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Growing the Benefits of Urban Agriculture in New York City


Five Borough Farm II

Lee Altman, Urban Planning Fellow
Liz Barry, Outreach Fellow
Martin Barry, Green Infrastructure Fellow
Christopher Englese, Video Fellow
Kaja Kühl, Urban Planning Fellow
Philip Silva, Outreach Fellow
Barbara Wilks, Green Infrastructure Fellow

Design Trust for Public Space
March 2014

Part how-to guide and part reference, Five Borough Farm II: Seeding the Future of Urban Agriculture in New York City builds on the findings from the first Five Borough Farm publication to equip farmers and gardeners, support organizations, policymakers, and funders with the tools and information to measure, maximize and expand the benefits of urban agriculture.

New York City’s community gardens and urban farms come in all shapes and sizes. Some gardens squeeze into narrow vacant lots once occupied by stately brownstones. Some farms sprawl across industrial rooftops the size of city blocks. Some grow dense with fruits and vegetables while others focus on giving neighbors a quiet open space where they can relax and get to know each other.

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April 21, 2014   No Comments

RUAF: Urban Agriculture as a Climate Change and Disaster Risk Reduction Strategy


RUAF Urban Agriculture Magazine No. 27, March 2014

RUAF-Foundation (International network of Resource centres on Urban Agriculture and Food security)
March 2014


This issue is prepared with support of the UN Habitat Cities and Climate Change Initiative. It reports on the joint urban agriculture programme implemented by RUAF and UN Habitat. This issue also shares findings of a CDKN funded innovation project on monitoring urban agriculture impacts on climate change.

Cities and climate change are virtually inseparable. Cities are major contributors to Green House Gas (GHG) emissions and thus climate change.

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April 18, 2014   No Comments

A Little Piece of England – A Tale of Self-sufficiency – 35th Anniversary Edition


Why self-sufficiency now is as important as ever

A Little Piece of England
By John Jackson
Published by JJ Books
New hardback edition 2014
232 pages

Excerpt from the author’s blog post 14th March 2014:

It is with great pleasure that I look forward to the publication of JJ Books’ newest book – the hardback edition of ‘A Little Piece of England’.

It is thirty-five years since the book was first published as ‘A Bucket of Nuts and a Herring Net’, and even longer since I wrote it. I can still very clearly remember writing the book – something that I did in the winter of 1977 – mainly at the kitchen table when everyone else was in bed and the house was quiet, between midnight and two in the morning.

I and my family had found it immensely exciting and rewarding to work on developing our own smallholding, and the project took us further than any of us had anticipated. We learned a huge amount from it, and it has turned out to have had a lasting effect on all of us. I wanted to keep a record of the experiences our family shared – and I am very glad that I did.

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April 10, 2014   No Comments

FAO report on urban and peri-urban agriculture in Latin American cities


Havana, Mexico City, Antigua and Barbuda, Tegucigalpa, Managua, Quito, Lima, El Alto (Bolivia), Belo Horizonte (Brazil) and Rosario (Argentina)

April 2014
(Must read. Mike)

FAO has put online a new report on urban and peri-urban agriculture in the Latin America and Caribbean region. The report, entitled “Growing Greener Cities in Latin America and the Caribbean”, reviews the progress that has been made toward realizing “greener cities” in which urban and peri-urban agriculture is recognized by public policy, included in urban development strategies, supported by agricultural research and extension, and linked to sources of training, technological innovation, investment and credit, and to urban markets and consumers.

The report is available in English and Spanish. It is based on an FAO survey of UPA in 110 of the region’s towns, municipalities and cities. It includes in-depth profiles of agriculture as it is practised today in and around Havana, Mexico City, Antigua and Barbuda, Tegucigalpa, Managua, Quito, Lima, El Alto (Bolivia), Belo Horizonte (Brazil) and Rosario (Argentina).

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April 9, 2014   No Comments

The Deerholme Foraging Book


Wild Foods and Recipes from the Pacific Northwest

By Bill Jones
Touchwood Editions
April 2014

The Deerholme Foraging Book is an exploration of the wild foods found in the Pacific Northwest. It is written by award-winning chef and author Bill Jones and features local mushrooms, edible plants, sea vegetables, and shellfish. The book is the product of twenty years of research and professional cooking with foraged foods. It serves as an introduction to the world of wild food and contains identification and sourcing information, harvesting and preparation tips, and more than one hundred delicious recipes featuring many types of wild foods.

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April 5, 2014   Comments Off

The benefits of gardening and food growing for health and wellbeing


This study reviews current literature and highlights compelling case for commissioning of food growing by health service, with foreward by Professor Tim Lang.

By Garden Organic and Sustain
Gareth Davies, Maria Devereaux, Margi Lennartsson, Ulrich Schmutz, Sarah Williams
April 2014

Excerpt from Forward:

We can all benefit from gardening and community food-growing projects. It is widely recognised that regular contact with plants, animals and the natural environment can improve our physical health and mental well-being. When we grow food and flowers, we are engaging with the natural world at a pace that provides a welcome antidote to the stresses of modern life.

For the large number of people in our society – children and adults – who live with challenging physical or mental health problems, gardening and community food growing can be especially beneficial.

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April 1, 2014   Comments Off

Edible Perennial Gardening: Growing Successful Polycultures in Small Spaces


By Anni Kelsey
Permanent Publications
April 15, 2014

Excerpt from review by Rory Prendergast in Permaculture UK:

Anni Kelsey’s first book Edible Perennial Gardening is receiving great reviews from some eminent people such as permaculture author, Patrick Whitefield, Agroforestry Research Trust founder, Martin Crawford and the edible forest gardener, Eric Toensmeier. Their feedback is in advance of the book’s launch at the Edible Garden Show (28th-30th March) in London where the author will be speaking. The book details the many ways to grow perennials in low-maintenance polycultures, an ideal method for small urban or rural gardeners to grow year round delicious, unusual edibles that look beautiful too.

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April 1, 2014   Comments Off

Chapter 18 – Urban Agriculture: The Allotment Gardens as Structures of Urban Sustainability

Organic allotment gardens on Cascais.

Complete Chapter On-line

By Rute Sousa Matos and Desidério Sales Batista
CHAIA (Center of Art History and Artistic Investigation), University of Évora, Évora, University of Algarve, Faro, Portugal

In Advances in Landscape Architecture
Edited by Murat Özyavuz
924 pages, Publisher: InTech,
Chapters published July 01, 2013


Although urban farming is conditioned by many social and political circumstances and political regimes, urban legislators and support institutions may make a substantial contribution to the development of a safe and sustainable farming through:

-The creation of a guiding environmental policy and the formal acceptance of allotment gardens as an urban feature;

The strengthening of the access to urban voids and to the safety of farming use;

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March 29, 2014   Comments Off

Attracting Beneficial Bugs to Your Garden: A Natural Approach to Pest Control

There are 19 detailed bug profiles and 39 plant profiles

By Jessica Walliser
Timber Press

It may seem counterintuitive to want bugs in a garden, but insects are indeed valuable garden companions. Especially those species known for eating the bugs that eat plants. Assassin bugs, damsel bugs, and predatory stink bugs are all carnivores that devour the bugs that dine on a garden.

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March 28, 2014   Comments Off

Paddock-to-plate farm-based Tasmanian cooking school

The Agrarian Kitchen is situated in a 19th century schoolhouse at Lachlan, 45 minutes from Hobart in Tasmania’s Derwent Valley, Australia.

The Agrarian Kitchen grows and uses heirloom varieties of fruit, vegetables and rare breed animals in its cooking classes

Rodney Dunn and Séverine Demanet

Excerpt from web site:

The Agrarian Kitchen’s growing areas have been hewn from grazing paddock, securely fenced and tirelessly tilled to create a 500 square metre vegetable garden, an extensive berry patch and orchard.

The vegetable garden was first tilled by our own Wessex saddleback pigs to remove stubborn perennial weeds before being formed into beds. Paths are constructed of mulched tree trimmings from the property and lined with stones from our front paddock. The garden has been designed by local gardener and journalist, Paul Healy. The garden is now tended by our Gardening Team, Lee Farrell, Jethro Havenhand, Fin Fagan and Rodney Dunn using organic principles without the use of pesticides or artificial fertilisers. The garden is predominately planted with heirloom varieties and we are always on the look out for the old and interesting and are constantly experimenting with varieties, saving our own seeds where possible of the varieties that perform the best in our conditions, for example, at last count there have been over two hundred varieties of tomato.

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March 26, 2014   Comments Off

New book: “Community Gardening as Social Action”

bethelBethnal Green Allotment by Charles Ginner Date painted 1943. Click image for larger file.

Community Gardening: From Leisure to Social Action

By Claire Nettle
Imprint: Ashgate
Illustrations: Includes 12 b&w illustrations
Published: February 2014
Claire Nettle PhD is a community food systems researcher and consultant.

There has been a resurgence of community gardening over the past decade with a wide range of actors seeking to get involved, from health agencies aiming to increase fruit and vegetable consumption to radical social movements searching for symbols of non-capitalist ways of relating and occupying space.

Community gardens have become a focal point for local activism in which people are working to contribute to food security, question the erosion of public space, conserve and improve urban environments, develop technologies of sustainable food production, foster community engagement and create neighbourhood solidarity.

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March 24, 2014   Comments Off

Beyond the Kale: Upcoming Book Analyzes Urban Agriculture and Social Justice Activism in New York City

The New School Department of Environmental Studies gathered a panel of community leaders, urban farmers and educators to discuss this dynamic.

To be published by University of Georgia Press in late 2014, the book is the collaborative product of New School professor Nevin Cohen and adjunct professor and food systems researcher Kristin Reynolds.

By Emma Cosgrove
Edible Manhattan
March 18, 2014


The book is a product of an ongoing discussion regarding the soul of urban agriculture in New York City.

“The beneficial aspects of urban agriculture do not necessarily include the changes in political and social structures that are at the root of food system and environmental inequities. In fact, urban agriculture may paradoxically mask deeper social injustices and facilitate policies that reinforce inequalities,” says the book’s summary as written by the authors.

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March 19, 2014   Comments Off

The Gardens of the British Working Class


The imperatives of the ordinary gardener long ago were to produce food and grow herbs for medicinal purposes.

By Margaret Willes
Yale University Press
March 2014

This magnificently illustrated people’s history celebrates the extraordinary feats of cultivation by the working class in Britain, even if the land they toiled, planted, and loved was not their own. Spanning more than four centuries, from the earliest records of the laboring classes in the country to today, Margaret Willes’s research unearths lush gardens nurtured outside rough workers’ cottages and horticultural miracles performed in blackened yards, and reveals the ingenious, sometimes devious, methods employed by determined, obsessive, and eccentric workers to make their drab surroundings bloom.

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March 17, 2014   Comments Off

Community Garden Revolution: A Manual


By Miss Mary K. Hukill
CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
January 2014

Start a Community Garden TODAY in your City, Town, Village, or Hamlet. Community Gardens can be in Neighborhoods, on Farms, the inner city, rural areas, at Schools, Colleges and Universities, on Roof Tops, on Blighted Land, tear down a vacant building and create a Community Garden.

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March 13, 2014   Comments Off

Kitchen Garden Estate


Traditional Country-House Techniques for The Modern Gardener or Smallholder

By Helene Gammack
National Trust

Peek behind the garden door at some of Britain’s grandest estates to discover the traditional crafts of growing, cooking, and self-sufficiency from past masters.

From “growing your own” and cooking with herbs to harvesting honey and keeping chickens, Britain’s great estates and country house gardens offer a wealth of inspiration to the modern gardener.

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March 4, 2014   Comments Off