New Stories From 'Urban Agriculture Notes'
Random header image... Refresh for more!

Category — Community Gardens

Milross Community Garden celebrates honey bees in Vancouver

Amacon’s Lilliana de Cotiis presents $10,000 cheque to Sarah Common from Hives for Humanity. Photo by Michael Levenston.

“Just having the community garden here is great, but having the hives here and the awareness that it raises about pollinators and the challenges facing honeybees is something else again,” said Melissa Howey.

By Randy Shore
Vancouver Sun
July 14, 2014


“We think these workshops are a great way to engage with the gardeners and with the public about honeybees and native pollinators as well,” said Shannon Common, community liaison with Hives for Humanity. “The gardens, the hives and the living walls we have been making here are a great demonstration of innovative use of urban space.”

Hives for Humanity maintains 40 of the garden boxes to act as a pollinator meadow, and a herb garden that is open to about 90 registered gardeners.

[

July 15, 2014   No Comments

Vancouver could lose more than 10% of community garden plots due to Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) decision

CPR train passing the Maple Street Community Gardens in 2001. Photo by Sharon Slack taken at the corner of 6th Avenue and Maple Street. Click on image for larger file.

Approximately 425 of the 4000 community gardens plots in Vancouver will be affected

Vancouver Arbutus Corridor could lose 60-70% of gardening land space.

Below is a letter to the President of CPR from a longtime community gardener in the Maple Community Garden.

By Deirdre Phillips
Maple Street Community Gardener
July 9th, 2014
(Must read. Mike)

E. Hunter Harrison, CEO CP Rail (care of Ed Greenberg)
Chief Executive Officer and Director
Canadian Pacific
Wellington, Florida

“We have historic ties with communities along our tracks and our programs make contributions to the quality of life in these towns and cities.” CP Rail

Dear E. Hunter Harrison,

The above quote from your “Community Investment” section on your website is in complete contradiction to the power play that you and your executives are posing with the City of Vancouver – whom you refer to as ‘other parties’. You are threatening to destroy all the community gardens by July 31st, 2014 along the Arbutus Corridor simply because you can’t get what you are looking for in your negotiations with the City of Vancouver for the 66 foot wide ribbon of land along the Arbutus Corridor.

Your threat to remove what you call ‘excess vegetation’ along the tracks in the Arbutus Corridor by July 31st, 2014 is pure manipulation and quite a transparent attempt to get all of the community gardeners along the corridor to do your dirty work for you by putting pressure on the City of Vancouver. Yes, all of us gardeners love organic dirt but not dirty politics and your goal to maximize profits for your shareholders.

[

July 10, 2014   No Comments

The Big Allotment Challenge: The Patch – Grow Make Eat


By Tessa Evelegh
Hodder & Stoughton
10 April 2014

Growing your own fruit and vegetables is surprisingly easy whatever the size of your garden or allotment. You don’t need to be entirely self-sufficient but there’s nothing more satisfying than being able to harvest your own tomatoes, snip a few leaves from a salad bed or make strawberry jam from home-grown strawberries. And by planting some easy-to-grow flowering plants it’s perfectly possible to have freshly picked cut flowers to decorate your table.

[

July 9, 2014   Comments Off

Fire ant infestation complicates Vancouver community garden removal

fireantIn the four years since European fire ants were first discovered in B.C., their presence has been confirmed in at least 25 locations throughout Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley.

Canadian Pacific rail has ordered encroaching gardens removed but city worries ants will spread

By Randy Shore
Vancouver Sun
July 7, 2014


Canadian Pacific orders to dismantle and remove community gardens along the Arbutus Corridor could be delayed by an infestation of European fire ants in the garden plots near East Boulevard and 68th Avenue.

These tenacious pests are nearly impossible to eradicate and are being spread throughout southwestern B.C. by the movement of infested plants and soil, said Rob Higgins, a biologist at Thompson Rivers University.

About 30 colonies have been identified near the CP rail right-of-way in Kerrisdale, but the rest of the corridor should be surveyed before any plants or soil are removed, he said.

[

July 8, 2014   Comments Off

Edmonton’s Northlands all abuzz over urban farm additions

Kevin Kossowan de-weeds the garden at the Northlands Urban Farm on 79 Street and 113 Avenue on Wednesday. Photo by Trevor Robb/Edmonton Sun.

31,200 square-foot Northlands Urban Farm – 80,000 honey bees

By Trevor Robb
Edmonton Sun
June 25, 2014


Joining the 31,200 square-foot Northlands Urban Farm — initiated in May in partnership with local companies Shovel & Fork and Lactuca Corp. — and its six linear miles of salad greens are four beehives, containing over 80,000 honey bees.

The urban beekeeping operation, which consists of four boxes with 10 frames inside, will be overseen by local beekeeper Patty Milligan. She is hoping to cultivate 60 to 120 pounds of dandelion honey this year and almost four times that in following years.

[

July 6, 2014   Comments Off

CP Rail orders Vancouver rail corridor community gardens to be removed by end of July

Members of Vancouver non profit ‘the world in a garden’ surprised to hear CPR map puts half this shed on its property. They say city told them its on city land. That’s a kids beekeeping school in background.

CP Rail is carrying out land survey of disused Arbutus rail line, and is giving residents a July 31 deadline

By Steve Lus
CBC News
Jul 03, 2014


In a letter to residents, the company said it has placed surveying stakes along the borders of its land, and will remove any property left after July 31, such as sheds, storage containers, vehicles and community gardens.

The company admits a dispute with the city over the railway’s right to develop the land is behind the efforts to reactivate the line, which has not been used in about 15 years.

In recent years the inactive right of way has become a popular dog walking spot, and sprouted community fruit and vegetable gardens, but the railway has been trying to get plans for a property development approved.

[

July 3, 2014   Comments Off

Urban farming, school gardening focus of Charlottesville, VA tour

Spring crops at 6th Street.

An article about gardens at California schools initially sparked the idea for a similar project in Charlottesville.

The Daily Progress
June 21, 2014


On Saturday, the middle school garden was among the stops of the Cultivate C’ville tour of urban farms now growing food at homes, community gardens and schools throughout the city.

The other stops on the tour were the mini-orchard of fruit and nut trees at Casa Alma, a Catholic worker community on Nassau Street; the Urban Agriculture Collective of Charlottesville at Monticello Avenue and Sixth Street Southeast; a community garden on Fifth Street Southwest; and the New Roots Garden, which the International Rescue Committee sponsors for refugee families, on Fourth Street Southwest.

[

July 1, 2014   Comments Off

Sweat Equity: Bronx Affordable Housing Group Applies Philosophy to Community Garden

“We operate with a sweat equity concept… The more time you put into the garden, the more good you will get out of it.” (Marie Solis)

They also took on the bedraggled back lot, transforming it into a community garden filled with 13,000 square feet of fruits, vegetables and herbs.

By Marie Solis
New York Observer


“Some neighbors who live in the same building don’t even know each other. With the garden, they can get together, work on the garden and talk. Neighbors who know each other protect each other,” he said, adding that, “It takes people out of their houses and brings them outside. Even better, their children will see them doing something positive and it will get passed down to the next generation.”

[

June 30, 2014   Comments Off

Ford Motors of Canada donates 1.6 acres of land to expand community garden in Windsor

fordBreaking ground.

“It helps in more ways than just providing food,” Muir said. “It helps with gardening skills and it breaks down isolation.

By Joel Boyce
The Windsor Star
June 25, 2014


The Unemployed Help Centre of Windsor can now grow double the amount of produce in their community garden after Ford Motor Company donated 1.6 acres of land.

“Our new garden will let us harvest much more,” said June Muir, CEO of the UHC.

After the neighbouring company heard the previous garden at the UHC was negatively affected by an extended parking lot, they jumped at the opportunity to help.

[

June 25, 2014   Comments Off

City of Penticton, BC, turns educational garden into public parking lot

An expanded parking lot, featuring this layer of old asphalt millings, now sits on the city-owned Backstreet Boulevard property formerly occupied by the Penticton Urban Agriculture Association for its demonstration urban garden. The organization gave up the site after city council only offered to extend the lease until the end of December.

“It is disappointing to see three years of the association’s work converted into a parking lot.”

By Steve Kidd
Penticton Western News
Jun 19, 2014


With apologies to Joni Mitchell, it didn’t take Penticton long to pave paradise and put up a parking lot.

While it might not have been everyone’s idea of paradise, the educational garden built by members of the Penticton Urban Agriculture Association was an attempt on their part to create something out of nothing in a corner of an empty lot at Ellis and Nanaimo.

[

June 23, 2014   Comments Off

Liam O’Farrell’s Fabulous Allotment Garden Paintings

liam1Click on image for larger file. ‘The allotment fair.’ Featured in the Royal Academy of Arts Summer Exhibition 2010. This is based on an allotment fair in an allotment by the sea in Portsmouth, England.

“In my work I cherish the uniqueness of our dilapidated seaside towns, stumbling light industries. I exhibit often, including the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition, The Royal Society of British Arts and as far afield as Tokyo.”

Artist – Liam O’Farrell
(Must see. Mike)

Excerpt from Dec, 2013 blog post:

The painting (The Allotment Fair) is based on an event at my mum’s allotment.

As the growing season nears its end the members organise an “Allotment show”. Quite a jovial affair. They pitch a large marquee, have a jumble sale and sell cake. At least thirty varieties of cake. So much cake!

The culmination of the show is the grand prize giving for the finest fruits and vegetables. They have the usual categories, ‘Largest pumpkin’, ‘Best onions’ and so on. Each winner is presented with a small trophy and large applause. No better way to while away a late summer afternoon.

[

June 16, 2014   Comments Off

A new Vancouver community garden takes shape in Olympic Village

Photo by Michael Levenston. Click on image for larger file.

The new collaborative community Garden at Creekside (ie. Olympic Village) held its first build event this Saturday June 14.

This garden is collaboration with the city of Vancouver & Vancouver Park Board (approval and start-up funding), the Creekside Community Recreation Center (programming and stewardship), City Studio students (helping design and build the planters), World in a Garden (provided previous support), and the Environmental Youth Alliance (plant list and planning support). Also with the support of local volunteer residents.

[

June 14, 2014   Comments Off

Urban cultivation in allotments maintains soil qualities adversely affected by conventional agriculture

Photo by Walker Evans. 1974.

Typical urban soils are shown to be comparable to semi-natural ecosystems and of considerably better quality than agricultural soils, and this is maintained under cultivation in allotments, which receive regular organic inputs from manures and composts.

By Jill L. Edmondson1,*, Zoe G. Davies2, Kevin J. Gaston3 andJonathan R. Leake1
Journal of Applied Ecology
Article first published online: 24 Apr 2014


This research demonstrates that own-growing in urban allotments, in contrast to arable crop production, does not trade off the soil quality measures that are positively associated with regulating and supporting ecosystem services, in order to deliver provisioning ecosystem services. Typical urban soils are shown to be comparable to semi-natural ecosystems and of considerably better quality than agricultural soils, and this is maintained under cultivation in allotments, which receive regular organic inputs from manures and composts. Allotment cultivation may provide a model for understanding management systems for sustainably delivering multiple ecosystem services without the provision of one type of service compromising the delivery of another. Further work is now required to quantify the ecosystem services provided by allotments, the potential and actual yield of crops in urban environments, and the area currently under cultivation. For urban allotment cultivation to be more sustainable, efforts should be made to replace OM and nutrient inputs derived directly from agriculture with those derived from composting putrescible wastes in cities. Our findings lend additional support to the view that own-growing provides multiple human and environmental benefits and has a role to play in more sustainable living in urban areas.

[

June 11, 2014   Comments Off

Allotment Gardens in England, France, and Germany, 1870-1919


The Working Man’s Green Space

By Micheline Nilsen
Associate Professor of Art History at Indiana University South Bend. She is the author of Railways and Western European Capitals: Studies of Implantation in London, Paris, Berlin, and Brussels.
University of Virginia Press
Feb 2014

With antecedents dating back to the Middle Ages, the community garden is more popular than ever as a means of procuring the freshest food possible and instilling community cohesion. But as Micheline Nilsen shows, the small-garden movement, which gained impetus in the nineteenth century as rural workers crowded into industrial cities, was for a long time primarily a repository of ideas concerning social reform, hygienic improvement, and class mobility. Complementing efforts by worker cooperatives, unions, and social legislation, the provision of small garden plots offered some relief from bleak urban living conditions. Urban planners often thought of such gardens as a way to insert “lungs” into a city.

[

June 9, 2014   Comments Off

Nebraska looking at ways to grow urban agriculture

State Sen. Burke Harr, right, shakes hands with urban gardener Matt Low at the Benson community garden in Omaha, Neb. Sen. Harr wants to expand the use of community gardens in urban areas. He is launching a study this summer to try to make it easier to start community gardens, possibly by allowing them to grow on public land. Photo By Nati Harnik/AP.

State Sen. Burke Harr of Omaha wants to expand the use of community gardens in urban areas.

By Grant Schulte
Associated Press
May 31, 2014


Nebraska is known for its corn, soybeans and beef — and now, in a state where farming is king, one state senator is looking at bring more agriculture into cities. Sen. Burke Harr of Omaha has introduced a legislative study to consider ways the state can help develop new community gardens.

Harr said the gardens could address some of the need in so-called “food deserts” in Omaha, Lincoln and other areas that lack easy access to quality food. They also could teach children in cities about agriculture.

[

June 8, 2014   Comments Off