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Posts from — May 2018

Hen and the Art of Chicken Maintenance: Reflections on a Life of Raising Chickens

Updated second edition features new photographs and a new chapter.

By Gurdon Martin
CompanionHouse Books
May 29, 2018

Owning chickens is fast becoming the latest in metropolitan chic. If you can’t own them, you’ll still want to read about them. Primal urges, the quest for ultimate power, sex, death, gender bending, and huge vet bills—these are the things that chickens are made of. Martin Gurdon’s hilarious Hen and the Art of Chicken Maintenance relives the highs and lows of chicken ownership. This unique chicken memoir follows the Gurdon family through the ups and downs of a wonderful hobby.

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May 21, 2018   No Comments

Ghana: Urban Agriculture in Tamale: a policy narrative

The core of the suggested Tamale plan involves municipal assemblies purchasing larger areas of flood prone land and specifically dedicating them to agriculture so that they cannot be reallocated or sold.

For URBANET UrbanFoodPlus RUAF Foundation Ghana WASH Programme University for Development Studies and International Water Management Institute by I. Bellwood-Howard, E. Chimsi, S. Abdul-Ganiyu and R. van Veenhuisen
Institute of Development Studies
Jan 24, 2016

Executive summary:

Tamale, the capital of Ghana’s Northern region, is a fast-growing metropolis situated in the Guinea savannah. It has a tradition of urban and peri-urban cultivation, and its current rapid growth means that there is a need to analyse the role of urban and peri-urban agriculture (UPA) in the city’s sustainable development. UPA in and around Tamale takes many forms, with various crop farm types characterised by different spatial and tenure arrangements and access to irrigation facilities. These can be broadly categorised as open space intra-urban sites, open space peri-urban sites, intra-urban backyard farms, isolated farms in interstitial intra-urban spaces, formal peri-urban irrigation schemes and peri-urban non-irrigated farming.

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May 21, 2018   No Comments

Is it really safe to eat food grown in urban gardens?

Devan King/The Nature Conservancy

On the bright side, the scientists all seemed to agree on one thing: As long as I use compost and wash my vegetables, I can totally start an urban garden.

By Ilana Strauss
Treehugger
May 14, 2018

Excerpt:

I wanted to start a vegetable garden in my backyard. But my yard is in Brooklyn, a land of street garbage, truck exhaust, and stray cats. So I decided to figure it out: Was it really safe to grow food there? I had no idea that the rabbit hole I burrowed in urban gardens would lead to dead cows in Georgia, a global contamination meeting in Sweden, and the strange price we pay to make sure kids don’t catch on fire.

I started by calling Murray McBride, a professor at Cornell University who researches contamination, to find out if city gardens are really safe. According to McBride, I should be worried about one main thing:

“We found lead to be the biggest problem,” he told me. “There can be high concentrations of lead even in the garden beds.”

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May 21, 2018   No Comments

New York City GreenThumb urban gardening program celebrates 40th anniversary with tree giveaway

GreenThumb supports more than 550 community gardens with materials and workshops to help them grow.

By Max Parrott
am New York
May 13, 2018

Excerpt:

GreenThumb helps provide them with lumber for raised bed planters, plants and workshops, but the new stewards have also taken advantage of materials, services and grants offered by an array of programs and nonprofits around the city.

Vulcain and Sowkey’s efforts seemed to be paying off. Community members steadily streamed in throughout the morning to pick up their trees.

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May 20, 2018   No Comments

India: Tamil Nadu panchayat school attracts kids by teaching organic farming

Children involved in vegetable farming on a rotational basis.

“We initially cultivated vegetable crops to address the needs of the noon meal kitchen. As we started producing surplus vegetables, we began giving them away to children involved in vegetable farming on a rotational basis,”

By Deepak Karthik
Times of India
May 14, 2018

Excerpt:

Veering away from traditional methods of marketing to ensure 100% admission, a panchayat union middle school (PUMS) in Perambalur district is reaching out on foot and attracting parents and students with the organic farming methods practised at the school.

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May 20, 2018   No Comments

Canada: Farming and urban living come together in Red Deer

Ashley Nelson feeding an animal in the petting zoo during the Urban Farm Festival at Westerner Park Saturday. (Photo by Sean Mcintosh/Advocate staff)

Westerner has an urban farm site in the middle of its racetrack, where refugees can learn how to grow food in an urban setting in this climate.

By Sean Mcintosh
Red Deer Advocate
May. 12, 2018

Excerpt:

Ruzicka said she and her family decided to go a year without buying food after reading her great-grandfather’s autobiography.

“He would talk about the hardships Europeans had when they came and settled in Canada,” Ruzicka said. “They’d walk thousands of miles and cut down trees to build their house … and I started to realize we’re such sucks. Let’s be real, we’re sucks.”

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May 19, 2018   No Comments

UK: ‘I found what had been missing my whole adult life…’ how one man fell back in love with gardening

Jack Wallington Credit: Heathcliff O’malley For The Daily Telegraph

I started doing the rounds with the local council, and they said the waiting list for an allotment was 27 years.

By Alice Vincent
The Telegram
13 May 2018

Excerpt:

I was learning about vegetables, but frustratingly I didn’t have anywhere to grow them. But there were raised beds in the Eden Garden in Clapham, and there was never anyone there.

So I put a handwritten note – because I thought it was more likely to be read than a typed one – under the door of the church nearby. It was an A4 sheet, that said, “Dear Gardener, I’m studying, I really want to grow vegetables. Please, please, please can I use one of your raised beds.” And this was in the middle of winter.

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May 19, 2018   No Comments

3,000-Year-Old Olive Tree on the Island of Crete Still Produces Olives Today

Image by David Hodgson, via Flickr Commons

Across the Mediterranean, you’ll find six other olive trees believed to be 2,000-3,000 years old–some of our last living ties to an ancient world.

Open Culture
May 9, 2018

Excerpt:

On the island of Crete, in the village of Vouves, stands an olive tree estimated to be 3,000 years old. Hearty and resilient, “the Olive Tree of Vouves” still bears fruit today. Because, yes, olives are apparently considered a fruit.

Archaeologist Ticia Verveer posted a picture of the tree on Twitter earlier this week and noted: It “stood here when Rome burned in AD64, and Pompeii was buried under a thick carpet of volcanic ash in AD79.” That all happened during the tree’s infancy alone.

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May 18, 2018   No Comments

UK: City farms in London

Deen City Farm: Meet the farmyard residents like Kimby the alpaca and Edna the barn owl, buy grass nuts to feed the animals or squeal over the newly born ducklings, chicks and lambs.

The Editors
Time Out London
Mar 23, 2018

Excerpt:

Your animal sightings shouldn’t be just limited to the glimpse of foxes rummaging through your bins or a neighbour’s slightly sour looking pussycat. From Shoreditch to Surrey Quays, London actually has a surprising amount of city farms for you to visit. There are lazing llamas in Canary Wharf, energetic goats in Kentish Town or rare breed sheep off Holloway Road.

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May 18, 2018   No Comments

Canada: Coyote pups surprise visitors at Fort York community garden

A coyote pup, thought to be seven or eight weeks old, stands in the grass at Fort York. (Grant Linton/CBC)

Local gardeners say coyotes have helped control rodent population

By Nick Boisvert
CBC News
May 10, 2018

Excerpt:

Gardeners in the area say the animals’ parents were a welcome addition to the area when they showed up last spring, cutting down on the local groundhog and rabbit populations, which were damaging the garden.

“Last year we had no problem at all,” said Joe McReynolds, who’s been gardening at the site for the past five years. “The coyotes had cleared out most of the animals that were eating our plants.”

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May 17, 2018   No Comments

UAE: Dubai Gets Its First Indoor Vertical Farm

Founder & CEO Omar Al Jundi & co-founder Grahame Dunling.

The farm is called Badia Farm — “badia” is Arabic for “oasis” — and, like other urban indoor farms in cities like New York, London, and Chicago, it’s growing a lot of salad greens. Radish, kale, mustard, basil, and arugula all thrive in indoor controlled climate farms.

By Jill Ettinger
Organic Authority
May 11, 2018

Excerpt:

The desert makes growing anything — especially food — rather difficult. Or, at least, it used to. A new startup in the United Arab Emirates hopes to reduce some of the food imports to the region, delivering fresher product that’s grown right in the desert town of Dubai.

The UAE currently imports nearly 90 percent of its food, according to recent data. But Saudi Arabian entrepreneur Omar Al Jundi, hopes his first vertical farm in Dubai will decrease some of the region’s import needs as well as contribute to the health of the residents, and decrease the impact on the environment due to transport.

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May 17, 2018   No Comments

UK: Mayor of London Releases The Draft London Food Strategy

Part 5: Good Food Growing, Community Gardens And Urban Farming – Increasing Sustainable Food Growing

Greater London Authority April 2018
Published by
Greater London Authority City Hall
The Queen’s Walk
More London
London
(Must read. Mike)

Exceprts:

The Mayor will use the new draft London Plan to help local authorities to support food growing networks and community food growing projects.

Aim
Promoting the multiple benefits of food growing for individuals and communities

The importance of food growing in community gardens, allotments, urban farms and other spaces in London cannot be overstated. In addition to the environmental benefits of urban food growing, knowing how food is grown is a key part of building people’s skills. Food growing can bring many benefits to individuals and communities. It can bring communities together, help people make new friends, make areas safer and healthier, and provide training which can lead to employment and improve physical and mental wellbeing.

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May 16, 2018   No Comments

India: Smart Kitchen Garden to promote organic farming in Kerala

Link.

The plan is to encourage more and more people to cultivate pesticide free, nutritious and healthy food on their rooftop by setting a Smart Kitchen Garden.

The New India Express
May 11, 2018

Excerpt:

KOCHI: Teaming up with the government to promote organic farming in the state, the Vegetable and Fruits’ Promotion Council Keralam (VFPCK) has come up with ‘Grow Your Own Food’ (GYOF) initiative The plan is to encourage more and more people to cultivate pesticide free, nutritious and healthy food on their rooftop by setting a Smart Kitchen Garden.

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May 16, 2018   No Comments

China’s multi-story hog hotels elevate industrial farms to new levels

Guangxi Yangxiang’s high-rise pig farm buildings are seen at Yaji Mountain Forest Park in Guangxi province, China March 19, 2018. Picture taken March 19, 2018. REUTERS/Thomas Suen

On Yaji Mountain in southern China, they are checking in the sows a thousand head per floor in high-rise “hog hotels”.

By Dominique Patton
Reuters
May 10, 2018

Excerpt:

“There are big advantages to a high-rise building,” said Xu Jiajing, manager of Yangxiang’s mountain-top farm.

“It saves energy and resources. The land area is not that much but you can raise a lot of pigs.”

Companies like Yangxiang are pumping more money into the buildings – about 30 percent more than on single-story modern farms – even as hog prices in China hold at an eight-year low.

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May 15, 2018   No Comments

Photo Exhibit by Preston Gannaway: The Farms of West Oakland

Photos: Preston Gannaway

Travelers heading out of San Francisco International Airport can take a last look at West Oakland starting this month with a photo exhibition that celebrates the neighborhood’s history and abundance of urban farms.

By Scott Morris
Hoodline
May 9, 2018

Excerpt:

Gannaway said she spent the most time at the WOW Farm, which is operated by the nonprofit Game Theory Academy. The organization provides job training for youth, including paid internships for high school students at WOW.

“That was just really fun hanging out with the high school students and watching them learn,” Gannaway said.

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May 15, 2018   No Comments