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Posts from — December 2016

Happy New Year from City Farmer! It’s our 39th Year

Click on image for larger file.

Maria’s Compost Garden hops went into our beer again this year

More varieties and a bigger crop made this year’s ‘Rail Ale’ a treat. Named for the big changes that took place next to our garden; the century old railway line was pulled up. A new Greenway era begins for use by pedestrians and cyclist.

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December 31, 2016   Comments Off on Happy New Year from City Farmer! It’s our 39th Year

Berkeley sprouts creative housing, topped by a working farm


The rooftops at the Garden Village modular apartment complex on Dwight Way in Berkeley are under cultivation. Photo: Santiago Mejia, The Chronicle.

In all, one-third of an acre of “land” is available for farming.

By John King
San Francisco Chronicle
December 24, 2016
(Must see. Mike)

Excerpt:

Two of the interior pods stop at three levels and are topped by communal terraces that get use throughout the day when studies and weather allow. One more level up, you encounter the startling contrast of panoramic views — and a dissected farm where you can touch the ground or snip off a sprig of parsley.

This time of year, between harvests, some pods show nothing but dirt. Others are softened by abundant mounds of green parsley and purple kale. One roof is dotted with red radishes waiting to be picked.

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December 31, 2016   Comments Off on Berkeley sprouts creative housing, topped by a working farm

Eat Your Yard! Edible Landscaping with Hatchet and Seed in Greater Victoria, BC


Experts in the field of edible landscaping and applied permaculture, Tayler Krawczyk and Solara Goldwynn.

The whole idea with edible landscaping is to design with food in mind by interspersing edible plants with ornamentals.

By Holly Brooke
The Eat Journal
Aug 28, 2015

Excerpt:

The North Saanich couple have been operating their business Hatchet and Seed since 2010. The company provides landscape consulting, design, and installation services with a strong focus on organic, ecological and permaculture principles.

The couple agrees that urban farming, while it has been gaining popularity, isn’t for everyone. “On a macro-scale, we are aware of food security as an issue,” says Krawczyk, “but there is a spectrum and most people fall somewhere in the middle.”

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December 31, 2016   Comments Off on Eat Your Yard! Edible Landscaping with Hatchet and Seed in Greater Victoria, BC

Nigeria: Recession – More urban dwellers turn to farming

Until recently, the elite have relegated farming to the peasants mostly in rural areas, but the trend has changed as the high and mighty are now taking over farming, not just for subsistence, but for commerce.

By Ibraheem Hamza Muhammad
Daily Trust
Dec 31 2016

Excerpt:

Many high-ranking retired and serving government officials, military personnel, politicians, legislatures among others are into farming within cities. Some of the farms are around the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) and situated between Baran-Gwani village along Bwari-Jere road where they mostly engage in fish and livestock farming. The owners have staff quarters, have the place fenced, security lighting systems and (some) even have Close Circuit Television Cameras (CCTV) that enable them monitor their farms from the comfort of their homes or even from any location around the world via internet wireless facilities.

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December 31, 2016   Comments Off on Nigeria: Recession – More urban dwellers turn to farming

Urban farm project heading for Midtown Omaha

“The more I’ve read, the more I’ve talked with other new farmers, I think this really is kind of the direction of the future for agriculture,” Jespersen said.

By Collin Ruane
WOWT News
Dec 21, 2016

Excerpt:

Forget big fields and acres of land, this residency program is set in the heart of Omaha. The Big Muddy Urban Farm is fixed inside a Midtown neighborhood. It’s an opportunity to learn about farming and the business behind it. Taylor Jespersen is one of a select few residents ready to take part in the aspiring farmer residency program.

“The urban farming thing is very new to me, but I’m excited to see what that looks like,” said Jespersen.

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December 31, 2016   Comments Off on Urban farm project heading for Midtown Omaha

Five urban farming projects in Chicago to watch in 2017


Laura Erickson, market coordinator for Windy City Harvest, takes beds of lettuce out of the water to be cleaned and sent to market on Dec. 7, 2016. Windy City Harvest, now working out of the Arturo Velasquez Institute, grows more than 100,000 pounds of produce a year.

Like a tomato plant bursting from a pothole, Chicago’s urban farming scene is a tiny hope-filled industry in a tough city, steadily growing as a source of jobs, economic development and food in some of the poorest neighborhoods on the South and West sides.

Greg Trotter
Chicago Tribune
Dec 21, 2016

Excerpt:

The city is jumping into the urban farming game, aided by a $1 million federal grant, one of 45 projects awarded a total of $26.6 million this year through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s annual Conservation Innovation Grants.

Through its “Growing for Chicago” initiative, the city plans to promote and coordinate urban farming efforts, provide microgrants and training through partnerships with existing nonprofits, and prepare vacant land in the Englewood neighborhood for farming, said Chris Wheat, chief sustainability officer for Chicago.

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December 30, 2016   Comments Off on Five urban farming projects in Chicago to watch in 2017

Editorial: Persecuting an idealist – Thomas Jackson is an urban farmer


A landscaper by the name of Thomas Jackson faces 30 violations from the City of Toledo for attempting to beautify his neighborhood, but he has the support of his neighbors, Green Party, key figures, the Lucas County, and the state of Ohio. (Must see. Mike)

Toledo, Ohio – The city should make him citizen of the year. Instead, the city is persecuting him.

Toledo Blade
Dec 26, 2016

Excerpt:

Thomas Jackson is an urban farmer. Thomas Jackson is a man who is beautifying his neighborhood. Thomas Jackson, who had a record as a young man, turned his life around and went to school to learn how to be a master gardener and harvester of food and trees.

Thomas Jackson is the kind of person the city should lift up and celebrate. Everyone who has met him or been to his neighborhood — Milburn Court, Auburn Avenue, and Macomber Street and their environs — and seen his work, from Congressman Marcy Kaptur, to the Green Party, to University of Toledo professors and students, to representatives of the Ohio EPA, says what he is doing is fantastic.

What he is doing is turning vacant lots of dirt and weeds into green, growing space.

The city should make him citizen of the year. Instead, the city is persecuting him. In the absence of leadership by the mayor’s office, District Councilman Tyrone Riley seems to be driving city policy and enforcement. And it has been a witch hunt aimed at Mr. Jackson.

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December 30, 2016   Comments Off on Editorial: Persecuting an idealist – Thomas Jackson is an urban farmer

A Day in the Life at Putnam Middle School – Birmingham, Alabama


This is a short story about Farm Lab Club, as told by Putnam Middle School students

Jones Valley Teaching Farm
December 8, 2016

Excerpt:

In 2012-2013, Jones Valley Teaching Farm launched the Good School Food program at Glen Iris Elementary in Birmingham, Alabama. Now in our fourth year, we implement Good School Food in seven Birmingham City Schools (5 of which are in one distinct feeder pattern in the Woodlawn community).

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December 29, 2016   Comments Off on A Day in the Life at Putnam Middle School – Birmingham, Alabama

Transforming city backyards into veggie farms in Quezon City, Philippines

Its metro-wide urban agriculture project with the Agricultural Training Institute (ATI) dubbed as the “ATIng Gulayan ng DA”.

GOVOH – The Official Gazette is the official journal of the Republic of the Philippines
Dec 24, 2016

In the face of today’s growing population, the Department of Agriculture (DA) sharpens its focus on food security and poverty alleviation through its metro-wide urban agriculture project with the Agricultural Training Institute (ATI) dubbed as the “ATIng Gulayan ng DA”.

To officially set this project in motion, the ATI spearheaded a series of roadshows in different barangays in Metro Manila to encourage local families to transform their backyards into vegetable gardens, starting with Barangay Old Balara in Quezon City.

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December 29, 2016   Comments Off on Transforming city backyards into veggie farms in Quezon City, Philippines

Nature Journal: ‘Agriculture – Sowing the city’


Aztecs farming on an artificial islands called a chinampa in Tenochtitlan. De Agostini Picture Library/G. Dagli Orti/Bridgeman Images

“Urban agriculture will be there when new challenges arise.”

By Laura Lawson
Nature 540, 522–524
International Weekly Journal of Science
22 December 2016

Excerpt:

Agricultural urbanism is entering a new phase as a framework to address community cohesion and food access. From Shanghai to Detroit, advocates are mapping the urban-agriculture landscape — highlighting the existence of vacant lots and ‘food desert’ neighbourhoods ripe for transformation. Often, this enables farmers to network, discuss shared concerns and advocate. A model is New York City’s Five Borough Farm, a project of the Design Trust for Public Space. Here, site documentation, metrics development and proposals for supportive policies and practices are managed collectively.

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December 29, 2016   Comments Off on Nature Journal: ‘Agriculture – Sowing the city’

Bonton Farms Plants Hope in the Middle of Dallas Food Desert


From Bonton Farms, photographed in November.

Residents who live in Bonton, which is one of the oldest historic black neighborhoods in Dallas, did not decide to grow their own produce out of a desire to follow a food trend. Just like hundreds of thousands of other people who live in the southern sector of one of the wealthiest cities in America, they live in a food desert.

By Courtney Gilmore
NBC DFW
Dec 20, 2016

Excerpt:

“We have the number one childhood poverty rate in the United States and that is unacceptable,” Babcock said. “For a city that’s as prosperous as Dallas, that’s unacceptable. That we have 40 communities that are sick and dying that don’t have food. That’s unacceptable.”

Daron began to notice the correlation between the lack of healthy food options and the high rate of diabetes, heart disease, cancer and stroke.

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December 28, 2016   Comments Off on Bonton Farms Plants Hope in the Middle of Dallas Food Desert

Growing mega-cities will displace vast tracts of farmland by 2030, study says


New Delhi, India. Between 1991 and 2016 the population of India’s capital and its suburbs ballooned from 9.4 million to 25 million. The United Nations Report on World Urbanisation projects that Delhi will have 37 million residents by 2030. Photograph: OLI/Landsat 8/USGS/NASA

Our results show that urban expansion will result in a 1.8–2.4% loss of global croplands by 2030, with substantial regional disparities. About 80% of global cropland loss from urban expansion will take place in Asia and Africa.

Globally, the croplands that are likely to be lost were responsible for 3–4% of worldwide crop production in 2000. Urban expansion is expected to take place on cropland that is 1.77 times more productive than the global average.

Governance of urban area expansion thus emerges as a key area for securing livelihoods in the agrarian economies of the Global South.

By Emma Bryce
The Guardian
Dec 27, 2016
(Must see. Mike)
Excrpt:

Our future crops will face threats not only from climate change, but also from the massive expansion of cities, a new study warns. By 2030, it’s estimated that urban areas will triple in size, expanding into cropland and undermining the productivity of agricultural systems that are already stressed by rising populations and climate change.

Roughly 60% of the world’s cropland lies on the outskirts of cities—and that’s particularly worrying, the report authors say, because this peripheral habitat is, on average, also twice as productive as land elsewhere on the globe.

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December 28, 2016   Comments Off on Growing mega-cities will displace vast tracts of farmland by 2030, study says

Tear Down That Fence: A Tale Of Urban Farms & The Barriers In Their Way


East Capitol Urban Farm is now embraced, supported, and operated by its community. Removing barriers has afforded Ward 7 residents the opportunity to: plant over 3,600 produce plants; operate 70 garden spaces; engage over 300 D.C. Public School Students

By Dr. Dwane Jones
Special to the AFRO
December 19, 2016
Dwane Jones, PH.D. is the Director of the Center for Sustainable Development and Resilience, a division of the University of the District of Columbia College of Agriculture, Urban Sustainability, and Environmental Sciences.

Excerpt:

Given the large amount of vacant properties and unused space in many underserved urban areas (cities like Baltimore and Detroit come to mind), it may sound easy. But it’s not. Case in point: In 2015, CAUSES leased three acres of vacant property directly across the street from a Metro stop in D.C.’s struggling Ward 7 to construct the East Capitol Urban Farm. A partnership between several agencies and organizations, East Capitol Urban Farm is the District’s largest-scale urban agriculture and aquaponics facility. It’s an ambitious effort to bring healthy produce to an underserved area of the District.

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December 28, 2016   Comments Off on Tear Down That Fence: A Tale Of Urban Farms & The Barriers In Their Way

Brazil: In the village of Primeiro do Maio 65 families have obtained land to grow crops since 1999


This vegetable garden changed my life,” said Rita da Silva (right, in yellow). A group of women organised to collectively grow vegetables and fruit to sell in the market in Caraúbas, a nearby city in Northeast Brazil. Credit: Mario Osava/IPS

The income from the garden empowers the women, particularly in times of drought when the local crops are failing.

By Mario Osava
Inter Press Service
Dec 20, 2016

Excerpt:

She is part of the Group of Women that organised in 2001 and adopted the slogan “United to overcome”, with the goal of having their own productive activities, reaffirming their rights and combating sexism.

“I used to only stay at home or in the fields, I wasn’t allowed to go out, to go to town. With the garden I started to go to the city to sell our products in the market, over the objections of my husband and my oldest son,” Da Silva told IPS.

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December 27, 2016   Comments Off on Brazil: In the village of Primeiro do Maio 65 families have obtained land to grow crops since 1999

The view from inside Square Roots’ urban shipping container farms in Brooklyn


Arugula and mustard greens from Square Roots’ first harvest were on sale for $5 a bag. (Photo by April Joyner)

A month ago, Square Roots, the urban farming accelerator launched by Kimbal Musk and Tobias Peggs, began its yearlong program in the Pfizer Building

By April Joyner
Technically Brooklyn
Dec 19, 2016

Excerpt:

The farmer-entrepreneurs have been given free rein to develop farming and business strategies of their own choosing. The challenge, both Peggs and the program’s participants stressed, is figuring out how to make the economics work. The modular farms, which use technology from Boston-based Freight Farms and Laramie, Wyo.–based Bright Agrotech, cost about $3,000 a month to run, according to participant Jonathan Bernard. But they also produce a relatively high yield, given the space: one farm, for instance, could yield 55,000 mini-heads of lettuce per year, Peggs said. The farming system Square Roots uses allows the participants to yield a weekly harvest once their first crop matures.

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December 27, 2016   Comments Off on The view from inside Square Roots’ urban shipping container farms in Brooklyn