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Posts from — November 2012

‘We won the vote in Council!’ – for Long Term Security for Community Gardens in Vancouver BC

Councillor Adriane Carr puts forth motion. 27 speakers speak in support.

Motion calling for City staff to look into options for long term security for community gardens

By Rose-Marie Larsson
Strathcona Gardens Blog
November 29, 2012

Dear Friends,

Councillors voted unanimously for Councillor Adriane Carr’s motion calling for City staff to look into options for long term security for community gardens, especially for older, established gardens like Cottonwood and Strathcona.

We had long line-up (27) of wonderful, eloquent speakers – gardeners of all ages from Cottonwood, Strathcona, Purple Thistle and the Environmental Youth Alliance, former Councillor Ellen Woodsworth (COPE), Celia Brauer from The False Creek Watershed Society and UBC Professor Emeritus, Faculty of Land and Food Systems Art Bomke among them. Peter Driftmier read a letter signed by 16 of Vancouver’s Neighbourhood Food Networks and Neighbourhood Food Network Coordinators.

This is a step forward for all of Vancouver’s community gardens – and for Cottonwood and Strathcona, which were recognized for their particular value to the Green City. More on what this means and what we need to do next to make the most of this opening soon!

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November 30, 2012   1 Comment

A Vacant Lot Offers Refugees a Taste of Home in Phoenix

Mohamed Isaac prepares his area for planting this month. Photo by Joshua Lott for The New York Times.

A plan to revitalize a vacant lot in Phoenix has offered refugees a place to grow produce.

By Fernanda Santos
New York Times
November 26, 2012


PHOENIX — Hussein Al Hamka is going to farm his famous cucumbers on a 15-acre vacant lot in the heart of this city, where nearly half of all lots sit empty and unused.

If his piece of fertilized dirt had a price tag, it would cost much more than he could ever dream of affording; the lot is valued at $25 million, or at least it was before the housing market collapsed and it was left undeveloped. To survive, Mr. Hamka, 50, an Iraqi refugee three years into his life in the United States, grows and sells cucumbers just like the ones he ate in his home country.

On Friday, Fidele Komezusenge, 25, a refugee from the Democratic Republic of Congo, picked rocks from the loose soil in the raised beds next to Mr. Hamka’s. Mr. Komezusenge was planning to plant carrot and cabbage seeds, his first farming foray since arriving in the United States in June. Nearby, Safala Chhetri, 50, a refugee from Bhutan who arrived in 2009, wavered between planting spinach or kale, but then decided to give onions a second chance.

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November 30, 2012   1 Comment

‘Aquaponic’ garden in New York’s FBushwick’s Moore Street Market

Yemi Amu, one of the founders of Oko Farms, swears by aquaponic farms and gardens because they use less water and provide both fish and vegetables. Photo by Stefano Giovannini.

Amu and Boe plan to build a greenhouse to contain the fish farm, which they say can thrive even during a chilly Brooklyn winter.

By Danielle Furfaro
The Brooklyn Paper
Nov 21, 2012


Yemi Amu believes that fish poop can change the world — or at the very least change an abandoned Bushwick lot into a thriving farm.

She and her partner Jonathan Boe have spent the past year setting up small aquaponic gardens — closed systems that use fish feces and water to feed plants — and now they’re planning their masterwork: a fish poop-powered urban farm at the Moore Street Market in Bushwick.

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November 30, 2012   1 Comment

Ketel One Vodka and GQ’s $100,000 contest

Rooftop Farm idea one of five finalists

The Tomato Upstairs
Excerpt from Know Jax
Nov 19, 2012

Daniel Burstein, a local Jacksonville entrepreneur, is in the running to win a $100,000 investment from GQ and Ketel One to jumpstart his business. Daniel’s business plan was chosen from thousands of entries and now he is one of the five finalists for the GQ and Ketel One “A Gentleman’s Call” competition.

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November 29, 2012   1 Comment

Dublin City Farm

A Rooftop farm being built from up-cycled materials in Dublin city centre

From their website:

On September 1st 2012 Urban Farm secured Workshops and Rooftop space and The Chocolate Factory, a new creative community developing in an old confectionery factory in the heart of Dublin city centre, where we are researching and demonstrating intensive urban growing techniques, but we will not just be growing food and keeping fowl and bees.

We have begun building facilities to host events & community groups and provide hands-on workshops that teach responsible food production, carpentry, energy-saving systems, ecological cycles, and community self-sufficiency observing organic and& pesticide free practices. We go beyond the normal timber yards and builders suppliers, all materials used are salvaged from waste, meaning most supplies used in the production of the farm have been diverted from landfill, de-constructed and up-cycled on site.

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November 29, 2012   Comments Off on Dublin City Farm

Pro-poor legal and institutional frameworks for urban and peri-urban agriculture

Urbanization is one of the key drivers of change in the world today as the world’s urban population will almost double from the current 3.5 billion to more than 6 billion by 2050.

By Yves Cabannes
Food And Agriculture Organization Of The United Nations
Rome, 2012
for the Development Law Service FAO Legal Office

Excerpt: Introduction

The objective of this legislative study is to provide an analysis of the texts and the issues that need to be considered to primarily understand the legal and institutional frameworks that facilitate the agricultural practices of poor urban farmers. Special emphasis is also given to the instruments and frameworks that increase access to food for those living in urban poverty and who do not have access to nutritious food.

The study is divided into four sections. Section 1 of this report provides technical definitions of what is urban and peri-urban agriculture (UPA) and the extent to which UPA can address the global food insecurity prevailing in
cities today.

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November 28, 2012   Comments Off on Pro-poor legal and institutional frameworks for urban and peri-urban agriculture

Focus Forward/Short Films – 3 films of interest

Less Field, More Yield | William Mann from Focus Forward Films on Vimeo.

“Focus Forward is an unprecedented new series of 30 three-minute stories about innovative people who are reshaping the world through act or invention.”

Less Field, More Yield by William Mann

At a time when it is necessary to think differently about crop production, due to climate change, depleted natural resources, population growth and availability of land, the VertiCrop has been developed as a sustainable alternative to traditional agriculture, utilizing advanced hydroponic technologies in controlled environments.

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November 28, 2012   1 Comment

Senegal: Developing Urban Agriculture

Food Market, Dakar, Senegal. Photo by By Easy Traveler.

Urban agriculture in the Dakar region alone generated 450 million dollars in 2011, supplying 45 percent of the city’s food supply.

By Koffigan E. Adigbli
All Africa
26 Nov. 2012


Dakar — Watering cans in hand, men and women move back and forth between the wells and water storage tanks and the crops they’re watering: carrots, onions, tomatoes, cabbage, and potatoes, as well as fruit trees like palm, coconut, papaya and banana trees.

Growers like Ahmadou Sene are working tirelessly to produce vegetables in and around the Senegalese capital. Sene, in his forties, has a one-hectare plot. For three months of the year, he has a dozen young people to hoe and weed the garden, and for four months a group of 20 women work to harvest and sell his produce.

“Vegetables make up more than 80 percent of my crops,” he said, gesturing towards his garden. He cultivates his field year round, and harvests nearly 12 tonnes of vegetables each quarter.

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November 28, 2012   Comments Off on Senegal: Developing Urban Agriculture

Beginning Urban Farmer Apprenticeship in Oregon – Season 3

8-month, season-long training for aspiring urban farmers

Early-bird application deadline is December 15, 2012
Final Application and Scholarship Deadline: January 13, 2013

Multnomah County, in partnership with Oregon State University (OSU) Extension Service, is excited to announce the third year of the Beginning Urban Farmer Apprenticeship (BUFA) program. The program is an 8-month, season-long training for aspiring urban farmers and community land stewards. It is designed to give a new generation of beginning farmers the knowledge and skills they need to break into the field of sustainable small-scale, urban farming.

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November 28, 2012   Comments Off on Beginning Urban Farmer Apprenticeship in Oregon – Season 3

UK’s Guardian editor writes: ‘Stepney City Farm Can Change The World’

Stepney City Farm, London.

“Working in the media, there is an unappealing tendency to get sucked in by the notion that WE are the insiders, and WE know all the secrets of the universe.”

By Libby Brooks
She is the Guardian’s acting comment editor, joining the paper in 1998.
From Stepney City Farm website
Nov. 26, 2012


As my month at Stepney City Farm draws to an end, I am left reflecting on all the weird and wonderful things that I’ve done over the past four weeks. I chose to spend this sabbatical from my day job as a comment editor and columnist at the Guardian because, having spent the past few years commissioning and writing articles about how this country is – for reasons various, economic and political – going to hell in a handcart, I wanted to spend some time with people who are walking the talk.

Clipping the ferrets’ toenails or filling up the leaf mulcher may not appear to have anything to do with the global recession or benefits cuts, but the ethos at Stepney City Farm – self-sufficiency, education, community outreach – is exactly what a lot of folk are groping for at present, be that through the Occupy movement or even David Cameron’s much-derided Big Society.

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November 27, 2012   Comments Off on UK’s Guardian editor writes: ‘Stepney City Farm Can Change The World’

The Distributed Urban Farm Initiative in Bryan, Texas

A program that unites agriculture with community development, nutrition, and local economic development.

Nov 9, 2012


The city of Bryan has graciously granted access to vacant properties in, and around historic downtown for the testing of the distributed farm concept. These once unused plots will become beautiful attractions and valuable assets to city and community members alike.

Good Food – Nutrition Education

Once established, these gardens will be available to schools and organizations for hands-on nutrition education. We believe that much of our nation’s struggle with obesity comes from the severed relationship we have with our food system.

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Arizona cities differ over backyard chicken zoning bylaws

Like many who’ve joined the growing ranks of backyard chicken farmers, the Papays are accused of running foul of city zoning laws. Photo by Michael Schennum/The Arizona Republic.

Hundreds of Phoenix-area farmers have faced nuisance and zoning violations after neighbors have complained about smelly coops or clucking hens.

By Dustin Gardiner
The Republic
Nov 24, 2012


The couple talks about the legal troubles they’re facing as a result of the chickens, an experiment that began last December with four hens. They wanted to be more eco-friendly and reap the nutritious benefits of farm-fresh eggs.

Joe Papay, who’s looking to see if any neighbors are watching over the wall, said they had no idea it’s illegal to keep backyard chickens in much of Chandler. They’re appealing a criminal charge and fighting to keep the birds they call pets.

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November 27, 2012   Comments Off on Arizona cities differ over backyard chicken zoning bylaws

Urban Agriculturalists win Canadian World Youth Alumni Award

Tim Murphy and Noemie Desbiens-Riendeau run the urban agriculture program at Santropol roulant. See the CTV video here.

For 17 years, Montreal’s Santropol Roulant has been delivering hot meals to those in need

By Kevin Gallagher
CTV Montreal
Nov. 25, 2012


On the rooftop of a building at the corner of Coloniale Ave. and Roy St. in Plateau Mont-Royal, Tim Murphy points to an expansive garden.

“This is part of that original vision we had, which was having a garden right up on our own roof,” said Murphy.

Murphy, the director of urban agriculture, and community coordinator Noemie Desbiens-Riendeau run the urban agriculture program at Santropol roulant.

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November 26, 2012   1 Comment

Florida’s Oakland Park culinary district could grow its own food

“There’s a lot of objection to chickens, but fish are not known for making a lot of noise.”

By Larry Barszewski
Sun Sentinel
November 24, 2012


A green trifecta of urban farming projects could help the city’s emerging culinary arts district grow some of its own food.

An urban farm, community garden and green market in the district, which runs along the Dixie Highway corridor from Oakland Park Boulevard north to Jaco Pastorius Park, could be in place within a year if approved by commissioners.

“I grew up on a farm. I think this is a great idea,” Commissioner Suzanne Boisvenue said. “It’s a no-brainer. We need to do this.”

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November 26, 2012   Comments Off on Florida’s Oakland Park culinary district could grow its own food

Urban Agriculture in Liberia, Africa

Policy Narrative on urban and peri-urban agriculture (UPA) in Liberia

Analysis of UPA in Greater Monrovia, Tubmanburg
and Gbarnga, facilitated by Welthungerhilfe, CARE
Liberia and RUAF, under their UPA programmes (EU
April 2012

Excerpt: Introduction

The total population of Liberia is estimated at 3.9 million with an annual average growth rate of 2.1 (GoL, 2011a). Almost 50 percent is living in urban areas, and Liberia is rapidly urbanizing with an annual urban population growth of 4.5 percent (ACF, 2010; GoL, 2010). The majority of this urban population, estimated at around 1.2 million, lives in Greater Monrovia, but due to rural-to-urban migration and continued unrest in the region, smaller urban settlements, such as Gbarnga (approximately 35,000 inhabitants) and Tubmanburg (approximately 20,000) are also growing rapidly. Attention to sustainable development of these smaller cities is increasingly seen as important (UN Habitat, 2006, GoL, 2011b). Greater Monrovia stretches over 20,000 ha, including the city of Monrovia, several townships and the city of Paynesville. The organisation under the Greater Monrovia City is being discussed.

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November 25, 2012   Comments Off on Urban Agriculture in Liberia, Africa