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Category — Deserts

Community gardens across Houston work to end food deserts’ thirst

Icet is an urban farmer who has been managing numerous garden and agriculture projects over the course of 18 years in the Third and Fifth Wards.

Eastern Houston has more than 30 neighborhoods that may classify as food deserts.

By Dana C. Jones
The Daily Cougar
January 24, 2018


According to the Foreign Agricultural Service section of the USDA, the highest producers of world commodities like grain, corn and rice come from Mexico and countries in Africa and Central America. According to the Migration Policy Institute, more than one fifth of Houston metro residents are foreign-born and ranked fifth for largest immigrant population and third for immigrants coming from Mexico and Honduras.

“We have a sizable group of immigrants from Africa who are some of the most skilled farmers in the world,” Icet said. “If we take that diversity and took seed from different cultures, we could create an awesome urban agriculture in the city.”

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January 30, 2018   Comments Off on Community gardens across Houston work to end food deserts’ thirst

Why it’s important for black farmers to take the lead on Detroit’s urban farms

Oakland Avenue Urban Farm. Photo by Tom Perkins.

What black organizations like Neighborhood B.U.G. and their allies are trying to do is, in part, restore ownership for a heritage of farming and gardening that never went away, but was overlooked, perhaps even within the community itself.

By Brian Allnutt
Detroit Metro Times
June 14, 2017


Thorpe from Neighborhood B.U.G. says that the perception of his organization really changed when people realized it was being run by African-Americans. “In the beginning we had a couple of problems because people didn’t know who we were,” he says. “They thought we were probably a white organization. … Now we don’t have anything locked up, we don’t have any fences. … The community is just receptive because they see nothing but blacks, young black people out there gardening and it makes people stop, from old to young.”

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June 19, 2017   Comments Off on Why it’s important for black farmers to take the lead on Detroit’s urban farms

Urban farming in suburban Phoenix becomes the basis for an entire community hub

Click on image for larger file. An 18-acre site in South Phoenix with spaces for farming, gardening, education and community.

DSGN AGNC’s Spaces Of Opportunity, an 18-acre site in South Phoenix, Arizona, that is much more than just a place for growing: It’s also a community hub, an art center, and a music venue.

By Sam Lubell
The Architect’s Newspaper
January 24, 2017


“The idea is that farming here is an excuse to bring services to this area,” said DSGN AGNC principal and founder Quilian Riano. “A way to bring economic opportunity.”

The semi-suburban area is home primarily to low- and middle-income Latino and African American populations. It’s also the site of a food desert, meaning that fresh food is very difficult to find. “There are more liquor stores than grocery stores here,” noted Riano.

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February 2, 2017   Comments Off on Urban farming in suburban Phoenix becomes the basis for an entire community hub

Growing Food in a Hotter, Drier Land


Lessons from Desert Farmers on Adapting to Climate Uncertainty

By Gary Paul Nabhan
Chelsea Green

Excerpt from publisher:

With climatic uncertainty now “the new normal,” many farmers, gardeners, and orchardists in North America are desperately seeking ways to adapt how they grow food in the face of climate change. The solutions may be at our back door.

In Growing Food in a Hotter, Drier Land, Nabhan, one of the world’s experts on the agricultural traditions of arid lands, draws from the knowledge of traditional farmers in the Gobi Desert, the Arabian Peninsula, the Sahara Desert, and Andalusia, as well as the Sonoran, Chihuahuan, and Painted deserts of North America to offer time-tried strategies, including:

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February 5, 2015   Comments Off on Growing Food in a Hotter, Drier Land

31 Days of Urban Agriculture

Hand cut Linoleum Block Print Set and Chapbook of Essays telling the story of the vibrant opportunities in urban agriculture.

By Lindsay Curren
Kickstarter campaign
August 2014


Combining my lifelong love of poster design — or to use the old school word, broadsides — with typography and images, I’m designing, cutting, and printing 31 original art pieces to tell the story of urban agriculture in a simple, accessible way. Really, it’s a story of beauty and the beast. First, there are the beauties — from bees and apple trees on Main Streets to farmers markets right downtown, and even DIY screens made of hops vines on the balconies of home brewers. And then there are the beasts, especially the danger of neighborhood food deserts and food insecurity that so many urban families face in today’s economy.

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August 14, 2014   Comments Off on 31 Days of Urban Agriculture

How To Find A Food Desert Near You


Food deserts mapped from coast to coast, plus Alaska and Hawaii.

By Nancy Shute
March 13, 2013


Want to know where you can’t buy fresh, healthful food? The USDA has the map for you.

The feds’ new Food Access Research Atlas lets you find out just where it’s difficult to buy broccoli or bananas in counties across the U.S. Forget walking to the store in St. Louis, Minn., where most people live more than a mile from a grocery store. Ditto for Hyde, N.C., and Pushmataha, Okla.

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March 14, 2013   Comments Off on How To Find A Food Desert Near You

In Arabic and English – Web Site for Urban Agriculture in the Middle East and North Africa


“Agriculture activities have been receding for many years now in most of the MENA (Middle East and North Africa) cities thus its main functions are being hindered. Despite the negative pressures, crop cultivation and animal husbandry remain common throughout the region’s cities. Fertile agricultural areas are still considerable and are expected to remain productive for years to come. Urban agriculture in the MENA countries is at present a highly diverse and widespread activity, yet it still suffers from lack of recognition form the planners, agriculturists, policy-makers, researchers and even by its practitioners.”

Link to ‘Urban Agriculture in the Middle East and North Africa’ Web Site here.

August 11, 2008   Comments Off on In Arabic and English – Web Site for Urban Agriculture in the Middle East and North Africa

A Keyhole Garden for Households in Africa

Photo from ‘Cowfiles African Gardens’.

From: ‘Ideas that will catch on here.’
July 12, 2008, BBC

“Another fantastic idea I picked up – which could make its way onto my allotment before long – is the keyhole veg bed. This is a raised bed with bells on: it’s about 1m (3’6”) high, and the outer bed, where the vegetables are growing, slopes down from a central hollow column. There’s an access path to the column (giving the bed a “keyhole” shape viewed from above) and inside it is what amounts to a compost bin, held in with hessian: you fill it with kitchen waste, stable manure, grass clippings – whatever you’d put on your compost heap.

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August 6, 2008   3 Comments

Your Seeds for Small Family Gardens in Desertified Area


Prof. Dr. Willem Van Cotthem, Honorary Professor University of Ghent (Belgium), has set up a wonderful program to help people in desertified regions.

“In every village of the developing countries where we have constructed family gardens and school gardens in the past, there is now less risk of famine. Indeed, we have shown the people and the children how to produce their own vegetables and fruit trees with a combination of traditional methods and modern technologies, e.g. soil conditioning to keep a garden soil moistened with a minimum of irrigation water. Such things are never forgotten, even if these people move to urban areas, where they will try to set up a tiny little garden.”

“That is the reason why I make this appeal upon you : please help us to collect seeds of vegetables and tropical fruits that can be grown in family gardens and school gardens in desertified regions.”

Read more here.

January 21, 2008   Comments Off on Your Seeds for Small Family Gardens in Desertified Area