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Posts from — December 2016

Tel Aviv’s rooftop farm grows fresh food for thousands


© Shani Sadicario — A view of the rooftop garden’s education centre.

Located above the Dizengoff shopping center, this urban farm uses hydroponics to grow vegetables rapidly and organically.

By Katherine Martinko (@feistyredhair)
Living / Green Food
Tree Hugger
December 19, 2016

Excerpt:

As part of a project called ‘Green in the City,’ or Yarok Bair in Hebrew, an urban rooftop farm has been established over the past year. It comprises two commercial greenhouses, totaling 750 square meters (over 8,000 square feet) of growing space, as well as an educational area where citizens can learn urban farming techniques and cooking skills relevant to the vegetables they grow. The organization sells hydroponics units for home use and teaches people how to use them.

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December 27, 2016   Comments Off on Tel Aviv’s rooftop farm grows fresh food for thousands

Why Urban Agriculture Should Be Important to Black People


Richmond native Duron Chavis is the new community engagement coordinator for Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden.

African and Indigenous people of the Americas have an historic affinity toward agriculture.

By Duron Chavis
Linked-In
Dec 17, 2016
(Chavis started his career in community advocacy as first a volunteer then an employee of the Black History Museum and Cultural Center of VA. More about the author here.)

Excerpt:

Another reason is for economic empowerment. For the more passionate community gardener who may have had an overabundance in cabbage; have no fear! You can make green by growing greens! There are farmers markets (or you can start a farm stand in your neighborhood) available to get rid of your fresh veggies and put some money in your pocket at the same time. There has been an explosion of the last ten years in the demand for local foods that are organic and produced sustainably.

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December 26, 2016   Comments Off on Why Urban Agriculture Should Be Important to Black People

CommonWealth Urban Farms unites community in Oklahoma City with food, good will


A garden grows in the front yard of a home on N Olie Avenue north of NW 30, part of CommonWealth Urban Farms. [Photo By Paul Hellsterm The Oklahoman]

Neighbors still tend their front-yard gardens, but regular volunteers arrive on Wednesdays to harvest the produce during the 32-week growing season.

By Melissa Howell
The Oklahoman
December 16, 2016

Excerpt:

“That was in the backyard. And then we had these two little girls across the street from Vietnamese-American families. They would come over and whatever we were doing they wanted to do, too. So we started a garden in the front yard for them,” Woods said.

By the late 1980s, their front-yard garden had spilled over into the next-door neighbor’s front yard and then migrated to two more lots on the street. And the trend continued to grow. Once the idea caught on, front-yard gardens lined the block.

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December 26, 2016   Comments Off on CommonWealth Urban Farms unites community in Oklahoma City with food, good will

CityFarm Malaysia ventures into indoor farming to inspire more urbanites to grow their own food


(from left) Chew, Koay and Loo showing the City Window farm hydroponic starter pack. Pix by Owee Ah Chun

“I AM a city farmer,” read the words in black and striking green on the black T-shirt worn by the youth who greets me at the door of the second-floor office in Sri Kembangan, Selangor.

By Zuliantie Dzul
New Straits Times
17 December 2016

Excerpt:

The self-taught trio and two others behind the set-up are graduates of the Multimedia University in Cyberjaya. It was through clubs and student activities that they met as they were all on different programmes.

“It all started as a hobby about two years ago,” shares 28-year-old Chew, who’s a freelance software engineer. “I saw this urban farming concept on TV. It’s big in the US and Europe, and I was interested. So I bought a plant and put it in a small corner in Malaysian Global Innovation & Creativity Centre, where he worked. Soon after that, Koay decided to join as well.”

Discussions followed soon after and eventually, the idea became a reality and CityFarm Malaysia was born.

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December 26, 2016   Comments Off on CityFarm Malaysia ventures into indoor farming to inspire more urbanites to grow their own food

Merry Christmas from City Farmer!

Click on image for larger file.

Looking Through Our New Iron Gate – Created By Davide Pan

During the summer, metal artist Davide Pan created a new window/gate at the Compost Garden. It faces the City of Vancouver’s new Arbutus Greenway. The Greenway corridor, recently purchased from the Canadian Pacific Railway, stretches 11 kilometres from near downtown Vancouver to the Fraser River.

The Compost Garden will draw in thousands of new visitors who will travel this new transportation corridor by foot and bike.

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December 25, 2016   Comments Off on Merry Christmas from City Farmer!

In Urban Edmunston, Maryland, Eco City Farms Grows Enough Produce to Feed 250 People Each Year


Video by Deborah Levenson.

The federal government has declared Prince Georges County, Md. a “food desert” because many residents have trouble getting to grocery stores that sell fresh fruits and vegetables.

Excerpt from ECO City Farm’s website:

ECO City Farms has converted previously vacant land into a highly productive farming enterprise that produces healthy vegetables, fruit, herbs, eggs and honey. Our produce is Certified Naturally Grown by fellow farmers who establishes an international grassroots alternative to the USDA Certified Organic Program. We employ environmentally sound, chemical-free, permaculture farming methods and support others to do the same.

Farmer Training:

We provide in-depth, hands-on technical and practical training in urban agriculture through apprenticeships and internships and courses. In conjunction with Prince George’s Community College and other partners, we offer a wide range of Continuing Education Credit courses and a certificate in Commercial Urban Farming. Students range from beginners to seasoned experts.

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December 24, 2016   Comments Off on In Urban Edmunston, Maryland, Eco City Farms Grows Enough Produce to Feed 250 People Each Year

San Jose Council Drops Steep Fee to Encourage Urban Agriculture


Urban agriculture advocates scored a big victory at Tuesday’s City Council meeting. (Photo courtesy of Valley Verde)

San Jose City Council backed off a proposed $1,540 fee that could have left green-thumb dreams dying on the vine.

By Chuck Carroll
SanJose Inside
Dec 16, 2016

Excerpt:

Last month, community groups were elated to learn the council would grant owners of blighted vacant lots a significant property tax break for converting parcels into small-scale farms for five years. But then the city decided to charge owners a $1,540 fee to apply for the tax break.

Jamie Chen, an organizing manager of Sacred Heart Community Service’s La Mesa Verde program, which promotes organic gardening in low-income areas, has worked for two years to push through the policy. She said she was “flabbergasted at how they came to such a high fee.” On Tuesday, Chen and more than a dozen other speakers begged the council to reduce or drop the fee altogether. They pointed to San Francisco and Sacramento as places that don’t charge any fees.

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December 24, 2016   Comments Off on San Jose Council Drops Steep Fee to Encourage Urban Agriculture

TV Star Constance Zimmer Plants Local Garden with “#Greenmyschool” Program


Constance Zimmer plants a garden for students in Santa Ana, Calif.

Zimmer, an actress (best known for her roles on HBO’s Entourage, ABC’s Boston Legal, and her Emmy-nominated role on Lifetime’s UnREAL) is a long-time supporter of the Environmental Media Association (EMA) and a member of its Board of Directors.

PR Newswire
Birds Eye
Dec 15, 2016

Excerpt:

“#Greenmyschool is a really special program for EMA. As a mom, who actually has an edible garden in my home, I understand first hand how much that has motivated my daughter to be excited to eat veggies. And as a long time EMA Board member, expanding #Greenmyschool with the support of Birds Eye will give us the opportunity to share our passion and really help change the game by bringing plant-based nutrition, agriculture and the importance of eating vegetables to students around the country,” said Zimmer.

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December 23, 2016   Comments Off on TV Star Constance Zimmer Plants Local Garden with “#Greenmyschool” Program

A Garden Helps Heal a Family in New York


Sheila Young in the Padre Plaza/Success Garden on St. Ann’s Avenue in the Bronx. Credit Joshua Bright for The New York Times.

“It’s not just about teaching people about fresh fruits and vegetables, but about working together to get things done,” Mr. Young said. “It might sound crazy, but this place minimizes negative, outside forces and builds our community.”

By Emily Palmer
New York Times
Dec. 23, 2016

Excerpt:

The family has seen the healing power of the garden. Weak after his heart surgery, Mr. Young, now 55, rebuilt his strength tilling vegetables and finding a way to use his carpentry skills outside of a full-time job. When his health permits, he still volunteers daily in the garden. Jada took pride in every plant, memorizing all the varieties and building her confidence and self-worth, which has manifested itself in better grades this school year.

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December 23, 2016   Comments Off on A Garden Helps Heal a Family in New York

Growing, Older – A Chronicle of Death, Life, and Vegetables

Lacking a partner’s assistance, Gussow continued the hard labor of growing her own year-round diet. She dealt single-handedly with a rising tidal river that regularly drowned her garden, with muskrat interlopers, broken appliances, and bodily decay.

By Joan Dye Gussow
Chelsea Green Publishers
2010

Michael Pollan calls her one of his food heroes. Barbara Kingsolver credits her with shaping the history and politics of food in the United States. And countless others who have vied for a food revolution, pushed organics, and reawakened Americans to growing their own food and eating locally consider her both teacher and muse.Joan Gussow has influenced thousands through her books, This Organic Life and The Feeding Web, her lectures, and the simple fact that she lives what she preaches. Now in her eighties, she stops once more to pass along some wisdom-surprising, inspiring, and controversial-via the pen.

Gussow’s memoir Growing, Older begins when she loses her husband of 40 years to cancer and, two weeks later, finds herself skipping down the street-much to her alarm. Why wasn’t she grieving in all the normal ways? With humor and wit, she explains how she stopped worrying about why she was smiling and went on worrying, instead, and as she always has, about the possibility that the world around her was headed off a cliff. But hers is not a tale, or message, of gloom. Rather it is an affirmation of a life’s work-and work in general.

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December 23, 2016   Comments Off on Growing, Older – A Chronicle of Death, Life, and Vegetables

AgroBox mural completed at Bryan High School, Nebraska


Mural painted by Hugo Zamorano.

More than 100 Bryan students are part of the Urban Agriculture Career Academy and the school also has one of the largest Future Farmers of America chapters in the Nebraska.

By Eric Taylor
Bellevue Leader
Dec 13, 2016

Excerpt:

Hugo Zamorano, a 2010 Bryan grad, completed a mural that graces the AgroBox at the school. The mural, and the AgroBox, were on display during an open house and ribbon cutting Friday afternoon at the school.

Chris Moorman, CEO of Rubicon Agriculture, was on hand for the event. Rubicon is an Indiana-based agricultural manufacturing company that created the AgroBox, which is an automated hydroponic growing facility built inside of an up-cycled 40-foot shipping container.

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December 22, 2016   Comments Off on AgroBox mural completed at Bryan High School, Nebraska

Survey says land costs and acquisition issues make urban agriculture difficult in St. Louis


Sweet Potato Project founder Sylvester Brown and Tamara plant sweet potato seeds in front of Union Avenue Christian Church in June. Kim Oswalt | St. Louis Public Radio

“We have a very serious issue with over 10,000 vacant parcels that the city itself owns,” Spencer said. “And we know when urban agriculture flourishes in a city, its children, residents are healthier and they’re smarter about what they choose to eat.

By Eli Chen
STL Public Radio
Dec 14, 2016

Excerpt:

The St. Louis Food Policy Coalition, consisting of environmentalists, policy experts and community leaders, collected 854 responses that came from nearly every neighborhood in the city. Residents were asked about their interest and participation in urban agriculture and the challenges they faced in doing so.

“We really want to make sure that if there is going to be economic opportunity created from urban agriculture in the city that we want it to be the result of citizens in the city that have come together and said that that’s something they want,” said Melissa Vatterott, food and farm coordinator for the Missouri Coalition for the Environment.

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December 22, 2016   Comments Off on Survey says land costs and acquisition issues make urban agriculture difficult in St. Louis

UK: North Yorkshire village rallies after devastating allotments blow


David Croll, a trustee at the Langcliffe Community Garden Charitable Trust who lost his allotment, and Pat Smelt, another former allotment holder, looking at the future plans for the garden.

Growing your own is all part of the ‘escape to the country’ dream so when the village of Langcliffe lost its allotment, after more than a century of harvesting homegrown fruit and vegetables at the site, it was a devastating blow for the local community

By Ben Barnett
Yorkshire Post
Dec 12, 2016

Excerpt:

Speaking to Country Week in March last year, two months after the eight plots were removed by landowner Langcliffe Hall Estate, one local of the North Yorkshire village, Pat Smelt, described the loss of the space as “the most devastating incident to occur in the village in the past ten years”, other than the closure of the village school in 2007.

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December 21, 2016   Comments Off on UK: North Yorkshire village rallies after devastating allotments blow

City Growers: NYC Food Based Community Organization


Photo credit: ©Valery Rizzo / Brooklyn Grange Rooftop Farm

City Growers teaches kids about where food comes from and why it matters.

By Alexina Cather
New York City Food Policy Centre
Dec 12, 2016

Excerpt:

Latest project/campaign: With the rise of urban agriculture comes the rise of urban agriculture education. City Growers’ Education Conference (CGEC) brings together urban farm education programs, gardeners, non-profits, and teachers to celebrate and share knowledge about farming and gardening education in New York City. Through farm education, we aim to create myriad opportunities for youth to meaningfully interact with the natural world and reconnect with food’s origin from the earth. The 2nd annual CGEC will occur on February 11, 2016 at PS 20 in Brooklyn.

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December 21, 2016   Comments Off on City Growers: NYC Food Based Community Organization

South Africa: Western Cape Government Strategic Framework for Household Food and Nutrition Security

The Framework adopts a food systems approach to analysing, interpreting and responding to the features of the wider food system that create and contribute to food insecurity.

By Sibonile Khoza, Tristan Görgens and Shakira Maharaj, Professor Julian May, Darryn Durno and more.
Western Cape Government
Sept 2016

Excerpt:

3.3.2 Urban agriculture and subsistence

Although most analysts agree that the direct contribution of urban agriculture to food security is small, support for this activity remains part of the policy toolkit41. Recent research has demonstrated that the viability of community development through urban agriculture extends beyond viewing the benefits in narrow economic terms. Applying a sustainable livelihood framework to urban agriculture in Cape Town has shown that increasing the resilience of livelihoods does not depend only on financial capital, but human, social, physical and economic capital as well. As is found in research throughout Africa, as well as in South Africa, the majority of the cultivators are middle-aged and older women who are household heads. Four types of urban agriculture occur in Cape Town, namely home cultivation, group cultivation, institutional cultivation and non-profit garden centres.

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December 20, 2016   Comments Off on South Africa: Western Cape Government Strategic Framework for Household Food and Nutrition Security