-founder and director of non-profit Soil Born Farms – an urban agriculture and education program that is changing the way his native town of Sacramento thinks about food. The project’s home base, the American River Ranch is a testament to his vision and to the possibilities that urban agriculture holds for transforming our food system in North America.

The 40-acre property sits on one of the oldest pieces of agricultural land in California and is home to the multi-pronged approach that Soil Born Farms has to changing the way we think, interact and experience our natural and agricultural environment. Behind the organization’s many lofty goals and activities lies a powerful mission statement. Created in 2000, Soil Born Farms aims to “create an urban agriculture and education project that empowers youth and adults to discover and participate in a local food system that encourages healthy living, nurtures the environment and grows a sustainable community.”

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December 31, 2011   Comments Off

Neelam Sharma speaks about a Village Marketplace at 2011 Social Innovation Fast Pitch

Community Services Unlimited Inc. in South Central Los Angeles.

Growing Healthy

The Growing Healthy program engages youth in urban farming and food based learning as a tool to help them adopt a healthier lifestyle and develop an awareness and political consciousness to the food access and environmental justice issues impacting their communities. The program currently operates at three sites: John Muir Middle School, Normandie Avenue Elementary School, and the Expo Center. We work youth and adults of all ages, from pre-school to seniors. We offer nutrition and gardening education and engage the youth in community research and projects aimed at understanding the food environment and improving access to healthy local food at their schools and in their community.

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December 30, 2011   Comments Off

Does consumption of leafy vegetables grown in peri-urban agriculture pose a risk to human health?

Roadside vegetable market, Nr. Kampala, Uganda. Photo by Mike Gadd.

Trial at five contaminated urban agriculture sites in Kampala City, Uganda

By G. Nabulo, C.R. Black, J. Craigon, S.D. Young
School of Biosciences, University of Nottingham
Online: 28 December 2011.
Environmental Pollution
Volume 162, March 2012, Pages 389-398


Concentrations of potentially toxic elements were measured in soils and five contrasting tropical leafy vegetables grown in a replicated field trial at five contaminated urban agriculture sites in Kampala City, Uganda. Soil contamination at each site could be tentatively ascribed to known waste disposal practices. There was considerable variation in metal uptake between vegetable types. Washing leafy vegetables reduced chromium and lead concentrations but exogenous contamination of leaves also depended on vegetable type, withGynandropsis gynandraL. showing a marked tendency to accumulate Pb and Cr.

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December 30, 2011   Comments Off

Jerusalem Community Garden

Produced by
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the State of Israel
via The Horticultural Channel
Oct 20, 2011

The UK may be the heartland of allotments but throughout the world people are coming together and creating their own allotment site, or community gardens as they are often called.

Five years ago, the plot of land on the grounds of the Natural History Museum in Jerusalem was barren and unused. Today it has become the city’s largest community garden.

Designed as a space to grow organic crops, the garden — located just a stone’s throw from a busy street – is also an educational institution and an urban refuge for the people of Jerusalem.

December 29, 2011   Comments Off

Grow Your Food for Free (Well Almost)

By Dave Hamilton
Green Books
April 2011

Don’t like spending money in garden centres? Think you can make it yourself for a fraction of the price or find a cheaper option? Dave Hamilton shows you how. By recycling and reusing materials creatively and making the most of what you have, you can gather all you need to grow your food on a budget. Whether it’s building your own shed from scrap, constructing a path out of recycled materials or storing your harvest without a freezer, it’s all here.

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December 29, 2011   1 Comment

Booze for Free

Broad Bean Wine, Pine Needle Cordial, Nocino, an Italian green walnut cordial, Carrot Whisky, Sloe and Damson Rum, Parsnip Sherry, Elderberry and Blackberry Wine, Pumpkin Beer, Broom Tonic, Meadowsweet Tea, Elderflower Champagne, Sloe Gin and Prison Brew

By Andy Hamilton
Eden Project Books
1 Sept, 2011

A guide that contains over 100 recipes including beer made from hops and also yarrow, mugwort, elder and other foraged plants, great tasting wines from fruit, vegetables and the hedgerows, cider and perry from apples and pears, cordials from the leaves of a range of trees, and teas and fizzy drinks from herbs and wayside flowers.

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December 29, 2011   Comments Off

State Senator looks to amend Michigan Right to Farm Act, let Detroit regulate urban farming

Legislation that would exempt the city from a provision in the state’s Right to Farm Act restricting municipalities from exercising regulatory authority over agriculture.

By Jonathan Oosting
November 29, 2011


Urban farming advocates say the law, intended to ensure all Michigan farmers operate under the same rules, is discouraging Detroit from allowing farms that would otherwise generate jobs and food.

“I see this as something that can bring real economic activity to the city of Detroit,” Smith told “I don’t think think there’s any other large urban area that has something like this going on. So we can be very innovative, and I really think this could help feed families and put people to work.”

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December 28, 2011   Comments Off

Urban agriculture in 2011

Success and failure in the worldwide urban agriculture movement

By Todd Major
North Shore News
December 28, 2011


This has been a year of success and failure for the worldwide urban agriculture movement that is desperately trying to atone for past abuses against the environment and to respond to growing concerns about the safety and sustainability of modern food production.

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December 28, 2011   1 Comment

The only urban beekeeping store in the world is in San Francisco

Video and story from Faircompanies here.

Is the City the Future for Honeybees? America’s Only Urban Beekeeping Store Owner Thinks So

Sami Grover
December 28, 2011


We’ve already seen studies that suggest that big city bees may be healthier than their rural counterparts. And that’s something Bryon Waibel—proprietor of America’s only urban beekeeping store Her Majesty’s Secret Beekeeper—would agree with. Having seen his own urban bees thrive while his Dad’s bees in the countryside of Minnesota have struggled, Waibel is convinced that the city may be the home of the future for honeybees.

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December 28, 2011   Comments Off

Robots to replace aging farmers

Prospero Agricultural Swarmbots – The Future Of Farming?

By David Dorhout


Today’s agricultural equipment has been designed around a person sitting in a chair. It cost a lot to employ a single person so the equipment grew larger in order to maximize the productivity of that one person. However, this method has its drawbacks. Farming decisions have to be made at the field level. Nature is chaotic and dynamic. Soil nutrients and moisture change from foot to foot. Having equipment that allows a single person to plant a thousand acres in a day comes at the cost of productivity per acre as a result of treating all those acres as the same. A swarm of small robots like Prospero would have the ability to farm inch by inch,

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December 27, 2011   1 Comment

City, suburban residents try hand at fish farming in Baltimore

Volunteers Gary Jenkins, left, and Curt Millington, right, and microbiologist Dave Love, center, of The Johns Hopkins Center for a Liveable Future, are lining the holding tank for fish at an aquaponics facility under construction in a greenhouse at Cylburn Arboretum. Photo by Amy Davis, Baltimore Sun.

People interested in self-sustainability, trustworthy food sources turning to aquaponics

By Timothy B. Wheeler
The Baltimore Sun
December 26, 2011


The aquarium in the living room of Meir and Leah Lazar’s Baltimore County home isn’t just for decoration. The tilapia and bluegills packed into the 50-gallon glass tank are waiting their turn to wind up on dinner plates.

Out back, Meir Lazar is putting the finishing touches on a bigger new home for the fish inside a plastic-covered greenhouse. There, he hopes, the waste from the fish he’s tending will help him raise enough lettuce, tomatoes and other produce to feed his family of five year-round.

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December 27, 2011   2 Comments

Brewerymarket as Urban Agriculture Inspired by Beer Hop Plants

3rd Prize Winner proposal for the Farmer’s Market Competition

By Lidija Grozdanic |
December 26, 2011


“Hop plant (Humulus Lupulus) is vigorous climbing vegetation and hops are used primarily as an important flavoring and stability agent in the beer making process. The proposal creates the sensual experience of a vibrant ‘garden’ where the hops are farmed on hop poles to create the building’s main green facade. The adjustable assembly systems of the modular vending bins are inspired from the natural material properties of hop pods.

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December 27, 2011   1 Comment

Another World is Plantable – Community Gardening in Berlin

See the complete film here.

36 minute film

Director/Producer: Ella von der Haide
Produced in 2006 – Germany


Urban community gardens are a phenomenon that is growing worldwide. In Berlin as well, more and more people are coming together in order to take responsibility for their surroundings collaboratively and to grow their own ecological foods. At the heart of the film are the activists from three inner-city community gardens,

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December 26, 2011   Comments Off

Another World is Plantable – Community Gardening in South Africa

See larger format of the film here.

4o minute film

Director/Producer: Ella von der Haide
Produced in 2006 – Germany


Community gardens are widespread in South Africa. Traditional methods and innovative technologies are being used to grow organic food and create communities. The community gardens are places of hope, solidarity, and sometimes of active resistance against official neo-liberal politics. The four examples from the film show three outstanding projects: Women Peace Garden in the Cape Flats,

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December 26, 2011   Comments Off