New Stories From 'Urban Agriculture Notes'
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Vancouver Chefs Grow Their Own

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Andrea Carlson of Burdock & Co. stands amongst the ginger and edible flowers in her restaurant’s urban garden. – Dan Toulgoet photo

Vancouver restaurants are taking the 100-mile diet a step further and growing their own ingredients here in the city

By Robert Mangelsdorf
Westender
Aug 31, 2016

Excerpt:

“Growing the botanicals was definitely something that was instilled in me working at the Sooke Harbour House on Vancouver Island,” she says. “It’s an incredibly inspired place. I learned a ton there, that ethos, and had an opportunity to experience on a daily basis the opportunities of the plants as they present themselves.

“Now it’s about the flower,” she continues, “then it’s the seed, then it’s about the fruit, then it’s the root. It’s not just about saying we have beets and tomatoes to work with. We have this entire world of potential from these plants, that’s what gets me excited when it comes to creating menus.”

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September 1, 2016   Comments Off on Vancouver Chefs Grow Their Own

The Fight to Feed Detroit

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Herbs on sale at Eastern Market in Detroit. (Danielle Walquist Lynch/Flickr)

(3rd in a series) To mend the city’s food system, urban farmers and entrepreneurs are working to funnel fresh produce and artisanal goods to local tables.

By Jessica Leigh Hester
The Atlantic: City Lab
Aug 31, 2016

Excerpt:

These organizations are working to ford considerable chasms in terms of access. Across the transit-strapped city, where nearly one-third of Detroiters don’t own a vehicle, many residents have a hard time reliably procuring nutritious produce. County-wide, nearly 23 percent of residents are estimated to be food insecure. Research from the National Poverty Center found that in Metro Detroit, food insecurity was exacerbated by the recession and disproportionately affected black families; the effects are particularly pronounced among families with delinquent bills or other debts, found a survey conducted by the University of Michigan.

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September 1, 2016   Comments Off on The Fight to Feed Detroit

Growing Pains for Detroit’s Urban Farms

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Alyssa Trimmer and her partner grow vegetables on lots in Detroit’s Virginia Park neighborhood. (Jessica Leigh Hester/CityLab)

(2nd in series) Agriculture flourishes in the city’s vacant lots—but can it survive the push towards revitalization?

By Jessica Leigh Hester
The Atlantic: City Lab
Aug 30, 2016

Excerpt:

Two years ago, Brittany Bradd, an activist in Detroit’s Brightmoor neighborhood, bought an acre of land that she planned to farm. Ever since, she’s been trying to buy an additional property that remains in limbo. “Some lots are just paperwork in boxes,” she says. Another farmer told me that he plans to visit the Land Bank in person—he wants to leave with a receipt in hand.

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September 1, 2016   Comments Off on Growing Pains for Detroit’s Urban Farms

Longtime City Councillor’s Seed Collection Preserves The Roots Of British Columbia’s Agriculture

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Living agricultural legend Harold Steves maintains a collection of seeds for rare plant varieties specially adapted for the Lower Mainland. (MPMG)

Harold Steves’ family has been involved in B.C. agriculture for more than 130 years, and with his collection of rare locally-adapted seeds, he hopes to remain so well into the future.

By Matt Meuse
CBC News
Aug 22, 2016

Excerpt:

One of Steves’ most popular plants is the alpha tomato, which dates back to the original Steves catalogue from 1877, bred to thrive in Lower Mainland soil and weather. According to Steves, it blooms a week earlier than other varieties, and produces red tomatoes a full month earlier.

Another point of pride in Steves’ collection is the black Russian sunflower. Steves believes he may be the only source of seeds for this particular strain in the world.

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September 1, 2016   Comments Off on Longtime City Councillor’s Seed Collection Preserves The Roots Of British Columbia’s Agriculture