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Posts from — August 2012

Vancouver’s Strathcona and Cottonwood Community Gardens Threatened

Click image for larger view.

Cottonwood provides about 150 plots, including accessible, raised beds, to a membership of 167

By Len Kydd and Beth MacLaren
Cottonwood Gardeners

A consequence of the city’s plan to remove the Dunsmuir and Georgia Viaducts is a plan to divert traffic off of Prior Street to an expanded Malkin Avenue (the Malkin Connector). Malkin will be extended to Main Street and at the east end, an overpass will be built over the tracks to connect to Clark Drive. Malkin Avenue is the right-of-way for the downtown freeway that was never built. This right-of-way is 12 lanes wide and parts of Cottonwood Garden, Strathcona Garden and Strathcona Park have all been developed on this unused right-of-way. Technically this is not park, but has been developed as such and the expansion of Malkin Avenue will seriously erode what many in the community regard as park.

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August 31, 2012   4 Comments

Farming Among the Waste in Cameroon, Africa

Cameroonian farmer digs out cassava tubers: Rural-urban migration, aggravated by the adverse effects of climate change on rural farming, is thought to be one of the main reasons behind the growing number of urban farmers in the city. Photo by Anne-Mireille Nzouankeu/RNW.

Urban wastewater farming is not a regulated activity in Cameroon, although it is an important part of the urban food system.

By Monde Kingsley Nfor
All Africa
30 August 2012


Yaoundé — Cameroonian urban famer Juliana Numfor has six plots of land where she grows maize, cassava, sweet potatoes and leafy vegetables, including cabbages, wild okra and greens.

The soil in which her crops grow is moist and visibly marshy, and a stream of water runs near it. But if you take a closer look you will notice that the water is dark and smells unpleasant.

In fact it is wastewater, which comes from a student residential quarter in Yaoundé, popularly called “Cradat”, that is less than 400 metres away from her plots of land.

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August 31, 2012   Comments Off on Farming Among the Waste in Cameroon, Africa

Petition to Berlin Senate to preserve The Prinzessinnengarten

Prinzessinnengarten, an urban agriculture project in the heart of Berlin.

13 full-time positions threatened, as is the result of 30,000 hours of volunteer work per season

The future of the Prinzessinnengarten is uncertain. The Property Fund plans to sell the city-owned plot at Moritzplatz. The Property Fund has been commissioned to sell the plot on behalf of the Berlin Senate. This could mean the imminent end of the garden.

Open spaces offer opportunities for social engagement and new forms of urban life. They are part of the creative, beautiful and wild Berlin that is so fervently espoused by politicians. Moritzplatz exemplifies the threat to such spaces, but also the opportunities that arise from them. It could become a model for forward-looking property policies that takes into account the value of places such as the Prinzessinnengarten and that include citizens on an equal footing and from an early stage.
In order to establish a sustainable future for the Prinzessinnengarten and to appropriately involve the neighborhood around Moritzplatz in the development of their living environment, we demand the following:

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August 30, 2012   Comments Off on Petition to Berlin Senate to preserve The Prinzessinnengarten

Retirees find new life farming Toyota fields in Japan

Green thumb: Kenji Nakahara, who spent his entire working life at Toyota Motor Corp., tends vegetables he is growing on a farm in Toyota, Aichi Prefecture, in July. KYODO

City provides all the training as baby boomers leave automaker

By Yui Matsutake
Japan Times
Aug. 30, 2012

NAGOYA — In the city of Toyota, Aichi Prefecture, a growing number of retired corporate employees have taken up farming thanks to a city-run agricultural training program.

The city, the home base of Toyota Motor Corp., launched the training center in 2004 ahead of a surge in the number of retirees when baby boomers began reaching retirement age in around 2007.

It was a big hit and now more than 250 participants are actively engaged in farming.

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August 30, 2012   Comments Off on Retirees find new life farming Toyota fields in Japan

3 million bees seized from Queens man in stunning ‘sting’ operation

Cops discovered an incredible 3 million bees being kept as “pets” at a house yesterday. Photo by Andrew Cote/Nyc Beekeepers Association.

‘It’s gotten out of hand,’ admits Yin Gin Chen. Beekeepers swarm upon Corona house and confiscate insects and take them to undisclosed location

By Clare Trapasso And Oren Yaniv
New York Daily News
Aug 23, 2012


A residential Queens block became a buzzy battleground with nearly 3 million bees swarming around a modest brick house on a lot teeming with 45 hives.

Brazen beekeeper Yi Gin Chen, 58, claimed he started with one hive two years ago and the insects just multiplied.
“It’s gotten out of hand,” he said. “I don’t have the time or resources to do this.”

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August 30, 2012   Comments Off on 3 million bees seized from Queens man in stunning ‘sting’ operation

Venezuela’s US Embassy releases report on urban agriculture in Venezuela

Unidad de Producción en el Centro de Caracas. Al Lado Del Hotel Alba Caracas Funciona Una De Las Unidades. (foto: Omar Sierra)

Urban agriculture is one of the strategies promoted by the government of President Hugo Chavez to increase food supply, combat poverty, recover urban spaces and reduce environmental effects caused by the use of agrochemicals.

Embassy of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela in the U.S.
TECHNICAL: Urban agriculture in Venezuela
August 2012 (in Spanish)


Food Sovereignty is the “power of states to define their own agricultural and food policies according to objectives of sustainable development and food security” – La Via Campesina, 1996

Achievements (translated by Google)

With a total investment of USD 44 billion by the national government, now in Venezuela, is produced at a low cost and nationwide: onion, sweet pepper, leek, basil, celery, eggplant, zucchini, cucumber, cilantro, lettuce, tomato, radish, beets and green beans in spaces promoted by urban agriculture. By July 2012, there were 26,296 agricultural production units (UPA) from home gardens, community, institutional and school, in 10 states of the country prioritized (Anzoategui, Aragua, Carabobo, Distrito Capital, Lara, Miranda, Monagas, Tachira, Vargas and Zulia), rising food production of 457.9 tonnes in 2009-6340 201,216 tons in May.

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August 30, 2012   Comments Off on Venezuela’s US Embassy releases report on urban agriculture in Venezuela

New urban farming system aims to return Vancouver to a time when food was local

Donovan Woollard explains how the urban farming system will take place on top of a Vancouver parking garage. Photo by Kim Stallknecht. Also see video with the article.

Woollard said the small footprint replaces 10 to 20 acres of traditional farmland

By Jeff Green
The Province
August 24, 2012


It doesn’t look like much now, but by October the top of a dusty parking garage in the heart of Vancouver expects to be harvesting up to 700 pounds of produce, five days a week.

On Wednesday, Alterrus began the construction of its first VertiCrop urban farming system on the rooftop of a city-owned car park on Richards Street, between Dunsmuir and West Pender Streets.

The framework is in place, literally — a 6000 square-foot greenhouse imported from Holland lays in pieces awaiting a poured concrete foundation.

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August 29, 2012   Comments Off on New urban farming system aims to return Vancouver to a time when food was local

Dar es Salaam – Tanzania’s food gardening network boosts urban farming

Urban farming is a fast growing activity in Tanzanian towns

By Prosper Makene
29th August 2012


“Urban farmers in Tanzania who engage in cultivation of crops within the urban areas must take measures to ensure that it does not cause environmental degradation,” Prof. Alphonce Kyessy of Ardhi University said at a seminar for urban farmers in Dar es Salaam recently.

He said that farmers in urban areas have to ensure that the use of chemicals and fertilisers does not cause pollution of ground water sources or surface water sources including dams, rivers, wells, aquifers or any other water source or damage to soils, grass, trees, plants or any other vegetative cover.

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Earth Block garden beds

The blocks are 1/10 of the carbon footprint of a cement block.

By Green Thumbs Growing Kids
Aug 20, 2012


Henry showed up with about 100 Earth Blocks. His farm is a little over an hour away in Cobourg Ontario. He makes the blocks from his local clay, and adds 5-8% cement. The blocks are 1/10 of the carbon footprint of a cement block. They contain far less cement and are air-dried rather than kiln-dried. While they won’t last as long as cement blocks, they are comparable to wood for longevity, and using them thus leaves more trees alive and breathing. By growing more food and composting food waste close to home, greenhouse gas emissions are reduced. Further reductions are obtained by organic practices that do not use fossil fuels for fertilizer. Each bed this size will reduce GHGe by between 1.13 and 1.38T.

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August 29, 2012   Comments Off on Earth Block garden beds

The Farmery: Growing and selling in shipping containers

An innovative urban farm and market constructed from shipping containers.

By Ben Greene

The Farmery is composed of 4 shipping containers, each outfitted with a gourmet mushroom growing system on the inside and growing panels on the outside walls where herbs, lettuces, greens, strawberries, and other small crops are grown. There are lean-to greenhouses attached to the sides of the shipping containers and a central greenhouse that spans the two stacks of shipping containers. The Farmery is designed to be constructed very cheaply and quickly by using low-cost shipping containers and standard greenhouse components.

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August 28, 2012   2 Comments

Allotment Gardening For Dummies

By Sven Wombwell
March 2010

Allotment Gardening For Dummies is a lively, hands-on guide to getting the most out of your allotment. Whether you’re interested in eating fresh, saving money, getting exercise or enjoying wholesome family fun, this is the guide for you. The stepbystep advice takes you through all the stages in the process, from securing an allotment and preparing your plot, to choosing what to grow and enjoying the benefits of abundant fresh food and a sociable and healthy hobby.

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Calgary, Alberta – Gardening on Vacant Land – Verdant History, Volatile Endeavor

Preliminary Calgary town planning scheme by Thomas Mawson 1912-1914. Canadian Architectural Archives. University of Calgary.

“A prudent lawyer would discourage her client from allowing gardening on her client’s vacant lot.”

By David Laidlaw
Admitted to the Alberta Bar in 1989 with over 20 years in private practice in Calgary.
ABlawg: The University of Calgary Faculty of Law Blog on Developments in Alberta Law
June 18, 2012
(This is Part 1 of 2 of a fascinating look at the law and vacant land use. Must read. Mike)


Conclusions (from Part 2)

Vacant lot gardening has a long history in Calgary. Some legal barriers to this practice, such as Occupiers’ liability can be overcome by adequate insurance. Others such as interpretations of the Land Use Bylaw are more uncertain.

One report (audio at 6:15) said there were approximately 167 vacant lots in Calgary similar to the Scarboro vacant lot. Whether for environmental reasons, food security or aesthetic reasons, The City of Calgary may want to look at policies to allow for gardening on vacant lots on a temporary basis.

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August 27, 2012   1 Comment

Rooftop Garden Grows Food to Feed Customers at Busy Cafe

Catch a Healthy Habit Cafe, in Fairfield, Connecticut

By John Collier
Aug 26, 2012

John goes on a field trip to show you a Rooftop Raised Bed Garden that is being used to feed people at Catch a Healthy Habit Cafe, in Fairfield, CT. In this video John will show the garden after its first growing season. In addition, you will see the plants that are best to grow and will yield the most produce for the cafe.

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Urban Cultivation – A Guidebook to: Educate. Empower. Engage.

By Ashley Courtney, Brendan McShane and Ella Wiles
As part of a Thesis titled
Cultivating the Social Field:
Strategically moving Urban Agricultural Projects towards Sustainability

Submitted for completion of Master of Strategic Leadership towards Sustainability. 26 pages
Blekinge Institute of Technology, Karlskrona, Sweden. 2012.

When Urban Agriculture is strategically practiced its benefits can reach far beyond growing a humble tomato. New Guidebook launched by Urban Cultivation shows us how urban agriculture can help us to engage, empower and educate.

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August 27, 2012   Comments Off on Urban Cultivation – A Guidebook to: Educate. Empower. Engage.

Quebec couple hold “Bed In” to try to save their frontyard urban farm

Photo by Samuel Gaudreau du Studio Photo Samgothero.

Case before City Council in Drummondville, Quebec

From the couple’s website (translated from French):

A return to the city council on August 13.

But above all, we wish we urban gardeners to thank you from the bottom of my heart for all the support you have given us throughout this process with the city of Drummondville. Moreover we have announced this evening that we had the official support of more than 35,000 people have signed the petition.

As the main point we wanted to change the regulations to allow the front gardens everywhere in Drummondville.

At this meeting, the Mayor, we announced that the Board had agreed to review the regulations to allow the gardens in front of the house, but as long as everything is framed.

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August 26, 2012   2 Comments