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Urban farming: From floating food forests to vacant lot crops

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More than 1,500 community gardens have been started on vacant land in Detroit alone in recent years. From Greening of Detroit.

A growing movement is spreading throughout U.S. cities that is feeding people, providing jobs, and helping the environment—urban farming.

By Sher Watts Spooner
Daily Kos
May 15, 2016

Excerpt:

One estimate is that there are as many as 100 full-fledged food forests, with a mix of trees and smaller plants in a succession of layers, in the United States. One Detroit group reports that there are 70 urban farms in that city alone that sell fruits and vegetables to local market outlets. The Chicago Urban Agriculture Mapping Project is trying to locate small produce gardens throughout the Windy City—a 2015 count found 830. There’s even a worldwide organization called Urban Farming that claims more than 63,000 small community gardens based in cities, and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations estimates that up to 20 percent of the world’s food supply is grown in cities.

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May 21, 2016   No Comments

Tomatoes and Google connect a Canadian urban farmer to new Syrian neighbour

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‘This is straight out of Star Trek,’ says urban farmer Curtis Stone about translated encounter

“It’s amazing how urban gardening and urban agriculture really connects people, because food crosses all cultural and language barriers.”

By Lisa Johnson
CBC News
Apr 12, 2016

Excerpt:

Then the man opened Google Translate, an app that provides two-way speech translation.

“I am a tomato farmer from Syria,” the man said, through his phone.

“I was stoked and I said, ‘oh, you like tomatoes?'” said Stone, who invited his new neighbour into his greenhouse.

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April 16, 2016   Comments Off on Tomatoes and Google connect a Canadian urban farmer to new Syrian neighbour

Confronting the Dark Side of Urban Agriculture

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francFrancois Manchebo.

All urban agricultures are not sustainable, and some may even produce deleterious effects on the city inhabitants as well as on the city itself.

By François Mancebo, PhD,
Director of the IRCS and IATEUR, is professor of urban planning and sustainability at Rheims university. He lives in Paris.
The Nature of Cities
April 8, 2016

Excerpt:

Get back to the ground level: conventional farming within cities is potentially a much graver concern, be it located in a skyscraper or just in the ground. The big issue here is the dissemination of pesticides and fertilizers as well as of the wastes and the by-products of industrial urban agriculture, especially in vine-growing or grain-growing regions—two agricultural productions with high added-value—where vines and fields are frequently incorporated in the city. The inhabitants of such cities are exposed to critical levels of pesticides on a daily basis without them even knowing. Well, they are beginning to know, and it appears that they are not happy at all.

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April 9, 2016   Comments Off on Confronting the Dark Side of Urban Agriculture

City Farmer’s Head Gardener, Sharon Slack, Makes Vancouver Newspaper Frontpage Twice in 6 weeks

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Sharon Slack, 73, says she prefers working at City Farmer in Kisilano to the typical retirement ‘image’ sold in advertisements. Photo by Arlen Redekop.

“Unretired seniors are working overtime”

By Denise Ryan
The Vancouver Sun
April 8, 2016

Except:

Sharon Slack, 73, head gardener at City Farmer in Kitsilano, said she finds the traditional idea of retirement preposterous.

“The whole image they sell you about retirement — all those TV ads that say: Retire! Do all the things you want to do! Travel! Entertain! Good grief,” she said. “I didn’t do that when I was young. Why in the world would I do it now?”

Slack loves her job, but work isn’t just a pleasure — it’s also a practical matter, she said.

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April 8, 2016   Comments Off on City Farmer’s Head Gardener, Sharon Slack, Makes Vancouver Newspaper Frontpage Twice in 6 weeks

Victoria, BC Editorial: Urban gardens feed the soul

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colBy John Currin. The Gardeners. 2001. See original here.

Land that grows lawns, shrubs, trees and flowers could just as well be producing food.

Editorial
Times Colonist
Mar 25, 2016

Excerpt:

The capital region is a great place to grow things; there’s no reason more of its landscaping can’t be edible, especially as concerns grow over nutrition, food safety and rising food prices.

Urban agriculture is a growing movement, increasingly supported by municipal governments. The City of Victoria, for example, allows gardening, within certain guidelines, on boulevards, the city-owned strips of land between private property and streets. It has regulations and guidelines for community gardens.

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April 1, 2016   Comments Off on Victoria, BC Editorial: Urban gardens feed the soul

Rooftop revolution begins; the Green Knight rises

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Across centuries, villagers have been leaving farm work for the big city, but now town dwellers are becoming part-time farmers — the reverse green revolution in the happily balancing equations of Mother Nature.

By Raja Murthy, an independent journalist who shuttles between Mumbai and the Himalayas.
Asia Times
March 21, 2016

Excerpt:

This Green Knight is a humble crusader fighting for the urban farming movement. He could be anyone: The boy or girl next door, a banker, a software engineer or it could even be you.

“We are farmers that live in apartments,” goes the Gotham Greens’ anthem from their 9th Avenue headquarters in New York. “We see green fields where others see rooftops. We fuel blooming communities where others fear urban decay. And we purvey the freshest produce grown on earth”.

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March 29, 2016   Comments Off on Rooftop revolution begins; the Green Knight rises

Forbes: Urban Farming: Fad Or Futureproof?

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Indoor farms might offer a new way to feed our cities (Credit: Bryghtknyght, CC BY 3.0 Wikipedia)

But for me, with ‘hundreds of millions of urban dwellers suffer(ing from) under-nutrition’, anything that helps to bring nutritious food closer to the urban table can only be worth pursuing.

By Laurie Winkless
Forbes
March 9, 2016

Excerpt:

However questionable the profitability of the farms reviewed in this paper may be, urban farming continues to hit headlines. And that is for a simple reason – with more people living in cities than ever before, the race is on to find better ways to feed us. Across the world there are some seriously high-tech projects that are attempting to reinvent crop-farming. After the 2011 earthquake in Tohuko, Japan, a previously unused part of a Fujitsu factory became the country’s first viable indoor vertical farm. Blue and red LEDs illuminate stacked trays of salad leaves, while they are hydrated using a water mist (BRIEF ASIDE: These wavelengths are chosen because they increase the rate of photosynthesis, making the whole ‘turning sunlight into food’ process a lot more efficient).

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March 15, 2016   Comments Off on Forbes: Urban Farming: Fad Or Futureproof?

Urban Farms Fuel Idealism. Profits? Not So Much

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bigcBig Muddy Farms, an urban farm in northern Omaha, Neb., is seen among residential homes last October. Urban farms have become a celebrated trend, yet earning a living at it is tough, a new survey finds. Nati Harnik/AP

“Getting land is a difficult thing,” which limits profitability, Willerer says. “If [the city] made it a little easier, people would give it more of their time and energy.”

By Tracie Mcmillan
NPR
Mar 7, 2016

Excerpt:

Many urban farmers, however, see themselves less as profit-driven businesses and more as social enterprises addressing concerns like food insecurity, education and community-building. Two-thirds of the farms surveyed identified those three concerns as their primary focus, while about a quarter said they were driven by market concerns. (The remaining 10 percent of farmers indicated missions that could not be neatly classified in those four categories; Dimitri said these farms were generally occupied with a social mission other than those listed.)

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March 13, 2016   Comments Off on Urban Farms Fuel Idealism. Profits? Not So Much

Arizona Senate Bill would exempt refugees and others with community gardens from strict health rules

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SB 1004 passed in the Senate on Feb. 22 and is now pending in the House of Representatives Agriculture, Water and Lands committee.

By Josh Burton
Cronkite News
Mar 4, 2016

Excerpt:

A community garden where refugees such as Bhutanese-American Punya Koirala grow the vegetables of their homelands may soon be able to sell produce to grade schools and universities under a recently introduced bill.

Koirala and his parents have been growing spinach and other produce in the Cross-Connection Community Garden, which is part of the International Rescue Committee’s New Roots program. Not too long ago, this refugee who once farmed within sight of Mount Everest thought his vegetarian family would have to live without fresh produce in their Arizona home.

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March 12, 2016   Comments Off on Arizona Senate Bill would exempt refugees and others with community gardens from strict health rules

It’s time to go back to the land/backyard and grow/hunt/fish-for your own food

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hunt
You’ll need a number of items to gear up for hunting and fishing.

It turns out that women are the fastest-growing class of new hunters in British Columbia and have been for a decade, driven by a renewed interest in back-to-the-land self-sufficiency.

By Randy Shore
Vancouver Sun
Mar 5, 2016

Excerpt:

“People in the city are really engaged with hunting for food and building the skills they need,” said hunting instructor Dylan Eyers of Eat Wild (eatwild.ca). “I run 10 CORE (see graphic) classes a year and they always sell out.”

In order to become a successful hunter, certain financial, physical and psychological barriers must be overcome. Gutting and disarticulating a large mammal in the field takes skill and emotional balance. Hauling a carcass out of the bush takes physical strength. And you’ll need a truck to get it home.

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March 6, 2016   Comments Off on It’s time to go back to the land/backyard and grow/hunt/fish-for your own food

Vancouver, BC – There’s money in that pile of dirt: Increasing food prices point to more grow-your-own

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SharGArd
According to Sharon Slack, head gardener at City Farmer: ‘It’s not about how much money I can save, but how much food I can grow.’ Photograph by: Jason Payne , PRV. Click on image for larger file.

Time to dig and plant as prices of imported produce stay sky high Now’s the time to start that backyard garden

By Kent Spencer
The Province
February 25, 2016

Excerpt:

Sharon Slack, head gardener at City Farmer, has never counted the savings during 50 years’ endeavours at her Dunbar garden.

“It’s not about how much money I can save, but how much food I can grow,” she said.

“You can never know about cost savings because every year is different — the weather, the bugs and the amount of time you can devote to it,” she said.

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February 25, 2016   Comments Off on Vancouver, BC – There’s money in that pile of dirt: Increasing food prices point to more grow-your-own

Case Study of Urban Agriculture Redeveloping Detroit

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joyr
Photo credit: ©2012 Food Forward Productions.

Earthworks is the first and oldest certified-organic farm in Detroit, and has been working there for over a decade to improve the lives of Detroit’s residents.

By Shannon Kinne
International Affairs Review
Spring 2015

Excerpt:

An estimated 7,000 pounds of produce is harvested in Earthworks’ gardens yearly. This helps contribute to the 2,000 meals served daily in the Capuchin Soup Kitchen, as well as the estimated 25 million pounds of food distributed yearly by Gleaners Community Food Bank. Earthworks’ greenhouse has produced more than 100,000 vegetable seedlings for community gardens, local families, and school gardens across the city. Earthworks has also contributed to creating greater community food security and advocated for food justice (Bonfiglio). Earthworks’ programs have reconnected people of all ages back to the Earth and their relationship to food, and given a sense of power to people who must normally find food at convenience stores or in soup kitchens.

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February 18, 2016   Comments Off on Case Study of Urban Agriculture Redeveloping Detroit

The Guardian: Is urban farming only for rich hipsters?

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urbags
Indoor farm in Berlin’s Metro Cash & Carry supermarket. Photograph: InFarm

Farms are springing up in cities across Europe, but if they exclude lower income groups they’ll do little to help shift towards sustainable food system

By Gina Lovett
The Guardian
Feb 15, 2016

Excerpt:

For some the challenges around equality in urban agriculture are simply a reflection of the global food system’s wider issues. Patrick Holden, founding director and CEO of the Sustainable Food Trust, says, for example, that many of those working in the food sector are paid poorly and as a result, “the people who produce our food can’t afford good food”.

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February 15, 2016   Comments Off on The Guardian: Is urban farming only for rich hipsters?

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

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