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Sam Kass, the Obamas’ Foodmaster General, Loves the Kitchen Garden

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Michelle Obama and the family’s personal chef, Sam Kass, in the White House kitchen garden in 2010. Photo Charles Dharapak/Associated Press.

Kass takes inner-city students in Washington on tours of the White House garden

By Jennifer Steinhaueraug
New York Times
28, 2014

Excerpt:

Mr. Kass is expected to stay through the end of the president’s second term as one of the last remaining original staff members of this White House, perhaps for no other reason than his love of the garden, where 1,000 pounds of food are grown each year, much of it served on the premises.

“He has this bizarre affection for a fig tree,” said Eddie Gehman Kohan, whose blog, ObamaFoodorama.com, documents the eating life of the White House. She was describing a tree that grew from a sapling donated to the White House by Monticello, Thomas Jefferson’s estate. Once, she said, the tree was accidentally yanked up and tossed with the weeds, but Mr. Kass rescued it.

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August 30, 2014   No Comments

Veggie Van distributes free vegetables residents in Easton, Pennsylvania

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Easton’s Veggie Van distributes locally grown fruits and vegetables to residents of the West Ward. The van is operated by students from Lafayette College’s Technology Clinic in collaboration with the West Ward Neighborhood Partnership.

Last year’s Veggie Van distributed more than 1,500 pounds of produce over a seven-week period.

By Joshua Cohen
Lehighvalley Live
August 23, 2014

Excerpt:

About 75 to 80 people are expected each day of operation at the Veggie Van. Malinconico says most who come to the Veggie Van are regular visitors. In fact, reusable bags have been distributed to them with the expectation they will be returned at the end of the Veggie Van’s season.

The crops distributed at the Veggie Van each week are grown all over the area. A large portion of the vegetables are from Lafayette’s LaFarm. Other donations come from Easton Urban Farm, Crayola Gardens and other community gardens throughout Easton.

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August 29, 2014   No Comments

Recording artist ‘Kimbra’ wrote and recorded at an Los Angeles urban farm

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Kimbra taking a selfie with Ramses, the leader of Goudsmit’s flock. Just after this pic, Ramses lost his temper and chased Kimbra around the property. Photo courtesy of Kimbra and Rosa Goudsmit.

Kimbra said in an interview on Consequence of Sound that after the 2013 Grammy Awards, she needed a place without “too much stimulus” to write her new album.

By Jared Sichel
Jewish Journal
Aug 21, 2014

Excerpt:

Kimbra said in an interview on Consequence of Sound that after the 2013 Grammy Awards, she needed a place without “too much stimulus” to write her new album. In Goudsmit’s words, Kimbra needed the laid back environment to “stomach the idea of living in L.A.”

Next thing, Goudsmit had a rising pop star in her house, writing and recording songs for her newest album, feeding her chickens, meditating and doing yoga in the backyard, and occasionally getting locked out of the house at night when Goudsmit forgot that her young housemate, unlike her, stayed awake past nightfall.

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August 28, 2014   No Comments

Six ‘urban agriculture’ terms explained

4kidsFrom left, Marissa Jacobsen, Brenna Leyden, Ryland Aksamit, and Hailey Brundage repair a drip hose before planting tomatoes in a raised bed at the Mickle Middle School community garden in Lincoln, Neb. Photo by Kristin Streff.

Foodscaping, CSA, Co-op, Farmer’s Market, Soil Contamination, Food Desert

By Ellen Meyers
Christian Science Monitor
July 6, 2014

Excerpt:

Foodscaping is a gardening practice that makes people’s home landscapes edible. For example, homeowners may incorporate more edible plants into their entire yards instead of relegating them to small garden plots. Many businesses are also taking up foodscaping, making fruits, vegetables, and herbs as part of their curb appeal.

The practice itself has turned into a business. One company, Nashville Foodscapes, designs, implements, and maintains foodscapes for its customers, according to the business’s website. For one customer’s yard, Nashville Foodscapes put in a fruit tree, a herb spiral, edible dogwood, and other edible plants.

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July 16, 2014   Comments Off

A new vision for urban farming

wargard1919 War Gardens medallion.

A model where agriculture is reintegrated into urban and suburban areas — and locally produced food is sold and consumed locally.

By Jason Reed and Robert Puro
Daily News
July 7, 2014
Jason Reed, a movie producer formerly with Disney, and Robert Puro are co-founders of Seedstock.com, a Los Angeles-based social venture dedicated to promoting innovation and investment in sustainable and urban agriculture.

Excerpt:

One key to improving the urban farm system is aggregation. It’s easier, and certainly more cost-effective because of its scale, to collect on a daily basis hundreds of boxes of lettuce, truckloads of tomatoes, etc., sort them and then designate their ultimate destination — which is usually another, smaller sorting operation within a city. In the large-scale commercial farming operation, it’s one crop with one fleet of semi trucks from one aggregated source. The aggregation system for urban farming is obviously different — which means it’s riskier for the entrepreneur who wants to create that network.

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July 15, 2014   Comments Off

The New Yorker Magazine: Gentrification And The Urban Garden

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A rendering of City Slicker Farms’ plans for a farm and park in West Oakland. Image courtesy City Slicker Farms.

If young home buyers like chickens and goats and kale, real-estate agents like them even more.

By Lauren Markham
The New Yorker
May 21, 2014
(Must read. Mike)

Excerpt:

The “blighted” lots suitable for urban agriculture are often found in lower-income neighborhoods like NOBE, as well as in post-industrial neighborhoods like West Oakland and West Berkeley. These also happen to be neighborhoods that developers see as ripe for construction. For decades, the overgrown grass across the street from Jeff DeMartini’s commercial property in West Berkeley (formerly his grandfather’s cabinet factory) had been giving him trouble: weeds encroaching on the sidewalk, phallic graffiti, dead trees that occasionally came crashing down. Last year, a community-agriculture organization called Urban Adamah acquired the space, and announced plans to install a small farm—chickens, goats, and all. At first, DeMartini worried that the animals might degrade the site even further. “I thought, Will it smell?” But, within a matter of weeks, interest in his property spiked, and prospective renters came calling.

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May 22, 2014   Comments Off

Urban Agriculture: Food Equity and Food Ecology

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Bradner Gardens Park and Community Garden. Photo by Ken Kailing. Click on image for larger file.

“I don’t think there is anything easy about finding the right urban agro-ecology, but I do know it needs to happen.”

Ken Kailing,
Good Food World
May 2nd, 2014

Excerpt:

Urban agriculture, whether grown in community gardens or in large commercial warehouses, is here to stay – and increasing. And along with it, new accommodations need to take place between neighbours.

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May 22, 2014   Comments Off

National Geographic: Urban Farming Yields Fresh Foods, Land Reuse

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In backyards and on once-barren city lots, local growers produce crops and livestock.

By Martha M. Hamilton
for National Geographic
May 18, 2014

Excerpt:

A new wave of urban agriculture is flourishing because it benefits consumers concerned about sustainably grown food as well as cities with land to spare. It started in 2008, fueled both by economic stress and concerns about nutrition, childhood obesity, and diabetes highlighted by First Lady Michelle Obama.

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May 19, 2014   Comments Off

German Chancellor Merkel and President Obama in White House Food Garden

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May 2 at the White House

Photo by Guido Bergmann
AP
May 2, 2014

A German government handout shows a White House staff member (C) explaining the herbs and vegetable garden to US President Barack Obama (R) and German Chancellor Angela Merkel (L) at the White House in Washington D.C., USA, 02 May 2014.

German Chancellor Merkel arrived in Washington for a much-anticipated visit with Obama during which they discussed the current crisis in the Ukraine and the spy affair that rankled German-US relations.

May 15, 2014   Comments Off

Does Urban Agriculture Contribute to Household Food Security in Southern African Cities?

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Oranjezicht City Farm (OZCF). Photo by Julian Raxworthy.

Growing Out of Poverty

By Bruce Frayne, Cameron McCordic, Helena Shilomboleni
Urban Forum (Issue on Africa’s Urban Food Deserts)
June 2014, Volume 25, Issue 2,
pp 177-189

Abstract:
The literature on urban agriculture (UA) as a food security and poverty alleviation strategy is bifurcating into two distinct positions. The first is that UA is a viable and effective pro-poor development strategy, and the second is that UA has demonstrated limited positive outcomes on either food security or poverty. These two positions are tested against data generated by the African Urban Food Security Network’s (AFSUN) baseline food security survey undertaken in 11 Southern African cities.

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May 9, 2014   Comments Off

Wedding ring ‘found on carrot’ after 16 years

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A Swedish woman has discovered her wedding ring on a carrot growing in her garden, 16 years after she lost it.

BBC
Dec 31, 2011

Excerpt:

Lena Paahlsson had long ago lost hope of finding the ring, which she designed herself, reports Dagens Nyheter.

The white-gold band, set with seven small diamonds, went missing in her kitchen in 1995, she told the paper.

Although the ring no longer fits, she hopes to have it enlarged so she can wear it again.

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May 7, 2014   Comments Off

Modern Farmer magazine just beat GQ, New York, Vanity Fair for a National Magazine Award

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Magazine’s CEO and Editor-in-Chief’s name is Ann Marie ‘Gardner’

By Seth Fiegerman
Mashable
May 2, 2014

Excerpt:

“I worked on it for about a year and my good friends thought, ‘What are you talking about? A farming magazine? Are you having a midlife crisis?’” she recalls. “People were worried.”

It wasn’t actually supposed to be a magazine. While reporting for The New York Times and Monocle, a publication she helped found, she noticed more and more people who were eager to learn about where their food comes from, how to grow things of their own and generally become more self-sufficient. She thought it might make for a good article, but the more she thought about it, the bigger the project became.

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May 3, 2014   Comments Off

The Downside to Farming Downtown

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Duck! I am literally ducking from the non-organic food scraps that might get thrown at me by the people about to read this week’s column.

By Mijune Pak
Westender
April 9, 2014

Excerpt:

Reserving ‘unwanted land’ (hard to think any even exists in Vancouver) for growing produce isn’t a bad thing, but maximizing valuable space needs to be considered.

Vertical farming or rooftop farming are two suggested urban-farming methods, but the upkeep cost of a vertical farm is outstanding — think of implementing a hydroponic system to start.

As for a rooftop garden, it also requires a pricey drainage system and it’s small scale, but so are the standard community gardens now.

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April 20, 2014   Comments Off

Detroit urban farming project uncovers grisly past

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Michael Score, president of Hantz Farms, stands on the site of a planned farm in inner-city Detroit with a burned and abandoned house in front of him and a garage behind him that was just discovered last week while clearing out wild brush. Photo by Alex Panetta.

Build a farm near crackhouses, and all bets are off about what stories the soil might tell.

By Alexander Panetta
Mar 23, 2013
The Canadian Press

Excerpt:

DETROIT – Stunning things are being discovered in an effort to clear land for a new farm in inner-city Detroit.

Last week, workers found a building. The crumbling brick-sided structure was either a garage or a shed, and had been hidden by the wild brush that has sprouted in the east end of the economically suffering city.

Ask about the building, and they point to a dog. There it is, dead, with a bullet hole through its ribs. It appears to be a brown mastiff, sprawled out on the grass where it was found last Friday. It looks neatly groomed and is still wearing a collar.

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March 29, 2014   Comments Off

27-acre Urban Farm Planned For Shuttered Detroit School

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Kettering’s campus is outlined in orange.

Officials padlocked 35 schools about seven years ago, followed by 29 more in 2009. Of 172 schools that were open in 2010, about 100 remain open.

By Corey Williams
Associated Press
March 12, 2014

Excerpt:

DETROIT (AP) – A nearly 27-acre urban farm that will provide produce for Detroit public school students’ meals is planned at a former high school as part of the district’s efforts to reuse empty buildings instead of tearing them down.

The Kettering Urban Agricultural Campus will include hoop houses for an extended growing season, land redevelopment for planting and a food processing facility, Detroit Public Schools spokeswoman Jennifer Mrozowski told The Associated Press Wednesday ahead of an official announcement.

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March 13, 2014   Comments Off