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The US government is loaning millions of dollars to jumpstart urban farming

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Electra Jarvis, a 27-year-old urban farming entrepreneur who is part of the Square Roots program in Brooklyn, New York. Photo by Mary Weatherill.

In 2017, he expects the USDA to funnel even more money toward farms on rooftops, in greenhouses, and in warehouses.

By Leanna Garfield
Business Insider
Dec 26, 2016

Excerpts:

USDA Microloans, a program that offers funding up to $50,000, is specifically geared toward urban farmers. Established in 2013, the program has awarded 23,000 loans worth $518 million to farms in California, Connecticut, and Massachusetts. Though it is open to all farmers, urban farmers often apply for it because it offers the money on a smaller scale than other programs. Seventy percent (or about 16,100 of those loans) have gone to new farmers, many of them in cities.

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January 3, 2017   Comments Off on The US government is loaning millions of dollars to jumpstart urban farming

‘The Myth of Complex Municipal Systems’ – excerpt from “Street Farm” by Michael Ableman

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Sole Food’s first spring harvest, cut and come again greens. Click on image for larger file.

Street Farm is the inspirational account of residents in the notorious Low Track in Vancouver, British Columbia – one of the worst urban slums in North America

By Michael Ableman
Street Farm: Growing Food, Jobs, and Hope on the Urban Frontier
Chelsea Green, 2016

Excerpt:

High-level alignment and support does not always trickle down into complex bureaucratic municipal systems that were established to regulate conventional infrastructure such as the construction of a garage or a school, the remodeling of a kitchen, or the building of bridges and roads.

In fact, from the earliest days on our Astoria farm and especially as we began to expand to other sites, it became clear that our needs were entirely foreign to the existing system, totally different from anything that had ever been done in the city. Building inspectors, for example, did not differentiate between a bricks-and-mortar building designed to house auto parts, and a tunnel house used for extending the growing season, which is merely a sheet of 6-mil plastic stretched over a steel frame. And this was just the start. We soon discovered that there simply were no municipal codes that addressed greenhouses, or composting, or multi-acre parking lots full of food.

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January 3, 2017   Comments Off on ‘The Myth of Complex Municipal Systems’ – excerpt from “Street Farm” by Michael Ableman

Why doesn’t Nebraska have more community gardens?

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The report by a legislative task force identified 184 community gardens, nearly half of which are in Omaha.

By Grant Schulte
Associated Press
Dec 26, 2016

Excerpt:

Despite the growth, the task force says people likely would have planted even more gardens if policymakers had adopted programs similar to those enacted in California, Kansas, Maryland, Texas and several major U.S. cities.

“I think we’re definitely catching up, but there’s been a lot more happening in other states,” said Ingrid Kirst of Lincoln, the task force chairwoman.

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January 3, 2017   Comments Off on Why doesn’t Nebraska have more community gardens?