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How the White House garden became a political football

First lady Melania Trump plants and harvests vegetables in the White House kitchen garden with children from the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Washington on Sept. 22. 2017 (Melina Mara/The Washington Post)

Melania Trump finally made her first appearance in the garden on Sept. 22, 2017 (The Internet was quick to note that her ostensibly modest flannel shirt cost $1,380.)

By Anastasia Day
Washington Post
April 3, 2018
Anastasia Day is a Hagley scholar and doctoral candidate in history at the University of Delaware, writing about environment, capitalism and gardens in the twentieth century United States.


In this environment of uncertainty and competing priorities, the White House garden takes on newfound political symbolism. If Melania Trump continues the planting and harvest activities of Michelle Obama, she will be signalling support for organic agriculture, local food and school nutrition, all causes that ultimately demand radical revisions to American farm policy. To come out with sprayers of Sevin at hand before planting Roundup-Ready GMO corn, by contrast, would thrill President Trump’s far-right voting base and entrenched Republican agricultural interests, but would infuriate champions of improved nutrition and organic agriculture. To abandon the garden altogether would be interpreted as wanton disregard for children’s health on the part of the first lady: political suicide.

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April 4, 2018   Comments Off on How the White House garden became a political football

Omaha: Urban farming just one passion for woman who’s perpetually learning

Calandra Cooper is an urban farmer.

Text Marjie Ducey
Photography Sarah Hoffman
Inspired Living in Omaha
March 4, 2018

Cooper and her husband, Samuel, own 19 parcels of land, mostly in north Omaha and Florence. She maintains a coop with 15 chickens on one tract and beehives on another.

She’s registered with the USDA as an urban farmer, and on her 1 1/2-acre plot in Florence she grows everything from pumpkins to mushrooms. This spring, she’ll grow indigo and woad and other plants for her natural fabric dyeing classes for MCC in the Makers District in north downtown Omaha.

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March 10, 2018   Comments Off on Omaha: Urban farming just one passion for woman who’s perpetually learning

Foraging is Alive and Well in Baltimore. Can it Help Fight Hunger Too?

New research on the availability of nutrient-dense wild edibles addresses food security.

By Jodi Helmer
Civil Eats


Foraging is a hot trend, with home cooks, chefs, and craft brewers alike harvesting wild, local ingredients ranging from mushrooms and berries to dandelion greens and nettles. Now, a new peer-reviewed study is beginning to explore whether urban foraging can help reduce food insecurity.

The study, from the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future and the U.S. Forest Service, surveyed 105 self-identified foragers in Baltimore to understand the motivations of people who seek out parks, forests, residential neighborhoods, and corporate campuses for wild edibles including berries, mushrooms, rose hips, and dandelions.

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February 28, 2018   Comments Off on Foraging is Alive and Well in Baltimore. Can it Help Fight Hunger Too?

Urban farmers struggle to reap mass-market benefits

Brooklyn basil: the harvest at Gotham Greens.

“Technically,” he says, “there’s no reason why these countries shouldn’t be self-sufficient in produce and, indeed, be net exporters. They have all the right conditions — given the right technology.”

By Jonathan Margolis
Financial Times
Feb 1, 2018

The basil is ready to harvest. The warm, humid air is sweet with the aroma of herbs ready to give their lives to the glory of pesto, tomato sauces and salads.

Close your eyes and you could be in Umbria. Open them, and you are in a greenhouse in Brooklyn, New York. Outside it is minus 7 degrees and snowing. The workers tending the hydroponically-fed plants inside are farmers — but of an indoor, urban variety.

This is one of three New York salad vegetable farms run by Gotham Greens, a seven-year-old company (there is another farm in Chicago and four more will open this year). The greenhouses grow pesticide-free produce for hyper-local distribution.

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February 7, 2018   Comments Off on Urban farmers struggle to reap mass-market benefits

Florida: At St. Petersburg urban farms Wunderfarms, growing and giving back go hand in hand

Jennica Hopkins, left, teaches niece Madelyn Drew, 6, how to properly water plants at Wunderfarms’ Oakdale Community Garden. Photo Gabriella Angotti-Jones | Times

At this point in the season, Wunderfarms has donated one ton of produce to charity, and are trying to donate two tons by the end of the harvest season.

By Carlynn Crosby
Tampa Bay Times
January 31, 2018


The gardens are structured to follow the community-supported agriculture model, though Wunderlich calls his version “CSA lite.” According to the model, farms are supported by individuals who buy shares of the harvest and then receive their portion, usually based on weight, on designated harvest days. While Wunderlich does have a few shareholders and sells to restaurants like Squeeze Juice Works and Love Food Central, most of his crops go to feeding the hungry and the homeless.

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February 5, 2018   Comments Off on Florida: At St. Petersburg urban farms Wunderfarms, growing and giving back go hand in hand

Urban Farming Is the Future of Agriculture

Photo by Urban Organics.

Urban farms have the potential to change the world’s agricultural landscape. Granted, we’re probably not going to see a planet of supercities in which all farming is done in high-rise buildings.

By Patrick Caughill
January 16, 2018


Vertical farming can limit that sprawl. “Vertical farms can actually come into these areas to recolonize the city and to take spaces that have been removed from producing anything,” Paul P.G. Gauthier, a vertical farming expert at the Princeton Environmental Institute, told Futurism.

But setting up an urban farm is often not an easy task. Finding enough space for an affordable price can present a significant obstacle for potential farmers. Vertical farmers also need to know how to operate more technology, including systems that control elements such as soil contaminants and water availability, that nature takes care of on a traditional farm.

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January 25, 2018   Comments Off on Urban Farming Is the Future of Agriculture

Special Issue: ‘Food growing in the city’ – Landscape and Urban Planning

Click image to see larger file. Demonstration garden, Bryant Park, 42nd Street and Fifth Avenue, New York, New York. Visitors studying gardening notices. Photo shows Bryant Park with New York Public Library; two boys, one on roller skates, and a man reading the notices. Garden is a project by the National War Garden Commission, 1918. Johnston, Frances Benjamin, 1864-1952, photographer.

Taken together, the papers suggest that urban agriculture models need to be recognised more widely within mainstream urban planning and the urban development process.

Landscape and Urban Planning
Volume 170, February 2018, Pages 1-5
(Must see. Mike)

Food growing in the city: Exploring the productive urban landscape as a new paradigm for inclusive approaches to the design and planning of future urban open spaces

By Richard Coles, Sandra Costa


This special issue considers food growing in the city. It presents a series of papers which explore the interface between urban growing initiatives and the planned city, and identifies the development of the movement in different world regions and situations. It explores the characteristics of different food growing and urban gardening scenarios regarding the inherent properties of the urban agriculture/food growing complex as an urban movement, its drivers and the niche that it occupies within the city.

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December 8, 2017   Comments Off on Special Issue: ‘Food growing in the city’ – Landscape and Urban Planning

Interview with Henk Renting, longtime leader of urban agriculture movement

Henk Renting.

“Urban ag is part of building the three pillars and partnerships of a new food system, the private sector, the government, and civil society sectors.”

By Wayne Roberts
Nov 24, 2017


There are many agendas that can be linked to urban agriculture.

One is a human agenda. I used to tend my own big gardens in my undergraduate days, and when I was in the Basque country. I think it’s about a lot more than a practical and low-cost way to get food to eat.

Growing food is the most basic, primordial way humans connect to nature. We work with soil, seeds and plants in co-production with Nature. Food is not just any old product. It becomes part of our body, so we become one, as in you are what you eat, in a very ontological sense. That’s why food and gardening are so often linked to spirituality, and seen as so essential to the meaning of life.

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December 6, 2017   Comments Off on Interview with Henk Renting, longtime leader of urban agriculture movement

Growing Urban Agriculture

Onions and greens on the Siyakhana Urban Farm in Johannesburg, South Africa. (Photo by Esther Ngumbi)

To feed the world’s growing population, we must do more to promote the success of urban farms through better tracking, financial incentives, land use, and support systems.

By Esther Ngumbi
Stanford Social Innovation Review
Oct. 23, 2017


Increasing financial incentives could encourage urban farming to grow. Some public schools, hospitals, and other public institutions like universities receive tax breaks for obtaining a certain percentage of their food from urban farms. Such arrangements can create guaranteed markets for produce from urban farms. Some states and municipalities have programs to help such institutions redesign their procurement policies to increase the percentage of locally grown produce. Food retailers could also get tax incentives from the government for carrying products from urban farms. In addition, urban farms could receive tax breaks for donating excess produce to food banks and pantries. Most importantly, government could provide tax incentives to urban farms that work with food pantries and food banks in an effort to ensure that people receiving public assistance can buy fresh food from urban farms using food stamps.

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October 31, 2017   Comments Off on Growing Urban Agriculture

Voice of America: Urban Farms Gain Support

Robert Laing of Farm.One.

The Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research based in Washington D.C. wants more urban farms. It said the benefits are almost unlimited.

By Bruce Alpert
Voice of America
October 15, 2017


In the New City neighborhood of Tribeca, Robert Laing has opened up a privately-run indoor farm called Farm.One. He grows many kinds of herbs. His customers include well-known restaurants in New York City.

The restaurants can pick up fresh herbs hours before they are needed for that night’s dinner because his “farm” can be reached by bicycle from much of the city. Laing’s website tells customers that they can buy fresh herbs, even in a snowstorm.

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October 22, 2017   Comments Off on Voice of America: Urban Farms Gain Support

Marc Gasol, The Great Memphis Grizzlies Center, Grows His Own Fruits And Veggies

From Illustration by Kofong Hsia. WSJ

“The process of growing my own food. It helps mind and body. This is my delicious little heaven.” Marc Gasol.

By Corbin Smith
Sports Vice
Jun 27 2017


As you can see, here, Marc is gardening in that finest but most thoroughly neglected of excellent gardening clothes: The basketball short and the athletic sandal. The cultural norms of the garden would have most people wearing a pastel cargo, a croc. Marc approaches the soil like an outsider, here. Basketball shorts, nice and breezy, a pair of athletics sandals, and a handsome tank top, allow the Spaniard to really suck the whole of the sunshine into his arms, surprisingly well toned for the offseason.

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October 21, 2017   Comments Off on Marc Gasol, The Great Memphis Grizzlies Center, Grows His Own Fruits And Veggies

Call for papers: Assessing the Sustainability of Urban Agriculture: Methodological Advances and Case Studies

Deadline Dec 15, 2017

The MDPI journal Sustainability is now calling for papers that contribute to the assessment of the sustainability of urban agriculture, both by advancing methodological approaches and by providing results from case studies.

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September 12, 2017   Comments Off on Call for papers: Assessing the Sustainability of Urban Agriculture: Methodological Advances and Case Studies

Una crónica de la agricultura urbana

Desde la gallina hasta la cocina: la ruta más corta.

Por Mark Cramer
13 Julio, 2017


Para que llegue a nuestra cocina, un huevo tiene que hacer varios viajes. Desde la granja, viaja por camión al mercado de mayoristas. De allí, otro camión lo lleva al supermercado. Y, en las culturas dominadas por el automóvil, el huevo hace un tercer viaje motorizado, del supermercado hasta la cocina familiar.

Hay tres intermediarios: los transportistas, los mayoristas y los detallistas que venden a los consumidores. Algunas veces el huevo no descansa entre las escalas y llega al supermercado en dos días o menos, pero es más probable que llegue en 72 horas o más. Frecuentemente tarda hasta un mes antes de que llegue a nuestra cocina.

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July 30, 2017   Comments Off on Una crónica de la agricultura urbana

Gardening As One Way to Fight Trump-Era Hopelessness

Frida Berrigan speaks at an antiwar seminar in Sweden in 2011. (Credit: YouTube)

One family’s effort to grow their way out of despair.

By Frida Berrigan
July 11, 2017


I work part-time for a small nonprofit that builds and manages community gardens. It employs (and hopefully empowers) young people to do the physical labor and community improvement work of growing food in and for our urban center. As we were organizing a new community garden in a poor and isolated part of our small city recently, a woman told me that she was excited about growing her own food because “you never know when they are going to stop shipping food in here.”

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July 15, 2017   Comments Off on Gardening As One Way to Fight Trump-Era Hopelessness

Vancouver’s Indigenous community fights to save native plants at risk

Lori Snyder believes that indigenous plants should be incorporated into daily diets to improve lifestyle (Sharon Nadeem)

Indigenous herbalists are working to preserve their traditional sources of food and medicine

By Sharon Nadeem, Seher Asaf,
CBC News
May 07, 2017


A tiny park in central Vancouver surrounded by skyscrapers, a stadium and a concrete parking lot looks like the kind of place that would be hostile to indigenous plants.

But to Métis herbalist Lori Snyder, Hinge Park is a “treasure trove.” She visits the park to fill her basket with indigenous plants, and conducts tours to share her knowledge of traditional medicines.

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May 12, 2017   Comments Off on Vancouver’s Indigenous community fights to save native plants at risk