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Posts from — February 2016

Wendy Shillam grows all sorts of veg in her tiny rooftop garden in central London

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Wendy and her husband Mike have a tiny rooftop garden – just 6m x 5m in her flat in central London.

The secret to growing really good veg in a small space – whether in the ground or in a pot – is simple, she says: good soil, plenty of sunshine and plenty of water.

By Constance Craig-Smith
Daily Mail
19 February 2016 |

Excerpt:

Just a few minutes from Oxford Street, and with the giant BT Tower looming in the background, the setting could hardly be more urban, yet in her series of narrow raised beds Wendy manages to cultivate chard, garlic, onions, spinach, carrots, fennel, wild celery, salad leaves and many different types of herb.

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February 29, 2016   Comments Off on Wendy Shillam grows all sorts of veg in her tiny rooftop garden in central London

5 Urban Gardens and “Farms” in Paris, France

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The garden at Place Frehel off of Rue de Belleville, Paris, France. Photo Credit: Colette Davidson.

In the past few years, urban farming and community gardens have exploded in popularity in Paris, with miniature plots of land popping up on rooftops, in quiet corners and even on bustling avenues.

By Colette Davidson
Go Paris
Feb 18, 2016

Excerpt:

The garden at Place Frehel: Perched in between the Menilmontant and Belleville neighborhoods, this community garden is a space to admire not only the budding plants and flowers, but also the area’s abundant street art. Large murals fill the walls surrounding the garden and the next-door Culture Rapide (103 Rue Julian Lacroix, just off of Rue de Belleville) is a great place to stop in for a coffee or beer, or hang out on the outdoor terrace.

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February 29, 2016   Comments Off on 5 Urban Gardens and “Farms” in Paris, France

One Quarter Acre, Two French Farmers, and Enough Food to Feed the World

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Forthcoming March 2016

By Perrine Hervé-Gruyer and Charles Hervé-Gruyer
Foreword by Eliot Coleman
Chelsea Green Publishing
Mar 23, 2016

The Bec Hellouin model for growing food, sequestering carbon, creating jobs, and increasing biodiversity without using fossil fuels

When Charles and Perrine Hervé-Gruyer set out to create their farm in an historic Normandy village, they had no idea just how much their lives would change. Neither one had ever farmed before. Charles had been circumnavigating the globe by sail, operating a floating school that taught students about ecology and indigenous cultures. Perrine had been an international lawyer in Japan. Each had returned to France to start a new life. Eventually, Perrine joined Charles in Normandy, and Le Ferme du Bec Hellouin was born.

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February 29, 2016   Comments Off on One Quarter Acre, Two French Farmers, and Enough Food to Feed the World

Victoria, BC, to ban pesticides from ‘urban farms’

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Mayor Lisa Helps believes small-scale agriculture will help Victoria become a 21st-century city. Photograph By Bruce Stotesbury, Times Colonist.

The changes are designed “to support expanded small-scale commercial urban agriculture, with limits to minimize negative impacts on neighbouring properties, particularly in residential and commercial areas,” a staff report says.

By Bill Cleverley
Times Colonist
February 26, 2016

Excerpt:

If the bylaw changes that have been recommended are approved, as expected:

• Farm stands (selling only raw, unprocessed plant products eggs and honey grown on-site) will be permitted in people’s front yards.

• Rooftop greenhouses would be exempt from calculations of floor area, height or storeys (they would not be allowed in low-density residential zones or on multi-unit developments of less than four units).

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February 28, 2016   Comments Off on Victoria, BC, to ban pesticides from ‘urban farms’

Grandpa’s Garden

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This English picture book shows the progression of a garden through the year.

By Stella Fry (Author), Sheila Moxley (Illustrator)
Barefoot Books
2012

This beautifully told story follows Billy from early spring to late summer as he helps his grandpa on his vegetable patch. They dig the hard ground, sow rows of seeds, and keep them watered and safe from slugs. When harvest time arrives they can pick all the vegetables and fruit they have grown. Children will be drawn in by the poetry of the language and the warm illustrations, while also catching the excitement of watching things grow!

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February 27, 2016   Comments Off on Grandpa’s Garden

Professor Kay’s University of St. Thomas Stewardship Garden

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thoma Click on image for larger file.

In St. Paul, there are over 5,000 acres of vacant public and private land, about 14 percent of the city’s land area. These spaces depress property values and limit economic development.

By Adam Kay
University of St. Thomas
November 23, 2015

Excerpt:

Over the last five years, my students and I have developed an urban agriculture program that combines scientific research with educational opportunities and community service. We call this approach Stewardship Science. Our aim is to generate scientific results that increase yields and reduce environmental impacts of small-scale agriculture in cities, while at the same time creating tangible benefits to improve the lives of people on campus and in our community.

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February 27, 2016   Comments Off on Professor Kay’s University of St. Thomas Stewardship Garden

New Vancouver, BC, bylaws will regulate urban farmers

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Small-scale farms have sprung up around the region, boosted by community agriculture programs that allow farmers to sell crops in advance.

Intention is to encourage growth of farming, not inhibit it, city says

By Matthew Robinson
Vancouver Sun
February 25, 2016

Excerpt:

Camil Dumont, the head farmer at Inner City Farms said the proposed regulations could help standardize the industry.

“I think most of the people in the community that do urban food production are pretty on the ball, but it only takes one group to do something untoward for everyone to feel the brunt of it. From that perspective, I think it’s pretty good. It gives us a bit of a safety net,” he said.

“The fear is that it’s going to restrict the community from growing as much food as possible. … I want urban farming to be a vibrant and healthy part of our city and hopefully this is something that helps.”

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February 27, 2016   Comments Off on New Vancouver, BC, bylaws will regulate urban farmers

GrowHop: Urban Cricket Farm & FoodLab

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Ottawa business is going to make you love eating bugs!

From Indiegogo:

Bugs are delicious. Wait, what?

We know, the idea can seem surprising at first. But the insects as food movement is gaining steam. The United Nations believes it has major potential to address the food security issues resulting from climate change and dwindling resources. The market has also responded. More and more companies are developing cricket brownies, crackers, and energy bars!

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February 26, 2016   Comments Off on GrowHop: Urban Cricket Farm & FoodLab

Istanbul’s urban farmers face eviction from ancient gardens

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The gardens adjacent to the city’s walls number almost 300 and there are around 120 people who work these plots

By Suraj Sharma
Middle East Eye
Feb 18, 2016

Excerpt:

Fifty-one-year-old Avci is one of around 120 urban farmers who make a living by working 300 plots of land along a stretch of the city’s walls known as the Yedikule Bostanlari, or the Seven Towers horticulture gardens.

Avci and all the other urban farmers active there have been told by the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality to vacate the plots by March at the latest. The reason behind this is simple.

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February 26, 2016   Comments Off on Istanbul’s urban farmers face eviction from ancient gardens

City Farmer’s head gardener, Sharon Slack, cover girl in Vancouver newspaper today

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Sharon Slack, head gardener at City Farmer, has never counted the savings during 50 years’ endeavours at her Dunbar garden.

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February 26, 2016   Comments Off on City Farmer’s head gardener, Sharon Slack, cover girl in Vancouver newspaper today

Vancouver, BC – There’s money in that pile of dirt: Increasing food prices point to more grow-your-own

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According to Sharon Slack, head gardener at City Farmer: ‘It’s not about how much money I can save, but how much food I can grow.’ Photograph by: Jason Payne , PRV. Click on image for larger file.

Time to dig and plant as prices of imported produce stay sky high Now’s the time to start that backyard garden

By Kent Spencer
The Province
February 25, 2016

Excerpt:

Sharon Slack, head gardener at City Farmer, has never counted the savings during 50 years’ endeavours at her Dunbar garden.

“It’s not about how much money I can save, but how much food I can grow,” she said.

“You can never know about cost savings because every year is different — the weather, the bugs and the amount of time you can devote to it,” she said.

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February 25, 2016   Comments Off on Vancouver, BC – There’s money in that pile of dirt: Increasing food prices point to more grow-your-own

Enough with the vertical farming fantasies: There are still too many unanswered questions about the trendy practice

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1600Monk Circa 1598. Fiacrius/Sadeler, Raphaël, 1560-1632 (graveur); Vos Martin de, 1532-1603 (d’après) Click on image for larger file.

In addition to not feeding the masses, vertical farming could have grave environmental and economic consequences

By Stan Cox
Alternet/ Salon
Feb 17, 2016

Excerpt:

But even if funding and popular support can be found for all such good-food initiatives, the root causes of rural food insecurity will remain. Poverty, loss of family farms, the boarding up of small-town storefronts and ecological degradation are all attributable to exploitation by agribusiness, and they can’t be fixed by growing salad greens under lights.

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February 25, 2016   Comments Off on Enough with the vertical farming fantasies: There are still too many unanswered questions about the trendy practice

The Rooftop Growing Guide

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How To Transform Your Roof Into A Vegetable Garden Or Farm

By Annie Novak
Penguin Random House
Feb 16, 2016
(Must see. Mike)

If you’d like to grow your own food but don’t think you have the space, look up! In urban and suburban areas across the country, farms and gardens are growing atop the rooftops of residential and commercial buildings. In this accessible guide, author Annie Novak’s passion shines as she draws on her experience as a pioneering sky-high farmer to teach best practices for raising vegetables, herbs, flowers, and trees.

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February 25, 2016   Comments Off on The Rooftop Growing Guide

Facing Severe Food Shortages, Venezuela Pushes Urban Gardens

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Mileidis Bolivar shows off the tomatoes that she grows on her rooftop garden in a Caracas slum. John Otis for NPR.

Critics say Maduro should focus on making life easier for traditional farmers. Home to vast stretches of fertile land, Venezuela could grow much of its own food. Instead, production has collapsed.

By John Ortis
NPR
Feb 16, 2016

Excerpt:

Josefina Requena is among those who have heeded Maduro’s call. Cucumbers, green pepper, passion fruit and other produce grow in the front yard of her home in a slum in Caracas, the Venezuelan capital. She also has a chicken coop.

On a sweltering recent afternoon, I joined Requena and some other Caracas residents on a hike into the mountains that rise above the city. They were on a mission to find dirt for their gardens — which they keep on balconies, rooftops and small plots of their homes. After digging up the fresh earth, they lugged it back down the mountain.

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February 25, 2016   Comments Off on Facing Severe Food Shortages, Venezuela Pushes Urban Gardens

In Dublin’s Inner-City, Ex-Offenders And Residents Grow A Community Garden Together

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To the right of the main centrepiece, a flower bed is filled with strawberry plants, though there’s no sign of fruit yet. This is just the start of what will be a food-producing community garden.

Betty O’Raw, a resident of O’Carroll Villas, is glad to see someone is finally caring for the space. Residents and ex-offenders maintain it together.

By Louisa Mcgrath
Dublin Inquirer
February 17, 2016

Excerpt:

This year, spring might look a bit different from the windows of O’Carroll Villas on Cuffe Street in the south inner-city. On a patch of land below, work will soon be underway on a new vegetable garden.

Last summer, residents of the council flats met with local city councillor Sonya Stapleton, who at the time was with People Before Profit but is now independent, and members of the Dublin-based charity Care After Prison (CAP), which helps rehabilitate ex-offenders.

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February 24, 2016   Comments Off on In Dublin’s Inner-City, Ex-Offenders And Residents Grow A Community Garden Together