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Posts from — June 2015

Grow: Stories from the Urban Food Movement

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This book is dedicated to everyone who is strengthening the soil and rebuilding the world one meal at a time.

By Stephen Grace
Bangtail Press
June 1, 2015

What do a rapper, a returned soldier, a reformed gangster, a grandmother, a petroleum geologist, a bestselling author, and a microchip engineer have in common? They are all wresting control of food from an industrial system responsible for a plague of poor personal and planetary health. Stephen Grace embarks on a journey of discovery to understand what motivates these urbanites working to reinvent the way we feed ourselves.

From the driver of a repurposed garbage truck healing the soil to a guerrilla gardener bombing the city with seeds, a cast of extraordinary characters emerges as Grace makes his way into the heart of a revolution. He discovers that food can be a means to tackle some of our most pressing problems, from youth crime to the healthcare crisis, from resource depletion to climate change.

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June 22, 2015   Comments Off on Grow: Stories from the Urban Food Movement

North Richmond Farm in Richmond, California

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Draft Conceptual Design Animation for Urban Tilth

By Urban Tilth
31 Maine Ave
Richmond, CA 94804

Excerpt:

Roots and Restoration Farm will feature North Richmond’s only fresh fruit & vegetable produce market stand, community kitchen, an amphitheater, outdoor garden and creek classrooms, egg farm, working urban farm providing fresh fruits and vegetables through a youth run Farm Stand and CSA (community Supported Agriculture) project, a Watershed Restoration Technician training program creating meaningful employment opportunities for North Richmond residents.

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June 22, 2015   Comments Off on North Richmond Farm in Richmond, California

Roseville, California urban farmer takes plight to the city

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Roseville urban farmer Tyler Stowers works the crops on his property.

Roseville’s current zoning ordinances allow for “a non-residential business activity carried on within a dwelling by its inhabitants … that does not change the character of the surrounding residential area by generating more traffic or storage of materials than would normally be expected in a residential zone.”…

By Jorden P. Hales
Press Tribune
June 13, 2015

Excerpt:

“I never expected to be talking to city councils,” said Stowers, a UC Berkley graduate who recently appeared at Roseville City Hall to give statements on how the city’s ordinances pertain to urban farming — not to mention the sale of crops produced by it.

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June 21, 2015   Comments Off on Roseville, California urban farmer takes plight to the city

Greenhouse Project Classrooms in New York Give Students Hands On Experience With Conservation

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Students are growing more than 9,000 lbs of vegetables a year

By Cindy Hsu
CBS2
June 12, 2015

Excerpt:

At the hydroponic greenhouse at Manhattan School for Children on the Upper West Side, students are growing more than 9,000 lbs of vegetables a year, using no soil, no pesticides, and only rainwater.

“It’s called VIG, vertically integrated growing,” 7th grader Equem Roel said.

It’s a way to grow plants using less water, space, and energy.

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June 21, 2015   Comments Off on Greenhouse Project Classrooms in New York Give Students Hands On Experience With Conservation

Urban Farming Is Booming, But What Does It Really Yield?

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edible

The benefits of city-based agriculture go far beyond nutrition.

By Elizabeth Royte
Ensia and the Food & Environment Reporting Network
Apr 27, 2015
Elizabeth Royte is the author of three critically acclaimed books; her writing on science and the environment has appeared in Harper’s, National Geographic, Outside, The New York Times Magazine and other national publications.

Excerpt:

FarmedHere, the nation’s largest player in controlled environment agriculture (CEA) pumps out roughly a million pounds (500,000 kg) per year of baby salad greens, basil and mint in its 90,000-square-foot (8,000-square-meter) warehouse on the industrial outskirts of Chicago. Like many hydroponic or aquaponic operations (in which water from fish tanks nourishes plants, which filter the water before it’s returned to the fish), the farm has a futuristic feel — all glowing lights and stainless steel. Employees wear hairnets and nitrile gloves. But without interference from weather, insects or even too many people, the farm quickly and reliably fulfills year-round contracts with local supermarkets, including nearly 50 Whole Foods Markets.

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June 20, 2015   Comments Off on Urban Farming Is Booming, But What Does It Really Yield?

Wageningen scientist in the Netherlands says community gardens are not always good for social cohesion

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Veen studied seven community gardens in Almere (two), Amsterdam, Assen, Leeuwarden, Rotterdam and Zutphen.

Horticulture Week
12 June 2015

Excerpt:

“It is often assumed that community gardens benefit the neighbourhood, but the gardens are also a ‘real world’ in which issues arise,” Veen said. “Municipalities, initiators of urban agriculture projects and other stakeholders should adjust their often high expectations. A neighbourhood community garden does not break through existing social structures just like that, and it is hard to bring people from different socio-economic backgrounds into contact with each other.” Veen’s research does show that neighbourhood community gardens allow people to get to know each other better and ask each other for help more easily.”

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June 20, 2015   Comments Off on Wageningen scientist in the Netherlands says community gardens are not always good for social cohesion

Bringing the Farm to the City: How a Local Land Grant University is Supporting a Different Kind of Agriculture

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Dr. Ellen Harris, Director of the Beltsville Agricultural Research Center taking a look at the red leaf lettuce being grown at the 144 Acre Muirkirk Agricultural Experimentation.

The work I witnessed during my time at UDC makes me excited for the future of how research and extension can help support urban agriculture as a safe, efficient, and healthy component of local and regional food systems.

By Ann Bartuska, Ph.D., Deputy Undersecretary, Research, Education, and Economics
United States Department of Agriculture
June 11, 2015

Excerpt:

This year I have had the pleasure of visiting a number of urban agriculture operations. From California to Cleveland, the ability of individuals to realize the multidimensional benefits of agricultural production and leverage them in an urban context has been nothing short of amazing.

This past week I visited a University that is heavily involved in both the research and extension aspect of urban agriculture — right in the backyard of the Department’s Washington, D.C. headquarters.

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June 19, 2015   Comments Off on Bringing the Farm to the City: How a Local Land Grant University is Supporting a Different Kind of Agriculture

Urban agriculture blooms on Saskatoon’s empty lots

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SASKATOON, SK CHEP Good Food Inc. staffers and volunteers water food plots in 300 plastic half barrels on a property at 20th Street West and Avenue K, Wednesday, June 10, 2015. The barrels, which had contained organic vegetable oil, were donated by Bioriginal. The food from the plots will be sold at the Farmer’s Market. Photograph by: Greg Pender, The StarPhoenix.

“We are in an agricultural hot spot, yet we are disconnected from that, from being in a city.”

By Chris Morin
The Starphoenix
June 11, 2015

Excerpt:

On one piece of the most undesirable land in Saskatoon, a group committed to urban agriculture wants to prove people can grow something from nothing.

Members of CHEP, an organization that promotes access to healthy food, have taken a small unused plot of land off 20th Street and Avenue K and filled it with 150 barrels, which will be used to grow a variety of vegetables.

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June 19, 2015   Comments Off on Urban agriculture blooms on Saskatoon’s empty lots

City farming at Philips Horticulture in The Netherlands

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nethligPlants grown completely indoors under LED lights at Phillips Horticulture in The Netherlands are shown. Curtis Wildfong/Sentinel staff.

The hurdle, at least for now, is the feasibility of what plants can be grown indoors and at what cost. Currently, mostly leafy greens, basil herbs and low hanging fruits are the only viable options, but officials with Phillips say the technology will continue to evolve.

By Curtis.Wildfong
Holland Sentinel
June 11, 2015

Excerpt:

However, van der Feltz said land farming will always be a vital part in worldwide food production.

“We do not see city farming replacing (land farms), we see it as being an alternative,” he said.

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June 18, 2015   Comments Off on City farming at Philips Horticulture in The Netherlands

FAO Report: Climate Change And Food Systems

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Agriculture is highly dependent on local weather conditions and, therefore, is expected to be highly sensitive to changes in climate in the years to come.

FAO Press Release
June 18, 2015

8 June 2015, Rome – Global warming will have profound consequences on where and how food is produced, and also lead to a reduction in the nutritional properties of some crops, all of which has policy implications for the fight against hunger and poverty and for the global food trade, experts say in a new book.

“Climate Change and Food Systems” collects the findings of a group of scientists and economists who have taken stock of climate change impacts on food and agriculture at global and regional levels over the past two decades.

“The growing threat of climate change to the global food supply, and the challenges it poses for food security and nutrition, requires urgent concerted policy responses … ,” wrote FAO Deputy Director-General Natural Resources, Maria Helena Semedo, in her foreword to the volume.

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June 18, 2015   Comments Off on FAO Report: Climate Change And Food Systems

MintPress Visits Detroiters Reclaiming The City’s Image

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Kate Cramer-Herbst cleans out a vegetable box in Detroit, April 10, 2010. Detroit communities are transforming vacant, often-blighted land into a source of fresh food and place for community to come together. Click on image for larger file.

“Much more than agricultural, a spiritual change is taking place in the minds of the people.”

By Derrick Broze
Mint Press News
June 11, 2015

Excerpt:

Since its inception as an offshoot of the Capuchin Soup Kitchen in 1997, Earthworks Urban Farm has blossomed into gardens spread throughout several lots, the EAT program and a growing list of volunteers. The farm, which supplies the soup kitchen, is run by a team volunteers who also educate the community about sustainable food practices.

Like many of the city’s urban farming and community gardening initiatives, Earthworks has started taking advantage of empty homes and lots, converting them into storage and planting spaces.

Detroiters have always taken care of themselves, Caprice Wood told MintPress. She added: “It might be new for the younger generation but the older generations have been doing this their whole life.”

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June 18, 2015   Comments Off on MintPress Visits Detroiters Reclaiming The City’s Image

Rooftop Reds Is Bringing Brooklyn’s First Rooftop Vineyard To The Brooklyn Navy Yard

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wine

The first harvest from the Navy Yard roof is due to be ready in October 2016 and bottled for release by Autumn of 2017, but the first bottles of Rooftop Red — made from grapes grown in the Finger Lakes area of upstate New York — are on sale now

By Heather Chin
Fort Green Focus
June 10, 2015

Excerpt:

Brooklyn entrepreneur and oenophile Devin Shomaker is pioneering New York City’s first ever “commercially viable rooftop vineyard,” Rooftop Reds, which partners with Finger Lakes-based Point of the Bluff Vineyards for distribution of bottles produced on the roof of Building 275 inside the Brooklyn Navy Yard.

Word has been circulating since early 2014, when Shoemaker and co-founders Chris Papalia, Evan Miles, and Thomas Shomaker launched their Kickstarter funding effort, which was successfully funded by 203 donors of $16,820 total.

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June 17, 2015   Comments Off on Rooftop Reds Is Bringing Brooklyn’s First Rooftop Vineyard To The Brooklyn Navy Yard

Michigan Agriculture Workgroup Recommends Legislation to Support Urban Livestock Operations

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goatImage from 1856. Click on image for larger file.

To address these uncertainties, a 21-member Urban Livestock Workgroup was created last summer to formulate recommendations regarding urban/suburban livestock operations.

The National Law Review
June 10, 2015

Excerpt:

Of the 20 requests occurring after the new guidelines were issued, 6 of them were denied because the operations would have been too close to neighbors.

As explained by MDARD’s director of environmental stewardship, Jim Johnson, the denied sites “either had more than 13 homes within an eighth of a mile, or another residence within 250 feet.” Although site inspectors generally try to help applicants determine if there is any possible way to create a permissible livestock operation on their property—such as by putting the animals near the back of the property—sometimes it is just not possible.

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June 17, 2015   Comments Off on Michigan Agriculture Workgroup Recommends Legislation to Support Urban Livestock Operations

Singapore Experts Visit Rooftop Garden in New York

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sinroThe Singapore delegation at a rooftop farm at the Brooklyn Navy Yard. (Photo: Alice Chia)

Centre for Liveable Cities Executive Director Khoo Teng Chye said this presents “lots of opportunities” for Singapore as the country has “lots of rooftops”.

By Alice Chia
China News Agency
10 Jun 2015

Excerpt:

Officials from Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) in Singapore and the Centre for Liveable Cities visited the Brooklyn Navy Yard industrial park. They were given a tour of the historical site – one of the first naval shipyards in the United States when it was established in 1801.

Following its closure in the late 1960s, it was converted into an industrial park, so it could continue to provide jobs for its citizens. Now, it houses more than 330 tenants, from manufacturers to seafood importers. The tenants employ more than 6,400 people, up from 3,600 in 2001.

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June 17, 2015   Comments Off on Singapore Experts Visit Rooftop Garden in New York

Leesburg, Florida allows residents to raise up to 15 chickens in their backyards.

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Liam Knowles, 14, watches as his chickens eat from a feeder in a fenced area in his backyard in Leesburg on Friday. Photos By Brett Le Blanc / Daily Commercial.

Backyard chickens are permitted in Leesburg and certain areas of Lake County thanks to new ordinances that allow landowners to raise small flocks.

By Theresa Campbell
Daily Commercial
June 8, 2015

Excerpt:

Urban farming appeals to 14-year-old Liam Knowles, who cares for 13 hens at his family’s home in the Palmora Park neighborhood of Leesburg. His chicken coop is protected by shade and is surrounded with wire fencing and plenty of room for birds to roam.

“I thought it was going to be like a zoo, but they are very calm. It has surprised me,” he said. “They really became pets instead of farm animals. They are very friendly and fun to have and fun to watch.”

The chickens come running when they see Liam.

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June 16, 2015   Comments Off on Leesburg, Florida allows residents to raise up to 15 chickens in their backyards.