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Posts from — May 2014

United States’ first rare varieties heritage orchard to open in Chicago

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Urban gardener Dave Snyder’s mission to save rare apple varieties found fertile ground in Chicago. Photo: Megan Baumann.

How One Chicago Farmer Plans to Save America’s Favorite Fruit

By Lori Rotenberk
Next City
May 22, 2014

Excerpt:

Next month, after six years of working tirelessly to make the project happen, Snyder and CROP members will see Chicago break ground for the nation’s first rare varieties heritage orchard in the Logan Square neighborhood. This autumn, they’ll plant trees, vines and shrubs there.

Both a public space with benches, paths and commemorative tiles, as well as a lush garden of nearly 200 shrubs and fruit-bearing trees, Heritage Orchard, as it will be called, will produce apples and pears, cherries and other fruits such as the pawpaw, the Esopus Spitzenberg, and the Blue Pearmain (a blueish-hued apple!).

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May 31, 2014   Comments Off on United States’ first rare varieties heritage orchard to open in Chicago

Metro Denver Building Urban Farmers

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Urban farmer Greg Hammerly plants tomatoes at Sweet Ridge Farms in Wheat Ridge. Photos by AAron Ontiveroz, The Denver Post.

Last year was her best to date: Granata estimates she cleared $15,000 in net income and earned between $7-$8 an hour.

The Metro Denver Building Urban Farmers Program focuses on developing the capacity of existing and start-up producers on urban farms. For this program, an urban farm is defined as a farm of less than 2 acres that grows or donates more than $1000 of vegetables/fruit/eggs/meat/dairy/flowers/herbs and/or value added products per year. While urban farm business models include indoor aquaponics and non-profit community farms, we will focus primarily on business planning principles for for-profit urban farms including multi-plot CSAs/NSAs.

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May 31, 2014   Comments Off on Metro Denver Building Urban Farmers

South Florida cities embracing urban farming to improve the health of traditionally African- and Caribbean-American neighborhoods

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Kids grow veggies at First Baptist Church Boys’ Academy.

“The thing about plants is they’re harmonious,” he said. “They do one thing: grow. I wish we were more like that.”

By Patricia Borns
Miami Herald
May 18, 2014

Excerpt:

Helped by seed money from the Broward Regional Health Planning Council, the city set out 2,500 grow bags — plastic bags filled with soil and nutrients — on city-owned land that had been a magnet for dirt bikers and trash. Besides being a productive growing medium, the bags safeguarded against possible saltwater intrusion and potential contaminants from a nearby warehouse site, PATCH’s management team said.

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May 30, 2014   Comments Off on South Florida cities embracing urban farming to improve the health of traditionally African- and Caribbean-American neighborhoods

No Sun, No Soil, No Problem: Eat an Indoor Farm Salad

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mitaero
MIT Media Lab City Science Initiative – cities media Caleb Harper.

The project’s last harvest fed the entire Media Lab (a collective of research groups consisting of several hundred people).

By Rebecca Tuhus-Dubrow
Next City |
May 20, 2014

Excerpt:

As opposed to conventional soil-based crops, or hydroponics, which sit in troughs of water, the roots of aeroponically grown crops just hang in the air below the plants. Hidden by a shiny heat shield, the roots are long and tannish-white, messy and hairy; when Harper lifts the heat shield to show me, they look a little naked. They are periodically misted with water that contains carefully doled out nutrients: phosphorous, nitrogen and potassium, as well as micro-nutrients such as copper and magnesium.

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May 30, 2014   Comments Off on No Sun, No Soil, No Problem: Eat an Indoor Farm Salad

Measuring Data in Community Gardens and Urban Farms

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Five Borough Farm: Why Measuring Matters from Design Trust for Public Space on Vimeo.

Five Borough Farm – Data Collection Toolkit: Protocols for measuring the outcomes and impacts of community gardens and urban farms

Philip Silva, Ph.D. along with Project Collaborators at Five Borough Farm, Liz Barry and Sheryll Durrant, and at Farming Concrete, Mara Gittelman and Eric Brelsford
May 2014
(Must see. Mike)

Excerpt from ‘Natural resources expert talks Big Apple agriculture’:

During a video presentation, Silva illustrated how labor-intensive maintaining Five Borough Farm, a project of the Design Trust for Public Space, can be. The first phases involved identifying farms and community gardens – there are at least 900 of them in New York City. They include public housing developments, parkland, private land, previously vacant lots, rooftops and schoolyards.

Silva recently trained volunteers, who will train others to manage data collection at community gardens. He’s also set up a system to measure and compare crop production, composting and waste, and the number of hours donated by volunteers.

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May 29, 2014   Comments Off on Measuring Data in Community Gardens and Urban Farms

The Seeding Square – promises to make gardening simpler

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dibber

A Seeding Square and a Seed Dibber

Excerpt from their Kickstarter site:

With our patented invention, the Seeding Square, we are making available what we hope will become the new standardized way of planting gardens, because with this tool, planting a garden becomes simple. With it gardeners are now able to get from their gardens; the highest yield possible, with very little space needed for the garden itself, all seeds are planted in perfectly straight grid formations, which makes weeds immediately identifiable …and it’s all done in a fraction of the time because it’s been color coded for ease of use!

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May 29, 2014   Comments Off on The Seeding Square – promises to make gardening simpler

‘Voices of Transition’ – documentary film

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transberlin

Director, Nils Aguilar

From Timo ten Feld
Berlin

Voices of Transition presents innovative, inspirational – and concrete – solutions to the food security challenges we humans increasingly face. It explores agroforestry models in France, permaculture and transition town initiatives in England and the organic farming revolution in Cuba. We managed to get interviews with big names like Rob Hopkins and snippets from Vandana Shiva.

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May 29, 2014   Comments Off on ‘Voices of Transition’ – documentary film

Grown in Detroit, but not in the ground: The next evolution of urban agriculture

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Herb beds at CDC farm & fishery.

In the building’s basement are several large tanks holding approximately 4,500 tilapia fish in various stages of growth

By Matthew Lewis
Model Media
May 20, 2014

Excerpt:

ust south of Detroit’s Boston Edison neighborhood — ironically positioned across from a “you buy, we fry” fish joint — is the first functioning commercial aquaponics operation within the city of Detroit, Central Detroit Christian’s (CDC) Farm and Fishery.

Not only is CDC Farm and Fishery the city’s first functioning aquaponics operation, it’s also the first agriculture business to receive a special land use permit authorized under the city’s recently adopted Urban Agriculture Ordinance.

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May 28, 2014   Comments Off on Grown in Detroit, but not in the ground: The next evolution of urban agriculture

Right to Farm questions,’fiction,’ addressed by Michigan agriculture director

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Katie Pearson raises chicken on Tabitha Farms in the city of Kalamazoo.

Raising chickens or other food for your own family’s consumption has never been within the scope of the Right to Farm Act and that has not changed.

By Rosemary Parker
Mlive
May 14, 2014

Excerpt:

Recent changes to the voluntary set of guidelines used to support the state’s Right to Farm Act have created a maelstrom of misunderstanding and misinformation about what the law does and does not do, including what protections it may or may not afford Michigan’s farming community. That misunderstanding continues to be amplified by social media reports which vastly misrepresent the facts and the potential impacts, especially as it relates to small and urban farmers.

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May 28, 2014   Comments Off on Right to Farm questions,’fiction,’ addressed by Michigan agriculture director

1658 – First Children’s book – ‘Orbis Sensualium Pictus’

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potherb
Potherbs grow in gardens, as 1. Lettice, 2. Colewort, 3. Onions, 4. Garlick, 5. Gourd, 6. The Parsnip, 7. The Turnip, 8. The Rhadish, 10. Perselie, 11. Cucumbers, 12. Pompions

The World of Things Obvious to the Senses Drawn in Pictures

By Joh. Amos Commenii
Lothbury, London
1658

Excerpt from Open Culture review by Colin Marshall:

The Orbis holds not just the status of the first children’s book, but the first megahit in children’s publishing, receiving translations in a great many languages and becoming the most popular elementary textbook in Europe. It opens with a sentence that, in McNamara’s words, “would seem peculiar in today’s children’s books: ‘Come, boy, learn to be wise.’ We see above a teacher and student in dialogue, the former holding up his finger and sporting a cane and large hat, the latter listening in an emotional state somewhere between awe and anxiety. The student asks, ‘What doth this mean, to be wise?’ His teacher answers, ‘To understand rightly, to do rightly, and to speak out rightly all that are necessary.’

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May 27, 2014   Comments Off on 1658 – First Children’s book – ‘Orbis Sensualium Pictus’

Flint, Michigan area urban agriculture report – May 14, 2014

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michreprt

Monthly urban agriculture reports produced by Michigan State Extension

By Terry McLean
Michigan State University Extension
May 14, 2014

Excerpt:

According to research done at the MSU Hoop-houses at the Student Organic Farm, summer crops should now be planted in area hoop-houses, and the remaining cool season crops should be harvested. In the past few weeks, growers have planted peppers, basil, summer squash, cucumbers and tomatoes in their hoop-houses, which are all growing well along with some left over spring greens. Growers are keeping hoop-houses as open as possible to allow for maximum airflow during this warm, wet weather. They have been harvesting greens in alternating rows in order to allow for as much airflow as possible. In some wet beds, earlier bolting (than expected) on greens has occurred.

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May 27, 2014   Comments Off on Flint, Michigan area urban agriculture report – May 14, 2014

Urban Agriculture – Innovative water recirculation systems

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Fresh City workers trim sprouts. Credit: Fresh City.

How urban agriculture set-ups cultivate local produce with the help of innovative water recirculation systems.

By Saul Chernos
Water Canada
May 12, 2014

Excerpt:

“We’re trying to reduce our footprint on the environment as much as we possibly can,” explains Lauren Rathmell, a founding member who oversees Lufa’s greenhouse operations. She says Lufa’s hydroponic greenhouses use up to 90 per cent less water than comparable ones that don’t recirculate. “It’s all automated. We irrigate most of our plants using drip lines set up where we water the plants from above. Water that’s not taken up by the plants and doesn’t evaporate is captured, sent down to our collection tank, filtered, and reused.” Some plants, mostly the lettuces, grow with their roots submerged entirely in gently flowing water, continuously irrigated. Others sit in soilless coconut husk grow sacs.

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May 26, 2014   Comments Off on Urban Agriculture – Innovative water recirculation systems

From the Battlefield to the Urban Farm in Dallas

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James Jeffers tilling the soil in the community garden. Photo by Amy Smith.

How Two Iraq War Vets took to the earth to work through their emotional and physical scars after combat — “dirt therapy,” they called it. Their gardening hobby turned into a bona fide urban farm.

By Hilary Hylton
Appears in National Service
May 13, 2014

Excerpt:

It was around the firepit that Smith and Jeffers came up with an enduring plan. They wanted to share their enthusiasm for gardening and their passion for fresh, locally produced food with a wider audience. So they decided to try to scale up their home growing efforts and launch a real urban farm. They used every square inch of their own land for planting, and supplemented it with community gardens around town, friends’ yards and rooftop planters — all told, about an acre of harvestable land, growing Swiss chard, tomatoes and kale.

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May 26, 2014   Comments Off on From the Battlefield to the Urban Farm in Dallas

Growing Food in a Short Season

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Sustainable, Organic Cold-Climate Gardening

By Melanie J. Watts
Douglas and McIntyre
May 2014

Those fortunate enough to live in northern climes celebrate the warm summers blessed with some of the longest days of anywhere on earth—albeit for only a short season. This combination of a short temperate season and long hours of daylight presents a unique challenge for northern gardeners with hopes of harvesting before the autumn frosts arrive.

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May 25, 2014   Comments Off on Growing Food in a Short Season

Growing interest in community gardens in Edmonton, Alberta

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carrts
Oliver – a Parkallen Gardener – washing his fresh carrots and beets.

“As much as the focus tends to be on gardening and food production they’re actually mostly about community and community building.”

By Travis Dosser
I news 880am
May 13, 2014

Excerpt:

Hani Quan, principle planner for Food and Agriculture with the city of Edmonton, says they get tons of requests for more gardens and more options in those gardens.

“Community gardens with additional, I would call them urban agricultural activities, things like orchards and berry patches,” explains Quan. “Maybe processing of some fruits from some of these trees.”

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May 25, 2014   Comments Off on Growing interest in community gardens in Edmonton, Alberta