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Posts from — January 2013

Metro Vancouver cities want idle farmland replanted

Kent Mullinix, Director Sustainable Agriculture and Food Security at the Institute for Sustainable Horticulture of Kwantlen Polytechnic University, looks over some under used land in Richmond on Wednesday. Photo by Ian Lindsay.

More crops, better processing would keep billions of food dollars in the Vancouver Lower Mainland says researcher

By Randy Shore
Vancouver Sun
Jan 31, 2013


“If the available underutilized ALR (Agricultural Land Reserve) land was put to use in these small-scale, human-intensive farm operations, they could satisfy Surrey’s demand for 24 commonly consumed crops and animal products, create almost 2,500 jobs, and contribute over $173 million in gross receipts to Surrey’s agriculture sector, more than doubling the current size of the industry in Surrey,” the Kwantlen report states.

It was commissioned by Surrey Mayor Dianne Watts to estimate the economic potential of fallow land. City staff have been creating a strategy based on that document. It will come to council in the next few weeks, she said.

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January 31, 2013   Comments Off on Metro Vancouver cities want idle farmland replanted

New Urban Farmers launch Urban Food Lab in Rhode Island


“We are excited to be aligned with Mayor Don Grebien’s Pawtucket Culinary Arts Initiative.”

By Ethan Shorey
The Valley Breeze


The New Urban Farmers started the Urban Food Lab for many reasons, mostly because we saw a need for a community food hub in Pawtucket. We wanted a place where people could learn about food and where our locally grown produce could go get ready for market or be processed into a value-added product.

We see the Urban Food Lab as the umbrella that covers all of what we do here at New Urban Farmers, from planting seeds to making sauerkraut. We feel it is important for all communities to have healthy and green places. We do it through farming. We see more food being grown locally and more people eating from those local harvests and benefiting from better health.

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January 31, 2013   Comments Off on New Urban Farmers launch Urban Food Lab in Rhode Island

International Network of Resource Centres on Urban Agriculture and Food Security (RUAF Foundation) – Update 18

Soukra, Tunisia. Focus Cities: Helping urban farmers adapt to climate change and water stress. By IDRCCRDI.

RUAF Update # 18 January 2013

Ir. Marielle Dubbeling has been appointed the new Director of the RUAF Foundation. She has taken over from Ir. Henk de Zeeuw, as per 1 October 2012. We again want to express our heart-felt thanks to Henk de Zeeuw for all the work he did in the past years. Henk will continue working for RUAF, though on a part-time basis.

Excerpt from bulletin:

Lima (Peru)
In October 2012, The Metropolitan Municipality of Lima (Peru) approved two new ordinances that recognise and promote urban agriculture in the city: (1) Ordinance N° 1628 approves the Environmental Metropolitan Policy, and makes explicit reference to the promotion of urban agriculture and the re-use of treated waste water for urban greening; (2) Ordinance N° 1629, promotes the development of urban agriculture as a strategy for environmental management, social inclusion and local economic development in the Province of Lima and announces the creation of a Municipal Programme on Urban Agriculture. For the coming 2 years the following targets have been set:
• the creation of more than 2000 new urban gardens
• to join 33000 urban farmers in an urban farming network

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January 31, 2013   Comments Off on International Network of Resource Centres on Urban Agriculture and Food Security (RUAF Foundation) – Update 18

Farming Livestock in African Slums

Livestock in the Slum: A visit to an urban farm in Kenya

By Anders Kelto
PRI’s The World
Jan. 28, 2013
Anders Kelto is The World’s Africa Correspondent. He is based in Cape Town, South Africa, and reports on health and development issues. Prior to joining The World, he worked with NPR, the CBC, and National Geographic.


Kahawa Soweto is a slum on the northeast edge of Nairobi, Kenya. Children chase each other down a narrow dirt road, passing women with water jugs.

It’s a densely packed area, and it’s not just people that live here.

“We have [chickens] here,” says Regina Wangari as she opens the door to a shack that she recently converted into a coop. “Outside we have almost 20 of them – here in the ghetto.”

Wangari lets the chickens roam freely around the slum, nibbling on bits of garbage and grass.

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January 30, 2013   Comments Off on Farming Livestock in African Slums

Ensuring that urban farmers and food entrepreneurs get support

daniellDanielle Nierenberg, Food Tank co-founder, researching urban agriculture.

Why it’s important for the funding and donor communities and policy-makers to invest in urban agriculture

By Danielle Nierenberg
Co-Founder, Food Tank
January, 2013
For the 2013 Urban Agriculture Summit, Linköping, Sweden

More than half of all people in the world live in cities. By 2050, 80 percent of the world’s population will live in urban areas, according to the United Nations. And today, at least 800 million people worldwide participate in some form of urban food production. Finding better ways for farmers and food entrepreneurs to grow food, raise livestock, and process and manufacture food in cities is more important than ever before.

And there are hundreds of initiatives around the world helping urban farmers, businesses, and consumers, find ways to grow, sell, and process food in cities.

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January 30, 2013   1 Comment

Mayor welcomes 99,000 Londoners growing food in the city


Growing Success: The impact of Capital Growth on community food growing in London

News Release
30th January

Growing Success, a new report out today reveals the huge and positive impact of the Capital Growth programme over the last four years. The programme, funded by the Mayor of London and the Big Lottery, and run by London Food Link has helped get around 99,000 people growing on 2,012 new community food gardens, with 82% in the more deprived parts of London.

Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, who wrote a foreword for the report, said:

‘Capital Growth has proven to be an astonishing success which has unlocked a primal love of gardening in city dwellers. The scheme has been especially successful not just in the leafy suburbs, but in the more deprived inner London areas where gardening has brought people into contact with neighbours often for the very first time. London is now an acknowledged world leader in urban agriculture with Capital Growth showing that bringing people together to make a physical investment in the soil, reaps environmental, social, educational and even economic dividends.’

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January 29, 2013   Comments Off on Mayor welcomes 99,000 Londoners growing food in the city

Inspiring video about Martineau Gardens, Edgbaston, Birmingham, UK

This film explores how community gardens benefit public health and was commissioned by NHS (National Health Service) Midlands and East. Find out why Community Gardens are good for us by watching this video.

‘Gardens Where People Grow’ – film made for the National Health Service

Director: John Hill-Daniel
Camera: Carl Jorden, Peter Austin
(Must see. Mike)

NHS Midlands and East commissioned Martineau Gardens to report how the community garden is a model for improving public health and resilience in Birmingham, with particular focus on the impact of the garden and gardening on the mental health and well being of the people of Birmingham. The film documents the activities of Martineau Gardens (and other urban growing projects) with evidence from staff, volunteers and visitors who use the Gardens.

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January 29, 2013   Comments Off on Inspiring video about Martineau Gardens, Edgbaston, Birmingham, UK

Artist’s paintings reflect her heritage as a migrant worker

orchardsotoApple Orchard by Consuelo Soto Murphy.

Consuelo Soto Murphy’s artwork stems from the fields she worked in and the time she spent with her family.

Excerpt from Gallery One Visual Arts Center:

Consuelo Soto Murphy was born and raised in the Yakima Valley along with her nine siblings. Her parents were migrant workers who came to Washington in the 1950’s from a small, poor, little town named Bajan in Coahuila Mexico. The older four children had to work day in and day out in the fields. When her mother became ill with a brain tumor in 1960, the last five children were able to go to school during the day and work only part-time after school. Murphy was one of the lucky ones able to get an education.

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January 29, 2013   Comments Off on Artist’s paintings reflect her heritage as a migrant worker

Growing vegetables in Metro Vancouver : an urban farming census

marcgraph From 2 page project poster. See complete poster here.

This study examines the business models and economics of Metro Vancouver’s urban farms

By Marc Howard Schutzbank
Master of Science – MSc
UBC’s Integrated Studies in Land and Food Systems


Increasing food insecurity, lack of sustainable food systems, and a desire to participate in the food system are prompting the growth of various forms of urban agriculture: community gardens, urban homesteads, and urban farms. Urban farms, as distinct from other urban agriculture projects, are defined by the sale of their product. They raise produce and grow ornamentals to sell in neighbourhoods, all while building urban food networks that connect communities to their food.

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January 28, 2013   1 Comment

Startup Seeks to Shape Future of Urban Agriculture with Fish, Automation and Well Designed Hardware

Future Tech Farm.

“Our target price point for the base model will be $50-75, with upgradeable components available to further automate the micro-aquaponic experience.”

By Missy Smith
January 17, 2013


Two young mechanical engineers, Brian Falther, 24, a 2010 graduate of Kettering University (Flint, Mich.) and Austin Lawrence, 21, a senior at Kettering University, have teamed up to bring small aquaponic grow systems into people’s homes, with each system being connected to an online farm community. Their concept is at once a virtual world with online interaction and connectivity and an authentic reality where real, clean, healthy food grows in a large collection of personal micro-aquaponic systems in homes throughout the world. They call their idea Future Tech Farm.

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January 28, 2013   2 Comments

Miss Kale: One Girl’s Bumpy Journey to Becoming an Urban Farmer

bumpyLemons, kale and a Valentine’s Day strawberry! Photo By Kathleen Gasperini.

Rooftops are not the spot to be for an LA earthquake since most do not have railings

By Kathleen Gasperini
Mother Earth Living


Living in a brick loft in the heart of downtown Los Angeles, two blocks over from Skid Row, the largest homeless shelter in the country, may not seem the ideal place to start one’s journey toward becoming an urban farmer, but dreams can begin anywhere.

The idea started when my 97-year-old grandmother, who comes from the seasonal foothills of the Catskill Mountains in Upstate New York, had sent me a copy of Capper’s magazine. It was completely different than what I usually had to read for work—fashion, action sports, and lifestyle magazines—and I was intrigued. After browsing through her Capper’s which was filled with her colorful commentary on Post-its, I started to wonder about the possibility of raising a chicken on the fire escape stoop outside my window. After all, I did have a couple of geraniums out there and a row of herbs.

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January 28, 2013   Comments Off on Miss Kale: One Girl’s Bumpy Journey to Becoming an Urban Farmer

Vancouver’s 150 page draft ‘Food Strategy’ goes before city council


Vancouver’s Draft Food Strategy: Blueprint for an edible city – 71 recommended actions

By Randy Shore
Vancouver Sun
Jan. 26, 2013


VANCOUVER — The city’s new food strategy depicts a high-density urban environment lush with edible landscaping, community vegetable gardens, green walls, rooftop greenhouses, farmers markets and thousands of green jobs based in a burgeoning local food economy.

City council intends the Vancouver of the near future to be a model system of just and sustainable locally-grown food, a city as pretty as it is delicious.

“People will be able to see the fruit of this plan everywhere, when they walk down the street, in schoolyards and community centres, you’ll see it on empty lots and on vertical walls, farms that pick up and move from location to location,” said Coun. Heather Deal. “Food will be grown everywhere.”

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January 27, 2013   1 Comment

Peter Kearney shows us how to grow mangos

“I stand in front of one of our mango trees which has at least 300 beautiful Bowen mangoes on it. This year has been a great season for mangoes in our sub tropical climate of Brisbane.”

Cityfood Growers is located in Samford, Queensland, Australia

Cityfood Growers Blog post
Jan 4, 2013


You can extend the cropping season of your mango trees by choosing early, mid and late cropping varieties (cultivars). In addition, you can also choose cultivars that are more dwarf in size as the mango trees can grow quite large, up to 15m high) if not pruned. In our Gardener subscriber site, you can find a large number of mango cultivars grouped into cropping, dwarf and heritage and sorted based on your local climate profile. The cultivar we grow at our place in Brisbane is Kensington Pride which is a very common Bowen mango variety for Australia.

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January 27, 2013   Comments Off on Peter Kearney shows us how to grow mangos

New Jersey gives Camden Children’s Garden two months to vacate state land

2009 video showing Camden youngsters learning about nutrution. The state has given the garden’s operators until March 31, 2013 to remove all property from the Children’s Garden.

The nonprofit Camden Children’s Garden has two months to vacate most of its state-owned property before the land is transferred to the Adventure Aquarium next door.

By Claudia Vargas
January 25, 2013

In a letter sent last week, the New Jersey Department of Treasury ordered Children’s Garden director Michael Devlin to remove all property – including the facility’s amusement rides, gazebo, and giant dinosaur – by March 31.

The garden has the option to sell its items to Herschend Family Entertainment, the private owner of the aquarium as well as amusement parks around the country.

The state, which owns the four-acre waterfront property, will allow the Children’s Garden to rent a small area to house office space and a greenhouse.

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January 26, 2013   1 Comment

How to Grow a Survival Garden


Growing your own self-sufficient garden

By Tim MacWelch
The Survivalist
Jan 4, 2013


When planning a survival food garden, it’s critical to know what seeds to purchase and what to skip—and it’s just as vital to know how to store those seeds and what you can expect from those food crops.

I was fortunate to grow up with the concepts and calluses of growing a family garden, so I have seen bumper crops and more than a few disappointing yields. I’ve also seen that there are a lot of different interpretations when it comes to growing your own garden.

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January 26, 2013   Comments Off on How to Grow a Survival Garden