New Stories From 'Urban Agriculture Notes'
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Gardener feeds family with $100 a month


“I think it would be a hoot to go back in time and be a pilgrim. I mean, think about it, you’d get to wear the same outfit every day, you’d save a ton of money on beauty products, and mealtime would be a snap because you wouldn’t have to get in the car and drive to the store.” Photo by Mavis Butterfield.

Mavis Butterfield plans on growing 2,000 pounds of food this year by channeling her inner pilgrim.

By Jake Stein
CNN iReport
July 13, 2012

Excerpt:

(CNN) — To housewife “Mavis Butterfield” of Gig Harbor, Washington, saving money is a game. And she isn’t afraid to roll up her sleeves to win.

No, this thrifty, coupon-clipping mother of two plans on growing 2,000 pounds of fresh food this year right out of her own back yard. Armed with 1.25 acres of planting space, Butterfield says spending less on groceries and growing as much food as possible is great way to save those pennies.

She went from spending $9,768 on groceries in 2008 to just under $1,200 in 2011. And now, she feeds her family of four on a mere $100 per month— that’s $25 a person!

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July 20, 2012   Comments Off on Gardener feeds family with $100 a month

Underground Restaurant: Local Food, Artisan Economics, Creative Political Culture


To grow the movement for urban agriculture, we need to help people learn to cook. This book explains how underground restaurants can do this, and how to create one! Underground restaurants are part of the new economy we are building that is based on relationships, integrity, and sustainability.

What does cooking a 10-course dinner for 30 have to do with supporting urban agriculture?

By Amory Starr with Andrea Godshalk

From the author:

As a permaculturalist, long-time advocate of urban agriculture, and educator, the most common barrier I’ve found to urban food is that people don’t know how to eat it. I taught The Political Economy of Food annually at 4 universities from 1995-2009 and one of the first things I learned from my students was that they didn’t know how to cook and had no idea what to do with whole vegetables.

Right away, I incorporated cooking classes into the course, and field-trips to local farmers markets, where the students were shocked and delighted by the sensations of the fresh food and the passion and generosity of the farmers. The class covered agricultural technologies, global trade, and land policies, at home and internationally. It always included a section on urban farming and edible landscaping.

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July 20, 2012   Comments Off on Underground Restaurant: Local Food, Artisan Economics, Creative Political Culture

Drummondville, Quebec orders front garden removed by July 24

Town code states that a vegetable garden can’t occupy more than 30% of the area of a front yard

Earlier this year, Josée Landry and Michel Beauchamp of Drummondville, Quebec planted the front yard of the future: a gorgeous and meticulously-maintained edible landscape full of healthy fruits and vegetables. Now they’re being ordered by town officials to remove most of their gardens (town code states that a vegetable garden can’t occupy more than 30% of the area of a front yard) in the next two weeks to make their yard conform with newly harmonized town code.

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July 20, 2012   3 Comments

Reuters: Can urban farming go corporate? A&P plans large rooftop greenhouse farm


Photo of Great Atlantic and Pacific Tea Co., or A&P in the 1800’s. Today the company will build the largest rooftop greenhouse farm in the USA.

“If you really want to change a market you have to have a lot of capital to invest in making these changes happen. And if you want to raise a lot of capital you have to be able to provide returns on the capital.”

By Nicholas Kusnetz
Reuters
Jul 19, 2012

Excerpt:

In June, Lightfoot’s company, BrightFarms, announced a deal with The Great Atlantic and Pacific Tea Co., or A&P, to provide New York City-grown vegetables to the local chain’s supermarkets year-round. The goods will grow in what the company says will be the country’s largest rooftop greenhouse farm, a high-tech hydroponic operation that will boost yields, allowing the company to face-off with organic vegetables trucked from California, cutting thousands of miles from the supply chain while aiming to provide a fresher product at a competitive price.

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July 20, 2012   1 Comment