New Stories From 'Urban Agriculture Notes'
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Category — Design

The Poison Garden at England’s Alnwick Garden is filled with plants that can kill you

The ornate black gates to the Poison Garden warn visitors of the deadly plants that grow within. Photo by Duncan Andison/Corbis.

Visitors to the Poison Garden are prohibited from smelling, touching or tasting any of them.

By Natasha Geiling
September 22, 2014


“What’s extraordinary about the plants is that it’s the most common ones that people don’t know are killers,” the duchess says. Visitors are often surprised to learn that the laurel hedge, nearly ubiquitous in English gardens, can be highly toxic. But some visitors have had experience with laurel’s sinister side—the duchess has heard a few talk about how, after loading up their cars with pruned laurel leaves to take to the dump, drivers have fallen asleep behind the wheel of their car from the toxic fumes the branches emit.

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October 19, 2014   No Comments

Steel grate urban farming classroom by Colorado building workshop


The orientation of the volume allows for views into the space by staff sitting in their office, while simultaneously offering privacy for those inside of the classroom.

Students: Shawn Adams, Brandon Bain, Kristin Bevis, Mike Blea, Joe Coleman, Amr Fayez, John Gibbons, James Hart, Jeremy Jones, Amy Keil, Maeve Kinsey, Dj Kornmeyer, Breton Lujan, Kendra Matrician, Paul Mitchell, Jack Tipton
Faculty: Rick Sommerfeld, Craig Cherry
Structural Engineer: Andy Paddock
Sept 2014

In lakewood, colorado, an urban farming classroom has been completed by colorado building workshop – a design build program for graduate students entering their final year at CU-denver. located adjacent to the state’s newest lightrail line, the outdoor learning facility is intended to educate local residents on the topic of city-based agriculture.

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September 9, 2014   Comments Off

Infographic – Urban Agriculture in Washington, DC

infodcSee infographic here.

40 plus community gardens in DC

By Bozzuto Group


“The White House kitchen garden is one of the best and most fulfilling things I’ve done as First Lady.” Says Michelle. Michelle Obama is the 1st Lady since Eleanor Roosevelt to plant a garden at the White Hosue.

“I planted the vegetable gardens at the White House during World War 2 to ensure an adequate food supply.” Eleanor Roosevelt

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September 4, 2014   Comments Off

Victory Garden Info-graphic marks 100 years since the start of the First World War

See the whole info-graphic here.

During the war, onions were in short supply. The Ministry advised that leeks were a good substitute

By Notcutts


During the First World War Germany’s blockade caused food shortages which increased the demand for allotments. One source of land suitable for allotments but not large enough for general agriculture was the land owned by railway companies. These parcels of land were often allotted to the railway workers and this is the reason you will often see allotments by railway lines today.

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September 2, 2014   Comments Off

City Farm at MIT – Open source food

One MIT scientist hopes to farm without soil for city life

By Mona Lalwani
The Verge
August 27, 2014
(Must see. Mike)

At MIT Media Lab in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Caleb Harper’s CityFARM demonstrates the future of food production. He grows plants through aeroponics, a system that produces plants without soil. Plants are hooked up to servers and misting mechanisms. LEDs fill in for the sun and ladybugs (purchased on Amazon) occasionally make an appearance. Plants are periodically sprayed with a nutrient-rich mist that provides optimal pH balance. Light and temperatures are closely monitored. The environment nurtures plants that have twice the nutrient density of their conventional counterparts. Lettuce, bok choy, and tomatoes have already fed the scientists in the lab.

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August 31, 2014   Comments Off

Proposal to turn San Francisco’s Candlestick Park stadium into a gigantic hydroponic greenhouse

candle Click on image for larger file.

Occasional concerts in between times of harvesting and planting

By San Francisco-based IwamotoScott Architecture

Surrounding the stadium is a new green-roofed, terraced podium that interfaces with the surrounding Candlestick Point redevelopment master plan, sheltering beneath it a marketplace for locally-produced urban agriculture and food goods.

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August 27, 2014   Comments Off

Detroit artist Ryan Herberholz created a mural on a formerly blighted building in Detroit to help celebrate urban farming

The mural was recently completed and more than 200 people came out to help celebrate the official unveiling.

From YouTube
Aug 8, 2014

Local Good Food hub Door to Door Organics is proud to be cultivating the growth of Detroit’s urban farming movement. We commissioned Detroit artist Ryan Herberholz to create an inspiring mural on Michigan Urban Farming Initiative’s land that was once vacant but is now farmed to feed the community.

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August 21, 2014   Comments Off

The Story of Oedipus Retold with Vegetables in Starring Roles

Oedipus took two years to make with a volunteer staff of 100.

Open Culture
August 7th, 2014


Sophocles and Aeschylus may be spinning in their graves. Or, who knows, they may be taking some delight in this bizarre twist on the Oedipus myth. Running 8 minutes, Jason Wishnow’s 2004 film puts vegetables in the starring roles.

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August 16, 2014   Comments Off

An allotment garden house in Denmark


The house ended up costing about US$ 18,400 in materials

By Assia
Living in a Showbox
July 22, 2014


When architects and spouses Karen Jelnes and Peter Hoffmann got the opportunity to buy an allotment garden, they jumped at the chance. They chose to remove the existing house to design their own summer home, and for two years they spent their weekends and holidays building a small house on their garden plot.

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August 2, 2014   Comments Off

Food-Producing Landscapes: Principles of Design


Food producing landscapes are more controversial than your typical landscape project.

By Brian Barth
Land 8
July 17, 2014


1) Use hardscape features to create aesthetic definition.

The clean lines of paths, patios, fences, raised beds, retaining walls, arbors, trellises and pergolas can all be used to create order out what can sometimes be a chaotic and cluttered plantscape. Fruit trees espaliered along a rigid structure (i.e. wood or wires) or a turning a hillside into a terraced vineyard are examples.

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July 26, 2014   Comments Off

Andrea Reynosa planted a 6,000-square-foot field with clover in Brooklyn


Artists Probe Urban Agriculture

By Allison Meier
July 1, 2014


In collaboration with Smack Mellon’s FOODshed, Alloy real estate development, and Brooklyn Grange, artist Andrea Reynosa planted a 6,000-square-foot field with clover that is sprouting red flowers alongside the Manhattan Bridge. The space was formerly a parking lot. The flourish of vibrancy is temporary, but Reynosa is planning that through the clover, a site that might otherwise be an empty construction lot will have life that will in turn ameliorate the soil before a condominium moves in.

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July 19, 2014   Comments Off

Why Landscape Architects Stopped Specifying Edible Plants (And Why They Have Started Again)

AndrewFarmerClick on image for larger file. By Andrew Farmer.

A ‘crop’ makes an urban landscape more complicated to manage and maintain.

By Brian Barth
Land 8
July 4, 2014


In the 150 years that landscape architecture has been formally recognized as a profession, there has existed a gulf of separation between our discipline and agriculture. Even though plants, soil, and people are fundamental to each field, the former focuses on aesthetics and the structural functions of human settlements (drainage, access and circulation, integration with the built environment, etc.), while the latter is centered on the process of cultivating edible species for consumption. Recently, however, there are signs of integration between the two disciplines and landscape architects are now being challenged to adopt new methods to mitigate the discord between them.

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July 16, 2014   Comments Off

University of California launches urban agriculture website


“We’ll also share stories about urban farms around California and news around the state about urban agriculture policies and initiatives,”

By Pamela Kan-Rice
UC California Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources
July 2, 2014


As local food has gained popularity, more city folks are growing food in their own backyards. Now they have a new online resource to consult about urban farming. The University of California Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources has launched a website to provide practical, science-based information for urban agriculture.

At the website at, visitors will find information on raising livestock, crop production, marketing and policies for farming in their backyards, on a few acres, at a school or in a community setting.

Rachel Surls, a UC Cooperative Extension advisor in Los Angeles County, and a team including UCCE farm advisors, policy and advocacy experts, urban planners, agricultural economists and others created the new urban agriculture website in response to the results of a UC survey of urban farmers in California.

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July 5, 2014   Comments Off

The Children’s Hospital of San Antonio is creating a 2.4-acre teaching garden adjacent to the kitchen

Children’s Hospital of San Antonio is partnering with the Culinary Institute of America-San Antonio to establish a teaching kitchen at the downtown hospital to offer nutrition and cooking courses to patients and the community. Photo by Edward A. Ornelas / San Antonio Express-News.

The teaching kitchen and garden will be the first of their kind at a children’s hospital in San Antonio

By Jessica Belasco
San Antonio Express-News
June 4, 2014


The teaching kitchen will be instrumental in teaching the community the awareness of the relationship between food and health, he said.

The organic vegetable and herb garden, designed by Overland Partners Architects and Co’Design, will bring “the healing work of nature” to the downtown campus for patients and families to learn, play and meditate, said John Bel, president of the Children’s Hospital of San Antonio Foundation.

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July 4, 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.

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June 16, 2014   Comments Off