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Posts from — March 2016

Bees buzzing in many Korean cities

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Min Dong-seok (R), secretary-general of the Korean National Commission for UNESCO, and Park Jin, head of the Urban Bees Seoul, show hives during a ceremony to harvest honey on the rooftop of the commission’s building in downtown Seoul.

According to the Seoul city government, the nation’s capital now has 300 beehives in 27 places, up from 186 hives in 21 areas last year.

By Hwang Seok-joo
YoonHop News
March 26, 2016

Excerpt:

However, Park Jin, the head of Urban Bees Seoul (UBS), an urban beekeeping cooperative in Seoul, refutes that bees rarely attack people unless they are provoked.

“People have a tendency to vaguely assume that honey bees are dangerous and to worry that honey collected in cities might be polluted,” Park said.

An earlier probe by the Seoul-based Institute of Health and Environment found no heavy metals like lead and cadmium in honey produced even in heavily-crowded Myeongdong in downtown Seoul, he said.

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March 31, 2016   Comments Off on Bees buzzing in many Korean cities

Do not stand on your compost bin to clean your roof

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This fellow falls into his bin and gets stuck!

City Farmer has run the Vancouver Compost Hotline for almost 30 years and we have had all types of questions, but never about someone stuck in a bin.

Of course this could have been a prank set-up to amuse his family, but then again, if the man had all his weight on both legs on the centre of the bin lid, then perhaps he did fall through.

March 31, 2016   Comments Off on Do not stand on your compost bin to clean your roof

A Mobile Farm on Wheels to Survive an Edmonton Winter

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wheelsClick on image for larger file.

A mobile farm and training centre that enables teachers and students to practice urban agriculture

Prairie Urban Farm is launching a crowdfunding campaign to build a mobile Farm on Wheels. Designed to be part farm and part training facility, the 40-foot shipping container will house an innovative farm built tough enough to survive an Edmonton winter.

Located at the University of Alberta South Campus, Prairie Urban Farm is a one-acre demonstration farm that has been working with Edmonton communities to grow fresh produce, build a community of urban farmers, and provide awareness and skill-building in sustainable agriculture and food systems.

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March 30, 2016   Comments Off on A Mobile Farm on Wheels to Survive an Edmonton Winter

Japan is Combatting a Decline in Farming

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Chickens wander freely among the rice paddies and raised beds of City Farm Odaiba. Joshua Hunt.Click on image for larger file.

The earthquake, tsunami, and resulting nuclear disaster that rocked Japan’s Tohoku region in March of 2011 dealt a series of sharp blows to the 70,000 farmers living in Fukushima prefecture

By Joshua Hunt
Modern Farmer
March 23, 2016

Excerpt:

City Farm Odaiba, which sits atop a high-rise overlooking Tokyo Bay, on the manmade island of Odaiba, represents one of many initiatives aimed at reversing the farm-sector decline. Established in 2012 by real-estate behemoth Mitsui Fudosan as a kind of refuge for elderly farmers who had fled Tohoku after the tsunami, the community farm—with rice paddies, soybean fields, staked tomatoes, raised beds, and a flock of resident chickens—quickly became something more than a place for the displaced people to dirty their trowels.

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March 30, 2016   Comments Off on Japan is Combatting a Decline in Farming

City of Vancouver holds a rain barrel sale

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Quench the thirst of your plants with free water from a rain barrel

City of Vancouver
Engineering/Water Design/Conservation
March 2016

Benefits of rain barrels

The water they collect gives you a source of chlorine-free, slightly-acidic, ambient-temperature water that’s great for your garden.

They reduce your demand for treated drinking water that’s often in short supply in the summer.

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March 30, 2016   Comments Off on City of Vancouver holds a rain barrel sale

Interest in food production is on the rise among Ireland’s city dwellers

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Kitty Scully, the kitchen gardener, tending the plants at the Airfield Estate farm in Dundrum.

Kitty effortlessly quoted one of her favourite lines from Lady Eve Balfour, herself an organic pioneer, “the health of the soil, plant and man are one and indivisible”.

By Grace Maher
Independent
Mar 23, 2016

Excerpt:

Kitty Scully, the kitchen gardener at Airfield, explains why they opted to convert the food garden to organic production.

“Essentially we were gardening organically so we decided to take it a step further and apply for certification as it embodies best practice in growing food. On a personal level, I have an MSc in Organic Horticulture so really it is the only way that I know how to garden,” she says.

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March 29, 2016   Comments Off on Interest in food production is on the rise among Ireland’s city dwellers

Rooftop revolution begins; the Green Knight rises

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Across centuries, villagers have been leaving farm work for the big city, but now town dwellers are becoming part-time farmers — the reverse green revolution in the happily balancing equations of Mother Nature.

By Raja Murthy, an independent journalist who shuttles between Mumbai and the Himalayas.
Asia Times
March 21, 2016

Excerpt:

This Green Knight is a humble crusader fighting for the urban farming movement. He could be anyone: The boy or girl next door, a banker, a software engineer or it could even be you.

“We are farmers that live in apartments,” goes the Gotham Greens’ anthem from their 9th Avenue headquarters in New York. “We see green fields where others see rooftops. We fuel blooming communities where others fear urban decay. And we purvey the freshest produce grown on earth”.

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March 29, 2016   Comments Off on Rooftop revolution begins; the Green Knight rises

Mycelial Mayhem

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Growing Mushrooms for Fun, Profit and Companion Planting

By David Sewak & Kristin Sewak
New Society Books
March 2016

Most supermarket mushrooms are bland and boring; products of an industrial process which typically relies on expensive equipment and harmful pesticides. Many people would like to add more flavorful and diverse fungi to their diets, but lack the knowledge or confidence to gather their own. Do-it-yourself cultivation is a fun, exciting way to incorporate a variety of mushrooms into a sustainable lifestyle.

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March 28, 2016   Comments Off on Mycelial Mayhem

Composting: Under sink device takes macerated food waste – sends it in one direction – liquid waste goes in another.

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Rice University engineering students’ device makes composting easier

By David Ruth
Rice University
Office of Public Affairs
News & Media Relations

HOUSTON – (March 28, 2016) – It’s good for crops, it’s good for water and, in the end, it’s good for people and the planet. Why would anyone not turn food waste into compost?

Rice University engineering students asked that question at the start of the school year and have spent the months since refining their answer.

The team known as (com)post-haste invented a device that sits under one’s sink and takes macerated food waste produced by a standard garbage disposal and sends it in one direction while liquid waste (including water) goes in another. Effectively, it simplifies the process of recycling garbage into a useful product while helping to protect water supplies.

The students make up one of more than 80 capstone design teams at Rice. Most senior engineering students are required to complete a project to graduate and are presented with a host of possibilities when they begin their classes in August.

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March 28, 2016   Comments Off on Composting: Under sink device takes macerated food waste – sends it in one direction – liquid waste goes in another.

Pacific Northwest Foraging

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120 wild and flavorful edibles from Alaska blueberries to wild hazelnuts

By Douglas Deur
Timber Press
2014

The Pacific Northwest offers a veritable feast for foragers. The forests, meadows, streambanks, and even the weedy margins of neighborhoods are home to an abundance of delicious wild edible plants. Discover wild lilies with their peppery flowers, buds, and seeds and use them in your spring salads. Select sweet, succulent thistles or the shoots of invasive Himalayan blackberries and Japanese knotweed to add wonderful flavor to hearty soups.

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March 28, 2016   Comments Off on Pacific Northwest Foraging

A Community Garden Is Sprouting Up In The Middle Of Downtown Los Angeles

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labVolunteers building planters for the Spring Street Community Garden (via Facebook).

“These are low investments with a really high return for the community.”

By Danny Jensen
Laist
Mar 21, 2016

Excerpt:

What was once just an unused, weed-covered stretch of dirt next to a parking garage on Spring St. between 2nd and 3rd streets, will become the Spring Street Community Garden next month, according to Downtown News. Volunteers from the neighborhood have been working for months to clear the 2,700-square-foot lot, and are about halfway through building 40 three-by-four and six-by-two feet raised planters that will then be filled with nutrient-rich soil (as not surprisingly, the dirt in the urban lot did not test well for growing veggies).

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March 27, 2016   Comments Off on A Community Garden Is Sprouting Up In The Middle Of Downtown Los Angeles

My First Book About How Things Grow

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owth

With over 120 stickers of flowers, vegetables, seeds and trees to add to the pages, a glossary, quiz, and naming and spotting games.

Author/Editor: Felicity Brooks
Illustrator: Rosalinde Bonnet
Usborne Publishing Ltd
24 pages + 4 pages stickers

An accessible, informative first reference book that helps young children learn about trees, plants and funghi – what each of these things is, how to tell them apart, what each needs to survive and thrive, and their life cycles, including information about how they reproduce.

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March 27, 2016   Comments Off on My First Book About How Things Grow

ScottsMiracle-Gro Grants Program Will Fund More Than 100 Projects Nationwide in 2016

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Mayor KasimReed accepting GRO1000 grant from Scotts_MGro for ATL UrbanAG program.

Grants for Community Gardens, Greenspaces and Pollinator Habitats

Press Release
Mar 21, 2016

Excerpt:

More than 100 grants were awarded to civic and non-profit organizations nationwide to develop or improve pollinator habitats, community gardens and greenspaces.

In its sixth year, the GRO1000 Grassroots Grants are a part of the company’s commitment to support the creation of more than 1,000 community gardens and greenspaces in the U.S., Canada, Mexico and Europe by 2018, which aligns with its 150th anniversary.

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March 26, 2016   Comments Off on ScottsMiracle-Gro Grants Program Will Fund More Than 100 Projects Nationwide in 2016

Vancouver Tree Book: A Living City Field Guide

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More than 110 of Vancouver’s important species are profiled.

By David Tracey
Pure Wave Media
(March 15, 2016)
240 pages

Trees tell the story of a city, and Vancouver has one of the world’s greatest urban forests. Vancouver Tree Book is the key to a living laboratory unlike anywhere else on Earth.

Slim enough to fit into a pocket yet filled with detailed descriptions and hundreds of colour images, this Living City Field Guide is designed for outdoor use. Bring it with you anywhere you go to discover the quiet giants living among us. Maps to ten Tree Tour walks will help you get going.

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March 26, 2016   Comments Off on Vancouver Tree Book: A Living City Field Guide

Feeding Cities – with Indoor Vertical Farms?

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staanlGreenhouse and Garden, by Stanley Spencer, 1937.

I take strong issue with those who go to great lengths trying to convince everyone this is the solution to world hunger, fresh water challenges, and agriculture’s contribution to climate change. I have perused a number of websites focused on vertical indoor farming and have found very little beyond platitudes.

By Michael W. Hamm: C.S. Mott Professor of Sustainable Agriculture – Michigan State University and Past Director of the MSU Center for Regional Food Systems.
Food Climate Research Centre
Mar 30, 2015

Excerpt:

At the end of this analysis I am at a loss to understand why indoor vertical farms with 100% artificial light have seemed like such a good idea when there are so many other pressing issues to research if we are going to have a sustainable, resilient and secure food supply globally and within our respective nations. I am unable to find evidence that 100% artificially lit systems are a priori a solution for feeding cities and their environs. The environmental cost (judged only by carbon footprint in this case) is clearly higher than other strategies. It seems a shame that public policy or public research dollars would be diverted to 100% artificially lit systems. A better use of time, resources, and capital with greater potential for long-term impact is continued development of controlled to semi-controlled environments with the sun as the basis of production.

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March 26, 2016   Comments Off on Feeding Cities – with Indoor Vertical Farms?