New Stories From 'Urban Agriculture Notes'
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Category — Entrepreneurs

Farmers in India’s city fringe villages have switched to growing lawn grass

Around 400 acres of land in Chande village are being used for lawn grass farming. Photo Manoj Bidkar.

Move over sugarcane, tomato, onion and sundry other traditional farmland crops. Farmers minting money like never before.

By: Sandip Kolhatkar
Pune Mirror
Apr 5, 2015,


For the past six to seven years, almost 90 per cent of farmers in Chande village, close to the Rajiv Gandhi IT Park in Hinjewadi with a population of 800, have turned to carpet grass manufacturing, minting money like never before. Neighbouring Nande village has also followed suit with this far more lucrative farming option.

Jotiba Mandekar, a young famer in his 40s, had first mooted the idea of lawn grass farming in early 2000, after tips from a Karnataka-based gardener.

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April 12, 2015   No Comments

Portland’s ‘Your Backyard Farmer’ Transforms Yards into Organic CSAs, Part 1

Donna Smith and Robyn Streeter. Donna and Robyn originally created the company Your Backyard Farmer and began CSA farming operations in the backyards of their clients because they were having trouble accessing land to start their farm. Photo by Lisa D. Holmes.

“Seattle Urban Farms is doing it. Farmscapes in L.A. is doing it. Most of the people we’ve taught are still active. Green City Growers in Boston is doing very well.”

By John Clark Vincent
Mother Earth News


“We showed up at a client’s home, and they had pulled every one of their pea plants out of the ground. So we asked them where the pea plants went, and they told us they were looking for peas. They thought they were in the roots, and we were like, holy cow, you don’t know what peas are? So we told them they should go to the grocery store and look at the produce and figure out what all these vegetables actually look like,” says Robyn Streeter.

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April 9, 2015   No Comments

AKER : print your urban farm

AKER Crowdfunding Video from Tristan Copley Smith on Vimeo.

Start growing your own food this Spring with these flat pack, open source urban farming kits.

AKER is efficient and designed to make maximum use of space for growing food: balconies, rooftops and small to medium sized gardens are perfect. Each kit is also material efficient, fitting onto a single 4’x8′ sheet of material.

AKER needs no tools and snaps together without needing screws or glues. That means no mess and a quick, simple assembly for any kit (with documentation!).

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April 8, 2015   No Comments

Pittsburgh law students tackle urban agriculture and food policy issues

Jaclyn Clifford and Marlene van Es will soon be graduating from the University of Pittsburgh Law school and are starting a firm for legal aid to entrepreneurs who want to start environmental oriented businesses in the city.Photo by Robin Rombach/Post-Gazette.

By Diana Nelson Jones
Pittsburgh Post_Gazette
March 26, 2015


“Jackie and I said, ‘This is what we’re passionate about and there’s a lack of legal services in this area,’” said Ms. van Es, a New York native with a degree in agriculture from Cornell University.

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April 6, 2015   No Comments

GroCycle Online Course Will Bring Network of Mushroom Growers

Step-by-step instructions to turn anyone into a used coffee ground mushroom farmer

We decided to bring this ultra eco-friendly idea to the rest of the world with our GroCycle Online course. People from 15 countries have already joined us. It’s the first DIY program that gives step-by-step instructions to turn anyone into a used coffee ground mushroom farmer! We recently rolled out our Kickstarter campaign and received an amazing response from all over the world.

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March 30, 2015   Comments Off

Mushroom Mini Farm Sold in Whole Foods, Home Depot


What started as curiosity about urban farming has turned into a passion for “undoing food”

From Back to the Roots website:

In a college class, we learned that mushrooms could grow on recycled coffee grounds. After watching hours of how-to videos and turning our fraternity kitchen into a big science experiment, we eventually decided to give up our corporate job offers to instead become full-time mushroom farmers. What started as curiosity about urban farming has turned into a passion for “undoing food” and reconnecting families to it through fun, delicious and sustainable “ready to grow” and “ready to eat” products.

What type of mushroom does the Mushroom Mini Farm grow?

Our mushroom mini farm grows gourmet Pearl Oyster mushrooms. They’re commonly found in Europe and Asia and are used increasingly in a variety of cuisines for their velvety texture, smooth taste, and dense nutrient content.

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March 24, 2015   Comments Off

LED powered CounterCrop coming to kitchens in July

Successful Kickstarter campaign raised $132,911.

Features & Benefits

Sleek Design – It’s the modern way to grow your food. CounterCrop’s clean lines and industrial design make it look great on any kitchen counter. Whether you’re whipping up mojitos with fresh mint or cutting enough greens for an entire salad, your CounterCrop is a great conversation starter when hosting dinner parties too.

Clean, Controlled Growing – Forget the dirt. CounterCrop’s self-contained, advanced hydroponic system delivers water and light at just the right time. Not to mention, with indoor gardening, you won’t have to worry about inclement weather or outdoor pests destroying your food.

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March 20, 2015   Comments Off

Minneapolis Restaurant’s Basement Tilapia Farm!

See video of aquaponic farm here.

Gandhi Mahal restaurant owner hopes basement aquaponic farm is just the beginning.

By Eric Roper


In a humid room beneath Gandhi Mahal restaurant, local officials watched Thursday as owner Ruhel Islam plunged his arm into a tank and threw a wriggling tilapia into a bucket of ice water. The waste from those 100 fish helps fertilize the surrounding beds of tomatoes, peppers, herbs, celery and spinach.

“Should I go for one more?” Islam asked the crowd, jammed into the 650-square-foot room.

Aquaponics is a growing business in the Twin Cities and across the country, but local operations are typically large-scale production facilities that sell to grocery stores and restaurants. One of the most prominent examples in the urban core is at the former Hamm’s brewery in St. Paul, which is now filled with thousands of fish and plants.

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March 18, 2015   Comments Off

Toledo, Ohio, City council hears from urban farming groups

This restaurant grows some of its own food.

If local residents bought just 5-percent of their produce from local gardens and farms that could inject $305 million into the local economy.

By Bill Hormann
13 ABC
Feb 25, 2015


El Tipico is one of those small, family- owned restaurants that has built its reputation on good food.

Since 1968, the owners have grown their own and do their best to buy local produce…

But they need to buy more.

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March 8, 2015   Comments Off

Noocity Growbed from Portugal

It consumes up to 80% less water than conventional cultivation systems.

From their Indiegogo page:

The Noocity Growbed is an unique and efficient self-watering and self-fertilizing (optional) gardening system. Easy to assemble and low maintenance, it allows you to plant a wide variety of fruit, vegetables and medicinal herbs anywhere.

Through the supply tube you fill the water reservoir. Points of capillarity allow plants to obtain the water they need, when they need it, while the ventilation area guarantees perfect oxygenation of the root zone, resulting in stronger, healthier and more resilient plants.

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March 4, 2015   Comments Off

‘Freight Farms’ Grow Local Flavor, Year-Round

Containers on roof.

At this point, their business is breaking even.

By Jeremy Hobson
Here and Now
Feb 17, 2015


In a city, you can grow enough produce using this technology to make a scaleable business. So you can sell wholesale as well as retail and have a real business,” Shawn told Here & Now’s Jeremy Hobson.

The couple is currently growing greens including kale, cilantro, mustard greens and wild mint. Like a library of plants, the greens are neatly organized in towers of leafy green. Mustard greens, with their wasabi-like finish are something that restaurants request.

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February 27, 2015   Comments Off

What nobody told me about small farming: I can’t make a living


People say we’re “rich in other ways,” but that doesn’t fix the ugly fact that most farms are unsustainable

By Jaclyn Moyer
Feb 9, 2015
(Must read. Mike)


Whenever a customer asked how things were going, I replied, Great. I thought about the sinking ship, and never said, Well, we’re making ends meet, but we work 12 hour days, 6 days a week, and pay ourselves only what we need to cover food and household expenses: $100 per week. I didn’t tell anyone how, over the course of the last three years since Ryan and I had started our farm, I’d drained most of my savings. I didn’t admit that the only thing keeping the farm afloat was income Ryan and I earned through other means — Ryan working as a carpenter and I as a baker.

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February 11, 2015   Comments Off

Microsoft’s Café 34: Success with urban farming

Photo credits: Scott Eklund. Pictured in image, Jessica Schilke.

The pair hopes to grow 100 percent of the Microsoft’s microgreens in house, or about 270 trays per week, by the beginning of the next fiscal year in July.

By Aimee Riordan
Microsoft News Center Staff
February 9, 2015
(Must read. Mike)


Welcome to Dining Microsoft’s urban farming experiment, where microgreens are used as a topping on pizzas and other dishes served at the café. They’re also often the finishing touch on entrees served in the adjacent “in.gredients,” a space created for local restaurateur John Howie and is currently home to guest chef Maria Hines of Tilth fame.

The greens, available in the café’s “Gather” salad bar, are often the first to go, says Jessica Schilke, urban farming specialist for Microsoft’s Dining and Beverage Services. “We get lots of great feedback about how they taste,” she adds.

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February 10, 2015   Comments Off

Real Food Farm in Baltimore continues to grow crops in the winter, employs city residents

Hearty greens like kale, spinach and arugula grow quite well during the winter.

Megan Knight
Jan 16, 2015


Real Food Farm sits on about six acres in Clifton Park, just off The Alameda. In the summer, it is a bustle of activity, with volunteers working under the hot sun harvesting crops. While it’s not quite as busy in the winter, but that doesn’t mean the farm gets a break.

“We’re here in an urban environment on smaller scale so we need to maximize our space and extend the growing season to have some income coming in the door year round,” said Tyler Brown, farm manager at Real Food Farm.

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February 6, 2015   Comments Off

From music man to urban farmer


Green City Acres, a commercial urban micro farm in Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada.

By Shayna Tanen
Gainsville Com
January 23, 2015


He generates around $50,000 a year on about one-quarter of an acre of land, and he will show Gainesville residents how to make money by starting their own suburban micro farms.

“You can start farming anywhere and produce a considerable amount of product with really simple techniques,” Stone said.

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February 1, 2015   Comments Off