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Posts from — June 2012

American Society of Botanical Artists publishes coloring book

Colorful Edibles

Project Coordinators: Bobby Angell and Wendy Hollender
Designer: Charlotte Staub Thomas
Editor: Bobbi Angell

A coloring book featuring contemporary botanical art created by members of the American Society of Botanical Artists. Thirty-six pen and ink drawings of fruit and vegetables are paired with information about the origins and the uses of each fruit and vegetable.

Truly a coloring book for all ages. Garden teachers will find this activity book to be a helpful teaching tool. A great gift idea for gardeners and a unique raffle/auction item for garden clubs or community gardens.

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June 30, 2012   Comments Off

Community gardens help Ethiopia’s urban poor grow

Members of an urban garden in Allem Genet. Photo by Borja Santos Porras. More excellent photos in article.

Since 2008 in Ethiopia, the Urban Gardens Program has strived to improve the general health and incomes of women, orphans and vulnerable children affected by HIV/AIDS, through urban agriculture.

By Borja Santos Porras, Debre Zeit
Radio Netherlands Worldwide – Africa
25 June 2012


“My husband died from HIV/AIDS years ago and then I lost my first daughter the same way,” says Sishae, an elderly widow who works in a community garden established in 2010 in the town of Debre Zeit, an hour south of Addis Ababa.

“By working in the garden I now have some income to help support my children and my grandchildren,” she explains.

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June 30, 2012   Comments Off

City of Somerville Starts Blog, Facebook Page for Urban Agriculture

See photo caption below.

City Hall Garden Yields Fresh Produce; New Blog And Facebook Page Help City Growers Share Ideas About Urban Agriculture

City of Somerville
June 26, 2012

From the site’s blog post – see photo above

“This week Senior Transportation Planner (and vegetable supermodel) Sarah Spicer forgot her lunch. Luckily, we have our own food security source at City Hall, so she was able to have a freshly picked delicious salad and get back to making Somerville easier to move in. And then there’s Brian McCarthy from the Communications Department. He’s a novice gardener, a city boy and a little squeamish (no judgment) about touching the garden. Notice he’s got his protective gloves on to assure he doesn’t touch any cabbage worms (see previous post) while he is harvesting chives? Hey, gardeners each have their own way of doing things and as long as more people are growing, they can do it with or without gloves!”

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June 29, 2012   Comments Off

Vancouver Bakery Landscapes with Wheat

Patio at Terra Breads. Photo by Michael Levenston.

Terra Breads participates in the Environmental Youth Alliance’s Lawn to Loaves project

Mary MacKay, Head Baker of Terra Breads Bakery seeded planter boxes with wheat seed this spring. It now makes for part of an attractive landscape patio at their 5th Avenue site.

Lawns To Loaves encourages people in Vancouver to grow small patches of wheat which they then pool together for a harvest celebration.

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June 29, 2012   Comments Off

The City of Detroit and Michigan State University move forward on urban agriculture research

Myrtle Thompson-Curtis, tills the ground in the Feedom Freedom Growers urban garden on Manistee on Detroit’s east side. Photo by Steve Perez.

Michigan State University to spend $500,000 a year for three years to explore the creation of the MetroFoodPlus Innovation Cluster

By John Gallagher
Free Press Business
June 27, 2012


The City of Detroit and Michigan State University have agreed in principle to pursue a major urban agriculture research program within the city to explore innovative research and techniques, such as transforming empty buildings into multi-tiered farms.

The program is envisioned as the central hub of a future collection of worldwide facilities focused on urban agriculture research.

No central campus site has been chosen yet, and the memorandum of understanding that was signed Wednesday signed by Mayor Dave Bing and MSU President Lou Anna K. Simon doesn’t tie either side to any specific deadlines or dollar commitments.

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June 28, 2012   2 Comments

Zuidpark – Europe’s largest rooftop farm opens in Amsterdam

Opened June 6, 2012. Video visit in the Dutch.

3000m2 Urban Farming Rooftop

3000m2 Urban Farming rooftop will open for all residents of Zuidpark. Hands-on sowing, weeding and harvesting will be a reality for everyone. The official opening and open day will both feature a tasty example of Zuidpark’s new agricultural element: courtesy of top chefs.

An office is no longer merely a workplace, it has become a centre in which to meet others, where networks come together and friendships are developed.

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June 28, 2012   1 Comment

Forward Thinking Museum exhibits Eric Tourneret’s urban beekeeping photos

In Wan Chai, Hong Kong, Michael Lueung keeps a hive of Chinese bees on the roof top of the Art galery and library ACO.

Eric Tourneret’s Megacity Honey – 21st Century Urban Beekeeping – 36 Photos

Eric Tourneret: A photojournalist for 25 years, his favorite work involves studies of subcultures and human interest stories.


The big capitals of the world are showing an amazing enthusiasm for beekeeping. In London, mayor Boris Johnson has launched a campaign to make the capital “bee friendly”… Apiaries and community gardens have been set up, and – in time for the Olympic Games – the city can boast the creation of 2012 parks… In Berlin, the green city, apiaries have been installed since 2011. The city counts 750 beekeepers, and 2,500 hives.

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June 27, 2012   Comments Off

Carolyn Dimitri to Study the Economics of Urban Farming with $453,000 USDA Grant

At Snug Harbor Heritage Farms, Carolyn Dimitri and her students get a chance to visit a real farm and “get their hands dirty” planting, composting, and transplanting vegetables. “It makes our theoretical discussions in the classroom very concrete,” Dimitri says.

The State Of Urban Farming In The United States: Enhancing The Viability Of Small And Medium-Sized Commercial Urban Farms.

From At A Glance
News from the NYU Steinhardt Community
Apr 23, 2012

A recently awarded $453,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture will allow the associate professor and researchers at Penn State to study urban agriculture in fifteen cities. The project is titled, The State Of Urban Farming In The United States: Enhancing The Viability Of Small And Medium-Sized Commercial Urban Farms.

Urban farms are not easy to characterize because in many cities farms are located on roofs, vacant lots, or in greenhouses. The researchers will be analyzing data from the agricultural census, a survey of farmers, and information gathered from interviews to evaluate the technical assistance needs of urban farms.

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June 27, 2012   Comments Off

“Twilight’s Victoria”, actress Rachelle Lefevre, helps plant school garden

Canadian actress Rachelle Lefevre at Helen Bernstein High School Garden in LA

By EMA Staff
Environmental Media Association
June 21, 2012

Toyota of Hollywood sponsored Helen Bernstein High School’s vegetable garden in conjunction with Environmental Media Association’s (EMA) Young Hollywood Garden Project. EMA member Rachelle Lefevre (“Twilight’s Victoria) and EMA President Debbie Levin helped with our first planting in May.

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June 26, 2012   Comments Off

Cincinnati’s Camp Washington applies for urban farm $800,000 grant

One possible site for the vertical urban farm is the Samuel Hannaford-designed Crosley Building, an eight-story, 300,000-square-foot vacant structure.

Urban Farm Project could possibility use some of the Crosley for vertical integrated farming of fish, worms, produce

Kevin LeMaster
Building Cincinnati
June 25, 2012


The Camp Washington Community Board has applied for an $800,000, three-year community development grant to establish the Camp Washington Urban Farm Project.

The grant, from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Community Services would be used to address the “food desert” problem in the neighborhood by establishing several community garden sites, creating a distribution network, and provide the foundation to expand into vertical integrated urban farming using vacant former industrial spaces.

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June 26, 2012   Comments Off

Mission Urban Garden in Calgary

Produce from the recently cultivated Mission Urban Garden on 5th Street and 20th Ave. S.W. will be featured on the menu of Brava Bistro. Photo by Trevor Scott Howell.

‘Everyone Wins’ With Mission Urban Garden

By Shannon Gormley
Open File
June 25, 2012


Everybody wins here,” says Woolley. “The landowner wins, because the lot looks beautiful. The restaurants win, because they get to use local produce. And the whole community wins, because it finally has another garden.”

Just don’t confuse this project with attempts to surreptitiously plant rogue potatoes on private property.

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June 26, 2012   Comments Off

Internet of food: Urban Aquaponics in Oakland

System Uses sensors (to detect water level, pH and temperature), microprocessors (mostly the open-source Arduino microcontroller), relay cards, clouds and social media networks (Twitter and Facebook)

By Kirsten Dirksen
June 25, 2012


The land in West Oakland where Eric Maundu is trying to farm is covered with freeways, roads, light rail and parking lots so there’s not much arable land and the soil is contaminated. So Maundu doesn’t use soil. Instead he’s growing plants using fish and circulating water.

Aquaponics has become popular in recent years among urban gardeners and DIY tinkerers, but Maundu- who is trained in industrial robotics- has taken the agricultural craft one step further and made his gardens smart.

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June 25, 2012   Comments Off

Havana Urban Agriculture – Infrastructure for Food Gardens

A banana orchard grows where a home once stood, within a dense neighborhood. Photo by Claire Napawan-Seybert.

An interview with Claire Napawan-Seybert, who is a landscape architect, and a professor in the U.C. Davis Department of Environmental Design.

May 3, 2012


Is there anything specific about the infrastructure of the city that you feel contributes to the success of urban farming? Are there any lessons American cities might learn from a physical planning perspective?

Government support was instrumental for training new farmers, making urban land available, providing equipment and growing materials. Being a communist nation, where the government owns nearly all urban land, makes assessment and leasing of land more facile than in the U.S. Issues [we have here] such as high urban property values, etc. are not issues there, since the buying and selling of property is illegal in Cuba.

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June 25, 2012   Comments Off

PhD Studentship: Expanding urban agriculture: policy and community approaches

Centre for Environment and Society Research – Birmingham School of the Built Environment, Birmingham City University

Deadline for applications was 20th June 2012.

Applications are invited for a 3 year PhD Research Studentship within the Centre for Environment and Society Research. It will pay University fees at the home/EU level, and a tax free living allowance equivalent to UK Research Council level (approx £13,590). The Centre for Environment and Society Research (CESR) studies human intervention in the physical and social environment with a strong desire to improve current and future conditions. In the latest RAE, the research centre demonstrated that 10% of its research outputs were of “world class”, and 55% were of international, quality standards.

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June 25, 2012   Comments Off

Balcony farmers are taking root in China

Beijing residents grow vegetables and plants on their building’s roof. Photo by Xinhua.

With growing wealth, concerns about food safety and the fever for online shopping, more urbanites are taking to farming on their own terms.

By Zheng Jinran
China Daily
June 23, 2012


The perfect storm of two major trends in China – online shopping and growing concerns about food safety – has given birth to a generation of urban farmers.

More urban residents, many of whom are young people between the ages of 25 to 35 living in metropolises such as Beijing, are growing vegetables and herbs on their balconies or rented farmland in the suburbs, and turning to Taobao, a major online shopping service provider in China, to start their apartment gardens.

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June 24, 2012   Comments Off