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Posts from — September 2015

Europe: Horticulture in Towns for Inclusion and Socialisation

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Urban allotments, gardens in the peripheries, reconcile man with the nature.

HORTIS project wanted to contribute to fight social exclusion, and to promote lifelong learning among adults through community and urban gardening.

The project main objectives have been:

1) To train a new generation of trainers on community gardening able to set up and run community gardens, attracting and engaging the local community.

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September 30, 2015   Comments Off on Europe: Horticulture in Towns for Inclusion and Socialisation

Climate Change Urban Food Initiative – Webinars Oct/Nov 2015

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Launched by: Fondation Nicolas Hulot (FNH), the International Urban Food Network (IUFN) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)

Highlighting the strategic links between SUSTAINABLE FOOD, SUSTAINABLE URBAN DEVELOPMENT and CLIMATE CHANGE, this initiative will showcase successful mechanisms and approaches to help respond to the challenges of achieving sustainable urban food systems in a changing climate. And it will usefully add to policy discussions for COP21, and beyond.

What will CLIMATE CHANGE URBAN FOOD initiative bring you?

4 webinars (2 in English, 2 in French) featuring international experts and practitioners discussing keys of implementing synergies between climate and food action at local level.

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September 30, 2015   Comments Off on Climate Change Urban Food Initiative – Webinars Oct/Nov 2015

San Pablo: Permit requirements could shutter urban agriculture project

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gooseberGreenaway, Kate (1846-1901)
“Her Grandma – was ever so kind – and said now my dear you may play in the garden, till tea time but don’t touch anything – Oh no said the little girl. And her Grandmama had a fine gooseberry tree and the first thing the naughty girl did was to pick lots of her Grandmother’s favourite gooseberries.” Click on image for larger file.

Schneider said she has spent about $30,000 out of $45,000 she raised in grant funding to get established and doesn’t have the money to obtain permits from the health, fire, building and other departments that San Pablo is seeking.

By Rick Radin
Contra Costa Times
09/22/2015

Excerpt:

SAN PABLO — A farm set up to educate students and other residents about urban agriculture is on shaky ground with the city, which is saying that the farm needs a series of land-use permits to continue to operate.

The situation seems to have grown out of a misunderstanding between farm operator Linda Schneider and San Pablo over whether the permits would be waived because of the nonprofit status of the project and the tight budget under which it is operating.

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September 29, 2015   Comments Off on San Pablo: Permit requirements could shutter urban agriculture project

Los Angeles County plans to lower property taxes on urban lots used for farming

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In a report issued in June, the county assessor estimated that about 57,000 parcels may be eligible countywide and that roughly 8,000 of those are in unincorporated areas of the county.

By Elizabeth Marcellino
Los Angeles Daily News
09/22/15

Excerpt:

LOS ANGELES — The Board of Supervisors voted today to move forward with a plan to reduce property taxes on some vacant urban lots if owners lease them out as vegetable gardens or fruit orchards.

Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas proposed the Urban Agriculture Incentive Zone program, saying it would boost public health and replace vacant, blighted lots with gardens full of healthy fruits and vegetables.

“This seeks to provide a carrot, literally and figuratively, to make it more financially viable to grow fruits and vegetables in the urban space,” Ridley-Thomas said.

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September 29, 2015   Comments Off on Los Angeles County plans to lower property taxes on urban lots used for farming

Michigan’s legal battle over urban farming

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Next to his home in Kentwood, Geno Lombardo tends to his goats and chickens. (Photo by Ted Roelofs)

“There are the people who really want to do it,” she said. “Then there’s the people who say, ‘There’s no way I’m looking at chickens and goats next to me.’

By Ted Roelofs
Bridge Magazine
Sept 22, 2015

Excerpt:

The tension between upstart farmers and bewildered city officials is increasingly playing out before zoning appeals boards and courtrooms in Michigan, with first-time urban farmers seeking many of the same commercial protections afforded rural farming operations. The conflicts underscore how the scope and very definition of farming is evolving in an era of main street farmers markets and farm-to-table sourcing of food ingredients.

Last year, Sky and David Brown bought an abandoned home on Detroit’s northwest side, on a block with other neglected houses and weedy vacant lots. While they rehabbed the structure, they said it only seemed natural to try their hand at managing a small menagerie – six chickens and three pygmy goats. It didn’t end well.

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September 28, 2015   Comments Off on Michigan’s legal battle over urban farming

Cuban experiences in urban agriculture and greenhouse crops will be implemented in Panama

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Panama and Cuba Sign Agreement for Agricultural Cooperation

Prensa Latina
Sept 21, 2015

Panama, Sep 21 (Prensa Latina) A memorandum of understanding on agricultural cooperation between Panama and Cuba was signed today here by the Minister of Agricultural Development (MIDA), Jorge Arango and Cuban Ambassador Antonio Pardo.

The agreements so far are mainly in the scientific-technical area and the first project to be implemented will be the use in Panama of Cuban experiences in urban agriculture and greenhouse crops, stated the ambassador.

This agreement is a result of the recent visit of President Juan Carlos Varela to Cuba, which increased the relations between the two countries, with emphasis in trade and the links between Panama’s Colon Free Zone and the Cuban Port of Mariel, stated Pardo.

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September 28, 2015   Comments Off on Cuban experiences in urban agriculture and greenhouse crops will be implemented in Panama

First Garden Manual in the Western World

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Written in Latin between 1304 and 1309 by Petrus de Crescentiis, a wealthy lawyer from Bologna in Italy, Ruralia Commoda was the only publication of its kind during Henry VIII’s reign.

Royal Collection Trust
The Queen’s Gallery
Buckingham Palace

Excerpt:

According to the manual, the size of the garden and the perfection of the trees and plants within it were an expression of a king’s status, wealth and mastery over his environment. A royal garden should occupy a plot of 20 acres or more, and the planting of fragrant herbs was recommended because they ‘not only delight by their odor, but … refresh the sight.’ The gardener should ‘between these plants … form turf in the fashion of a seat, flowering and pleasant.’ The royal garden should include walks and bowers, ‘where the king and queen can meet with the barons and lords when it is not the rainy season’ and should be surrounded by suitably high walls.

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September 27, 2015   Comments Off on First Garden Manual in the Western World

Manchester’s first inner city mushroom farm

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manmushInside the Biospheric Studio’s mushroom farm.

It’s really interesting to think about how forest systems work and how urban societies can learn from them

By Lucy Lovell
Munchies Vice
September 21, 2015

Excerpt:

After previewing at the Manchester Food and Drink Festival this month, the farm will take a permanent home in the city centre and supply local restaurants with organic shiitake mushrooms, going from farm to fork within 24 hours.

Waste from the farm is being used as a nutrient for a forest garden in the Blackfriars area of Salford, just north of Manchester. The garden is a managed forest ecosystem informed by Walsh’s years of studying forest systems in Africa.

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September 27, 2015   Comments Off on Manchester’s first inner city mushroom farm

How Vertical Farming is Revolutionizing the Way We Grow Food

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Compared to conventional farms (and depending on the exact configuration and technologies used), they’re around 100 times more efficient in terms of their usage of space, 70-90% less reliant on water, with a lower CO2 footprint.

By George Dvorsky
io9.com
Sep 21, 2015

Excerpt:

According to Timothy Hughes, an organic horticulture specialist working in Toronto, the potential social benefits to enviro-controlled farming are enormous.

“Local, dense food production spaces would provide permanent green-sector employment, as well as an excellent educational model—providing a wider knowledge base for students and employees alike,” Hughes told io9. “From one farm, you could produce vegetables, fruit, honey, fish, and textiles, for example. And by expanding the variety of crops produced, you’re ensuring overall success through diversity.”

At the same time, however, Hughes says that environmentally-controlled farming may be technologically flashy, but it’s not as efficient as it’s being touted. He points to high building maintenance and energy costs, along with ongoing technological investments.

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September 26, 2015   Comments Off on How Vertical Farming is Revolutionizing the Way We Grow Food

FoodChain in Lexington, Kentucky, provides education and hands-on training for indoor sustainable food production and processing

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Rebecca Self of FoodChain, an urban agriculture nonprofit, posed with greens being grown along with tilapia fish in an aquaponics system. The greens and fish are sold to restaurants. By Tom Eblen.

Since September 2013, FoodChain has been producing about 30 pounds of greens and a dozen tilapia each week.

By Tom Eblan
Kentucky.com
September 20, 2015

Excerpt:

The fish and most of the greens are bought by Smithtown Seafood. Blue Moon Farm distributes excess greens to other restaurants.

The aquaponics system works like this: waste grain from the brewery is fed to the fish, whose waste water provides the nutrients for lettuce and other greens to be grown under energy-efficient indoor lighting.

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September 26, 2015   Comments Off on FoodChain in Lexington, Kentucky, provides education and hands-on training for indoor sustainable food production and processing

The Guardian – Urban farmers around the world – in pictures

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Green Souls founder Julius Rego with a beneficiary from a cancer patients’ centre showcasing the day’s produce after a day at the farm. Photograph: Priti Bhosale

We asked our community to share stories of farming projects in cities across the globe. From using old sacks in Nairobi to the garden of a Syrian mosque, here are a few ways our readers have been innovating

The Guardian
Sept 2015

Excerpt:

By Priti Bhosale, Green Souls project. We are a not-for-profit organisation addressing environmental, health and community concerns by practising and promoting sustainable urban farming. Largely active in and around Mumbai since 2012, our four community farms are volunteer-supported social projects at a children’s remand home, a boys’ shelter, a women’s shelter and a childcare centre for pediatric cancer patients. We strive to provide nutritious organic produce, nature therapy and life skills to those who need it the most in society, along with binding members of local communities irrespective of their age, status and backgrounds.

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September 25, 2015   Comments Off on The Guardian – Urban farmers around the world – in pictures

Farming gives Madisonville students a chance to grow skills

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ciinc

The Community School garden teaches students science, technology and life skills. It also helps provide Madisonville with fresh produce thanks to its twice-weekly market.

By Jenny Burman,
WCPO Contributor
Sep 17, 2015

Excerpt:

CINCINNATI — The eggs were sold out early Saturday at Lighthouse Community School’s twice-weekly market.

But the market was full of many other things: organic kale, tomatoes, green onions, carrots, cabbage, collards, turnips, cucumbers and radishes. You also could have purchased chicken coops, outdoor benches and tomato cages.

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September 25, 2015   Comments Off on Farming gives Madisonville students a chance to grow skills

Municipal Zoning for Local Foods in Iowa: A Guidebook for Reducing Local Regulatory Barriers to Local Foods

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iowl

By Andrea Vaage and Gary Taylor, Department of Community and Regional Planning, Iowa State University
Sept, 2015
(Must see. Mike)

Excerpt:

Background: Urban Agriculture and Municipal Zoning

The popularity of local foods has increased significantly in the last few decades, pushed along in recent years by a heightened interest of consumers in buying local and sustainably-grown foods. From 1997 to 2007 direct-to-consumer food marketing grew by 104.7 percent while total agricultural sales increased by only 47.6 percent. (Diamond and Soto, 2009). According to a recent report of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, 163,675 farmers sold an estimated $6.1 billion in locally marketed foods in 2012. In 2014, there were 8,628 farmers markets operating across the nation, which represents a 180 percent growth in the number of markets since 2006 (Low et al, 2015).

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September 24, 2015   Comments Off on Municipal Zoning for Local Foods in Iowa: A Guidebook for Reducing Local Regulatory Barriers to Local Foods

Kolkata, India: Owl Spirit offers terrace gardeners help

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terg

A roof can have five-six such towers, meaning 50-60 plants

By Prithvijit Mitra
The Times of India
Sep 17, 2015

Excerpt:

More than 50 varieties of organic vegetables can be produced under the project. A 20 sq-m garden on a terrace could accommodate around 50 different plants, said Kunal Deb, secretary of Owl Spirit, the firm behind the project. “We use only natural ingredients and have created a unique bed, which is 10 times lighter than soil. It is a plant nutrient mixture comprising bacteria, compost and organic plants. We also provide a maintenance kit that consists of fungicide and organic pesticides. A 20 sq-m terrace garden can help meet the vegetable demand of an average-sized multi-storey building for a year. The price will not be more than 50 paise a kg.”

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September 24, 2015   Comments Off on Kolkata, India: Owl Spirit offers terrace gardeners help

Head of the Senate Committee on Agriculture and Food in Philippines opens Urban Farm School

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villar
New Urban Farm School – Sen. Cynthia Villar and Dr. Frank dela Peña are taking a look at the signboard of the Villar SIPAG Urban Farm School that was inaugurated last Tuesday.

Sen. Villar said during the launching that the Urban Farm School is offered free for groups or agencies who would like to undertake technology transfer in urban farming.

By Zac Sarian
Manila Bulletin
September 16, 2015

Excerpt:

The trainees include more than 40 members of low-income families who are beneficiaries of the 4Ps program of the government. The participants who are called “scholars” of the SM Foundation attend 12 weekly sessions in a period of three months. Conducting the training is a trainor of Harbest Agribusiness, the partner of SM Foundation in its “Kabalikat Sa Kabuhayan” farmers’ training program.

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September 24, 2015   Comments Off on Head of the Senate Committee on Agriculture and Food in Philippines opens Urban Farm School