New Stories From 'Urban Agriculture Notes'
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Breaking Through Concrete – Building an Urban Farm Revival

Children eat mango at the Garden at Westerly Creek Park in Denver, CO. Refugees from countries including Bhoutan, Somolia, and Sudan gather at this community farm where they now grow a city block’s worth of produce. Photo © Michael Hanson. See more here.

Book published January 2012

By David Hanson (Author), Edwin Marty (Author), Mark Winne (Foreword), Michael Hanson (Photographer)
University of California Press
Jan. 2012

Brothers David and Michael Hanson and urban farmer Edwin Marty document twelve successful urban farm programs, from an alternative school for girls in Detroit, to a backyard food swap in New Orleans, to a restaurant supply garden on a rooftop in Brooklyn. Each beautifully illustrated essay offers practical advice for budding farmers, such as composting and keeping livestock in the city, decontaminating toxic soil, even changing zoning laws.

1. P-Patch Community Garden Program, Seattle, Washington • The Neighborhood Garden
HOW TO: Change Your City’s Urban Agriculture Zoning Codes

2. Homeless Garden Project, Santa Cruz, California • The Farm as Therapy
HOW TO: Grow Good, Safe Food

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January 12, 2012   1 Comment

Will Urban Gardens Wilt Post-Recession?

Unlike urban leaders of yore, city and state officials today aren’t just using urban gardens as a kind of emergency welfare or a distraction from troubled political and economic times.

By Sarah Parsons
January 10, 2012


Cleveland has bulldozed 6,400 homes since 2005, and another 20,000 throughout Cuyahoga County are slated for demolition. But amid the bleak landscape, something more hopeful has been growing: urban gardens.

Cleveland has deployed Neighborhood Stabilization Program funds to replace these bulldozed homes with parks, expanded yards, and, most notably, community and market gardens. These urban farms produce food for local residents and establish a sense of stability during troubled times. While Cleveland always had a land bank to use for community improvement projects, “the accelerated demolition caused us to be more aggressive in looking at innovative ways to use the vacant land,” says Daryl Rush, director of Cleveland’s Department of Community Development.

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January 12, 2012   1 Comment

With Work Scarce in Athens, Urban Greeks Go Back to the Land

Nikos Gavalas and Alexandra Tricha tend to their snail farm in Chios, Greece. Photo by Eirini Vourloumis.

The couple are joining with an exodus of Greeks who are fleeing to the countryside and looking to the nation’s rich rural past as a guide to the future.

By Rachel Donadio
New York Times
January 8, 2012


At a troubled moment when the debt crisis has eroded the country’s recent economic gains — perhaps irrevocably — there is much debate about whether a return to the land or the sea is a step forward or backward.

Ms. Tricha knows where she stands. “My parents were from the countryside. They were farmers when they were young. I studied to avoid becoming a farmer. They were teachers. And then their daughter studied and then went back to being a farmer,” she said. Nevertheless, she added, “for me it’s like going forward, because I think we neglected the land.”

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January 12, 2012   Comments Off on With Work Scarce in Athens, Urban Greeks Go Back to the Land

Family carries on farming legacy in urban Hanoi

Tran Nguyen Bo is taking care of his garden used as a farm to earn his living in the urban center of Hanoi. Photo by Tuoi Tre.

In the middle of rapidly urbanizing Hanoi, Tran Nguyen Bo, a 70 year old man from Ngoc Ha Ward in Ba Dinh District, uses an 800 square meter garden to plant daisy flowers for earning his family’s living, following his ancestors’ work.

January 12, 2012


Sandwiched between tall buildings in a long, curvy and tiny alley of Hanoi, Bo’s small house was built in 1985 and is the only one-storey house remaining there. At the back is the green garden with fresh buds of daisies ready for the Tet holiday.

“This year winter started late, thus our crop was late as well,” Lien, Bo’s wife said while using newspaper to wrap daisy plants to be delivered to the night market.

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January 12, 2012   Comments Off on Family carries on farming legacy in urban Hanoi