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USDA Unveils New ‘Urban Agriculture Toolkit’ for Urban Farmers and Agri-business Entrepreneurs

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Online Resource Draws on USDA’s and Partners’ Experience with Launching and Sustaining Urban Agriculture Operations Points Producers to Helpful Financial and Technical Resources

USDA
April 29, 2016

WASHINGTON, April 29, 2016 – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today unveiled the USDA Urban Agriculture Toolkit, a new resource created by USDA’s Know Your Farmer team to help entrepreneurs and community leaders successfully create jobs and increase access to healthy food through urban agriculture. From neighborhood gardens grown on repurposed lots, to innovative mobile markets and intensive hydroponic and aquaculture operations, urban food production is rapidly growing into a mature business sector in cities across the country.

“Urban agriculture helps strengthen the health and social fabric of communities while creating economic opportunities for farmers and neighborhoods,” Vilsack said. “USDA’s Urban Agriculture Toolkit compiles guidance from our Know Your Farmer team and many private partners into one comprehensive resource to help small-scale producers manage all aspects of their business. From protecting soil health to marketing to schools and grocery store chains, USDA has tools to meet the needs of this new breed of innovative urban farmer and small business owner.”

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April 29, 2016   No Comments

Two Guernsey show cows have moved into Bristol city centre to raise awareness of farming and food production

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“The purpose of taking these cows out of their usual rural context into an urban environment is to highlight the major disconnect that now exists between the cities we live in and the production processes that give us the food we eat.”

Press Association
Apr 22, 2016

Excerpt:

Artist Nessie Reid will live with the two cows in a marquee on the city’s bustling harbourside as part of an exhibition called The Milking Parlour.

The live installation is designed to explore the current state of farming and how its impact on issues such as climate change and health affects the future.

Ms Reid will milk the cows named Alisa and Meadowsweet, feed them and muck them out – sleeping in a tent nearby at night.

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April 27, 2016   No Comments

Empty soccer field in Thunder Bay, Ontario, being turned into urban agricultural site

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The City, along with Roots to Harvest, unveiled a new program and site plan lastnight that will transform the former soccer fields adjacent to Volunteer Pool into a productive urban agriculture site.

“This partnership with Roots to Harvest is a great opportunity to explore how urban parks can become more productive environments,” said Werner Schwar, the city’s supervistor of parks and open-space planning.

By Leith Dunick
NewsWatch
April 12, 2016

Excerpt:

The goal of the project, to be paid for with more than $300,000 supplied by several different organizations, is to provide a place for young adults to learn about leadership and employment skills in a variety of ways, including bee keeping, gardening and raising rabbits.

“Nothing instills a strong work ethic in young people better than agricultural work,” said Julie Rosenthal, a former farmer from Murillo and now the lead facilitator with Roots to Harvest, who has partnered with the City of Thunder Bay to launch the ambitious project.

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April 16, 2016   No Comments

Uganda: Kampala City dwellers to be trained in urban farming

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kamplJournalists touring a Sukuma Wiki nusery bed in one of the greenhouses at Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) Agriculture Resource Center in Kyanja Kawempe division Kampala district. Photo by Lawrence Mulondo.

“The people, who have visited the resource centre, are already putting into practice what they learnt and their income has increased as they sell some of the produce they grow and animals they keep.”

By Lawrence Mulondo
New Vision
8th April 2016

Excerpt:

Galukande explained that urban farming will solve the unemployment problem in the city.

The centre sits on 31 acres of land with over five projects, including poultry, piggery and modernised fish ponds, vegetables including tomato, sweet pepper and sukumawiki all grown in green houses.

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April 14, 2016   Comments Off on Uganda: Kampala City dwellers to be trained in urban farming

10 lessons for gardeners from MUSC’s urban patch of fruits, veggies in Charleston, South Carolina

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mscThe MUSC Urban Farm is on a half-acre in the middle of the city. Photograph by Ferris Kaplan.

What you might not expect is that this farm is tucked in the middle of the MUSC-Medical University of South Carolina campus in downtown Charleston.

By Helen Mitternight
The Post and Courier
April 2, 2016

Excerpt:

Grow what you love but have backups.

Ketron says she regularly polls volunteers to find out what kinds of vegetables they want to eat.

“Having such an international population on campus, we plant a lot of what people miss from home. So we have Asian cabbage, herbs used in Indian cooking, French mache lettuce,” she says. “We have a lot of funky, weird stuff you can’t find at the grocery. But we also go with a lot of standards, although they may be funky standards like purple carrots or purple sweet potatoes. We get a lot of young kids and you want their introduction to vegetables to be comfortable, so we have carrots, radishes.

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April 9, 2016   Comments Off on 10 lessons for gardeners from MUSC’s urban patch of fruits, veggies in Charleston, South Carolina

Tucson, Arizona has a 4,100-year-old continuous history of agriculture inside the city limits.

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UNESCO recognizes Tucson as a City of Gastronomy

By Von Diaz
Splendid Table
April 1, 2016

Excerpt:

In December 2015, Tucson, Arizona, was named a City of Gastronomy in the Creative Cities Network by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). It is the first city in the U.S. to receive the designation.

Gary Nabhan, W.K. Kellogg Chair in Southwest Borderlands Food and Water Security at The University of Arizona, explains what that means for the city.

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April 7, 2016   Comments Off on Tucson, Arizona has a 4,100-year-old continuous history of agriculture inside the city limits.

Touring Welsh farmers educate city pupils about agriculture

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The Cows on Tour group appeared on local TV channel London Live and was filmed by the BBC’s Newsround for a programme set to air in April.

A group of young farmers who call themselves Cows on Tour have completed a 300-mile round trip from Wales to London to teach inner-city children about farming.

By Tom Hart
Farmers Weekly
Mar 30, 2016

Excerpt:

Now in its second year, the annual event aims to educate children living in cities about where the food they eat comes from and ultimately canvas support from the next generation of consumers.

It’s hard for me to imagine growing up in a highly populated area, such as London, but for the children at Pakeman school, this is the norm and as a result, they don’t know how important this industry is in feeding the nation Abi Reader, Cows on Tour

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April 4, 2016   Comments Off on Touring Welsh farmers educate city pupils about agriculture

Pingree Urban Farm Celebrates Birth of Quadruplet Lambs in Detroit

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4kidsClick on image for larger file. The Pingree quadruplets with their “mom,” farm manager Holly Glomski. Video here.

Naming Contest:
Skyline Lambs (Whitney, Penobscot, Book, Fisher)
Lake Lambs (Michigan, Superior, Erie, Huron)
Dream Cruise Lambs (Woodward, Grand River, Gratiot, Jefferson)
Mayor Lambs (Pingree, Young, Duggan, Bing)
Ink Spots (Billy, Deek, Charlie, Hoppie)
Motown Gang (Diana, Martha, Aretha, Stevie)
Pingree Gang (Omira, Grixdale, 7 Mile, Robinwood)
Spring Lambs (Sweet Pea, Marigold, Sunflower, Clover)

Detroit, Michigan
(PRWEB)
March 23, 2016

Excerpt:

Pingree Farms is proud to announce the birth of quadruplets. A Columbia ewe gave birth to four lambs on March 6th, arriving over a three hour period starting at 3 a.m.

The birth of quadruplet lambs is rare. Only one in five-hundred births of this breed are quadruplets, and only in one in one-thousand births do all four survive. New farm manager Holly Glomski explains, “This is a very rare experience in agriculture for this particular breed of sheep. Typically they give birth to twins. Quads is really an overachievement.”

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March 24, 2016   Comments Off on Pingree Urban Farm Celebrates Birth of Quadruplet Lambs in Detroit

Survey of teenagers living in New Zealand’s cities has found an alarming lack of knowledge when it comes to farming and food production

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Image from: If You Plant a Seed Hardcover by Nadir Nelson.

81 per cent admit they know only “a little” or “nothing at all” about these topics.

Press Release: Rabobank
Conducted by research consultancy Key Research, the Rabobank Farm Experience Urban Youth Research
Scoop
15 March 2016

Excerpt:

Key findings:

81 per cent of surveyed teens say they know only a little or nothing about farming and food production.

Eight per cent have never been on a farm, while a further 35 per cent have visited a farm three or less times in their life.

72 per cent don’t know anything, or know just a little, about how food gets from farm to plate.

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March 18, 2016   Comments Off on Survey of teenagers living in New Zealand’s cities has found an alarming lack of knowledge when it comes to farming and food production

Michelle Obama launches garden tour initiative

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(Must see video. Mike)

The First Lady visited unsuspecting gardeners to check out their backyard and school gardens in an effort to highlight gardens across the country that are helping kids and families lead healthier lives.

Excerpt:

Mrs. Obama is hitting the road this spring on a garden tour in honor of one of her very first initiatives: the White House Kitchen Garden. Planted seven years ago, the presidential plot of land sparked a national conversation around health and wellness — and inspired her legacy campaign.

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March 5, 2016   Comments Off on Michelle Obama launches garden tour initiative

Professor Kay’s University of St. Thomas Stewardship Garden

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thoma Click on image for larger file.

In St. Paul, there are over 5,000 acres of vacant public and private land, about 14 percent of the city’s land area. These spaces depress property values and limit economic development.

By Adam Kay
University of St. Thomas
November 23, 2015

Excerpt:

Over the last five years, my students and I have developed an urban agriculture program that combines scientific research with educational opportunities and community service. We call this approach Stewardship Science. Our aim is to generate scientific results that increase yields and reduce environmental impacts of small-scale agriculture in cities, while at the same time creating tangible benefits to improve the lives of people on campus and in our community.

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February 27, 2016   Comments Off on Professor Kay’s University of St. Thomas Stewardship Garden

Aquarium-like ‘Microfarm’ perfect for every classroom

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The Microfarm leverages the power of aquaponics, a symbiotic relationship between plants and fish, to easily grow fresh, organic vegetables all year.

From their website:

It works like this…The fish are fed and produce waste, normally this would mean a nasty aquarium water change about every two weeks, but in this system the water is pumped up into the media bed. Here, it is broken down by bacteria into the basic nutrients for plant growth. The plants use these nutrients to thrive, growing closer together and faster than traditionally grown vegetables, while using only a tenth of the water.

Nearly all garden plants grow in the system, so it is perfect for culinary experimentation with unusual herbs, or simply growing fresh and crisp greens in deep winter.

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February 18, 2016   Comments Off on Aquarium-like ‘Microfarm’ perfect for every classroom

Urban Agroecology Program at the University of California, Berkeley

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Professor Miguel A Altieri from the University of California, Berkeley. This video shares some of the results from a large scale agroecological experiment established and managed by undergraduate students enrolled in a class on urban agriculture during the fall of 2015.

With the right incentives, urban farmers can produce at least 25% of the vegetables and small animal derived protein needed by urban dwellers.

Excerpt from their website:

Our Urban Agroecology Program at the University of California, Berkeley is implementing a training, research and outreach program which has several activities:

a. short courses to train a critical mass of people on how to use agroecological concepts to design productive urban farms and gardens.

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February 16, 2016   Comments Off on Urban Agroecology Program at the University of California, Berkeley

Urban Agriculture Mentorship Program in Columbia, Missouri

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A family shows off their bountiful garden, built through the Columbia Center for Urban Agriculture’s Opportunity Garden program.

The garden mentorship program started three years ago with the mission of helping families and individuals with limited resources learn to grow their own fresh, healthful foods

By Caroline Dohack
Columbia Tribune
February 7, 2016 at 12:00 am

Excerpt:

“A lot of times, people want to be able to grow food but don’t know how to cook it. Other times, we give people plants they’ve never seen before and don’t know how to prepare. We’ve had a couple of mothers feeding up to five children before who want to learn how to prepare foods efficiently. Other people have never tried eggplant and don’t know what to do with it,” DeMarco said.

To date, CCUA has served 143 clients through Opportunity Gardens and usually serves between 80 to 100 clients at a given time. It currently has the capacity to accept as many as 45 new clients, DeMarco said.

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February 11, 2016   Comments Off on Urban Agriculture Mentorship Program in Columbia, Missouri

Muscat, Oman: Science Café session at the Sultan Qaboos University Farm on growing fruit and vegetables at home

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Dr Nadiya Al Saady, executive director, Oman Animal and Plant Genetic Resources Center (OAPGRC) and organiser of the monthly Science Café initiative.

Encouraging urban agriculture is an important step toward building a more sustainable food system in Oman, suggested Dr Al Saady.

Trade Arabia News Service
Jan 20, 2016

Excerpts:

“Science Café attendees were shown how to grow their own fresh produce organically, no matter what skill level or how much space they have available,” remarked Dr Al Saady.

‘Organic Gardening – Time to Grow’ was a 90-minute crash course in urban agriculture, designed specifically to encourage people to think more about diet, health and the environment, said a statement.

It also covered the basics of how to grow organic edibles in the garden, patio, balcony or window-box. The focus was on what is easy to grow, how to choose what to plant and how to keep plants alive and thriving, it said.

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January 20, 2016   Comments Off on Muscat, Oman: Science Café session at the Sultan Qaboos University Farm on growing fruit and vegetables at home