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Posts from — August 2017

House, Senate Legislators Lay Groundwork for Urban Agriculture

Vegetable garden, 1890, by León Giran-Max, Cau Ferrat Museum.

“The number of farmers raising crops in our city is gradually and steadily increasing.”

By Teaganne Finn
Bloomberg BNA
Aug 23, 2017
(Must see. Mike)

Excerpt:

Urban agriculture proponents are hoping two 2016 bills will be reintroduced this year, just in time to be added to the 2018 Farm Bill.

The bills have very different initiatives but similar goals, with hopes to create economic opportunity and show support for farmers and ranchers in urban areas. The separate bills were introduced in 2016 by Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) and Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-Ohio).

Stabenow introduced the Urban Agriculture Act of 2016 in September of last year outlining a plan to establish an Office of Urban Agriculture within the Department of Agriculture and make urban agriculture activities eligible for funding from USDA programs. The bill was referred to the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry.

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August 24, 2017   Comments Off on House, Senate Legislators Lay Groundwork for Urban Agriculture

New York High-rise Garden Plots: Hippie Amenities With a High-End Twist

Garden construction in progress on the eighth floor deck of 550 Vanderbilt in Brooklyn. Credit Emon Hassan for The New York Times

In addition to the communal kitchen, there’s a 5,000-square-foot urban farm, a 20-hive apiary — both tended by live-in farmers/beekeepers — and a kombucha workshop planned for later this summer.

By Kim Velsey
New York Times
Aug. 18, 2017

Excerpt:

While such amenities might be aspirational for some, others are yearning to get their hands dirty. Christine Blackburn, an associate broker at Compass real estate, said that for a woman to whom she recently sold a condo at 144 North Eighth Street in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, the roof garden was the most important amenity.

“She didn’t care about the gym, she didn’t care about the garage,” Ms. Blackburn said. “They live in a $2 million condo, but for her to be able to grow tomatoes with her son, that was it.

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August 24, 2017   Comments Off on New York High-rise Garden Plots: Hippie Amenities With a High-End Twist

UK: Carrots and communism: the allotments plotting a food revolution

OrganicLea, where all vegetable planting uses organic and permaculture principles, working with nature not against it. Photograph: OrganicLea

It is legally permissible for allotment gardens to market the surplus, up to 49% of what allotmenteers produce, and councils are also entitled to put unwanted allotments to commercial use on a year-by-year basis.

By Ru Litherland
The Guardian
Aug 18, 2017

Excerpt:

Allotment gardens have always been more than mere domestic food growing units. From their very beginning in the Victorian period, when land was given to the labouring poor for growing food, they’ve provided a space for recreation and an alternative to industrial capitalism.

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August 23, 2017   Comments Off on UK: Carrots and communism: the allotments plotting a food revolution

How My Little Community Garden Plot Went From Flop To Flourish

Ravi Romel Sharma for NPR.

“A lot of gardeners sort of forget the community aspect of the garden,” says Marien. “If you don’t pull your weeds, those weeds flower and get into my plot.”

By Carolyn Beans
NPR
Aug 18, 2017

Excerpt:

I spent two years dreaming of sun-warmed tomatoes, towering sunflowers and home-grown salad greens before a spot opened in my community garden in Washington, D.C.

When I first met plot 56 in September of 2015, it was a mound of grasses, vines and cilantro gone to seed.

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August 23, 2017   Comments Off on How My Little Community Garden Plot Went From Flop To Flourish

Canada: Growing food and community on the Toronto Islands

The inner courtyard of the Island Natural Science School has transformed with the addition of cedar raised beds.

The Toronto Island Natural Science School has transformed its outdoor space to a hub of activity for urban students to learn and grow.

Evergreen
June 8, 2017

Excerpt:

“Thousands of students have been able to experience fresh greens, herbs and vegetables from our garden. Students, who often have a negative relationship with vegetables and food in general, gain a new respect and perspective on what they themselves can grow, harvest, cook and eat. Without Evergreen’s support, none of this would have happened,” says Catherine Combs, Site Supervisor at the Island Natural Science.

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August 22, 2017   Comments Off on Canada: Growing food and community on the Toronto Islands

Obama Library landscapers look to South Side community gardens for inspiration

Landscape architects for the Obama Presidential Library took a tour of some South Side community gardens as neighbors watch plans for the center with great interest.

By Leah Hope
ABC 7
Aug 16, 2017

Excerpt:

Landscape architects for the Obama Presidential Library took ABC7 Eyewitness News on an exclusive tour of some South Side community gardens as neighbors watch plans for the center with great interest.

Over 10 million heads of lettuce are harvested each year from a garden in the Pullman neighborhood. Gotham Greens makes the most of a roof off 111th Street.

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August 22, 2017   Comments Off on Obama Library landscapers look to South Side community gardens for inspiration

Japan’s Farm Ministry To Promote Rental Of Urban Farmland

Japan’s municipalities have designated an estimated 134 sq. km of land for urban agriculture.

By Jiji
Japan Times
Aug 20, 2017

Excerpt:

The agriculture ministry plans to establish a new system for promoting urban agriculture by making it easier to rent farmland, ministry sources have said.

Currently, people who want to rent out farmland must get permission from their local agriculture committees. Under the proposed system, municipal governments, instead of local committees, would examine the prospective borrowers’ land-use plans and approve the rental proposal if it includes agricultural experience events, the supplying of food for school meals or other activities that support local communities.

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August 21, 2017   Comments Off on Japan’s Farm Ministry To Promote Rental Of Urban Farmland

Canada: Ucluelet’s first community garden close to completion

Ucluelet Local Food Society co-founder Jeanne Keith-Ferris shows her excitement for a future community garden that’s growing at Edna Batchelor Park. (Photo – Andrew Bailey)

“Others have gone before us to try to do this and we’re actually bringing it down to the end zone.”

By Andrew Bailey
Westerly News
Aug 14th, 2017

Excerpt:

Ucluelet’s council endorsed the garden project in February of this year following recommendations from Parks and Recreation Director Abby Fortune and Planner 1 John Towgood who both cited Edna Batchelor Park as a prime location for the project. The district quickly got started on prepping the site and their share of the work will wrap up this month, according to Keith-Ferris.

“Then, we will be moving in with some volunteers: finishing off the fence work, building the growing beds, adding the dirt and getting ready to invite gardeners to come in and grow,” she said. “I’m really excited for all the possibilities.”

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August 21, 2017   Comments Off on Canada: Ucluelet’s first community garden close to completion

Northern Ireland’s ‘The Gardening Group’ has thousands of followers across Facebook and YouTube

I spent between the years of 30 and 39 looking for something to do with my extra spare time as my children had grown up and so I fell in love with gardening,” says Bill Love

By Darryl Armitage
Newsletter
Aug 14, 2017

Excerpt:

“There is something very special sitting on your allotment on a summer’s evening with a glass of wine and listening to the birds sing, it’s pure heaven.”

For anyone thinking about taking on an allotment Bill has this advice.

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August 20, 2017   Comments Off on Northern Ireland’s ‘The Gardening Group’ has thousands of followers across Facebook and YouTube

Urban farm coming to downtown Mobile, Alabama

FOX10 News | WALA

“All year long — we will produce every single week… We harvest close to 10,000 plants. Lettuce, herbs, salad mixes,” said Speetjens.

By Lee Peck
Fox 10
Aug 13, 2017

Excerpt:

Dale and Angela Speetjens are the masterminds behind Shipshape Urban Farms. Angela has a background in horticulture and will manage the farm. They’ll use eight repurposed shipping containers, they’ll grow the equivalent of a 20-acre farm on a 1/4 of an acre.

They’ll use a process called hydroponics — an efficient method of growing plants without soil in nutrient rich water. It maximizes the process from start to finish and takes the environmental pressures out of the equation.

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August 20, 2017   Comments Off on Urban farm coming to downtown Mobile, Alabama

Gazans turn to their rooftops for sustenance

For Muhyeddin al-Kahlout, the benefits of his rooftop farm are wide-reaching. Mohamed Hajjar

In the Shujaiya neighborhood of Gaza City, Ahmad al-Sharqawi sells vegetables grown on the roof of his house. Their origin, he has found, has become a selling point.

By Sondos Walid
The Electronic Intifada Gaza Strip
16 August 2017

Excerpt:

Dr. Ahmad Saleh, an agricultural consultant and former professor in the Faculty for Agricultural Engineering at Al-Azhar University, is working to facilitate organic rooftop farming. To this end, he has established his own rooftop farm in the Tawam neighborhood of Gaza City.

For Saleh, rooftop farming has another potential advantage other than making the most of scarce space. He used parts from old cars, plastic boxes and bottles to create colorful containers for the 60-square-meter space on his roof. The area has been divided into two sections: one is for ornamental plants, including cacti and flowers, creating a pleasant space for socializing and a hub for family, friends and neighbors.

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August 19, 2017   Comments Off on Gazans turn to their rooftops for sustenance

UK: The Manchester allotment where refugees and asylum seekers are growing vegetables together

“I think the main things people get from Growing Together Levenshulme are a supportive community and a space to take time away from their difficult and often chaotic lives as asylum seekers.

By Lucy Lovell
Manchester Evening News
Aug 13, 2017

Excerpt:

” In future we’d love to be able to grow the project by opening the garden to participants on more days of the week, which is something they’re really keen for us to do, but in order to do that we’d need more funding and more volunteers.

“At the moment we’re just looking for funding to secure the long term future of the garden so it can continue to benefit asylum seekers and refugees for years to come.”

And what about the future for Emilie?

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August 19, 2017   Comments Off on UK: The Manchester allotment where refugees and asylum seekers are growing vegetables together

National Geographic: Your Greens Might Soon Be Grown in Warehouses

Bowery Farms grows hydroponic crops out of a warehouse in Kearny, New Jersey, using LED lights. Co-founder Irving Fain says productivity far exceeds that of traditional farming. Photograph Courtesy Of Bowery.

Technology-driven businesses such as New Jersey-based Bowery are bypassing traditional farming with warehouses and LED fixtures.

By Christina Nunez
National Geographic
Aug 11, 2017

Excerpt:

It wasn’t until about six or seven years ago that everything changed. The cost of LED fixtures dropped by over 85 percent, and the efficiency more than doubled. The stacking [of crops] was enabled by the LEDs because they’re very thin and they can pull the heat away from the plants well. That means you can stack vertically and use the cubic space much more efficiently.

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August 18, 2017   Comments Off on National Geographic: Your Greens Might Soon Be Grown in Warehouses

Community Garden at the University of Illinois Springfield

More than 200 volunteers have worked in the garden since its opening, and it has already produced over 300 pounds of fresh produce.

By Susan Koch, chancellor at the University of Illinois Springfield.
State Journal-Register
Aug 12, 2017

Excerpt:

Students in Styles’ “Introduction to Sustainability” class designed the garden as a class project, studying various sustainable garden designs, creating a comprehensive plan and budget and determining the organizational approach that would best support a community garden project over time.

The garden features raised beds which help control weeds and handle drainage. Wooden compost containers and an in-ground vermiculture compost bin provide a steady supply of organic material that promotes soil microbes and plant growth.

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August 18, 2017   Comments Off on Community Garden at the University of Illinois Springfield

A Look Inside Colorado’s First And Only Edible Insect ‘Ranch’

Crickets are just an ingredient in the empanadas — they’re not over selling it,” McGill said. “And Daniel Asher’s Kentucky Fried Crickets at River & Woods always sell out. He brines them for hours like you would fried chicken.”

By Alexandra Palmerton
303 Magazine
August 9, 2017

Excerpt:

RMMR is already growing quickly as word spreads. McGill spoke at Slow Food Nations, and this week she’s in New Mexico pitching to investors at New Mexico State University’s Ag Sprint Accelerator. She will also be on a panel at Denver’s Start-Up Week discussing Urban Agriculture with other farmers and chefs in the area.

Coming soon, RMMR is partnering with The Butterfly Pavillion to develop a co-branded line of snacks for its stores and other museum shops. The team is also organizing a bug dinner at Ophelia’s for the Entomology Society of America conference in November.

[Read more →]

August 17, 2017   Comments Off on A Look Inside Colorado’s First And Only Edible Insect ‘Ranch’