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Posts from — June 2014

Asbestos discovery at Northey Street City Farm, Brisbane, Australia

brisb
Genevieve Wills Nursery co-ordinator at Northey street city farm mulching the garden bed.

Brisbane City Council has closed the Northey Street City Farm ahead of its huge Winter Solstice celebrations on Saturday after finding asbestos.

The Australian News
June 20, 2014

Excerpt:

Mr Copeman said without prior notice, council shut down 3.5 acres of the site with fencing after the discovery of demolition waste, including asbestos and possibly heavy metals.

The discovery was made during a BCC inspection related to an approved development of a picnic shed on the site; Mr Copeman said NSCF was cooperating with BCC in the investigation and management of the demolition waste.

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June 30, 2014   Comments Off on Asbestos discovery at Northey Street City Farm, Brisbane, Australia

Urban farming takes root in Boston

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Belene Tesfaye, an apprentice farmer with City Growers, carefully tends to her plot. Zoning changes lowered the barriers for establishing commercial farms in Boston. Photo by Dina Rudick.

Small-scale growing has the potential to create jobs, clean up blighted landscapes, and improve neighborhood residents’ access to fresh, nutritious foods

By Sarah Shemkus
The Boston Globe
June 21, 2014

Excerpt:

“Once you are in this field, doing this work, it changes you,” says Bobby Walker, a Roxbury native who is there on this tiny farm in Dorchester to teach aspiring farmers about the ins and outs of growing food in the city. “I can’t see a better job.” Walker and his trainees are part of an urban farming scene many believe is on the cusp of unprecedented growth.

As the popularity of local food has exploded over the past several years, advocates have started pushing to bring the movement to urban areas, where, they say, small-scale farming can create jobs, strengthen communities, and improve access to and education about fresh, healthy foods.

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June 30, 2014   Comments Off on Urban farming takes root in Boston

Sweat Equity: Bronx Affordable Housing Group Applies Philosophy to Community Garden

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“We operate with a sweat equity concept… The more time you put into the garden, the more good you will get out of it.” (Marie Solis)

They also took on the bedraggled back lot, transforming it into a community garden filled with 13,000 square feet of fruits, vegetables and herbs.

By Marie Solis
New York Observer
06/20/14

Excerpt:

“Some neighbors who live in the same building don’t even know each other. With the garden, they can get together, work on the garden and talk. Neighbors who know each other protect each other,” he said, adding that, “It takes people out of their houses and brings them outside. Even better, their children will see them doing something positive and it will get passed down to the next generation.”

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June 30, 2014   Comments Off on Sweat Equity: Bronx Affordable Housing Group Applies Philosophy to Community Garden

Urban farm takes root in patchwork of South Denver lawns

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WWOOF worker Rachel Haveman cuts chard last season at the home of organizer Craig Broek for Denver Table. WWOOF is World Wide Opportunities on Organic
WWOOF worker. Photo by Cyrus McCrimmon, The Denver Post.

“Managing 23 sites is challenging.”

By Claire Martin
The Denver Post
June 20

Excerpt:

they cultivate nearly two dozen plots in the University Park and Platt Park neighborhoods. With a couple of exceptions, all of that land used to be lawns. Under the Broeks’ hands, Swiss chard and heirloom tomatoes now thrive where Kentucky bluegrass and blue grama once grew.

“Managing 23 sites is challenging,” Craig Broek said, more or less cheerfully.

“Like with crop rotation,” he explained. “Last year we tried late cabbage but without success. When you move stuff, and the plant doesn’t do well, you don’t know why at first. But the broccoli we grew in one yard was the most beautiful broccoli I’ve ever seen.”

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June 29, 2014   Comments Off on Urban farm takes root in patchwork of South Denver lawns

Johannesburg lecturers are trying to open doors for urban agriculture in Soweto, South Africa

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Campbell said the city of Johannesburg is in the process of implementing an urban agriculture policy as part of a larger food security initiative.

By Peter Ramothwala
The New Age
June 29, 2014

Excerpt:

Johannesburg academics are in the process of initiating an ambitious urban farming project.

Two University of Johannesburg lecturers have embarked on a multi-stakeholder engagement project that aims to create opportunities for urban agriculture – in a sustainable food system for Soweto.

The project, titled Izindaba Zokudla (Conversations about Food) is part of the university’s Design Society Development within the faculty of art, design and architecture.

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June 29, 2014   Comments Off on Johannesburg lecturers are trying to open doors for urban agriculture in Soweto, South Africa

Ateliers d’été de L’agriculture Urbaine et de La Biodiversité Paris

atel

Du 30 Juin Au 2 Juillet 2014

Du lundi 30 juin au mercredi 2 juillet, Natureparif (Agence régionale pour la nature et la biodiversité en Île-de-France) organise les Ateliers d’été de l’agriculture urbaine et de la biodiversité, à Paris et en Île-de-France, à la Halle Pajol, 20 Esplanade Nathalie Sarraute dans le 18ème arrondissement de Paris.

Trois conférences plénières et une vingtaine de tables rondes thématiques ouvertes au public réuniront de multiples acteurs de l’agriculture urbaine, français et étrangers (chercheurs, collectivités, institutions, entrepreneurs, associations et collectifs citoyens).

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June 29, 2014   Comments Off on Ateliers d’été de L’agriculture Urbaine et de La Biodiversité Paris

Urban Agriculture Makes China’s Cities More Livable

timnight
In the Shapingba district, a house and surrounding gardens are lit by urban light pollution as skyscrapers loom large from a nearby housing development project that are gaining most of the lands in this part of town. Photo by Tim Franco. Click on image for larger file.

Over the next decade and a half, 350 million people, more than the entire population of the United States, will be added to Chinese cities.

By Jianming Cai
Professor, Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research (IGSNRR), Chinese Academy of Sciences
In Dawn of the Smart City – Perspectives from New York, Ahmedabad, San Paulo, and Beijing
Wilson Centre 2014

Excerpt:

For almost all of its long history, China has been a predominantly rural society. While in Europe the number of people living in cities surpassed those in
the countryside during the late 19th century,1 China only reached that mark in 2011. But now that it’s come, China’s urbanization is at a torrid pace.

Over the next decade and a half, 350 million people, more than the entire population of the United States, will be added to Chinese cities. Infrastructure is struggling to keep up, surrounding farmland is being encroached, and pollution is a major public health problem. One-fifth of China’s arable land is contaminated4 and three-quarters of the surface water flowing through urban areas is unsuitable for drinking or fishing.5 From many corners there have been calls for a change to more human-centered development that emphasizes social inclusiveness and environmental improvements alongside rational economic growth, rather than dominated by it.

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June 28, 2014   Comments Off on Urban Agriculture Makes China’s Cities More Livable

Urban farms one solution for ailing food system, Colorado agriculture activist says

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Evan Premer, owner of Aero Farm Co. in Lakewood, Colorado. Photo appeared in Modern Farmer.

Olson says banks will eventually lend money to urban farmers — if they see examples of urban agriculture success.

Elaine Grant
Colorado Public Radio
June 18, 2014

Excerpt:

Now Olson wants to prove that farmers — specifically of what he calls “high-value” leafy green crops like kale, Swiss chard, and spinach — can grow produce more efficiently in urban greenhouses than on large rural farms. Consequently, they can make a better living, he says. Olson says a farmer makes about $1500 harvesting an acre of commodity corn; a grower of organic corn may make $15,000 from an acre harvest. In contrast, he claims an urban farmer growing leafy greens vertically in a greenhouse can earn a quarter of a million dollars in revenue per acre.

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June 28, 2014   Comments Off on Urban farms one solution for ailing food system, Colorado agriculture activist says

Montreal Unveils Three Urban Agriculture Projects

montrgreen
Frédéric Thériault weeds new plants at the Ferme Tourne-Sol in Les Cèdres, Quebec. Photograph by Peter McCabe.

“About 40 per cent of Montrealers are involved in urban agriculture, the movement is in its infancy.”

The Gazette
June 17, 2014

Excerpt:

The city unveiled three projects: a dozen containers with edible flowers on the terrace at city hall; a vegetable mosaique to be planted at the front of city hall to highlight the United Nations 2014 International Year of Family Farming, and across the road at Château Ramezay, educational tours on the theme of agriculture plus an 18th Century public market.

“It’s a beginning,” Ménard said, noting that his committee’s work on the project only started in January. About 40 per cent of Montrealers are involved in urban agriculture, the movement is in its infancy, he added.

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June 28, 2014   Comments Off on Montreal Unveils Three Urban Agriculture Projects

Farm stands turn your backyard kale into cold, hard cash

kissbeet
Photo by Becky Warner.

Urban farms should bring both food and income to their neighborhoods.

By Heather Hansman
Grist
June 26, 2014

Excerpt:

Warner and four other urban farmers grow food in five backyards in north Seattle. Since 2011 they’ve been selling it at their front yard farm stands and through a CSA. They call their dispersed urban farm City Grown, and it’s exactly that: Food both grown and sold in the city.

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June 27, 2014   Comments Off on Farm stands turn your backyard kale into cold, hard cash

Montreal urging residents to pick up urban agriculture

mayorMont
See video of announcement here.

Plans for expanding urban agriculture in downtown Montreal were announced by François Croteau, Rosemont-La Petite Patrie borough mayor Thursday June 26, 2014.

By René Bruemmer
The Gazette
June 26, 2014

Excerpt:

MONTREAL — The borough of Rosemont–La-Petite-Patrie is urging residents and farmers to take back the land. And grow tomatoes. And lettuce.

Calling it a “small revolution in the world of urban agriculture,” borough mayor François Croteau announced measures Thursday to encourage citizens to plant vegetable gardens on public spaces throughout the borough, and for professional farmers to set up full-scale farms on commercial or institutional properties and sell their produce on site.

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June 27, 2014   Comments Off on Montreal urging residents to pick up urban agriculture

Opinion: ‘Sustainable’ urban farms aren’t sustainable

miniature1900
Miniature wheelbarrow. 1900.

Posted in Vancouver Sun: Free land and tax dollars subsidize city agriculture

By Warren Mirko
Vancouver Sun
June 26, 2014

Excerpt:

Already, urban farms are costing residents tax revenue which goes toward things such as bike lanes and park maintenance. Don’t think that income from the farm’s yields will offset the lost revenue. While these farms produce hundreds of tons of produce per year, they are producing the cheapest and most plentiful items people already purchase from any grocery store.

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June 27, 2014   Comments Off on Opinion: ‘Sustainable’ urban farms aren’t sustainable

Washington DC Council Members Planning Urban Agriculture Bill

“Growing your own food and then eating your own food gives you a degree of confidence and self-sufficiency about things that I think is irreplaceable.”

By Hatzel Vela
ABC7
June 17, 2014

Excerpt:

“If you can take care of your land like that, you’d want to be able to walk down to the end of your block, farm a little piece of property…”

Now, two D.C. council members are pushing for lots like this one in Northeast to be turned into neighborhood farms. Barry thinks the move would empower people:

“It’s community involvement. It’s people getting together and deciding the future of their community.”

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June 26, 2014   Comments Off on Washington DC Council Members Planning Urban Agriculture Bill

Grow Dat’s City Park farm yields an unexpected crop: good jobs for youth in New Orleans

growdats
Johanna Gilligan.

Last year Grow Dat alumni were hired by the New Orleans Food Co-op, the online retailer Good Eggs, Rouses, and Eco Urban landscapers.

By Johanna Gilligan
The Lens
June 17, 2014
Founding director of Grow Dat Youth Farm, Johanna Gilligan is a native of Santa Fe who has lived in New Orleans since 1999.

Excerpt:

What I didn’t imagine was that urban farming experience might also prepare them for food-sector employment that could provide a decent hourly wage, benefits, and opportunities to advance. Fast forward 10 years, and I see a new kind of food sector job emerging—not just late-night minimum-wage jobs in a fast food restaurant or earning $2.13/hour waiting tables, but opportunities to work with businesses who are growing, selling, and preparing local food.

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June 26, 2014   Comments Off on Grow Dat’s City Park farm yields an unexpected crop: good jobs for youth in New Orleans

Students get their hands dirty in new urban agriculture class in Edmonton, Alberta

bpedmon
Watch the video here.

“To understand the sustainability, we need to understand how the food is produced and how it gets to our table.”

By Karen Bartko and Fletcher Kent
Global News
June 16, 2014

Excerpt:

EDMONTON – Math, Social Studies, English, and butchering a chicken? It’s not a typical high school schedule, but urban agriculture at Morinville Community High School isn’t a typical class.

“It was something that I’ve taken an interest in over the last few years: cooking, growing your own food, butchery, that kind of stuff,” says teacher Neil Korotash, who leads the class.

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June 26, 2014   Comments Off on Students get their hands dirty in new urban agriculture class in Edmonton, Alberta