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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

Gardening’s still the most radical political behavior anyone can do

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A woman looking at the Victory Garden Harvest sitting on the lawn, waiting to be stored away for the winter. Photo, Oct 1943, Walter Sanders.

Democracy needs gardeners! My liberating DIY revolution

By Megan Mayhew Bergman
Salon
Mar 2, 2014
Megan Mayhew Bergman is the author of the story collection “Birds of a Lesser Paradise”

Excerpt:

When my husband and I first moved to our house in downtown Raleigh, N.C., nine years ago, we were fascinated by the empty lot between our 1890s Victorian and the neighbor’s bungalow. “That’s where the victory garden used to be,” my neighbors said, pointing to a slightly shaded quarter of an acre. This garden existed, of course, before the Krispy Kreme was built and the drunks used to sip 40s and eat glazed doughnuts behind our fence.

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March 8, 2014   Comments Off

Beantown Farming: 10 Urban Agriculture Projects in Boston

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Photo from City Spouts by Susan Young.

From rooftops to abandoned lots, from school yards to greenhouses, gardens and farms are popping up all over Boston as urban agriculture and the local food movement continues to grow.

By Bonnie Averbuch
Food Tank
Feb 15, 2014

Excerpt:

4. CitySprouts provides a school gardening program that is integrated into the Boston Public School’s curriculum. CitySprouts is currently operating in 12 public schools in Cambridge, MA. The organization also provides support and resources to public schools across Boston. These services are available through three different programs: Classroom to Garden, which supports teachers as they extend their lessons into the school gardens; Food Education through food-producing school gardens; and CitySprouts Summer Intern Program, which helps youth build connections with their local food system and the urban natural environment.

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February 23, 2014   Comments Off

Singapore’s Edible Gardens

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The Edible Gardens team launches their pop-up store Nong – which will eventually pave the way for one of the largest urban farms in Asia

By Natasha Hong
Time Out Singapore
Jan 27, 2014

Excerpt:

Since 2012, the duo of Singaporean Bjorn Low and UK-born Rob Pearce (and their team of volunteers) have worked with local restaurants – including Artichoke, Morsels and The Cajun Kings – to help set up sustainable veggie plots amid forgotten rooftops and concrete dead spaces, as well as spread the word for city-grown greens.

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February 4, 2014   Comments Off

City farming for country folks

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Ivory Harlow at Dickie Bird Farm.

Creative and resourceful city farming methods put-to-use in the country can increase farm yields, productivity and profit.

By Ivory Harlow
Farm and Dairy
January 23, 2014

Excerpt:

Glistening lines of window hydroponics and gridlocked heads of lettuce grown in square foot gardens- urban farmers operate every inch of city space to its best advantage. By utilizing urban farm space-saving methods outside the city limits, country folks can produce more with less.

A greenhouse takes up a considerable amount of space and can cost several thousand dollars. Heating a greenhouse to keep vegetable seedlings alive on cold winter and early spring nights is an ongoing operating expense. Despite the fact a greenhouse is not economically feasible for country folks like me; I spent several seasons yearning for a greenhouse of my own.

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February 2, 2014   Comments Off

Portland Urban Farmer Justin Simms speaks about his first year farming

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First year farmer Justin Simms talks about his decision to make a life change and create InTownAg, an urban farming business. In the interview he speaks about the ups and downs of his first year farming yards in Portland.

Listen to the podcast here.

Excerpt from his InTownAg website:

InTownAg is created from our experience in landscape architecture and environmental science. These fields led us to focus on incorporating multifunctional design into cities. How can our landuse planning combine ecological, social, and economic services?

There is ample land in our neighborhoods with homeowners eager to convert their yards to gardens. Garden sharing is becoming mainstream as seen by the Wall Street Journal article ‘The Rise of the Lazy Locavore’

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January 17, 2014   Comments Off

Why over-reliance on refrigeration is making us less safe

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Perhaps it’s time to add disaster recovery to the list of urban agriculture’s benefits.

By Nicola Twilley
Modern Farmer
January 6, 2014

Excerpt:

Currently, 70 percent of America’s food supply is refrigerated at some point in its journey from farm to table, and without refrigeration, meat, chicken, seafood and dairy last just two hours before they’re unsafe to eat. Perishable fruits and vegetables often have only a day or two at room temperature before they turn to mush.

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January 14, 2014   Comments Off

Uganda kitchen gardening: An innovative way to use space

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Okaba in her kitchen garden, which is set up in the Mandara style. Photo By Ephraim Kasozi.

Even without enough land, it is still possible for a farmer to produce for both their households and the market.

By Ephraim Kasozi
Daily Monitor
Jan 8, 2014

Excerpt:

At 60 years of age, due to age, Joyce Okaba is unable to cultivate a large area of land but she earns her living through kitchen gardening.
Her home in Otina village, Agwata Sub County in Dokolo District, has different gardens with vegetables and a pit for preparing manure.

Since November 2011, she has been growing vegetables for both domestic use and market from the five small gardens around her home to earn a living.

“I earn up to Shs200,000 from the sale of my produce. I usually sell from home to the communities. I also help my neighbours to learn the practice and make fertilisers,” she says.

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January 14, 2014   Comments Off

Here’s How Young Farmers Looking For Land Are Getting Creative

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Chris and Sara Guerre are among a growing number of farmers renting land to grow local food to sell. They’ve been at the Maple Avenue Market Farm on rented land in Great Falls, Va., for five years.

“Acquiring land is honestly probably the easiest part of doing all this. It’s the commitment, the stamina, learning how to do it and doing it every single day: That’s the hard part.”

By Dan Charles
NPR
December 31, 2013

Excerpt:

Across the country, there’s a wave of interest in local food. And a new generation of young farmers is trying to grow it.

Many of these farmers — many of whom didn’t grow up on farms — would like to stay close to cities. After all, that’s where the demand for local food is.

The problem is, that’s where land is most expensive. So young farmers looking for affordable land are forced to get creative.

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January 8, 2014   Comments Off

Couple tries to turn urban acreage into farm in Oakdale, Minnesota

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Alissa Jacobsen, Harvey and Rose’s granddaughter, is spearheading the efforts to reclaim the farm for the family. Once used to raise race horses, the land was classified as residential several years ago with no arguments from the family. Alissa holds Bitsy, one of her young dairy goats. Photo by John Doman.

“They overcame a big hurdle going from residential to any kind of ag classification,”

By Elizabeth Mohr
Pioneer Press
12/14/2013

Excerpt:

Tucked between clusters of houses and an Oakdale nature preserve, there’s a family with a small farm and big ideas.

Rose and Harvey Jacobsen, with their granddaughter Alissa Jacobsen, have been working tirelessly for the past two years to convert their 15 acres into a working farm.

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January 3, 2014   Comments Off

‘Kitchen Gardens’ – Background by The Library of Congress

pucksmall‘The Quaint Old Kitchen Garden’.

Scope – General Introductions – Subject Headings – Basic Texts – Specialized Titles – Dissertations – Selected Dissertations – Abstracting and Indexing Services – Journals – Representative Journal Articles – Selected Materials – Selected Internet Resources

Science Reference Services
Science Tracer Bullets Online 07-2
The Library of Congress
September 25, 2013

Scope:

The kitchen garden, once a standard fixture of most American households, is gaining renewed attention as one component of the movement towards local, fresh and seasonal foods. Many people who take up kitchen gardening are concerned about the sustainability of a system in which most foods in a typical meal have traveled over 1,000 miles to get to their tables. Some kitchen gardeners are drawn by the variety of heirloom and hybrid plants available to growers, while others are attracted by freshness, flavor and nutritional value.

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December 25, 2013   Comments Off

A Cohesive Urban Agriculture System Sprouts in Rotterdam, Holland

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Dakakkers, the largest rooftop farm in Europe, is in Rotterdam. Photo credit: Green Building Awards.

Today, the Rotterdam Food Bank garden offers more than 3,000 residents access to healthier choices.

By Rachel Keeton
Resilient Cities
11/26/2013

Excerpt:

City officials and residents have come together to create one of the most coherent, citywide urban agriculture programs in Europe. The municipal government has made food production a priority, facilitating private initiatives through its generous regulations and open-minded approach to creative strategies. The city believes that urban agriculture offers multiple benefits: local food production encourages social interaction, increases public green space, mitigates the urban heat-island effect and strengthens biodiversity. Reduced transport distances lower net production of carbon dioxide, and innovative practices inspire others to get on board.

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December 1, 2013   Comments Off

New legislation may bring more farming to Boston

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From left, Nataka Crayton-Walker, Greg Bodine, and Bobby Walker at a City Growers micro-farm in Dorchester. Photo by Leise Jones/City Growers.

The final step in the adoption of Article 89 is a public hearing before the Boston Zoning Commission, set for Dec. 11.

By Haley Hamilton
Boston Globe Correspondent
Nov 19, 2013

Excerpt:

Article 89 is the product of a series of community meetings and deliberations held by the Mayor’s Urban Agriculture Working Group, a committee of 22 farmers, farming advocates, experts from different sectors of the food industry, and neighborhood representatives who came together to discuss the best way to approach Boston’s dearth of farming legislation.

Before this, “there just wasn’t anything” regulating and supporting urban farming, said Danielle Andrews, a member of the working group and the community food coordinator and manager of the Dudley Greenhouse.

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November 28, 2013   Comments Off

Urban Agriculture: Fad or Necessity?

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It confounds me why urban rooftop farming projects are not taking hold in our beautiful city, and are not catching the eye of necessary angel, seed and crowdfunding sources.

By Kristin McArdle
Huffington Post
11/14/2013

Excerpt:

So, if public policy isn’t behind this movement, what is the case for local San Francisco and further, national policy changes to create incentives for realizing the benefits of urban rooftop agriculture, and why does this matter? The case has been clearly outlined and articulated by climate change and agricultural experts; the confluence of climate change impacts, population growth, land use changes (specifically the loss of arable agricultural land), and the contributing impact of our current agricultural system towards the climate change epidemic make a case for an increased focus and the proliferation of urban rooftop agriculture.

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November 17, 2013   Comments Off