New Stories From 'Urban Agriculture Notes'
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Category — Community Gardens

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

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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

Excerpt:

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   No Comments

Integrating Urban Farms into the Social Landscape of Cities

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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   No Comments

Halifax refugee families farming in the heart of the city

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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

Excerpt:

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   No Comments

The Rapid Growth of Community Gardens in Canada

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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

Excerpt:

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

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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

Excerpt:

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

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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

Excerpt:

“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

Excerpt:

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

Excerpt:

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

Excerpt:

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

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‘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

Excerpt:

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?’

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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
KWBU
July 28, 2014

Excerpt:

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

Milross Community Garden celebrates honey bees in Vancouver

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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

Excerpt:

“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.

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July 15, 2014   Comments Off

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

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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)

To:
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.

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July 10, 2014   Comments Off