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From N16 to SW9: How London’s Urban Farmers are Cultivating the City

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Kate Hofman and Tom Webster of GrowUp Urban Farms. Photo by Akira Chatani.

One of the most expensive cities in the world, London is not known for its urban agriculture. Yet a new generation of farmers is starting to change all that by transforming the city’s underground tunnels, industrial warehouses, and rooftops into urban acreage.

By Fiona Symington-Mitchell
Modern Farmer
February 3, 2016

Excerpt:

Former management consultant and a graduate of Climate-KIC, Kate Hofman believes to produce food in our cities we simply need to find the right products to grow in the right places. “This is why we think acquaponics and vertical farming is the right combination,” she says. “You are making the most effective use of space, while looking at food production holistically.”

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February 5, 2016   No Comments

Three cities move forward with urban agriculture projects, Edmonton, Encinitas, Chicago

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Woman in a Vegetable Garden – 1884. by James Fraser Taylor. Royal Scottish Academy of Art & Architecture.

The Talking Farm (TTF), a non-profit urban agriculture organization headquartered in Evanston, Illinois is committed to providing local, fresh food and educational opportunities for the surrounding community.

Edmonton 2015. Urban agriculture: bigger and better

If you had to pick the most significant aspect of Edmonton’s food scene in 2015, urban agriculture would certainly rank near the top of the list (possibly at the summit, depending on who you ask). This year saw the city change zoning bylaws to be more definitively inclusive of urban-agriculture projects, a major boon to the few people already doing it (namely Reclaim Urban Farm and Lactuca), as well as making it a lot easier for new people to get into the business. The city also green-lit backyard bees and hosted a pilot project for backyard chickens—we’ll find out if the latter is a go-ahead early in the new year (fingers crossed).

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December 31, 2015   Comments Off on Three cities move forward with urban agriculture projects, Edmonton, Encinitas, Chicago

Herb Gardens, Goats & Real Estate Developers: Considerations in Community Development

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Davie Village Community Garden in Vancouver BC. Photo by Daryl Mitchell.

Some urban farm promoters are “pushing local officials to begin setting aside plots for urban agriculture because of the health and community benefits.”

By Susan Raab
Non-profit Quarterly
Nov 25, 2015

Excerpt:

Urban farms and community gardens have been popular for a number of years, particularly as the farm-to-table movement took off. In cities across the country, many vacant, often blighted lots were adopted and converted to bring “healthy food, commerce and eye-pleasing greenery to dreary neighborhoods” and to supply restaurants and farm markets with locally grown produce. But now, according to the Associated Press, “as more people look to live and work in central cities, growers say it’s harder to find and remain on land now sought by developers.” At risk, farm advocates say, is not only the ability to grow food nearby and cultivate nature in more parts of the city, but the community spirit that often grew up around these projects.

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December 12, 2015   Comments Off on Herb Gardens, Goats & Real Estate Developers: Considerations in Community Development

Public Health students take nutrition education to mall in Las Cruces, New Mexico

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Dona Ana Community College public health students Jasmine Franzoy, 20, and Alyssa Berrington, 26, demonstrate how they tend to large potted plants located at the downtown mall on Monday. For six hours a week they students plant, prune and harvest food in 58 large pots in the area.(Photo: Robin Zielinski — Sun-News)

La Semilla Food Center has partnered with the students to promote healthier eating. “I love working working with the public and getting the pots adopted.”

By Beth Waters
For the Sun-News
November 9, 2015

Excerpt:

The students have partnered with La Semilla Food Center and are tasked with tending 58 oversized planters full of fruit, herbs, vegetables and flowers, hoping to promote urban agriculture to the public. The collaboration is part of a DACC health class, matching students to nonprofits, taught by Amy Collins, associate professor of public health.

“As a society, we are use to seeing our food packaged, to see plastic and cellophane around our fruit and vegetables,” Collins explains. “So having an understanding of where food comes from is difficult for a lot of people.”

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November 16, 2015   Comments Off on Public Health students take nutrition education to mall in Las Cruces, New Mexico

Macon, Georgia neighborhoods could get assist in urban agriculture

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P.J. Carswell describes his drive for getting more people in Middle Georgia involved in growing healthy vegetables and fruits.

By Stanley Dunlap
The Telegraph
Nov 8, 2015

Carswell has a goal of getting more people involved with his gardens in Bolingbroke not far from the Bibb County line and in Macon. With more than 40 acres in Monroe County, Carswell has designated about two acres for his garden that include plants still producing yellow squash, eggplant, cayenne peppers and other vegetables. In Macon, Carswell’s hideaway half-acre garden near Montpelier Avenue grows everything from pear, peach, pecan and fig trees to turnip and collard greens.

He enjoys pointing out the soil’s richness with a pH level of 7 that creates a “happy medium.”

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November 15, 2015   Comments Off on Macon, Georgia neighborhoods could get assist in urban agriculture

Urban agriculture a good idea, but …

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geesek

Not so smart is a strategy that suggests people who oppose or question the foundational concepts of urban agriculture need to be “educated.”

InForum Editorial
Nov 7, 2015

Excerpt:

Fargo-Moorhead’s budding love affair with something called “urban agriculture” could be a very positive development for the metro, or it could be a means by which neighbors give neighbors the bird. If considered carefully and applied rationally – that is, without elitism masquerading as a phony we-know-what’s-good-for-you idyll – F-M’s iteration of urban ag could enhance living in the cities.

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November 14, 2015   Comments Off on Urban agriculture a good idea, but …

The Do’s and Don’ts of Urban Farming

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dodon
Illustration by Christine Rösch.

DO: Smell clean for the bees. They don’t like anything scented or perfumed.

By Lindsey Weber
Modern Farmer
September 5, 2014

Excerpt:

DON’T: Leave your chicken feed out. Rats love chicken food. Not so surprising — because rats love any food — but chicken feed is extra tasty to them. Store chicken (and all bird food) in a tin or plastic container with a secure lid, and don’t give your chickens more food at one time than they can finish.

DON’T: Get too fancy. Work with what you have. For example, a simple painter’s suit can make a workable beekeeper’s suit. “You don’t really have to gear up,” explains Carpenter. “I can even wear my flip flops for most things.”

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November 11, 2015   Comments Off on The Do’s and Don’ts of Urban Farming

Prince Charles calls on city dwellers to support the ‘invisible’ farming industry

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The heir to the throne, who is himself a farmer, says it is easy for those who live in urban areas to forget how much the UK depends on those who have farmed the land for generations.

By Rebecca English
Royal Correspondent For The Daily Mail
10 November 2015

Excerpt:

‘Regardless of which member or members of the family are actively involved in running the farm, their husbands, wives, partners and children help to keep alive schools, shops, pubs, transport, local entertainment, charities and all the other services that rural society needs if it is to thrive.

‘Small farms tend to be the repositories of vital genetic diversity through the breeding of pedigree and native breeds of livestock, and heritage varieties of vegetables, cereals and fruit.

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November 11, 2015   Comments Off on Prince Charles calls on city dwellers to support the ‘invisible’ farming industry

Perception and acceptance of agricultural production in and on urban buildings (ZFarming): a qualitative study from Berlin, Germany

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Major perceived benefits of ZFarming include improved consumer awareness, education, and the creation of experimental spaces.

By Kathrin Specht , Rosemarie Siebert, Susanne Thomaier
Agriculture and Human Values
pp 1-17
First online: 23 October 2015

Abstract

Rooftop gardens, rooftop greenhouses and indoor farms (defined as ZFarming) have been established or planned by activists and private companies in Berlin. These projects promise to produce a range of goods that could have positive impacts on the urban setting but also carry a number of risks and uncertainties. In this early innovation phase, the relevant stakeholders’ perceptions and social acceptance of ZFarming represent important preconditions for success or failure of the further diffusion of this practice.

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November 6, 2015   Comments Off on Perception and acceptance of agricultural production in and on urban buildings (ZFarming): a qualitative study from Berlin, Germany

On The Roof and In The Living Room, Startups Tackle Urban Farming

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Higher Ground Farm grows produce on a rooftop in the Seaport District in South Boston. Credit Rupa Shenoy / WGBH News.

“In the future we see people being able to grow lots of things in their home and maybe have an entire room that’s dedicated to growing,” Byron said.

By Rupa Shenoy
WGBH
Oct 8, 2015

Excerpt:

For a new generation of entrepreneurs, investing in the future of urban agriculture makes sense. Scientists predict population growth of billions within the next several decades, with most of those people living in urban areas. Young businessmen and women like Hennessy and Stoddard think the growing urban populations will want to stay connected to their food.

“This is perhaps the most entrepreneurial generation we’ve seen in a long time,” said Catherine Bertini, a former executive director of the United Nation’s World Food Programme. Bertini also served as an Assistant Secretary at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, where she oversaw the design of the Food Guide Pyramid. Bertini says these young farmers are driven by the same basic pride as their predecessors.

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October 17, 2015   Comments Off on On The Roof and In The Living Room, Startups Tackle Urban Farming

Urban farming movement sprouts in Bowling Green, Kentucky

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Dr. Erika Brady holds Roma tomatoes she just harvested from her backyard vegetable garden.

After moving to Bowling Green from the overpopulated, “crammed-for-space” environment of Los Angeles, Na’puti realized her desire to reconnect with the earth and the cultural ideals of her native country, Guam.

By Nicole Ares
WKU Herald
Oct 5, 2015

Excerpt:

“Urban living is far more sustainable than suburban sprawl, so we hope we can demonstrate, even in a small way, that sustainable agriculture and urban living are compatible,” Crawford said via email.

A variety of produce has since grown there. Ripe orange tomatoes, red and green hot peppers, organic basil and a substantial amount of other plants grow throughout the yard. The couple’s garden is also home to a hugelkultur mound that was introduced to them by local farmer Tim Kercheville.

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October 13, 2015   Comments Off on Urban farming movement sprouts in Bowling Green, Kentucky

Indianapolis, IN — Center for Urban Ecology (CUE) Farm at Butler University

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“I think having the farm on campus sort of situates us uniquely in urban agriculture.”

By Matthew Del Busto
The Butler Collegian
Sept 29, 2015

Excerpt:

The Center for Urban Ecology (CUE) Farm started off as just 3/10ths of an acre and CUE staff members and faculty in the biology department managed it. Now the farm is close to an acre in size and Tim Dorsey, manager of the CUE Farm, oversees it full-time. Along with providing fresh produce at its weekly farm stand, the farm provides educational opportunities to the students at Butler and the surrounding community along with paid internships for Butler students each semester and over the summer.

The farm stand is located on the porch of the blue storage building that lies between the CUE Farm and the tennis courts near the intramural fields and the I-Lot. Dorsey said the farm stand has gained popularity over the past few years.

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October 6, 2015   Comments Off on Indianapolis, IN — Center for Urban Ecology (CUE) Farm at Butler University

Seed by seed, acre by acre, big data is taking over the farm

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dtaa

Big-data firms can test varieties of seeds across hundreds of fields, soils, and climates. And in the same way that Google can identify flu outbreaks based on where web searches are originating, analyzing crops across farms helps identify diseases that could ruin a harvest.

By Dan Bobkoff
Business Insider
Sept 15, 2015

Excerpt:

This is some of what big-data analytics make possible on the modern farm: Sensors can tell how effective certain seed and types of fertilizer are in different sections of a farm. Software will instruct the farmer to plant one hybrid in one corner and a different seed in another for optimum yield. It can adjust nitrogen and potassium levels in the soil in different patches. And this information can be fed to companies like Monsanto to improve hybrids.

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September 16, 2015   Comments Off on Seed by seed, acre by acre, big data is taking over the farm

Philadelphia farm grows in Chinatown

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Meei Ling Ng (left), an artist and urban gardener, in the small farm she started in a city lot with volunteers Joyce Randell (center) and Valerie Marshall. The farm aims to provide food and work for the homeless. ALEJANDRO A. ALVAREZ / Staff Photographer

In 2010, the city had 571 community gardens. By 2014, that number had grown 70 percent, to 970, according to the Trust for Public Land.

By Jeff Gammage
Philly Com
September 7, 2015

Excerpt:

Born and raised in Singapore, the daughter of a mother who grew orchids for a living, Ng came here for an arts education, graduating from the Art Institute of Philadelphia in 2000.

In recent years her installations – including a big, chicken-shaped coop to house, well, chickens – have aimed to raise awareness about city farming and sustainable living.

The new farm was born through hope and hoe – and an artist-in-residency program run by Asian Arts Initiative, which collaborated with the Sunday Breakfast Rescue Mission.

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September 15, 2015   Comments Off on Philadelphia farm grows in Chinatown

Growing Underground brand will soon harvest for top London restaurants

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The underground tunnels in Clapham, south London. Photograph: Alicia Canter for the Guardian.

Microgreens are the early stages of plants more commonly harvested when they are more fully grown. They are popular with chefs for their deep flavour.

By Shane Hickey
The Guardian
Sept 13, 2015

Excerpt:

The first section of the tunnel system they have converted now extends to 6,000 sq ft (550 sq m) of growing area and will be able to produce 700 boxes of goods a day when production has been fully scaled up, says Dring. They hope to extend this to 23,000 sq ft (2,200 sq m) of growing space within two years.

“Anything that grows within 30 days is financially viable. After you go over the 30 days, it is not so. That is changeable a bit now and the efficiencies are changing so you can bring crops that you would have done in 40 days down to 30 days,” Ballard says.

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September 13, 2015   Comments Off on Growing Underground brand will soon harvest for top London restaurants