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Posts from — October 2017

1st International Conference on Urban Agriculture and City Sustainability

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Urban Agriculture 2018, October 9 – 11, New Forest, UK

Organised By:
Wessex Institute, UK
Polytechnic University of Valencia, Spain

Introduction:

The aim of the Conference is to review and discuss ways in which urban agriculture can contribute to achieve sustainable cities.

As urban populations continue to increase it is essential to consider ways of reducing their impact in terms of use of natural resources, waste production and climate change.

The increasing number of people in cities requires new strategies to supply the necessary food with limited provision of land and decreasing resources. This will become more challenging unless innovative solutions for growing and distributing food in urban environments are considered.

The scale of modern food production has created and exacerbated many vulnerabilities and the feeding of cities is now infinitely more complex. As such the food system cannot be considered secure, ethical or sustainable.

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October 19, 2017   No Comments

Interview with Sundari Kraft: “People eat more veggies when they take part in gardening”

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Kraft is the founder of Sustainable Food Denver, founding co-chair of the Denver Sustainable Food Policy Council, and founder of one of Denver’s first multi-plot urban farms.

By Brian Frederick
Food Tank
Oct. 2017

Excerpt:

FT: One of your legislative successes is a policy to allow Denver residents to raise chickens, ducks, and dwarf goats within the city limits. How practical is this in an urban setting and how do you hope this will benefit individual health?

SK: Anytime someone is considering raising an animal—whether it’s a chicken or a dog—they need to make sure that they have the appropriate space, tools, and time to adequately care for that animal. That being said, city-appropriate food-producing animals can absolutely be raised successfully in an urban backyard. These animals are no more difficult to care for than the pets that we’re used to seeing in cities (like dogs and cats)—it’s just that most of us haven’t grown up with them and we’ve lost the knowledge of how to care for them. Luckily, there are a number of books focused on urban homesteading, as well as classes in some cities focused on backyard chickens or goats.

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October 19, 2017   No Comments

UK: Community garden in memory of Spitfire inventor Reginald Mitchell to be ripped up

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Reginald Mitchell CBE.

Advertising company JCDecaux – which owns the land – has put the site up for sale with a £35,000 price tag. Now more than 1,000 people have signed an online petition to try to save the beauty spot in Talke, Stoke-on-Trent.

Matt Jackson
The Sentinel
Oct 13, 2017

Excerpt:

Councillor Kyle Robinson, who represents the area on both Newcastle Borough Council and Staffordshire County Council, said: “JCDecaux has put the land up for auction and gave us very little notice. We were told the company wanted to dispose of the land but we have a licence agreement to run the community garden.

“Before we took over the land it was practically abandoned and a lot of people were upset about it. But we decided to tidy it up and make it into the garden.

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October 19, 2017   No Comments

The Ghost Orchard: The Hidden History of the Apple in North America

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How the apple first came across the Atlantic Ocean with a relatively unknown Quaker woman long before the more famed “Johnny Appleseed”

By Helen Humphreys
The Ghost Orchard
Publisher: HarperCollins
09/05/2017

Reviewer: Dana Hansen
Quill and Quire

Her research and travels reveal that, at one time, so-called Indian orchards (defined in 19th-century dictionaries as orchards of ungrafted apple trees) existed all across the U.S. and in southern Ontario. The apple, she discovers, became an essential food to the Iroquois, the Seneca, the Oneida, the Algonquian, the Cherokee, and many other Indigenous peoples, and they were very successful in growing extensive, thriving orchards. Dreadfully and with dire results, many if not most of these orchards were either destroyed or violently appropriated by white settlers. “It is no accident that many of the white settlements sprang up where there was an Indigenous orchard. But first, of course, the original owners had to be vanquished. The apple thus became, in its infancy in North America, a tool for colonialism.”

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October 18, 2017   No Comments

Ohio: Urban farms help in Youngstown’s recovery

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As the city of Youngstown has shrunk from 170,000 residents to fewer than 65,000 from the 1950s until present day, according to Atlantic Magazine and numerous other sources, the housing stock has noticeably deteriorated. But now, occasional bright green spots are defiantly rearing up out of the urban decay.

By Richard Weiner
Akron Legal News Reporter
October 12, 2017

Excerpt:

“We have definitely seen growth in locally-produced food,” said Melissa Miller, who runs the Lake to Rive Food Cooperative. The co-op serves and draws from farmers in an eight-county area that includes Mahoning County.

“We have seen a rise in niche products,” coming from these small, lot-sized farms, Miller said. These include Avant Garden, a mushroom farm in downtown Youngstown, and Unabandoned, a two-lot herb farm that, among other products, makes essential oils out of their herbs and Avant’s mushrooms.

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October 18, 2017   No Comments

Canada: Vancouver’s Sole Food Street Farms to move to new home in Olympic Village

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Site plan for the new location of the Sole Food Urban Street Farm at West 1st Avenue and Crowe Street. Credit: City of Vancouver Click through to article to see larger detailed image.

North America’s largest urban farm is preparing to move south across False Creek, from their current home at Pacific and Carrall, to a new spot in the Olympic Village.

By Peter Meiszner
Urban YVR
October 16, 2017

Excerpt:

Sole Food needs to move nearly 2,000 planter boxes to the new site by the end of October. Three shipping containers will also be set up on the property to house supplies and office space for the operation.

Produce from the farm will be processed on-site for distribution through farmers markets, delivery to restaurants and also sold on-site. Operating hours will be from dawn to dusk, seven days a week, and the farm will be open to the public Monday-Friday 8 a.m. – 4 p.m.

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October 17, 2017   No Comments

South Africa: Chamber of Mines shows off potential of rooftop agriculture in Johannesburg inner city

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The Chamber of Mines is participating in and has funded a pilot project to assess the feasibility of growing herbs and vegetables on the rooftops.

Launch of the Urban Agriculture Initiative, which is aimed at creating a vibrant urban agricultural ecosystem by “innovatively” repurposing disused rooftops and making use of hydroponics and aquaponics to produce agricultural produce for Johannesburg’s inner city communities.

By Ilan Solomons
Creamer Media Staff Writer
11th October 2017

Excerpt:

“Although still in its early days, a successful basil crop has been harvested and sold,” the chamber highlights.

Moreover, the CoM notes that Johannesburg is one of many cities worldwide turning to inner city farming with the objective of addressing high unemployment and food insecurity, while simultaneously aiming to regenerate neighbourhoods.

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October 17, 2017   No Comments

University of North Texas: Job Title – Lecturer of Urban Agriculture

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Imao Keinen Title: Rooster and Hen – Keinen Gafu Date: 1892.

This new faculty member will also be responsible for developing online courses; a student Urban Agriculture Club; and collaborative relationships with community gardeners and other urban agriculture entities.

Employer: UNT Dallas
Location: Dallas, TX
Posted: Oct 10, 2017

Excerpt:

The University of North Texas at Dallas invites applications for a full-time Lecturer position in Agriculture, beginning Fall 2017. The successful candidate will be expected to achieve excellence in teaching and to lead development of the emerging urban agriculture program at UNT Dallas. As a part of this urban agriculture initiative, UNT Dallas has partnered with El Centro College, Dallas, TX, to develop a Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences (BAAS) degree that includes undergraduate agricultural training and advances students’ STEM skills. This effort is being supported at UNTD by a $1.3 million grant from the Department of Education.

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October 17, 2017   No Comments

Boosting bees could sweeten chance of a greener Mexico City

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Beekeeper Alfonso Cestelos Sanz blows smoke on a beehive at the Ectagono community project in Mexico City September 12, 2017. — Thomson Reuters Foundation picture.

Figures from the agriculture ministry (SAGARPA) show the number of hives in Mexico City, as well as honey production, dropped by about 17 percent between 2006 and 2015.

By Sophie Hares
Reuters
Oct 15, 2017

Excerpt:

Urban beekeeping is on the rise in cities such as London and New York where homeowners, companies and restaurants are setting up rooftop hives that each house thousands of bees. But strict rules in densely packed Mexico City about the location of hives restrict them mainly to the city fringes.

As the city continues to expand, reducing green areas, beekeepers have less space to work, said Adriana Pena Veliz, a vet who advises Efecto Colmena (Beehive Effect), which rescues and relocates bee swarms.

“The bees are starting to lose their habitat,” she told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

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October 16, 2017   No Comments

A new urban-farming startup wants to grow mushrooms in restaurants, for all the diners to see.

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Mission’s executive chef, Angela Dimayuga, cooks with varieties of oyster mushrooms grown in the Minifarm. Photographer: Adrienne Grunwald for Bloomberg

A small Minifarm starts at $2,000, measures 4-feet wide by 2-feet deep, stands 6-feet tall and can produce up to 2,300 pounds of mushrooms a year.

By Deena Shanker
Bloomberg
October 11, 2017

Excerpt:

On Wednesday, the restaurant adds its newest piece of kitsch. Nestled between the entrance and the bar, above an interior window, sits a rectangular box emanating blue light. It’s filled with extraterrestrial looking life forms: mushrooms.

Designed and built by Smallhold, a Brooklyn-based, certified-organic, “distributed farming” startup, the “Minifarm” has been in the works for months. If all goes according to plan, blue, yellow and pink oysters, king and pioppino mushrooms will replace varieties such as beech, button and enoki in Dimayuga’s beef jerky fried rice. Dimayuga beamed with excitement. “A just-picked mushroom tastes the best.”

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October 16, 2017   No Comments

In Washington School Gardens Are No Longer A Rarity

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Rooftop Garden at Horace Mann Elementary School: After leafy vegetables are planted and cared for, students harvest the crops, chop them up and serve them to more than 400 of their peers for lunch.

By Rachel Nania
Wtop
October 8, 2017

Excerpt:

Jagodnik’s third-floor classroom, which is filled with seedlings and outfitted with a small kitchen, opens directly to the school’s rooftop garden. It’s there where a class of third-graders pick parsley and pak choi from commercial-grade garden towers on Monday mornings.

Architect Michael Marshall designed the rooftop farm, one of several gardens at Horace Mann, during the school’s renovation three years ago.

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October 15, 2017   No Comments

Columbia University Student to Transform Urban Farming

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MPA-ESP student Alexander Rudnicki is a civil engineer (Columbia University ’10), who comes to SIPA from AeroFarms, an urban farming pioneer.

Master of Public Administration in Environmental Science and Policy: The Earth Institute Columbia Unversity

By Laura Piraino
State of the Planet
October 6, 2017

Excerpt:

What are your plans once you graduate? What are some skills and tools you have developed over the last year that you can use?

I would love to work with city planning offices to integrate urban farming into city planning and layouts. It’s encouraging to see cities like Detroit that have outlined an urban farming policy. It’s a great start and I want to be involved in such urban initiatives after I graduate.

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October 15, 2017   No Comments

Brooklyn NY: Tinyfield Farm atop the former Pfizer factory is the only rooftop farm currently specializing in hops

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Tinyfield Rooftop Farm’s hops.

Last year, she harvested two pounds of the crop and sent them to Strong Rope, a craft brewery in Greenpoint. They turned the first batch of Tinyfield’s hops into five gallons of beer.

By Phyllis Huang
BK Reader
October 6, 2017

Excerpt:

It is enough of a challenge to be the first and only one in any area; Tinyfield’s choice of crop ups the odds. Hop is a perennial crop that can be harvested only once a year – which means the yield is low.

“A hop-growing operation on such a small a scale is not profitable,” said Gerhold. “At least not at this moment.”

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October 14, 2017   No Comments

Yale University’s Landscape Lab

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A plant-based medicine class teaches students at the School of Nursing about the uses of medicinal herbs grown in the Lab’s gardens, as well as about food and nutrition.

By Katie Martin
Yale Daily News
Oct 06, 2017

Excerpt:

The Lab is two years old, but it’s built around a quarter-acre urban farm that’s now in its fifth growing season. Since the Lab’s inception, Freiberg, a team of volunteers, student interns and partner organizations in New Haven have built a barn, a patio and a “WikiHouse” (more on that later); terraced a hillside to create a medicinal herb garden; installed beehives; and begun cultivating mushrooms. The timber barn, adjacent to an agroforestry orchard, is built with wood from the Yale Forest, and serves as the site for courses, workshops and gatherings.

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October 14, 2017   No Comments

The Netherlands: This Tiny Country Feeds the World

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A sea of greenhouses surrounds a farmer’s home in the Westland region of the Netherlands. The Dutch have become world leaders in agricultural innovation, pioneering new paths to fight hunger. Click image to see larger file.

The Netherlands has become an agricultural giant by showing what the future of farming could look like.

By Frank Viviano
Photographs by Luca Locatelli
National Geographic
Sept 2017
(Must see photos. Mike)

Excerpt:

The Netherlands is a small, densely populated country, with more than 1,300 inhabitants per square mile. It’s bereft of almost every resource long thought to be necessary for large-scale agriculture. Yet it’s the globe’s number two exporter of food as measured by value, second only to the United States, which has 270 times its landmass. How on Earth have the Dutch done it?

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October 13, 2017   No Comments