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Posts from — October 2016

Legislation hopes to bolster urban farming, but challenges remain

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Lance Kraai (pictured above) operates the 3-acre New City Farm on Grand Rapids’ northeast side and believes urban farms are best suited to drive social change rather than profits. Photo by Katy Batdorff.

“You can read books on urban agriculture, and it’s like, ‘You can make $100,000 on an acre.’ I’m a little skeptical of that in West Michigan,” he said.

By John Wiegand
MiBiz
Oct 16

Excerpt:

Increasing property values, notoriously thin margins — a common thread most conventional, organic and urban farmers share — and a lack of high-end buyers stifled what many thought to be a hot market.

That’s not to say urban farmers haven’t found a niche in West Michigan over the past five years. Instead of driving dollars to the bottom line, urban farmers have switched their models to focus on community revitalization, public health and youth welfare.

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October 25, 2016   Comments Off on Legislation hopes to bolster urban farming, but challenges remain

Farming on the Fringe

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Peri-Urban Agriculture, Cultural Diversity and Sustainability in Sydney

Dr Sarah James
Visiting Fellow
School of Regulation and Global Governance (RegNet)
College of Asia and the Pacific
The Australian National University
Springer Publication 2016

This volume offers a new perspective to debates on local food and urban sustainability presenting the long silenced voices of the small-scale farmers from the productive green fringe of Sydney’s sprawling urban jungle. Providing fresh food for the city and local employment, these culturally and linguistically diverse farmers contribute not only to Sydney’s globalizing demographic and cultural fabric, but also play a critical role in the city’s environmental sustainability.

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October 24, 2016   Comments Off on Farming on the Fringe

Detroit Urban farms flourish, but neighbors feel growing pains

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The Michigan Urban Farming Initiative received funding from Mercedes Benz Financial Services, which volunteer Mary Hughes is from, to help plant 200 fruit— apple, pear, plum and cherry — trees on vacant land.
(Photo: Jose Juarez / Special to The Detroit News)

“It’s not something we want to deal with in the neighborhood,” he said. “We’re looking for activity in this community that can maybe employ some people. An apple orchard really does not employ anyone.”

By Christine Ferretti
The Detroit News
Oct 14, 2016

Excerpt:

Michigan Urban Farming Initiative got its start under an adopt-a-lot program five years ago. Since then, it’s transformed a tiny community garden to an operation that’s supplied more than 50,000 pounds of food to more than 2,000 households within two square miles, said co-founder and president Tyson Gersh.

The group has about a dozen projects going on a 1.5-acre site off Brush between Horton and Custer in Detroit’s District 5, one of the city’s seven district locations. Earlier this month, Mercedes Benz Financial Services funded the planting of 200 cherry, plum, pear and apple trees on a previously vacant parcel of its agricultural campus.

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October 24, 2016   Comments Off on Detroit Urban farms flourish, but neighbors feel growing pains

Introduced Bill Will Create an ‘Office of Urban Agriculture’ in the United States – Senator Stabenow’s Urban Agriculture Act of 2016

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1978 – City Farmer Society’s logo. Vancouver BC, Canada.

Almost 40 years ago, non-profit City Farmer created ‘Canada’s Office of Urban Agriculture’

By Micheal Levenston
City Farmer Society
Oct 23, 2016

City Farmer created its unofficial, non-profit ‘Office’ in 1978 and has run it for almost 40 years to promote the concept of producing food in the city. Over the years, some have referred to City Farmer’s executive director as Canada’s ‘Minister’ of Urban Agriculture. However, City Farmer has always been and remains a tiny NGO.

In the 1980’s, one gentleman flew from Germany to see us and arrived at our office door expecting to see a bustling, official government office. He was disappointed to see a spartan room, staffed by one scruffy employee.

In January of 2016, City Farmer sent Canada’s new federal cabinet ministers a short booklet outlining a proposal asking the Government to consider setting up a National Office of Urban Agriculture.

In September, 2016, US Senator Stabenow’s Urban Agriculture Act of 2016, a comprehensive urban agriculture bill, was introduced in the US Congress.

It has taken 40 years to move an idea of an Office of Urban Agriculture to centre stage. Without a doubt, Senator Stabenow’s bill will be copied around the world.

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October 23, 2016   Comments Off on Introduced Bill Will Create an ‘Office of Urban Agriculture’ in the United States – Senator Stabenow’s Urban Agriculture Act of 2016

The urban farms that grow half of the vegetables eaten in Cape Town, South Africa

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The Philippi Horticultural Area is a 20-minute drive from the city centre and supplies half of Cape Town’s vegetables

A densely populated area in Cape Town, the Cape Flats is home to townships, informal settlements and century-old neighourhoods.

By Helen Sullivan
How We Made It In Africa
12 October 2016

Excerpt:

These days the PHA farmers face more formidable opponents than horses. Consol Glass has applied for a mining licence, looking to dig up valuable silica sand, and a property developer has proposed a scheme made up of commercial housing, a shopping centre and private prison on land currently used for farming. Sonday says that this development would destroy a third of the PHA’s most productive land.

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October 23, 2016   Comments Off on The urban farms that grow half of the vegetables eaten in Cape Town, South Africa

Mahindra to give $75,000 to Detroit nonprofit urban farms

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The Mahindra Group, headquartered in Mumbai, India, is a major producer of tractors, utility vehicles, information technology and financial services.

By Marti Benedetti
Crain’s Detroit Business
Oct 12, 2016

Excerpt:

The 2016 Mahindra Urban Agriculture Grant recipients and the programs are:

Capuchin Soup Kitchen – Earthworks Urban Farm Agriculture Training Program ($12,500): to support a nine-month program to train urban farmers and food entrepreneurs.

Full Circle Foundation ($7,500): to fund development of the entrepreneurial Friends and Flowers Program for developmentally delayed teens and adults. (2015 grant recipient)

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October 22, 2016   Comments Off on Mahindra to give $75,000 to Detroit nonprofit urban farms

Research Job in UK: ‘The spread of urban agriculture and urban greening’ University of East Anglia

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Photo by Andrew Pym.

This project will investigate the diffusion of urban agriculture and urban greening through cities, and the impact this has on urban ecosystem services. Relevant ecosystem services include recreation, air quality, and moderation of temperature extremes.

Supervisor: Dr Charlie Wilson
Start Date: October 2017
Funding amount: £14,296

Excerpt:

Activities
Specific research activities include:

compiling time series and geospatial data on the spread of urban agriculture and urban greening

mapping spatial diffusion and identifying spatial contagion effects

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October 22, 2016   Comments Off on Research Job in UK: ‘The spread of urban agriculture and urban greening’ University of East Anglia

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today announced the availability of USDA guaranteed loans for smaller scale farms and urban producers

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Agriculture Secretary Vilsack.

The program, called EZ Guarantee Loans, uses a simplified application process to help beginning, small, underserved and family farmers and ranchers apply for loans of up to $100,000 from USDA-approved lenders to purchase farmland or finance agricultural operations.

By Gary Truitt
Hosier Ag Today
Oct 20, 2016

Excerpt:

“Over the past seven years, we have been transforming our loan programs at USDA so that they can be attainable and useful to all kinds and sizes of producers,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “These EZ Guarantee Loans will help beginning and underserved farmers obtain the capital they need to get their operations off the ground, and they can also be helpful to those who have been farming for some time but need extra help to expand or modernize their operations. USDA’s Farm Service Agency has offices in nearly every county in the country, and we encourage all farmers, including those in urban areas, to stop in and inquire about this program.”

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October 21, 2016   Comments Off on The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today announced the availability of USDA guaranteed loans for smaller scale farms and urban producers

Urban allotment gardens in the eighteenth century: the case of Sheffield, UK

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Central part of Ralph Gosling’s Plan of Sheffield 1736 showing urban gardens. Click on image for larger file.

“In the town of Sheffield in Yorkshire where a great iron manufacture is carried on, there is hardly a journeyman cutler who does not possess a piece of ground which he cultivates as a garden. These people take exercise without doors, but also eat many greens, roots etc. of their own growth, which they would never think of purchasing.” Dr. Buchan who lived in the town 1760-1769.

By N. Flavell
The Agricultural History Review
pas 95-106
2003

Abstract:

Many acres of the horticultural land surrounding Sheffield in the late eighteenth century were utilized as allotment gardens. Provincial town histories, apart from those of Birmingham (where small gardens were often different in character) make little or no mention of anything similar for this period.

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October 21, 2016   Comments Off on Urban allotment gardens in the eighteenth century: the case of Sheffield, UK

Stories Behind the Roman Artichoke

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Gustolab Institute – Food & Media Course – Spring 2015 – University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Three accounts of the trajectory of one of Rome’s most celebrated vegetables, as it travels from a field to a market and then to a restaurant.

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October 20, 2016   Comments Off on Stories Behind the Roman Artichoke

New-York: The Big Apple Goes Green

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rofhy
Link to video. A short documentary on urban agriculture in the city of New York.

Three urban agriculture initiatives, the Earth School in Manhattan, a community garden in Bedford St. and the Science Barge in Yonkers.

By Gaël Link
2014
In English and French
(Must see. Mike)

C’est l’histoire de gens qui s’investissent à l’échelle de leur quartier pour promouvoir l’agriculture urbaine.
Les élèves de la Earth School profitent du jardin potager qui a vu le jour sur le toit de leur école, à manhattan.
Les habitants du quartier de Bedstuy, à Brooklyn, organisent une block party pour célébrer les douze ans du jardin partagé Greene Acres.

[Read more →]

October 20, 2016   Comments Off on New-York: The Big Apple Goes Green

Sydney’s Lord Mayor, Clover Moore, argues that as population grows there is a greater need for green, open space

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City of Sydney, Australia Community Gardens.

“Community gardens turn pockets of urban space into productive organic gardens where residents can grow their own food,” Clover Moore said

By Nicole Frost
Domain
Oct 11, 2016

Excerpt:

A few suburbs across in Newtown, Marrickville Council’s Turtle Lane Community Garden has proved a hit with local residents.

There are 25 plots in the garden and a waiting list for eager residents to take part.

Martin moved around the corner eight years ago and started in the garden shortly afterwards.

[Read more →]

October 19, 2016   Comments Off on Sydney’s Lord Mayor, Clover Moore, argues that as population grows there is a greater need for green, open space

Paris, France launches licenses to ‘green’ (végétaliser) all you want

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boxpar Click on image for larger file.

The goal by 2020 is to green Paris on more than 100 hectares with a third devoted to urban agriculture

This article has been roughly translated by Google Translate from La Relève et La Peste
By Christophe Noël et Jean-Pierre Viguié / Mairie de Paris
Oct 6, 2016

Roughly translated:

Here’s good news! Passed unnoticed this summer, this law passed by the elected council of Paris on July 1, and allows Paris residents to acquire a permit to green/grow on the place that you like best! A very nice alternative to green our cities from the 100% concrete …

Paris is one of the least “green” capitals where one finds relatively little space and almost no real green lung, as there are in London or Central Park. The mayor of Paris has made a strong move this time with her 100% green proposal. We see real, bold proposals for the French capital. The goal by 2020 is to green Paris on more than 100 hectares. All alternatives are in the proposals. Roofs, walls and facades can and will be grown on, a third will be devoted to urban agriculture. This proposals is long overdue. The proposal was passed under a near media blackout.

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October 19, 2016   Comments Off on Paris, France launches licenses to ‘green’ (végétaliser) all you want

FAO: Guidelines on urban and peri-urban forestry

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Although cities occupy only 2 percent of the planet’s surface, their inhabitants use 75 percent of its natural resources.

By Fabio Salbitano Simone Borelli Michela Conigliaro Yujuan Chen
Food And Agriculture Organization Of The United Nations
Rome, 2016

Excerpt:

The world is urbanizing quickly, too: by 2050, 70 percent of the global population will live in cities and towns. Sustainable urban development is crucial, therefore, for ensuring the quality of life of the world’s people.

Forests and trees in urban and peri-urban environments, if properly managed, can make important contributions to the planning, design and management of sustainable, resilient landscapes. They can help make cities:

• safer – by reducing stormwater runoff and the impacts of wind and sand storms, mitigating the “heat island” effect, and contributing to the adaptation and mitigation of climate change;

• more pleasant – by providing space for recreation and venues for social and religious events, and ameliorating weather extremes;

• healthier – by improving air quality, providing space for physical exercise, and fostering psychological well-being;

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October 18, 2016   Comments Off on FAO: Guidelines on urban and peri-urban forestry

The Kitchen Gardens at The Pig Hotel in Combe, England

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Click on image for larger file.

“We harvest three hundred sixty-five days a year. There’s not a day we don’t work in the garden.”

By Nell Card
Gardenista
Oct 10, 2016

Excerpt:

“As with all our projects, this was about doing justice to the gardeners who have come before us,” says Ollie. It’s a decree they take seriously at Combe, not least because gardener Ron Hutchinson, age 70, is still employed at Combe House, the last in a long line of Hutchinsons who have worked the land here.

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October 18, 2016   Comments Off on The Kitchen Gardens at The Pig Hotel in Combe, England