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Posts from — December 2012

1945 Punch: On the eve of Victory WW2

Click on image to see larger file.

“I shall celebrate Victory-day by switching over to asparagus.”

February, 1945. Allotment gardeners near a factory speak optimistically of planting ‘luxury’ crops once the end of the war comes. (In May, 1945.) Scarcity of food will still be an issue for some years ahead.

December 31, 2012   Comments Off

Started in 1886, UK allotment garden threatened with closure

Gardeners fight to keep their allotments.

Council wants 600 houses to replace Farm Terrace Allotments in Watford, UK

Excerpt from Dec 20th meeting news report in the Watford Observer:

Representatives of the allotment holders were also allowed to address the committee before the cabinet members were questioned.

One representative, Marion Harvey, said allotment-holders had always supported the health campus and the new hospital.

She added: “It is particularly the annexation of Farm Terrace we have found difficult to understand and in all honesty I still can’t see a real reason why it should go ahead.”

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December 31, 2012   Comments Off

1941 Punch: Poignant image of the War effort at home and at sea

common task1941

‘The Common Task’

Punch Magazine

A gardener digs his Victory Garden as he watches young men head out to do battle at sea.

December 30, 2012   Comments Off

The UK’s No 1 selling gardening book


Disco-coloured ears of Popcorn Fiesta, golden orbs of Inca berries, grape-sized fruit of cucamelons

By James Wong
Home Grown Revolution
Published Sept. 2012

“You don’t need a greenhouse, you don’t even need a garden, just a pot of soil, a packet of seeds and a greedy disposition”

James Wong is on a personal mission to get Britain growing exciting and interesting crops with his Home Grown Revolution. The fact that the British diet has become infinitely more exciting and varied over the past 50 years or so has not been reflected in the types of crops that we grow.

James Wong has trialled literally hundreds of varieties in his garden and for his best-selling gardening book, Homegrown Revolution, has only chosen varieties that are extremely easy to grow, taste fantastic and are decorative in the garden.

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December 30, 2012   Comments Off

Vertical Harvest of Jackson Hole, Wyoming

A hydroponic vertical growing system that will maximize growing area, save energy and fill a vital community need.

By Nona Yehia + Penny McBride
From Kickstarter
Launched Dec 3, 2012


Vertical Harvest will be the first of its kind: A three story vertical farm built on an infill piece of land that will grow fresh, local produce in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, extending its four month growing season to all year round. What makes this project truly unique is that we will develop an innovative hydroponic growing system that can be used in vertical greenhouses of all configurations.

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December 29, 2012   Comments Off

1990 Punch cartoon: – A futuristic city/country ‘farmed’ landscape


Cultivated farmland with buildings underground

Punch Magazine

An urban/rural landscape where people live underground so that buildings don’t block sunshine from reaching crops. An urban core where apartments are spaced some distance from each other, leaving lots of room for farming.

December 29, 2012   Comments Off

Rwanda, Africa: Crops Added to City Master Plan, 40,000 Take to Urban Farming

Kigali City Centre from the Genocide Memorial. At the bottom of the valley between them one finds rice paddies and small workshops. Photo by Brayo.

The master plan of the city envisages farming spaces where each residential plot must allocate at least 20% of the surface to farming activities.

By Eric Didier Karinganire
All Africa
25 Dec. 2012


Two years ago, Valerie Mukabaramba turned to growing crops in a marshland in her neighborhood of Gisozi in Kigali City’s Gasabo district. She had been a hawker around the city for several years but life became increasingly tough for this mother of four.

She now grows sweet potatoes, maize and vegetables as the only source of food for family and income for other basic needs. “I have no other skills, yet hawking in the city is very risky. But I’m able to survive and get basic needs through farming,” she said in a recent interview.

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December 28, 2012   Comments Off

1940 Punch cartoon – Food gardens promoted as World War 2 begins


“So you see, dear, one ‘can’ be decorative ‘and’ useful.”

Punch Magazine

Here the artist envisions chickens grazing just beyond a hedge fence, which surrounds an ‘edible’ French formal garden.

December 28, 2012   Comments Off

1954 Punch cartoon shows changing times – from Victory Gardens to lawns


Lawns became a symbol of an easier way of life after the hardships of the Depression and World War 2

Punch Magazine

In the centre of a group of allotments full of people working, a man whose allotment is only a lawn relaxes on a deckchair.

December 27, 2012   Comments Off

From Roof to Table: Photographs by Rob Stephenson

Garden of Happiness, Bronx. Photo by Rob Stephenson

Book is the result of a year long photo urbanism fellowship

By Megan Canning (Editor), Rob Stephenson (Illustrator)
Design Trust for Public Space
November, 2012

From Roof to Table features 35 full-color photographs that beautifully capture New York City’s urban farms and gardens. The winner of the Design Trust’s 2011 Photo Urbanism fellowship, Brooklyn-based photographer Rob Stephenson spent a year visiting over one hundred farms and gardens-from a farm in Staten Island with 10-foot-high stalks of corn to a church rooftop in Manhattan repurposing baby pools to grow fresh food.

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December 27, 2012   Comments Off

Washington DC Mayor announces $1.4 million in grants for urban agriculture

Mayor Vincent Gray announces awards.

$800,000 to develop demonstration gardens and $600,000 to build compost sites on urban farms or community gardens.

Press Release
District of Columbia
Dept of the Environment
Dec 13, 2012


The Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) was awarded $800,000 to lead a partnership to develop demonstration gardens at recreation centers in each ward, providing greater access to healthy, local food. “Sustainability is at the core of DPR’s programmatic offerings,” said DPR Director Jesus Aguirre. “This grant will help create an urban-farm initiative to minimize food deserts and work with communities across the city to educate residents through programs at our recreation centers and the eight demonstration-garden sites.”

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December 26, 2012   Comments Off

2013 marks City Farmer’s “35th” Year promoting urban agriculture!

Photo by Stefan Lozinsky. See larger image here.

Seasons Greetings from City Farmers’ Directors, Staff and their Families.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! 2013 marks City Farmer’s 35th year of service promoting urban agriculture. City Farmer is a Non-Profit Society and Registered Charity conceived in 1978. We operate Vancouver’s Compost Demonstration Garden.

See some of our work here.

December 24, 2012   Comments Off

New York Times: ‘The Battlefront in the Front Yard’

Digging In – Jason Helvenston, with his wife, Jennifer. Jeff Rowes, a lawyer for the Institute for Justice, a libertarian law firm based in Arlington, Va., that is advising Mr. Helvenston, is adamant. “It’s the micromanagement of land that invades your liberty in a thousand small ways,” he said. Photo by Todd Anderson for The New York Times.

“You’ll take my house before you take my vegetable garden.”

By Steven Kurutz
New York Times
December 19, 2012


Since his backyard doesn’t get much sun, Mr. Helvenston ripped out the lawn in his front yard and put the 25-by-25-foot, micro-irrigated plot there. The unorthodox landscaping went largely unnoticed for months, perhaps because he lives on a dead-end street next to Interstate 4.

Then, in September, Pedro Pedin, who lives in Puerto Rico but owns the rental property next door, visited with his wife and cast a displeasing eye on his neighbor’s front yard. “All the houses are pretty much kept neat,” Mr. Pedin said, “but his house looks like a farm.”

Mr. Pedin contacted the city, which cited the Helvenstons for violating section 60.207 of Orlando’s Land Development Code (failure to maintain ground cover on property) and set a deadline of Nov. 7 to comply.

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December 24, 2012   1 Comment

A Guide to Community Gardens Around San Francisco

Potrero Hill Community Garden (Potrero Hill). Situated high on a hill (with panoramic views!) right above where the famed Potrero Hill Goat Lady used to let her goats graze, this 50-plot garden has been yielding fruits, veggies, bees, honey and flowers galore since the late 60s.

The Recreation and Park Department manages over 35 community gardens on City property.

By Laura Mason
7×7 SF
May 13, 2011


The plant-it-yourself movement in San Francisco is really picking up steam. But for anyone lacking a backyard or spacious deck perfect for sprouting plants and flowers, there’s a bevvy of community gardens (like the Alemany Farm and the Hayes Valley Farm) dotting the city for you to live out your green-thumb dreams in. There are many more out there beyond the ones listed here. Find one in your neighborhood by clicking here.

All In Common Community Garden (Mission)

This is one of the rare community gardens in the city that’s free and has no waiting list. There are no separate plots, hence the name, and all volunteers share what they grow. It’s been an organic garden for more than 35 years, and all members rotate what crops they grow so there’s a perfect variety of produce to be had each season.

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December 24, 2012   Comments Off

Urban farm, neighbor collide in East Austin, Texas

Louis Polanco lives across the street from HausBar Farms, and complained to the city about odors coming from the farm. Dorsey Barger, owner of HausBar Farms, is a believer in the black soldier fly composting system that composts chicken parts. Dorsey Barger of HausBar Farms has about 100 chickens, 50 rabbits, two miniature donkeys and a goat on her urban farm. Photo by Jay Janner.

“To have a backyard garden and give eggs to your neighbor is one thing, but to process and sell chickens and rabbits for wholesale? That’s a full-fledged business in an improperly zoned area.”

By Ricardo Gandara
Dec 16, 2012


On her 2 acres in East Austin, Dorsey Barger, a self-professed fanatic about composting, recycling and reusing, lives what she calls an “idyllic” life, her own little version of making a difference in the world, she says.

Her sustainable practices of urban farming produce organic vegetables, fresh eggs and range-free chickens that are sold locally and served at Austin restaurants. Her farm-fresh food, very much a part of the grow local and sell local movement, gets to the dinner table on far less fuel than supermarket suppliers use.

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December 23, 2012   Comments Off