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Posts from — September 2017

Toledo, Ohio should be encouraging urban farmers, not setting up roadblocks

Owner Liz Harris, center in hat, gives a tour of Glass City Goat Gals, which is part of the Ohio Sustainable Farm Tour and Workshop Series.

The Lucas County Land Bank has estimated that Toledo has more than 14,600 vacant lots, and city residents want to turn these potential blight magnets into productive tracts of land to feed themselves and their neighbors.

Editorial
The Blade
Sept. 20, 2017

Excerpt:

The Toledo Plan Commission has a chance to change all that with a set of urban farming rules now in the works.

Plan commission members tabled action on the urban farming policies recently to allow time to consult with the city’s urban farmers. They should have started there, but at least plan commission members want to get input from people actually doing urban farming before finalizing the rules that will govern urban agriculture in the city.

Toledo is sadly far behind other similar cities such as Detroit and Cleveland, where officials recognize the value of the small-scale agriculture that can revive and sustain city neighborhoods.

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September 26, 2017   Comments Off on Toledo, Ohio should be encouraging urban farmers, not setting up roadblocks

Canada: Special ale brings cheer to 40 years of urban farming at City Farmer

Click image to see larger file. Maria Keating, an environmental educator with City Farmer Society, with seven different varieties of hops harvested at the Vancouver Compost Garden. Photo by Jason Payne. Also watch the video online.

A bumper crop of hops is being harvested in preparation for urban agriculture advocate City Farmer’s Vancouver-style microbrew.

By Randy Shore
Vancouver Sun
Sept 25, 2017

Excerpt:

Every harvest and the resulting brew is a unique story.

In 2014, the first hop harvest was used to brew a nut brown Pollinator Ale using honey produced on site in celebration of the Year of the Pollinator.

The following year a wind storm knocked down hundreds of trees across the city, including one that crushed the hop trellis and mashed the potato patch. The delay in harvest meant the hops were used fresh rather than dried in their Windstorm Session Ale.

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September 25, 2017   Comments Off on Canada: Special ale brings cheer to 40 years of urban farming at City Farmer

These Green Surfers in Ireland Turned a Small Garden into an Amazing Community Farm

Starting nearby with a back garden in 2012, then a 1/2 acre community garden, to a loaned 1 acre site, we kept working and saving to create what is now Moy Hill Farm: 17 acres bought in 2015 and run as a CSA

By Alan Stokes
The Inertia
Sept 18, 2017

Excerpt:

It’s no easy task but all of the work is done with a sustainable approach. Pigs help to rotavate the field and local seaweed and sand are used as opposed to fertilizers or pesticides. Everyone is invited to come and help grow and in return, when the harvest is done, is rewarded with the literal fruits (and vegetables) of their labour.

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September 25, 2017   Comments Off on These Green Surfers in Ireland Turned a Small Garden into an Amazing Community Farm

Canada: Bowery Project’s urban farms blooming in Toronto’s vacant lots

It’s a verdant wonderland at the Vanauley Street YMCA homeless shelter thanks to Toronto’s Bowery Project, a volunteer-based operation that transforms empty spaces into mobile urban farms that grow food for local restaurants. (Photo courtesy of Bowery Project)

“The people we engage on the site. It’s so incredible,” she says. “Our impact is more than the growing of food — it’s really the community engagement.”

By Nina Dragicevic
Toronto Stories
Sept 19, 2017

Excerpt:

“What happens with vacant lots sometimes is that developers get held up at heritage or the design committee with their plans,” says Deena DelZotto, half of the duo behind the Bowery Project, which has transforming these unused spaces into mobile urban farms that grow food for local restaurants.

But to be clear, she’s not complaining: “We thought we’d only have one season and now we’re having three.”

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September 25, 2017   Comments Off on Canada: Bowery Project’s urban farms blooming in Toronto’s vacant lots

New Orleans golf course transformed into city’s biggest urban farm with an Eco-Campus

The City Park birding corridor runs along the side of farm and provides a more wild contrast to the farmed environment.

By Lucy Wang
Inhabitat
Sept 18, 2017

Excerpt:

A former golf course in New Orleans’ City Park has been transformed into the city’s biggest urban farm—Grow Dat Youth Farm. The seven-acre sustainable farming nonprofit features a low-energy Eco-Campus built with seven recycled shipping containers and designed by Tulane University architecture students. The urban farming and leadership program teaches local youth how to sustainably grow fruits and veggies that are then sold to CSAs, local restaurants, and markets, as well as donated to neighborhoods lacking access to healthy, fresh food.

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September 24, 2017   Comments Off on New Orleans golf course transformed into city’s biggest urban farm with an Eco-Campus

Canada: Regina Food Bank launches urban agriculture project

Grade 7 and 8 students, Jacob Exner (foreground), Ella Chay (middle) and Ferison Alcantara (background), from St. Peter Elementary School check out a garden tower, which will be provided for their school for at least a year. Jennifer Ackerman / Regina Leader-Post

Launched by the Regina Food Bank on Wednesday, the Urban Agriculture Outreach Program is aimed at giving students and educators a better understanding of where our food comes from and how it’s grown and produced.

By Jennifer Ackerman
Regina Leader-Post
Sept 20, 2017

Excerpt:

Launched by the Regina Food Bank on Wednesday, the Urban Agriculture Outreach Program is aimed at giving students and educators a better understanding of where our food comes from, and how it’s grown and produced.

There is “room to grow” when it comes to improving young people’s connection with the food they eat, said Steve Compton, the food bank’s CEO.

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September 24, 2017   Comments Off on Canada: Regina Food Bank launches urban agriculture project

Canada: Vancouver’s Sole Food Street Farms Takes On Poverty With Urban Agriculture

Click image to see larger file. “One of the things we love most about urban farming is the chance to bring colour and life to unexpected places.”

It’s one of the largest of its kind in North America.

By Lois Abraham
Canadian Press
09/18/2017

Excerpt:

The crops grow in 10,000 specially designed containers on what were once vacant lots.

The urban farm, one of the largest in North America, has helped deal with the chronic problems in the community.

“You walk down Hastings Street in the middle of the afternoon and see somebody on the sidewalk with a needle in their arm or somebody else kind of pirouetting in the middle of the street high on crack and you make judgements. We all do,” says Ableman.

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September 24, 2017   Comments Off on Canada: Vancouver’s Sole Food Street Farms Takes On Poverty With Urban Agriculture

Hong Kong’s quest for the Tesla of food

Some hydroponic systems are small enough to be set up on a balcony or rooftop. Photo: City Hydroponics

He says there are about 50 rooftop farms in the city, totalling 1.5 hectares of land. He estimates that 595 hectares of rooftop space could be converted to farms – that’s just under half the size of Hong Kong International Airport.

By Marianne Bray
South China Morning Post
Sept 14, 2017

Excerpt:

If everyone consumed the way Hongkongers do, the WWF estimates, we would need 3.9 earths. According to the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department, 84 per cent of farmland in Hong Kong lies uncultivated, and a panel of restaurant managers at the summit said sourcing high-quality local food was a big challenge.

It is a far cry from 60 years ago when the city had a 60 per cent self-sufficiency rate, says Dr Daisy Tam Dic-sze, associate professor at Baptist University (HKBU).

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September 23, 2017   Comments Off on Hong Kong’s quest for the Tesla of food

Dayton, Ohio Urban Farm founder angered by city’s Garden Station eviction

Lisa Helm, the founder of Dayton Urban Grown Farm, stands among the plantings at the co-op and training farm. Helm also founded Garden Station, which was evicted from a city-owned property last year. Cornelius Frolik / Staff

“We should write an obituary for the garden, because it’s dead and it did not die of natural causes,” Helm said.

By Cornelius Frolik
Dayton Daily News
Sept. 17, 2017

Excerpt:

The land at Wayne Avenue and Fourth Street, which belonged to the city, was transferred to Kentucky developer Weyland Ventures, which has converted an industrial building across the street into hip, new urban lofts.

The developer has proposed creating an urban entertainment and housing district called Oregon East, featuring a blend of uses.

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September 23, 2017   Comments Off on Dayton, Ohio Urban Farm founder angered by city’s Garden Station eviction

South Africa: Urban pig co-operative needs land to stay in business in Port Elizabeth

About 15 Motherwell residents have formed a co-operative to farm pigs. (Photo: Joseph Chirume, GroundUp)

“We formed this cooperative in 2016 after discovering that urban residents, especially those living in townships, were struggling to get pork.

By Joseph Chirume
News 24
Sept 13, 2017

Excerpt:

Mzimkhulu Ngece, 51, reiterates Nolutshungu’s point: “We need a better place to secure our pigs and equipment. We have many piglets that do not have a safe place to stay. They end up roaming the streets. Some are knocked down by cars. We also want to secure the structures to protect them from criminals. This would help us live peacefully with some residents who don’t want pigs near their houses.”

He says they are fortunate to have a communal water tap close to their pig shelters. “We use containers to fetch water and supply the pigs. However, the metro is experiencing a dry period with little water left in our dams. We would prefer to have a huge water tank to harness rain water as a way of saving municipal water.”

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September 22, 2017   Comments Off on South Africa: Urban pig co-operative needs land to stay in business in Port Elizabeth

For These Urban Farmers, the Harvest Is About More Than Healthy Eating

(Photo by Piper Carter)

Summer is usually the most exciting season for a gardener, but for many of Detroit’s black farmers, the harvest is also about survival.

By Damon Mitchell
Next City
September 12, 2017

Excerpt:

“Farming is a lost art, a skill in black culture that disappeared after the Great Migration,” says Sun. “Now it’s time for us to get those farming skills back. Pass them down to our sons.”

Sun has spent time in both the juvenile and adult prison system, which ultimately ended up connecting him back to the gardening roots he formed as a child.

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September 22, 2017   Comments Off on For These Urban Farmers, the Harvest Is About More Than Healthy Eating

Innovative Classrooms Across Canada Are Feeding Young People’s Hunger For Agricultural Knowledge

On the first day of school last week, Lacombe Composite High School students toured their greenhouse and edible gardens, harvesting gooseberries, cherries and grapes for a canning project.

They’ve since started a commercial aquaponics system, raising up to 1,000 tilapia at a time, some of which are served at the school cafeteria.

By Julie Van Rosendaal
Globe And Mail
Sept 12, 2017

Excerpt:

On the first day of school last week, students in Steven Schultz’s high-school agriculture class in Lacombe, Alta., toured their greenhouse and edible gardens, harvesting gooseberries, cherries and grapes for a canning project. After school, the beekeeping club conducted a postsummer hive inspection, harvesting 60 kilograms of honey from just one of its three hives.

These tasks are part of Lacombe Composite High School’s EcoVision Club, designed 13 years ago to inspire young leaders to make an environmental difference. Science teacher Schultz has been with the project since the beginning, when a student approached him after class.

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September 21, 2017   Comments Off on Innovative Classrooms Across Canada Are Feeding Young People’s Hunger For Agricultural Knowledge

Ethiopia: A Dose of Gardening as the New Social Medicine

Between September 2008 and September 2011, the USAID Urban Gardens Program reached 34,200 households and over 118,000 direct and indirect orphan and vulnerable children beneficiaries through micro, household, school and community gardens in Ethiopia

By Nicholas Parkinson
Good Food World
October 19th, 2012

Excerpt:

One year later, the group of 55 members—all living with HIV—partnered with USAID Urban Gardens Program for Women and Children Affected by HIV/AIDS (USAID UGP) and began breaking land on a garden near the banks of the Nile River. Meaza had never before been a farmer or a gardener but she vividly remembered watching her father plow a small tract of land in the Ethiopian countryside.

By mid-2010, Maeza took up her new vocation as an urban farmer, and her outlook changed dramatically. In May, the group—known as Kalehiwot—planted corn. The rains came, the crop grew, and bushels of corn were sold on the market.

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September 21, 2017   Comments Off on Ethiopia: A Dose of Gardening as the New Social Medicine

Canada: Garden theft has some green thumbs seeing red at Saskatoon Community Garden

If a person is need of food, most gardeners are ready to share, but a recent streak of thefts in two of Saskatoon’s community gardens have left a bad taste in the mouth of some.

By Morgan Modjeski
Saskatoon Starphoenix
Sept 14, 2017

Excerpt:

“I went down there and I called out: ‘If that’s not your garden plot, get out or I’m going to call the police,’” she said, noting the man replied he was entitled to the produce because it’s a community garden. “And I said: ‘That doesn’t mean you just come and help yourself. You have to plant the garden, you have to water it and you have to work at it.”

Scrivener said she thought the issue would end after the confrontation, but she said it was actually the beginning as the thefts continued throughout the season, “night after night.”

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September 20, 2017   Comments Off on Canada: Garden theft has some green thumbs seeing red at Saskatoon Community Garden

Global data collection and the future of indoor urban farming

Credit: MIT Media Lab, Open Agriculture Initiative

The more Food Computers we all build, the more data we all have to play with, and the more we can radically alter the future of food!

By Francis Lam
The Splendid Table
Sept 8, 2017

Excerpt:

The urban farming movement takes many forms, both indoors and outdoors: school gardens, community vegetable patches, fish farms in tanks. Scientist Caleb Harper believes that indoor urban farming specifically can create the best tasting, most nutritious, and least energy intensive crops anywhere in the world. Harper is director of the Open Agriculture Initiative (OpenAg) at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Media Lab. He and a global collection of “nerd farmers” are working on a Food Computer, which closely detects – and allows you to adjust – the growing conditions of any plant in the room.

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September 20, 2017   Comments Off on Global data collection and the future of indoor urban farming