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Posts from — June 2017

On Top Of Hong Kong’s High Rises, Rooftop Gardens Take Root

Client Gina Ma (left) stands with Rooftop Republic’s Andrew Tsui (center) and Pol Fàbrega (left) amid the rooftop garden of a French restaurant in central Hong Kong. Rob Schmitz/NPR

Rooftop Republic has helped fill more than 26,000 square feet of rooftop on 22 rooftop farms. The biggest one is on the roof of Hong Kong airline Cathay Pacific, where 40 employees manage container vegetable plots on a daily basis.

By Rob Schmitz
NPR
June 24, 2017

Excerpt:

Fàbrega is not a developer. In a city full of bankers, he’s a gardener. He helps run a gardening cooperative called Rooftop Republic that aims to make the best use out of Hong Kong’s thousands of roofs.

“In Hong Kong, currently there’re around 700 hectares of farmland that are being farmed,” explains Fàbrega, “So the amount of rooftop space is almost the same as the amount we’re using today to farm – like, actual farmland.”

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June 30, 2017   Comments Off on On Top Of Hong Kong’s High Rises, Rooftop Gardens Take Root

How Does an Urban Farmer Work?

Greg Willerer grows a fascinating array of edible greens on little more than an acre of Detroit land.

By Jacob Brogan
Slate
June 25, 2017

Excerpt:

Sometimes, Willerer sells his produce directly to customers at the Eastern Market, where our first guest of the season also got her start. But one of the advantages of urban farming in Detroit is that “you have a really nice array of restaurants and markets and a close distance between the restaurant and the farm.” Willerer’s farm also speaks to a complex give and take between local businesses: Just as he provides vegetables to local establishments, some of their food scraps and coffee grounds end up in his compost heap, helping to fertilize the next season’s crops.

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June 30, 2017   Comments Off on How Does an Urban Farmer Work?

Massachusetts Department of Agricultural has awarded $1.5 million in urban farming grants over five years

Boston Medical Centre Rooftop Farm.

The “eat local” movement, which has generated new interest in where food comes from, has helped fuel the small, but growing, number of urban farms in the state, Arruda said.

By Gerry Tuoti
The Herald News
Jun 23, 2017

Excerpt:

“It’s great that the at the city and state level they are being supportive of trying to figure out how to make urban agriculture work and thrive,” Stoddard said.

Since it launched its urban agriculture grant program in 2012, the state has awarded funding to projects in cities across the state, including Somerville, Salem, Boston and Worcester. The Department of Agricultural Resources will begin reviewing applications for the next round of grant funding in July.

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June 29, 2017   Comments Off on Massachusetts Department of Agricultural has awarded $1.5 million in urban farming grants over five years

Philippines’ Agriculture Department Now Encouraging Residents Of Urban Areas To Plant Their Own Organic Produce


We are encouraging our residents in the urban areas to plant because when we produce our own vegetables we do not only harvest healthy vegetables, but we could also earn additional income,” Agriculture Undersecretary for Special Concerns Ranibai Dalingalen said.

The DA’s urban-agriculture program of the current administration has three components: urban gardening training skills; mushroom culture; and feeding program.

By Jasper Y. Arcalas
Business Mirror
June 24, 2017

Excerpt:

Former Agriculture Secretary Proceso J. Alcala said urban agriculture may not be able to produce all what city dwellers need, but it was a way to increase awareness on agriculture and food security.

For Gerald Sioco, CEO of Quezon City-based Cedarhills Garden Center, urban gardening in the country needs more awareness campaign to entice people to venture into such activity, particularly the youth.

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June 29, 2017   Comments Off on Philippines’ Agriculture Department Now Encouraging Residents Of Urban Areas To Plant Their Own Organic Produce

India: Gardening for nutrition in bastis (slums)

Lady of a basti family holding her baby and showing the pumpkin she grew with pride.

“The mission of Urban Health Resource Centre is to bring about sustainable improvements in the health conditions of the urban poor by influencing policies and programmes and empowering the community.”

From their Facebook Page
Urban Health Resource Centre

Excerpt:

Slum families usually have very small houses. Therefore, they find it nearly impossible to grow enough vegetables to yield ample fresh produce to use for nutritious meals. Along with nutrition, growing plants provides confidence and a sense for making their immediate world more beautiful and natural.

Caring for plants gives a sense of well being in a place where it is most desperately needed With soft, attentive motivation and gentle perseverance, UHRC’s social facilitators encouraged slum families to grow vegetables that would thrive in their respective houses.

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June 28, 2017   Comments Off on India: Gardening for nutrition in bastis (slums)

Canada: Community gardens uprooted after Manitoba Hydro ends leases

Manitoba Hydro said new standards dictate the crown corporation must have access to corridors 24/7 in case of an emergency, and the gardens are an obstacle.

By Jeff Keele
CTV News
June 21, 2017

Excerpt:

For 40 years, Alex Kizuik and Marilyne Vandel have been growing their own fruits and veggies two doors down from their house at a community garden near Harrow Street.

“It’s great to be able to go outside, pick your lettuce, pick your onions, don’t have to go to the store,” Vandel said.

Alex Kizuik, a retired Manitoba Hydro worker, said they share the fruits of their labour with the neighbourhood.

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June 28, 2017   Comments Off on Canada: Community gardens uprooted after Manitoba Hydro ends leases

Inside The Hawaiian Seed Bank – Figuring Out How To Store The Rarest Seeds On Earth

Dustin Wolkis, NTBG’s seed bank manager.

‘We’re losing species right in front of our eyes’

By Alessandra Potenza
The Verge
Jun 21, 2017

Excerpt:

Visits to the seed bank at the National Tropical Botanical Garden begin with removing your shoes. The seed bank, on the Hawaiian island of Kaua’i, is housed alongside NTBG’s collection of 80,000 dried plant specimens and rare botany books in a building that can withstand Category 5 hurricanes. It does have a vulnerability, though: pests. Funguses or bugs — like booklice — hiding in a visitor’s soles could threaten the collections. For the same reason, anything that’s brought into the building — office supplies, furniture, books — is frozen for two weeks.

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June 27, 2017   Comments Off on Inside The Hawaiian Seed Bank – Figuring Out How To Store The Rarest Seeds On Earth

Study says: Carbon reductions made possible by urban farming are much smaller than many had assumed

It’s not apples and tomatoes that are responsible for most of the diet’s greenhouse gas emissions; it’s animals. Meat and dairy products contribute 54 percent of the American diet’s potential impact on climate change.

By Deena Shanker
Bloomberg
June 21, 2017

Excerpt:

There are many reasons to embrace urban agriculture. Greater access to produce could help improve the diet of city residents, and replacing pavement with soil could help abate water runoff, for example. But slowing climate change isn’t one of them. The potential economic benefits of urban farming are also less promising than proponents had hoped, the study found.

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June 27, 2017   Comments Off on Study says: Carbon reductions made possible by urban farming are much smaller than many had assumed

Alaska: Officials in Anchorage are taking steps to convert a blighted downtown property into an urban farm

The 15-acre property in question is the former site of the Alaska Native Hospital.

Under the proposal from downtown Assembly member Christopher Constant, the area would first be tested for contamination, then potentially turned into an “urban agriculture center.”

By Zachariah Hughes
Alaska Public Media
June 21, 2017

Excerpt:

“The land’s been sitting fallow,” Constant said. “At this point my personal hope is that we’ll do something positive with that land. Let’s put in a farm. And I’m not talking about a garden, I mean a farm.”

Constant would like to see the area grow produce like herbs or greens that can easily be brought to markets and restaurants in Anchorage. One of the eventual goals of the farm idea is creating training and employment opportunities for people living in nearby shelters or on the streets.

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June 26, 2017   Comments Off on Alaska: Officials in Anchorage are taking steps to convert a blighted downtown property into an urban farm

Africa: Nursing assistant starts community garden in Gambia


Victoria Smith and Saikou Gibba dig to plant a cassava near the at the Bwiam General Hospital in Gambia.

Gambia is one of the poorest countries in Africa, she said, because of scarce resources like water and electricity.

By Rory Wilbur
Des Moines Register
The Record-Herald
June 20, 2017

Excerpt:

On a day-to-day basis, she has worked on starting a garden at the hospital. The 90-meter garden is the first of its kind in the district to grow its own food for patients and the community.

Resources are very limited in the area, fruits and vegetable are difficult to find. Typically, most meals in Africa consist of white bread or white rice. Smith said it’s her mission to improve the health conditions of the country despite the limited resources.

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June 26, 2017   Comments Off on Africa: Nursing assistant starts community garden in Gambia

Philadelphia: Thomas Paine Plaza will transform into a big urban farm in 2018

PHS will bring a temporary urban farm to Thomas Paine Plaza, similar to this pop-up garden that was set up at in 2011 at 20th and Market. Photo courtesy of Pennsylvania Horticultural Society.

The produce produced from the farm will be donated to Broad Street Ministry, a non-profit organization that serves the homeless.

By Melissa Romero
Curbed Philadelphia
JUN 20, 2017,

Excerpt:

Goodbye, larger than life Parcheesi pieces, hello 2,000-square-foot urban farm: Next summer, the Thomas Paine Plaza in Center City will be transformed into a large community farm that’s estimated to produce about 1,000 pounds of fruits and vegetables.

The Pennsylvania Horticultural Society (PHS) was just awarded a $300,000 grant from the Pew Center for Arts & Heritage to create a “Farm for the City” at Thomas Paine Plaza, across from City Hall. The plaza is well-known for its 20-year-old “Your Move” art installation that features over-sized dominoes, chess and bingo pieces, and other game pieces scattered all over the plaza.

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June 25, 2017   Comments Off on Philadelphia: Thomas Paine Plaza will transform into a big urban farm in 2018

Cleveland Convention center plays host to urban farm

More than 50 percent of the trash from the the Global Center for Health Innovation and the convention center was recycled in 2016

By Emily Bamforth,
Cleveland.Com
June 19, 2017

Excerpt:

Look out of some of the windows of the Cleveland Convention Center, and you’ll see greenery, dozens of chickens, lines of bee hives and three pigs.

It’s a sight that brings Clevelanders on their lunch breaks or enjoying downtown during the summer months peering over the top of the building from the mall above, trying to sneak a peek at the animals below.

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June 25, 2017   Comments Off on Cleveland Convention center plays host to urban farm

‘Chicken lady’ farms in Rogers Park, Chicago, despite neighbors’ gripes

Moah’s Ark owner Mo Cahill, of Chicago’s Rogers Park neighborhood, will face a judge over a noise ordinance following protests over the years from neighbors about her chickens. (Alyssa Pointer / Chicago Tribune)

“I ate my beloved Whitey Bulger,” Cahill said later, when asked whether she will consume named chickens. “I love them, but they’re still chickens. This whole thing is still about food.”

By Gregory Pratt
Chicago Tribune
June 19, 2017

Excerpt:

Accompanied by her “director of security,” a Victorian bulldog called Biff, Mo Cahill opened the back door of a baby-blue truck she keeps in her backyard as a makeshift chicken coop.

Out streamed galline citizens of Moah’s Ark, a small urban farm on the 1800 block of West Touhy Avenue in Chicago’s Rogers Park neighborhood. Cahill, 62, has about two dozen chickens and three roosters, who mostly live in the 1993 Chevy suburban or a smaller coop on a plot she owns two lots over.

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June 24, 2017   Comments Off on ‘Chicken lady’ farms in Rogers Park, Chicago, despite neighbors’ gripes

Family of four farms in San Francisco

Photo: Kathleen Duncan, The Chronicle.

Jamie Chan and her husband Blas Herrera have an urban farm in their backyard where they grow their own food, raise chickens and harvest honey from their beehives.

By Kat Duncan
San Francisco Examiner
June 18, 2017

Excerpt:

Later that morning, students streamed eagerly into the homestead to learn about growing their own food, raising chickens, harvesting honey and even got their hands a bit dirty. They potted small plants to take home with them, hugged chickens, and asked questions about homesteading within city spaces.

“The bigger benefits of urban gardening of any kind, in a container or in the ground, is that it can build community and send a message to people about what we value,” Chan said. “We can become ecological stewards in this new generation of concrete and landfills.”

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June 24, 2017   Comments Off on Family of four farms in San Francisco

Brazil: Public action and networks around Urban Agriculture in Sao Paulo, Montreal and Toronto

Work in progress: Documentary about urban food systems in Brazil, Canada and France.

Thesis – Redes, Ideias E Ação Pública Na Agricultura Urbana: São Paulo, Montreal E Toronto. São Paulo 2017

By Lya Cynthia Porto De Oliveira
Public Administration and Government Study Center, at Getulio Vargas Foundation, Sao Paulo, Brazil
Paper is in Portuguese.

Abstract:

This thesis deals with an analysis of different Urban Agriculture (UA) models of public action. The theoretical model adopted is the cognitive analysis of public action, based on Pierre Muller and Yves Surel, and the actor-network theory by Bruno Latour. The purpose of the thesis is to understand the relationship dynamics between ideas, organizations, networks of action and results in the field of UA public action.

The results are understood as basic services for Urban Agriculture, that were defined according to the literature analysis in this field, and it can be offered by state and/or civil society organizations. Based on the literature review of 21 different cities, four different types of public action were identified.

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June 23, 2017   Comments Off on Brazil: Public action and networks around Urban Agriculture in Sao Paulo, Montreal and Toronto