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Posts from — January 2014

How Two Urban Farmers Inspired a Community (and Failed as a Business)

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Two students in Harrisonburg, Virginia, turned up every last bit of its front, back and side yards into a farm.

By Andrew Jenner
Modern Farmer
January 23, 2014

Excerpt:

When they applied for a business license, however, they hit a major speedbump. City ordinances, which often aspire to an antiseptic Leave it to Beaver-ish ideal for neighborhood life, prohibited farming. Their business license was denied, and Warren and Frere were informed that Collicello Gardens was an outlaw operation. (This occurred late in the summer, and to the city’s non-draconian credit, it didn’t try to prevent them from finishing out the CSA season.)

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January 31, 2014   Comments Off on How Two Urban Farmers Inspired a Community (and Failed as a Business)

What Urban Farming Can Learn From The Developmentally Disabled

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Urban farming offers special needs people the vehicle through which they can learn a skill set in a new industry that is designed to provide a very good living if done right.

By Brian Donnelly
Powerhouse Growers
22/01/2014

Excerpt:

I remember when Kelsey first came to my greenhouse. It was all so strange for her – the system I have created is like no other – it is strange to everyone even me. There was resistance to getting in the dirt. There was nervousness about helping and doing something wrong. I stood next to her as she tried and every time her fingers touched the dirt she would wipe them on my shirt. I was very dirty after a while and she was laughing and enjoying it thoroughly.

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January 31, 2014   Comments Off on What Urban Farming Can Learn From The Developmentally Disabled

Hydroponics used to grow salad in tunnels under London

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Zero Carbon Food is growing pea shoots, rocket, red lion mustard, radish, tatsoi, pak choi and miniature broccoli in tunnels beneath London. Photograph: unknown/Zero Carbon Food

A second world war bomb shelter has been converted to grow eco-friendly salad approved by celebrity chef Michel Roux Jnr

By Tim Smedley
Guardian Professional
30 January 2014

Excerpt:

A few hundred metres from Clapham North tube station stands a padlocked gate. Behind the gate is a dark, damp entrance to a spiral staircase leading 33 metres underground. A series of tunnels built as a second world war bomb shelter large enough to fit 8,000 people have remained virtually unused. Until now. At the end of one tunnel comes a pinkish-purple glow from behind white plastic sheeting. The Breaking Bad comparison is obvious. But the produce being grown using hydroponics and LED lights isn’t illegal. It’s salad. Salad, the taste of which is liked by no less than chef Michel Roux Jnr.

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January 31, 2014   Comments Off on Hydroponics used to grow salad in tunnels under London

Michigan: Changes could be on horizon for backyard farmers

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Backyard chicken coop. Photo by Josh Larios.

Excluding farms with fewer than 50 animals from Right to Farm protection

By Michigan Radio Newsroom
Jan 21, 2014

Excerpt:

Many small and urban farms could lose the protection of Michigan’s Right to Farm Act.

The Act protects farmers against nuisance lawsuits if they follow Michigan’s Generally Accepted Agricultural and Management Practices (GAAMPS).

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January 30, 2014   Comments Off on Michigan: Changes could be on horizon for backyard farmers

New Scientist: Vertical farms sprouting all over the world

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Nuvege (also called “Green Green Earth”) is a hydroponic vertical farming company based out of Kyoto, Japan.

The US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency is using an 18-storey vertical farm in College Station, Texas, to produce genetically modified plants that make proteins useful in vaccines.

By Paul Marks
New Scientist
16 January 2014

Excerpt:

The plant racks in a vertical farm can be fed nutrients by water-conserving, soil-free hydroponic systems and lit by LEDs that mimic sunlight. And they need not be difficult to manage: control software can choreograph rotating racks of plants so each gets the same amount of light, and direct water pumps to ensure nutrients are evenly distributed.

The whole apparatus can be monitored from a farmer’s smartphone, says GSF’s R&D manager, Daniel Kluko. He says the new farm in Scranton will grow 14 lettuce crops per year, as well as spinach, kale, tomatoes, peppers, basil and strawberries. Its output will be almost 10 times greater than the firm’s first vertical farm, which opened in New Buffalo in 2011.

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January 30, 2014   Comments Off on New Scientist: Vertical farms sprouting all over the world

London’s Rosie Boycott on Capital Growth and scaling up urban agriculture

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Rosie Boycott is the Chair of the London Food Board, working for the Mayor, Boris Johnson.

By Rob Hopkins
Transition Network
Jan 27, 2014

Excerpt:

What would you see now as being the next step up in terms of urban agriculture in London? Does in require land reform?

One is what I alluded to – we will have lots of small businesses that are already happening. That’s great and we’ve got lots of projects afoot to encourage that and to increase the take-up of stuff.

The other big side of that is we’re now going to look at the outer boroughs where you’ve got much more land, and really start to see what we can do with more land in the sense of can we really start really serious urban peri-farming, which I absolutely think we can do – to get people on to 20 acres, 30 acres, that sort of size or more.

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January 29, 2014   Comments Off on London’s Rosie Boycott on Capital Growth and scaling up urban agriculture

East Africa’s urban families fight food shortages with city gardens

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Urban Farming in Nairobi Video by Kiberia TV. Director Midred Odongo. (Must see. Mike)

For Mugira, the two metres in front of his house can accommodate eight sacks, meaning a full supply of kale for a year. A bunch of kales, which forms the staple food for many of the Ugandan city dwellers, costs Ugsh300.

Written by Bob Koigi
Farmbizafrica
10 January 2013

Excerpt:

Wimaka Theuri, a resident of Nairobi’s Githurai area navigates through towering lushes of maize to water his onions and cabbages in a small oasis, barely bigger than a basketball field, that has not only provided food for the family but an alternative source of income at a time when escalating food prices in East Africa have hit urban dwellers the most. The former banker is one of an increasing number of people in major towns of East Africa who are worried about the rising cost of food and have decided to try to do something about it.

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January 29, 2014   Comments Off on East Africa’s urban families fight food shortages with city gardens

Oranjezicht City Farm in Cape Town, S. Africa – Organic urban farming in the city

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Photographer: Coco van Oppens from the OZCF Fresh Produce Market website. Click on image for larger photo.

What could get more quirky than strolling between rows of farm vegetables, herbs and salads on a Saturday morning slap bang in the middle of Cape Town city hand picking fresh, organic food right out of the soil in Oranjezicht?

By ShowMe Cape Town
Jan 21, 2014

Excerpt:

The Oranjezicht City Farm is just that; where you will find Cape Town citizens & tourists crouching down amongst rows of rocket, spinach, lettuce & spring onions filling their baskets with fresh organic vegetables.

The concept is simple – grab a basket & scissors and cut what you need from the rows that are ready to harvest, get them weighed and pay your due.

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January 29, 2014   Comments Off on Oranjezicht City Farm in Cape Town, S. Africa – Organic urban farming in the city

Seattle’s Millionair Club creates hydroponic farm at Seattle shelter

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A Seattle charity organization is now in the urban farming business

By Gary Chittim
KING 5 News
January 27, 2014
(Must see. Mike)

The Millionair Club Charity has created a hydroponic farm in the basement of its Seattle shelter.

Farm Manager Chris Bajuk said hydroponics is by far the most environmental form of farming. He explained there are no pests, so no pesticides, no emissions and very little transportation of the crops. The Club will use the fresh produce to feed homeless and jobless vistors to the shelter and will donate some to other local charities. It will also sell some of it to local restaurants like Tuta Bella.

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January 29, 2014   Comments Off on Seattle’s Millionair Club creates hydroponic farm at Seattle shelter

Dartmoor Prison, UK: its gardens are the exemplar of a successful horticultural rehabilitation project

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“We sell the eggs in the prison shop,” says Northam. “The money goes toward their upkeep. Whatever is left goes back into the gardens.”

By Emma Inglis
The Telegraph
18 Jan 2014

Excerpt:

The gardens at Dartmoor prison are the exemplar of a successful horticultural rehabilitation project. In 2006, prison officer Ivan Judd had an idea to transform the disused exercise yards of the old punishment unit into vegetable gardens to be tended by inmates in the resettlement wing. Judd approached Business in the Community, who put in him in touch with the Eden Project. Jane Knight, landscape architect at Eden, was one of the first on board.

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January 28, 2014   Comments Off on Dartmoor Prison, UK: its gardens are the exemplar of a successful horticultural rehabilitation project

Agricultures des villes, agricultures des champs

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Laurent Klein, président du think tank Société des Agriculteurs de France (SAF)

By Laurent Klein
Les Echos
05/04/13

Excerpt:

Dans une perspective de renouveau des territoires, notre think tank SAF agriculteurs de France défend l’idée d’une agriculture « dans et pour les villes », qui redonne un nouveau souffle aux campagnes, en fait des pôles de culture, de santé, de bien-être, de développement économique. Ceci dans un esprit d’intelligence collective, si chère justement aux urbanistes.

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January 28, 2014   Comments Off on Agricultures des villes, agricultures des champs

Failure of high-tech rooftop greenhouse in Vancouver leaves $4-million trail of debt

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Len McDonald works among the growing trays at Vancouver’s Alterrus rooftop greenhouse.

By Randy Shore
Vancouver Sun
January 27, 2014

Excerpt:

The failure of the Alterrus rooftop greenhouse has left investors and creditors holding the bag for about $4 million and the city’s parking corporation EasyPark out of pocket for at least $13,104 in unpaid rent.

EasyPark’s liability could rise if the company is forced to remove the high-tech enclosure and mechanized vertical growing systems left on a downtown parking garage by the bankruptcy of Alterrus and its operating partner and marketing arm Local Garden Vancouver.

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January 28, 2014   Comments Off on Failure of high-tech rooftop greenhouse in Vancouver leaves $4-million trail of debt

Vancouver community garden integrated around existing tennis courts

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Click on image for larger file.

Vancouver approves community garden proposal for Riverfront Park

The Fraserlands Community Gardening Group and the South Vancouver Family Place Society have developed a proposal for a new community garden in Riverfront Park in Fraserview.
Proposed garden features
The initial concept for the garden includes the following amenities:
Garden integrated around the existing tennis courts
40 community garden plots
Wheelchair-accessible flower beds
Fruit trees

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January 27, 2014   Comments Off on Vancouver community garden integrated around existing tennis courts

Urban farming is a hit with New York City college students

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Photo credit: The student farm at KCC.

Columbia University students can volunteer at a garden on West 120th Street or on an upstate farm, for example, and the Fordham Lincoln Center campus plans to start a farm near one of its dormitories next fall.

By Eleanor J. Bader
AM New York
Jan 26, 2014

Excerpt:

“New York City is the epicenter for urban agricultural innovation,” says Nevin Cohen, assistant professor of environmental studies at The New School. “There’s a lot of excitement around food issues and eating locally grown, in-season, organic produce.”

Not surprisingly, City College students are getting into the act and growing everything from herbs to kale and berries. For some, farming is tied to a course; for others, it’s wholly a volunteer experience, providing a hands-on education in nutrition, food production and management.

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January 27, 2014   Comments Off on Urban farming is a hit with New York City college students

In the summer of 1951 New York City was a marijuana jungle

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Here we see inspectors from both the Sanitation and Police Departments overseeing a harvest in the shadow of the Brooklyn Federal Building. On the left we have Inspector Frank Creta from Sanitation and on the right a very nattily dressed Deputy Inspector from the Police Department, Peter E. Terranova.

The “daring marijuana farmers” who had established a “farm” in a lot at the heart of Brooklyn’s projected Civic Center

By Ben Gocker
Brooklyn Public Library
Jan 28, 2011

Excerpt:

From underpasses in the Bronx to empty lots on Avenue X, the razor-toothed fronds of 10 foot tall Cannabis sativa plants could be seen all around the city happily waving in the wind like any other innocuous and legal weed. But for all their persistence in invading the city’s forgotten horticultural corners, these plants were likely waving farewell: New York was no friend to pot.

Over the course of the summer about 41,000 pounds of marijuana were uprooted and destroyed during a campaign to eradicate the psychotropic stuff from vacant lots in the city.

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January 26, 2014   Comments Off on In the summer of 1951 New York City was a marijuana jungle