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Posts from — September 2012

Transitory Gardens, Uprooted Lives

“Most of the gardens documented in this book have been destroyed.”

By Ms. Margaret Morton and Ms. Diana Balmori
Yale University Press, 160 pages
February 22, 1995

Jimmy’s garden on the Lower East Side of Manhattan – an assortment of stones and garbage bags, five tires, a chair, a skid, a refrigerator shelf, some ailanthus trees and goldfish, a wooden fence, and a pond with water carried by hand from a nearby fire hydrant – was recently bulldozed by the city. Jimmy then disappeared. Anna’s garden is surrounded by a tall chainlink fence and filled with a menagerie of dolls and stuffed animals. The animals are whole, the dolls are maimed. Anna is a recluse who speaks to no one. The neighbors say she was in a concentration camp as a child.

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September 29, 2012   Comments Off

SpacesTV visits a New York community garden

The Urban Gardener
A SpacesTV video
SPACES serves up home decorating ideas, and delivers inspiration and innovation from top designers, enthusiastic celebrities, and hands-on professionals.

Urban Gardener is a video series dedicated to exploring some of the most interesting city green spaces and meeting some of the most creative urban gardeners around the US, whether they’re just off a street or ontop of a skyscraper – we’ll find ‘em.

More SpacesTV videos here.

September 29, 2012   Comments Off

City begins removal of five-month-old Occupy Toronto vegetable garden

Video of the garden from last summer.

“The garden was planted as an act of civil disobedience in the name of food security”

By Renata D’Aliesio
The Globe and Mail
Sep. 28 2012


The City of Toronto began dismantling a vegetable garden at Queen’s Park on Friday that was planted illegally nearly five months ago as part of the Occupy movement.

The small plot contained peas and cherry tomato plants and had been dubbed the People’s Peas Garden.

Jacob Moreland, a garden representative, said about 200 people had tended to the garden over the summer, planting, weeding and harvesting. Mr. Moreland contends the city should have advised the group before removing the plants.

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September 29, 2012   Comments Off

How does urban agriculture affect violence prevention?

Jennifer Johns interviews Hank Herrera of Dig Deep Farms

Go Liv! TV
Sept. 27, 2012

Dig Deep Farms and Produce is a social enterprise and a project of the Alameda County Deputy Sheriffs Activities League. Our vision is to create a vibrant, sustainable local food economy that brings fresh, healthy affordable food to the residents of Ashland and Cherryland. We will create a successful business based on growing, packing, packaging, processing, distributing and selling fresh, healthy food.

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September 28, 2012   Comments Off

First commercial Urban Farm in Europe in Rotterdaam, Netherlands

They drove herds of sheep through the city and decorated the city hall’s entrance with kale.

Notes on the Urban Farm prepared by Dirk Nowak
Sept 28, 2012

They have been preparing for this over 3 years, invested about 1 Million Euros. They did spectacular advertising, driving herds of sheep through the city and decorating the city hall’s entrance with kale. They have found over 200 co-investors, crowd-funding the final 65.000 Euros. Then it took only about 6 months to convert a former shunting yard into fields and greenhouses…

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September 28, 2012   1 Comment

Urban Agriculture: A Tool for Creating Economic Development and Healthy Communities in Prince George’s County, Maryland

Agriculture has been amongst the most favorite amusements of my life. – George Washington

The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission
September 2012
168 pages (Must see. Mike)

This report introduces the concept of urban agriculture, presents its characteristics, and discusses its relationship to food system planning, sustainability, and public health. A sample of innovative community-based urban agriculture projects around the nation and in Prince George’s County serves to show the hands-on implementation of the concept. Planning and public policy for urban agriculture are discussed along with possible actions that planners and policy makers may take to support it.

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September 27, 2012   Comments Off

Digging the City: An Urban Agriculture Manifesto

“Under the tutelage of dozens of lecturers from around the world, my illusions about world food systems were smashed to bits.”

By Rhona McAdam
Rocky Mountain Books
October 15, 2012
Rhona McAdam is a poet, blogger and food writer. She has a masters in food culture and communications from LUniversità degli Studi di Scienze Gastronomiche (Bra, Italy), writes a food and poetry blog (Iambic Cafe), and for several years taught an online course in urban agriculture and food security for St. Lawrence College. Rhona lives in Victoria, British Columbia.

At the last census in 2006, just over 80 percent of Canada’s population lived in urban centres. How we feed that population and protect its food sources is an enduring subject of debate in food security circles these days. As consumers and citizens, we all need to take a hard look at the deficiencies in Canadas ability to feed the urban poor; our dependence on imported foods and centralized food processing; our detachment from our food sources; the often problematic solutions to food security devised by governments, municipalities and non-profit groups; and where we are headed if we change nothing in these times when change is urgently needed.

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September 27, 2012   Comments Off

1945: President Roosevelt says it is essential for Victory Gardeners to continue producing food

Document found in the archives: Victory Gardens and Shared Sacrifice.

“I ask people in cities, towns and villages to assist our farmers in every possible way to reach the food goals which have been set for this year.”

From: In Roosevelt History – Sharing the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum Collections and Programs
Found in the Archives
August 18, 2011


Last week we were visited by a group of state nutritionists. As we were identifying some documents on the subject of food that might interest them, we found this item in the President’s Official File on Victory Gardens. It is a draft of a statement that was released by the White House on January 22, 1945, just two days after FDR’s fourth inauguration and the same day that the President left Washington for the Yalta Conference. It was drafted by the Office of Price Administration and the War Food Administration in preparation for 1945’s food information programs. This simple document recalls just how unified the American people were during the war, and how everyone shared in the sacrifices that would lead to victory just a few months later.

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September 26, 2012   Comments Off

1943: President Roosevelt tried to shut the door on a White House ‘Victory Garden’

May 1943. Diana Hopkins planting her Victory Garden of beans, carrots, tomatoes and cabbage almost in the shadow of President Roosevelt’s study. Her garden products will probably be served on the table at the Executive Mansion. Diana’s father, Harry Hopkins was the President’s advisor. Mrs. Hopkins wears her uniform as a volunteer nurse. (AP Wire)

FDR told soil scientists “Tell her the yard is full of rocks or something. The people own this place, and don’t want it busted up just so she can plant beans.”

‘Inside the White House’
By Frank I. Weller
The Tuscaloosa News
Aug 29, 1943


Mrs. Roosevelt is a powerful presence in the presidential picture. But insiders say, FDR slaps down a lot of her ideas. This sometimes gives Eleanor quite a kick, she being a humor-loving person.

White House Skullduggery

In Depression days, Mrs. Roosevelt wanted to tip up the White House lawn for a farm garden.

FDR, they say, told soil scientists to declare White House ground too sorry even to raise an umbrella.

Mrs. R. gave up until she wanted a Victory Garden. The president is said to have called in the soil scientists again, saying something as follows:
“Tell her the yard is full of rocks or something. The people own this place, and don’t want it busted up just so she can plant beans.”

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September 26, 2012   Comments Off

Documentary: “Spinning Green” – Change starts in our own backyard

In production now. Film about SPIN Farming (Small Plot Intensive Farming). In the city of Kelowna, British Columbia

By Marc Arellano
Professor of Communications at Okanagan College

Excerpt from filmmaker’s website

Take a look at your front lawn, or backyard for that matter. Is it like most North American residential properties, i.e. a carpet of immaculately kept grass punctuated by small islands of ornamental flower gardens?

In 2008, my family and I decided to abandon our front lawn in favour of growing our own food. At the same time, a local Kelowna resident, Curtis Stone, hatched a more ambitious plan: turn multiple, residential lawns into small-plot-intensive, urban farms (SPIN farms) and complete this process totally by bicycle.

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September 26, 2012   Comments Off

Agrisaurus: A Web App for Growing Food

We believe a new era awaits where small farms thrive in every nook and cranny of a city, made more productive by a combination of ancient best practices and all the benefits of the information era.

By Jesse DuBois
Farmscape, the largest urban farming venture in California

From Kickstarter:

We think small-scale farming is the future. Agrisaurus will make it easier to learn how to garden and also easier to design, plan, and manage your plot throughout the seasons.

Growing food can be quite complicated, there are a lot of variables: temperature, sunlight, days to maturity, crop variety, irrigation, drainage, pests, disease, and on and on. We want to make the effort of gardening more fun, more comprehensible, and come harvest time, more rewarding.

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September 26, 2012   Comments Off

Somerville Becomes First City in Massachusetts to Unveil Urban Agriculture Ordinance

State’s Premier Urban Agriculture Ordinance Includes Regs for Farming on City and Private Land, Keeping of Chickens and Bees.

Press release:
Sep 24, 2012

SOMERVILLE – Mayor Joseph A. Curtatone announced today that, following approvals by the City’s Board of Aldermen (Aug. 16), Planning Board (Aug. 16) and Board of Health (Sept. 20), Somerville is now the first city in Massachusetts to pass an Urban Agriculture Ordinance that establishes formal guidelines for urban farming and gardening, the keeping of chickens and bees, and other policies governing the growth and sale of agricultural products in an urban setting.

“We are committed to making our city a great place to live, work, play and raise a family – and we believe that ought to include a commitment to promoting a healthy and sustainable community by increasing access to fresh, healthy local foods and reconnecting residents with their food sources,” said Mayor Curtatone. “Somerville worked hard to become a model of innovation in such areas as government transparency, data sharing, and performance-driven management.

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September 25, 2012   Comments Off

13,000 square foot indoor Aquaponic farm in Sherrill NY holds two day training course

News story featuring the farm. More here.

Aqua Vita is the first indoor commercial size aquaponic farm in the Northeast. They produce 750 of produce per week at the farm, by using 8,000 fish.

Aqua Vita Farms
Course November 3rd and 4th, 2012

“Our most popular product is our Aquaponic Lettuce Mix, a blend of baby heirloom lettuce and salad greens. However, we also offer Dwarf Gray Pea Shoots, Red Streaked Mizuna, Blood Veined Sorrel, Baby Bright Lights Swiss Chard, and other highly sought after specialty greens.

“While Aqua Vita Farms primarily sells our Aquaponic produce directly to restaurants and other foodservice institutions, we do have a few local outlets where our products can be purchased in retail packaging. They are:

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September 25, 2012   Comments Off

This is how Learning Gardens grow

The Learning Gardens’ planters are designed to fit in whatever space a school has, either a large field or small rooftop. Photo by Laurie Smith.

The slogan “Think Different” has become a mantra for a generation of Silicon Valley entrepreneurs. So when high-tech-millionaire-turned-restaurateur Kimbal Musk envisioned a network of Learning Gardens for public schools, he didn’t settle for the usual framed, raised beds.

By Jane Black
Washington Post
September 18, 2012


“For me, there’s no point unless we are reaching a critical mass of people,” says Musk. “It’s not that small projects aren’t doing good things. If you serve four schools, you can feel very good about yourself –The only way to solve the problem is to reach all of America’s 100,000 schools.”

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September 24, 2012   Comments Off

50 Shades of Green: Urban Growth, Greening the City and Growing in Pockets

Grenville Community Allotment Garden, Islington, London

UK Photographer Diana J Hale documents community gardens in London

Diana J Hale
Her Blog
Sept 20, 2012


“Odd as I am sure it will appear to some, I can think of no better form of personal involvement in the cure of the environment than that of gardening. A person who is growing a garden, if he is growing it organically, is improving a piece of the world. He is producing something to eat, which makes him somewhat independent of the grocery business, but he is also enlarging, for himself, the meaning of food and the pleasure of eating.”
– Wendell Berry, The Art of the Commonplace: The Agrarian Essays

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September 24, 2012   Comments Off