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Category — Community Gardens

Urban farming in Brooklyn: a return to the land

East New York Farms has been supporting community gardens in Brooklyn since 1998. (Credit: Nurys N. Garcia/East New York Farms)

The first people here more than 350 years ago worked the land

By Georgia Kral
September 23, 2014


John M. Ameroso is one of the pioneers of the movement in Brooklyn.

“We were trying to say for a long time you can utilize the space we have,” he said. “[And now] every time I’m at Added Value (farm in Red Hook), there’s people who show up and they say they want to get involved.”

As the first employee in the Cornell Cooperative Extension-run USDA urban gardening program, Ameroso organized and helped establish community gardening projects all over the borough.

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October 1, 2014   No Comments

Urban Farming’s Grande Dame: Karen Washington

During the growing seasonn, Karen Washington works nearly every day in the Garden of Happiness, the community garden that she helped found in 1988 across the street from her home in the Bronx. Photo by Chester Higgins Jr.

A Believer in Vacant Lots

By Dan Shaw
New York Times
Sept 19, 2014


Karen Washington, a community activist who has been called “urban farming’s de facto godmother,” found her bliss when she moved to the Bronx nearly 30 years ago and began growing vegetables in her backyard. Gardening was not part of her heritage.

“My parents and grandparents were not farmers,” said Ms. Washington, who recently retired after 37 years from her day job as a physical therapist. “I took out books from the library and learned what to do.”

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September 21, 2014   No Comments

A gardening effort in Camden, N.J., brings fresh food to New Jersey’s biggest food desert

The Esperanza Community Garden in North Camden. Photo by Michael Morgan. Click on image for larger file.

We have about 130 gardens and yet there are about 12,000 abandoned lots in the city, including 4,000 city-owned abandoned lots that are there for the taking.

By Lynda McCullough
Food Tank
Aug. 29, 2014


In 2008, when the economy melted down, people in Camden, which is one of the poorest cities per capita in the nation, faced tougher times than most. We’re the worst food desert in New Jersey and one of the nine worst in the country, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). A lot of people started to come to us about starting a community garden to help get fresh food and save on their grocery bills. We went from about 30 community gardens in 2008 to over 130 today; according to the University of Pennsylvania, which is partnering with us on the USDA’s Community Food Project grant, about 15 percent of the population of the city gets some of its fresh produce from our program.

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September 8, 2014   Comments Off

Integrating Urban Farms into the Social Landscape of Cities


Recommendations for Strengthening the Relationship Between Urban Farms and Local Communities

By Melissa N. Poulsen, MPH & Marie L. Spiker, MSPH, RD Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
With illustrations by Alex Winch July 2014
44 pages
(Must read. Mike)

Executive Summary:

In cities across the U.S., urban farming is gaining traction as a way of productively using degraded vacant land while increasing access to fresh produce within cities. As urban farming continues to be promoted by municipal governments and others, it is important to understand how to ensure these projects are viable. One consideration for urban farms located in populated areas of a city is the reaction of residents who live in neighborhoods surrounding farms. Urban farms differ from urban gardens in their emphasis on income-generating agricultural activity. As such, they can challenge traditional images residents might have for how land is used in city neighborhoods. Urban farming projects are most likely to survive and thrive if they have local support, but how can these projects gain community buy-in? Through interviews with urban farmers, neighborhood leaders, community residents, and other key stakeholders in Baltimore City, we sought to understand the processes that are most effective for gaining the acceptance of city residents for urban farming.

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September 7, 2014   Comments Off

Halifax refugee families farming in the heart of the city

Children play at the site of a refugee community garden on Willett Street in Halifax. (CBC)

About 80 refugee families are now buying their own seeds and growing their own food

CBC News
Aug 25, 2014


Refugees accustomed to growing their own food in their home countries are finding garden space in their newly adopted Halifax neighbourhood.

This summer, Immigrant Settlement and Integration Services is helping seed the fourth garden in four years. The Mosaic Ministries, an independent church on Willett Street in Halifax, donated the land in Fairview.

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September 3, 2014   Comments Off

The Rapid Growth of Community Gardens in Canada

Sylvia watering her garden. Photo by Dylan Copland.

Vancouver now has over 75 of them; Halifax 25; and Ottawa, at least 40.

By Dylan Copland
Nature Canada
August 2014


Vancouver has instituted tax breaks for landowners who develop green spaces on their property. The city now allows developers to classify community gardens as class eight recreational property, reducing the cost owed to the government to about a third of typical commercial property tax fees.

In Ottawa, Just Food, in concert with garden organizers and the city government, works with an $85,000 a year budget to provide tools, equipment and construction and gardening materials to those looking to work in or organize a community garden.

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September 1, 2014   Comments Off

A peak time to examine community garden etiquette in Los Angeles

Community gardens involve many personalities, and they may come into conflict — even if they haven’t met in person. Photo by Ringo H.W. Chiu / For the Times.

“With this many plots and people gardening so close to one another, there are bound to be issues.”

By Kimberly Stevens
LA Times
Aug 19, 2014


With community gardens growing in popularity and expanding rapidly, more personalities come into play, and that can make for conflict. Renner has heard about almost every breach of etiquette imaginable. Fruit and vegetable theft tops the list, in his opinion. “It happens in every garden, and I’ve seen people ready to take out a shovel or a machete if they can catch the thief,” he said.

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August 27, 2014   Comments Off

Astor Free Community Garden in Jersey City

Leila Harrison, 3, is known to the community as “Lady Astor” and has grown up working in the the Astor Free Community Garden. Photo by Julie Kayzerman.

Seven hundred and sixty-six people had to be able to eat,” she said of the number of people she believes have been affected by the garden.

By Julie Kayzerman
The Jersey Journal
Aug 15, 2014


“This was a garbage lot!” Bland said of the garden that is in full bloom growing watermelons, onions, squash, beets, carrots, potatoes, grapes, peppers, cantaloupes, okra, kale, strawberries, corn and cherry tomatoes — all planted by people of all ages to produce organic free food to feed the community.

The garden brings together all different generations with 3-year-olds working alongside senior citizens, who come to the garden to relax in a safe, positive environment.

“It’s very hands on, she eats, she touches, she smells and it’s good because she’s learning,” said June Glenn-Lawson, who recently cooked the squash that her granddaughter, Leila, planted and grew.

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August 26, 2014   Comments Off

Anchorage, Alaska’s refugee gardeners

Gardeners are Nepali-speaking Bhutanese, who fled their home country of Bhutan after years of poverty, repression and civil war.

By Tara Young, Megan Edge
Alaska Dispatch News
August 4, 2014


According to Riley, the program provides opportunity for “Anchorage’s newest residents” to make change, practice their English and become part of the local community.

On one July day this summer, Anita Gurung and her family were among the gardeners. With smiles on their faces, they pulled root vegetables out of the ground to sell at a local farmers market

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August 15, 2014   Comments Off

How Urban Agriculture Builds Food Security in Rainier Valley, Seattle

rainierPhoto credit: Just Garden Project.

One 4×8 foot raised bed allows a family to grow up to $200 worth of food each growing season.

By Curbed Staff
Seattle Curbed
July 29, 2014


Started in 2010, the Just Garden Project, a program run by Seattle Tilth, has built more than 100 gardens for low-income households throughout King County – providing nutritious food for more than 2,000 people. The Just Garden Project subsidizes the construction of gardens for low-income residents at the cost of $25 for one raised garden bed, which includes construction, seeds, a growing guide, and free gardening classes – a small price to pay for a tool that will allow families to sustainably feed themselves over a long period of time.

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August 12, 2014   Comments Off

West Oakland Community Garden Trashed By Vandals, Possibly Over Gentrification

“There was really no rationale to target it,” said neighbor Ben Delgado. “It’s something that brought a lot of positive things to the community.”

By Christin Ayers
CBS SF Bay Area
August 5, 2014


There’s a mess at one West Oakland community garden after vandals were reportedly targeting more than just vegetables.

Pictures show a West Oakland community garden trashed. Fences are kicked in, tools are flung far and wide.

“A lot of just shock,” said City Slicker Farms Executive Director Ariel Dekovic. “The end of this bed, a lot of these plants were uprooted so they’re not doing very well now.”

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August 6, 2014   Comments Off

A Taste of Sugar Beet Edible Garden Tour 2014 – Chicago area

Edible gardens of our neighbors in Oak Park, Forest Park, River Forest and Austin

By Deb Quantock McCarey
Oak Park
July 28th, 2014

Deb’s Big Backyard takes a tour of 5 gardens on the Sugar Beet Co-op Edible Garden Tour 2014. The tour went through Oak Park, Forest Park & River Forest. Check out the beehives of Katy Murphy, the cucumber teepee and chickens at the Cataldo’s, the hops that Neil & Kathy Driscoll are growing at The Forest Park Community Garden and the raised bed(s) garden that Jill Niewoehner and The Longfellow School Families have been tending to.

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August 4, 2014   Comments Off

How does your garden grow? The allotment holder, Manchester, England

‘I spend up to 24 hours a week weeding, watering, harvesting.’ Photograph by Rebecca Lupton for the Guardian.

‘I don’t grow food to save money, I just couldn’t imagine my life without it,’ says Dr Farida Vis of her Manchester allotment

By Jane Perrone
The Guardian
12 July 2014


When people get a plot, I tell them to try and see it as taking on a pet – it needs as much attention as a puppy. I spend up to 24 hours a week weeding, watering, harvesting. You think, do I really need to be making elderflower champagne until 4am? But there’s the joy of giving away jam from fruit you’ve grown – there’s nothing like it. I don’t grow food to save money, I just couldn’t imagine my life without it.

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August 3, 2014   Comments Off

Can Urban Gardening Alleviate Waco, Texas ‘Food Deserts?’


City of Waco Senior Planner Felix Landry says the city’s food deserts have been a major concern for many who work for the City.

By Jill Ament
July 28, 2014


It’s hard to find healthy food in some Waco neighborhoods. These so-called “food deserts” often occur when grocery stores are too far away and residents are left to get nourishment from convenience stores or fast food. Urban gardening is just one way the city is combating these food deserts.

Kids attending Farm Camp at the World Hunger Relief headquarters outside of Waco are learning how to live sustainably. The kids are recruited from Waco ISD and they’re playing a game based on recycling, composting and other ways to get rid of trash. Campers run across a field, sorting trash between recycling, garbage and compost.

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August 2, 2014   Comments Off

‘In Da Garden’ – Rap video protest against CP Railway threatening Vancouver gardens

Lyrics by Gabriel

Go go go go go
Go CP, It’s your railway,
We going to garden like its our railway
We going to eat brocolli like its our railway
and you know we don’t give a **** it’s not your railway!

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July 29, 2014   Comments Off