Posts from — May 2013
In this edition we focus on a number of initiatives that are working with governments and urban farmers to remove barriers and provide incentives, inputs and training in order to empower the poor and contribute to their food security and nutrition.
Excerpt from editorial:
Over the next decade, sub-Saharan Africa’s urban population is forecast to increase by almost 45 percent – an extraordinary figure by any standards. For millions of Africa’s rural-urban migrants, the challenges of city life are all too real. Yet urban agriculture, for years outlawed by municipal authorities, offers solutions to numerous urban problems, including poverty, food and nutrition insecurity, unemployment and waste management.
May 31, 2013 Comments Off on New Agriculturist – May 2013 “Urban Agriculture Issue”
By Luke Dixon
Keeping Bees in Towns and Cities features everything an urbanite needs to know to start keeping bees: how to select the perfect hive, how to buy bees, how to care for a colony, how to harvest honey, and what to do in the winter. Urban beekeeping has particular challenges and needs; this book highlights the challenges and presents practices that are safe, legal, and neighbor-friendly.
May 31, 2013 Comments Off on Keeping Bees in Towns and Cities
Wally Satzewich and Gail Vandersteen, SPIN farming creators, opened their home to show off their massive backyard garden
By Franny Rawlyk
Nature City Review
MAy 26, 2013
Another stop was at a local woman’s house to see her backyard chicken coop. I grew up with chickens, but on an acreage outside of the city, so I was curious to see this set-up, especially because it was on quite a small lot. Unfortunately, due to city bylaw troubles, the chickens weren’t actually there, but she had a great set up. The coop was winterized and she had mulch all over the yard and a composting system for the nitrogen-rich excrement. It didn’t seem like too much work and she gets her very own, locally grown, organic, free-range eggs daily! I could get into that (if only her yard was big enough for also having a produce garden). I remember the city bylaws about chickens being a big issue in the media a little while ago. She claims that none of her neighbours even mind, so I wonder where all the opposition is coming from? Many other cities have allowed urban farming, so why is the City of Saskatoon still behind the times on this issue?
May 31, 2013 Comments Off on Urban Agriculture Tour of Saskatoon, Canada
Darius Jones, 21, with easter egg radishes. Raised in gritty West Garfield Park, Jones struggled to turn his life around, but recently launched his own urban agriculture business. Photo Chicago Botanic Garden.
USDA, Chicago Botanic Garden partner to promote urban agriculture in food deserts
By Chris Bentley
May 28, 2013
Darius Jones grew up slinging drugs in West Garfield Park, a few blocks and seemingly a lifetime away from the garden beds he now tends with the support of the United States Department of Agriculture.
On May 1, the 21-year-old launched Urban Aggies, an incubator for urban agriculture enterprises that he hopes to parlay into a network of farms and small businesses. He is also part of a project administered by the Chicago Botanic Garden, and funded through a three-year USDA effort to rejuvenate food deserts on the city’s West and South Sides.
May 30, 2013 1 Comment
By Joseph Tychonievich
It’s the holy grail of gardening: a plant that perfectly matches your tastes and the conditions in your garden. The hitch? You’re not likely to find it at your local garden center. You’re going to have to create it yourself.
But don’t worry — it isn’t hard. After all, gardeners have been doing it for centuries, simply by saving seeds of the varieties that tasted or performed best. But you’ll get even better results by following the advice in Plant Breeding for the Home Gardener. You’ll learn how to set achievable goals in your breeding program; the ins and outs of genetics; how to pick the best parent plants; how to cross-pollinate; the best techniques to use for popular vegetables and flowers; and how to harvest and store seeds.
May 30, 2013 Comments Off on Plant Breeding for the Home Gardener: How to Create Unique Vegetables and Flowers
Our aquaponic systems are completely off-grid, 100% organic, and entirely sustainable
By Nivaldo do ALAMO
Founder of Revolutionary Gardens
Environment – Toronto, Ontario, Canada
We, Revolutionary Gardens and OASIS Project Development Group, are building a fully off-grid, solar heated, thermal-bubble insulated greenhouse, to produce fresh, organic fruits, vegetables and fish all year round. Beyond just growing food, we would like to educate and showcase to everyone how they can sustainably produce nutritious and yummy food for themselves.
May 30, 2013 Comments Off on A passively heated solar bubble greenhouse
Fresh Roots Urban Farm, Vancouver, BC., via their website.
Cities have become incubators for the farmers of tomorrow.
By Ngaio Hotte
President of the Vancouver Urban Farming Society
May 28, 2013
Vancouver is home to around 30 “urban farms” – small businesses that grow food for sale within city limits. A census of urban farms by urban agriculture researcher Mark Schutzbank found that in 2011, Vancouver’s 10 urban farms sold $170,000 worth of produce. Two years later, more than three times that number of farming businesses are operating around the city.
Also in 2011, Statistics Canada found that there were 205,730 farms across the country, 10.3 per cent fewer than there had been five years earlier.
May 29, 2013 Comments Off on Urban farming promises a fertile future
By Lorene Edwards Forkner
The Timber Press Guide to Vegetable Gardening: Pacific Northwest is a growing guide that truly understands the unique eccentricities of the Northwest growing calendar. The month-by-month format makes it perfect for beginners and accessible to everyone — you can start gardening the month you pick it up. Starting in January? The guide will show you how to make a seed order, plan crop rotations and succession plantings, and plant a crop of microgreens. No time to start until July? You can start planting beets, carrots, chard, kale, parsnips, and spinach for an early fall harvest.
May 29, 2013 Comments Off on The Timber Press Guide to Vegetable Gardening in the Pacific Northwest
A benefit of urban agriculture is that it is economically and racially diverse
By Henry Osman
Washington University Political Review
May 25, 2013
Because many small farms are not usually profit motivated, they rely on a supportive community to get going. The process is extremely laborious, and it is difficult to do with just one or two people because the land is simply not welcoming. Years of lead paint and industrial development have poisoned the ground, and produce grown from that soil can be contaminated. St. Louis, with its history of large factories, has extremely polluted soil, and farms need to cap it off with clay, cover it in tarps, and truck in soil.
May 29, 2013 Comments Off on Urban Agriculture: Back to Basics
A sustainable oasis in the suburban desert – Phoenix, Arizona
By Dark Rye magazine
Roots No. 3
The video from Dark Rye was produced by Angus Cann and Ira Chute and edited by Andy Pickard.
(Must see. Mike)
When the McClungs purchased their first home, it came with a run-down old swimming pool. Rather than spend thousands of dollars fixing it up with chlorine and spanish tile (like everybody else), Dennis saw an opportunity. He designed and built a nearly self-sufficient suburban farm in one of the most unlikely locations imaginable. Now, instead of sitting inside in front of the TV, Dennis’ kids are out in the Garden Pool turning the interplay of chicken droppings, algae sludge, tilapia fish, miniature goats, and clay pellets into a damned fine feast—with 50-70% less money, 90% less water, and about 400% more freshness.
May 28, 2013 1 Comment
The plot will, in fact, be used to create 55 units of affordable housing
By Lauren Evans
May 23, 2013
Last month, a group of volunteers with the environmental advocacy group Time’s Up decided to clean up the long-abandoned lot at 99 South 5th Street in Williamsburg. The space had been vacant for more than 20 years, and the group thought the neighborhood would benefit from a thorough cleaning and the addition of plants, flowers, trees and benches.
Unfortunately, the city had different plans. An RFP for a developer had been issued in May of last year, with the intention of turning the plot into a mixed-use development. This morning the fledgeling garden was bulldozed without warning.
May 28, 2013 Comments Off on Williamsburg New York Community Garden Bulldozed By City
“You can easily identify an urban farmer in social circles. They are the ones who will steer the conversation to “farming is the way to go” at dinner tables, lunches and casual encounters.”
By Mary Itumbi – a journalist based in Nairobi.
Voices of Africa
Rosa is part of a new group of young, urban working-class Kenyans who have decided to take up farming to boost their income. This choice of career may be unusual but it’s smart and strategic: they can save the extra income they’re making now for when they retire from their formal jobs, and then take up farming full-time when they’re older.
May 28, 2013 Comments Off on Kenya’s ambitious urban farmers
Older Sikhs are mentors to younger gardeners, instructing them on how to harvest fenugreek seeds and use a hand sickle called a datri.
By Patricia Leigh Brown
The New York Times
Published: May 25, 2013
FRESNO, Calif. — Like Scotch broom and dandelions, despair can be invasive. This is why, every Monday, Lee Lee, a Hmong refugee, puts on her sun hat and flip-flops, grabs the hoe handmade by her father and brother in Laos and heads to the Hmong Village Community Garden here, where she tends rows of purple lemon grass, bitter melon and medicinal herbs along with other Hmong women.
“It lightens the load,” said Ms. Lee, whose depression has led her to think about suicide. “It brings peace, so I do not forget who I am.”
May 27, 2013 Comments Off on Seeking Serenity in a Patch of California Land
“It’s devastating to see this because I pour out my heart and soul into this garden.”
By Marc Yearsley
May 15, 2013
A portion of a community garden that has served children on the Lower East Side since 1982 was destroyed this morning when a developer unexpectedly ordered workers to construct a fence on the portion of the property he owns. After a construction crew hired by developer Serge Hoyda arrived at the Children’s Magical Garden on the corner of Stanton and Norfolk, community members attempted to stop the crew’s entry into the garden, prompting the developer to call the NYPD.
High school senior Amina Begum currently works at the garden, which she has used since she was in the 6th grade. “It’s devastating to see this because I pour out my heart and soul into this garden,” she said. “So many kids come over here and make friends and grow up. It’s a memory for them.”
May 27, 2013 Comments Off on New York Developer Rips Up Children’s Garden, Outraging Locals
“The idea of taking a skyscraper and turning it into a vertical farming complex is absolutely ridiculous from an energy perspective.”
By Michaeleen Doucleff
May 21, 2013
The idea of taking a skyscraper and turning it into a vertical farming complex is absolutely ridiculous from an energy perspective,” says horticulturist Cary Mitchell of Purdue University, who’s been working on ways to grow plants in space for more than 20 years.
The future of vertical farming, Mitchell thinks, lies not in city skyscrapers, but rather in large warehouses located in the suburbs, where real estate and electricity are cheaper.
May 26, 2013 Comments Off on NPR: Vertical ‘Pinkhouses:’ The Future Of Urban Farming?