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You’ve heard about urban agriculture, but people are farming the suburbs of Detroit, too

Dr. Fay Hansen.

Nightshade Army Industries is one such example of not-quite-urban, not-quite-rural farming in the region.

David Sands
April 09, 2015


Oakland University is also playing a role in the metro farming movement. For the last five growing seasons, the school has operated a student organic farm. From its humble beginnings as a student club project, it’s grown into a 0.6-acre undertaking with a hoop house and a paid coordinator, an OU alumnus named Jared Hanna.

Volunteers grow 68 types of vegetables on site, including 10 tomato varieties.

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April 20, 2015   No Comments

Volunteer on Hands On Nashville’s urban farm in April

The core focus of Hands On Nashville’s Urban Agriculture Program is to engage youth who live in neighborhoods with limited access to fresh food. (Photo: Submitted / Hands On Nashville)

“Volunteers are essential to keeping our farm running,”

By Todd Barnes
The Tennessean
March 24, 2015


Hands On Nashville is seeking volunteers to visit its urban farm and help with some gardening projects 9-11 a.m. April 25. Projects range from digging in the ground, planting starts and seeds, watering and weeding existing rows and making new garden rows for planting.

“Volunteers are essential to keeping our farm running,” said Charlotte Pate, HON’s Urban Agriculture AmeriCorps member. “When they come out to the farm, they’re going to be mulching, weeding and really prepping our fields for our spring and summer crops.”

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April 3, 2015   Comments Off

Living Architecture Monitor – Urban Agriculture Issue


Volume 17, Issue 1
Spring 2015

Excerpts from Table of Contents:

Integrating Agriculture and Architecture in the 21st Century

On the Roof with Urban Agriculture Rick Stars

Profitable Green Roof Vegetables

Grand Rapids Chefs Experiment With Produce From 700 Foot Edible Wall

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March 19, 2015   Comments Off

Indianapolis Hoosier Gardener: Urban gardening, steampunk style

Amy Mullen’s front yard in Irvington is the home of vegetables and fruit trees. (Photo: Photo provided by Amy Mullen)

Is there a relationship between growing your own food on a small city lot and steampunking? Yes, she said.

Jo Ellen Meyers Sharp
Indy Star
February 19, 2015
Jo Ellen Meyers Sharp ( is secretary of Garden Writers Association and co-author of “The Indiana Gardener’s Guide.”


Steampunk celebrates the individual craftsman and appreciates technology you can look at and see how it works. The farm-to-fork movement is one response to outsourcing growing food to industrial agriculture.

“With gardening, we recapture the skills we lost. There’s a streak of individualism and creativity that runs through both gardening and steampunking,” Mullen said.

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February 27, 2015   Comments Off

What nobody told me about small farming: I can’t make a living


People say we’re “rich in other ways,” but that doesn’t fix the ugly fact that most farms are unsustainable

By Jaclyn Moyer
Feb 9, 2015
(Must read. Mike)


Whenever a customer asked how things were going, I replied, Great. I thought about the sinking ship, and never said, Well, we’re making ends meet, but we work 12 hour days, 6 days a week, and pay ourselves only what we need to cover food and household expenses: $100 per week. I didn’t tell anyone how, over the course of the last three years since Ryan and I had started our farm, I’d drained most of my savings. I didn’t admit that the only thing keeping the farm afloat was income Ryan and I earned through other means — Ryan working as a carpenter and I as a baker.

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February 11, 2015   Comments Off

How One Of Washington D.C.’s Worst Heroin Markets Became A Sustainable Food Source


A 100-square-meter plot in a 130-day temperate growing season “can provide most of a four-person household’s total yearly vegetable needs, including much of the household’s nutritional requirements for vitamins A, C, and B complex and iron.”

By Jeff Spross
Think Progress
September 18, 2014


Thirteen years ago, Marvin Gaye Park was a mess.
The park sits in Lincoln Heights, a neighborhood in Washington, D.C.’s Ward 7, just east of the Anacostia River. The community is overwhelmingly poor and non-white, and suffers some of the worst rates of crime, unemployment and social breakdown in the city. The park itself had succumbed to disuse. One of the worst PCP and heroin markets in the city had cropped up nearby.

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September 22, 2014   Comments Off

So You Want To Be a Farmer

farmmapIllustrations by Julia Rothman. Click on image for larger file.

Ever dream of chucking it all for the simple life? Read this first.

By Jesse Hirsch
Modern Farmer
September 15, 2014

Many small farms take in apprentices or interns (a largely semantic distinction) for a growing season. According to Thistlethwaite, this is an all but mandatory step in your farm journey. And not just for one season. She suggests apprenticing for three to four years before you even consider starting your own farm. This will not only provide a basic knowledge base, but also ensure that farming is something you enjoy. “[Apprenticing] is gut check time,” she says. “It gives you the chance to ask yourself: ‘Is this really who I am?’”

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September 17, 2014   Comments Off

10 Innovative Urban Agriculture Enterprises in Memphis

As of 2012, the adult obesity rate of Tennessee was up to 31.1 percent, with 11.9 percent of adults diagnosed with diabetes.

By Nora Kako
Food Tank
Aug 23, 2014


1. The American Heart Association Teaching Garden of Bethel Grove Elementary School is representative of the more than 40 school gardens planted in East Memphis. The teaching garden’s program “combines nutrition education with garden-based learning” to give students a hands-on experience of healthy eating. Cigna HealthCare, who sponsored the opening of the garden, hopes to sponsor at least one new school garden each year.

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August 31, 2014   Comments Off

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

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


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,, 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   Comments Off

Veggie Van distributes free vegetables residents in Easton, Pennsylvania

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


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   Comments Off

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

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


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   Comments Off

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


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, a Los Angeles-based social venture dedicated to promoting innovation and investment in sustainable and urban agriculture.


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

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)


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

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


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