New Stories From 'Urban Agriculture Notes'
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Alleycat Acres Puts New Twist on Community Gardens in Seattle

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Breaking ground on an Alleycat Acres parking strip farm. Photo: Alleycat Acres

Each Alleycat Acres farm relies on a team of neighborhood volunteers to keep it running. Before creating a farm at a given location, the organization gauges the interest of the surrounding community.

By Cat Johnson
Shareable
Aug 2016

Excerpt:

Unlike traditional community gardens, such as the city of Seattle’s P-Patches, this farm is not on a lot—it’s on a parking strip between the sidewalk and the street. And rather than people working on their own plot within a larger garden, everyone here tends to the entire garden, which spans the length of two houses, collectively—primarily on a volunteer basis. Once a week, food from the farm is taken to a nearby food bank.

The farm is one of three currently run by Alleycat Acres, an organization working to “(re)connect people, place and produce” by transforming underutilized urban spaces into neighborhood-run farms. There are two Alleycat Acres farms on parking strips and a new one in-the-works on a city-owned lot.

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August 18, 2016   Comments Off on Alleycat Acres Puts New Twist on Community Gardens in Seattle

Excerpts from Michael Ableman’s book, ‘Street Farm’ (August 2016)

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A Sole Food urban farm in an old Petro-Canada station in Vancouver’s East End. Photo by Agriculture Urbana.

‘People are no easier to recover than the land buried under layers of pavement.’

By Michael Ableman
Earth Island Journal
Aug 17, 2016

Excerpt:

We interrupt harvesting for one of our farm walks, a chance for me to share some techniques or a little philosophy, answer questions, and tell stories. And I realize that even as I am telling stories to make abundance real and visual for folks who may never have experienced it, I am feeling my own doubts and questions about what lies ahead. It feels odd for me standing in this parking lot on a street corner talking about soil microbes, optimal plant spacing, or the life cycle of an aphid. On my rural farm, not far from here, I’d be carrying on similar conversations, but there I’m mentoring young, well-scrubbed kids fresh out of college, most of whom have never known real hardship, all still hopeful and idealistic, too young for life to have slapped them around.

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August 18, 2016   Comments Off on Excerpts from Michael Ableman’s book, ‘Street Farm’ (August 2016)

Community gardens are flourishing in Australia

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Photo by Fitzroy.

In 1996 the inventory of community gardens numbered just 60 but the online directory now lists 600 locations and there are more that have not yet listed.

By Helen Young
The Australian
Aug 2016

Excerpt:

Russ Grayson of Australian City Farms & Community Gardens Network says they are now part of standard urban design, with support from many councils. The volunteerrun network connects people across Australia who are interested in city farms and community gardening. In 1996 the inventory of community gardens numbered just 60 but the online directory now lists 600 locations and there are more that have not yet listed. The network offers free guides to setting up a community garden and basic techniques for productive gardening.

“The social design of a community facility is as critical as the landscape design,” says Grayson. “Learning how to work with other people, make decisions together and resolve disagreements is very important.” On 4.5ha in East Brunswick, Melbourne, CERES Community Environment Park runs an organic working farm, community garden, nursery, cafe, market and kitchen on what was once a desolate quarry turned landfill site. “We have 400,000 visitors a year, including 70,000 students,” says Melissa Lawson, group manager at CERES.

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August 18, 2016   Comments Off on Community gardens are flourishing in Australia