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The Children’s Garden – Growing Food in the City

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Forthcoming May 2017

By Carole Lexa Schaefer, Illustrated by Pierr Morgan
Sasquatch Books
Release date: May 2, 2017

Welcome to the Children’s Garden–a beautiful place to connect with nature and the food cycle! Illustrated with colorful paintings, this charming picture book features a diverse group of children connecting to food through hands-on outdoor activity.

Down the road from Woodlawn Avenue, on a street called Sunnyside, there’s a garden patch grown by children who live in the neighborhood. A sign on the garden’s gate says: Children’s Garden, WELCOME! That means: Come in, please. Listen, see, smell, touch–even taste!

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January 9, 2017   No Comments

When Urban Agriculture and Food Justice Are at Odds

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Antonio Roman-Alcalá and Erin Havens on AB 551

By Ari Eisenstadt
Food Tank
Jan 1, 2017

Excerpt:

FT: If the bill is implemented at the local level, what are the consequences for urban agriculture and local communities?

AE: The implementation of the bill offers varying consequences, depending on the character of implementation and those involved. In Oakland, with implementation having been pushed by the for-profit firm Farmscape, with the help of real estate lobbyists, the effect would likely be unhelpful for local poor communities, and would potentially contribute to the gentrification of their neighborhoods by allowing white-led and white/middle-class-serving urban farming projects to expand and elevate property values. In L.A., where community organizations have pushed for particular conditions on incentive zones permits (such as community consultation about each project, preference for projects led by grassroots people of color organizations, and resources made available for low-income community projects), the consequences could be more amenable to food justice outcomes.

FT: What other policies would you suggest instead of or in addition to AB 551?

AE: Urban farming just like other urban land use decisions is subject to the economic whims of investors and developers (and to a lesser degree, small property owners), and their political power within local governments. As such, no single policy could meaningfully address the challenges of low-income and working class communities seeking land access and stable land tenure (whether for urban agriculture or other uses such as affordable housing).

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January 9, 2017   No Comments

City of Battle Creek, Michigan holds off talks on urban farm animals

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20 people work on the Patch of Heaven Community Garden behind Mt. Zion AME Church. (2011)

The city has since held several public meetings to gauge community support, and issued a survey to gather feedback. That survey, which received about 400 responses, showed support for community gardens and some farm animals.

By Jennifer Bowman
Battle Creek Enquirer
December 30, 2016

Excerpt:

Battle Creek city commissioners may change rules for urban agriculture within the city’s residential areas, but they’ll hold off until later this year to address whether to allow farm animals.

A proposal to regulate community gardens and urban farms in Battle Creek is on the agenda for the commission’s meeting Tuesday, which would allow gardening on vacant properties and set standards for property maintenance. It previously was approved by the Planning Commission at its December meeting.

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January 9, 2017   No Comments