New Stories From 'Urban Agriculture Notes'
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Category — Entrepreneurs

Interview with Karl Linn: Community Gardens: Reclaiming a Commons

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One of his accomplishments was to convince the Berkeley planners to turn over a piece of land next to a BART tunnel for the establishment of a communal garden, where it still exists—The Carl Linn Peralta Community Garden.

By Richard Whittaker
Works and Conversations
Apr 29, 2001

Excerpt:

RW: In establishing a commons, would you say, that ideally part of what it would consist of would be a garden?

Karl Linn: Well in the past I saw an interesting development. I worked in about ten cities and established two non-profit corporations and inspired about eight others that were the first pioneering community design centers where volunteer professionals worked with economically disenfranchised neighborhoods helping them to build these common areas—architects, landscape architects, anthropologists, sociologists, lawyers, just name it. There was always some vegetation, but primarily we used recycled building materials, voluntary labor and tax delinquent land. From urban renewal demolition we used marble steps, bricks and flagstones.

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June 26, 2016   No Comments

Britain: Meet the city slickers who gave up everything to start a farm

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britfarmRosanna and Ian Horsley on their farm in Devon. Credit: Christopher Jones.

A growing number of people from outside the farming fraternity are buying up agricultural land in Britain and the properties that come with them. The amount of traditional farming families acquiring land and holdings has been depleting.

By Ben Pike
The Telegraph
21 June 2016

Excerpts:

There are three types of buyer entering the market. The investor (both private and corporate), who sees farmland as a commodity; those who escape to the countryside at the weekend and won’t tend the land themselves; and the new breed of ‘good lifer’, who has ditched the city day job and are ploughing all their funds and business acumen into running the farm themselves.

Residential buyers are also piling in, lured by the large farmhouses that often come with the land. “Some buy at £1?million and some at £20?million. They want to combine a lifestyle move with involvement in active farming,” says Lawson.

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June 26, 2016   No Comments

New York’s public floating food forest raises $32,000

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In 2016 in New York City people will be able to visit a barge containing edible, perennial plants. We want to reinforce water as a commons, and work towards fresh food as a commons too.

By Adam Born
City Metric
June 14, 2016

Excerpt:

A leased barge, measuring in at 120 x 30 feet, will provide the foundation for a forest growing a range of produce. Whilst touring piers around New York state for six months, the forest will accommodate up to 300 people per day coming aboard, exploring and foraging for anything from herbs, berries and kale to kiwis.

The project is partly inspired by the growing urban agriculture movement found in New York City, now home to the largest rooftop farms in the world. From what was once a hobby for a few keen enthusiasts, this expansion has been supported by grassroots movements, volunteering and municipal programs.

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June 19, 2016   No Comments

Tasty Greens Neighbourhood Farms – New in Vancouver BC

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Microgreens: Sweet Corn, Wheatgrass, Daikon, Oriental Mustard, Curly Cress, Arugula, Fenugreek, Red Cabbage, Sunflower, Beet, Broccoli, Garlic Chives

By Samantha Dobo and Xche Balam

Tasty Greens headquarters is an East Vancouver character home on a popular bike path, which makes our 2 wheeled deliveries a breeze. We offer this punctual service by bicycle, because our aim is to be carbon neutral.

We recycle depleted soil, root mass and burlap via vermiculture and composting at our HQ. This creates nutrient dense soil to enrich future crops. Our Tasty Greens grow under ambient, led and florescent lights, in organic a medium and are grown from organic seed.

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June 17, 2016   No Comments

Atlanta’s pop-up vineyard

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povinAtlanta’s pop-up vineyard, seen against the backdrop of the city’s midtown skyscrapers. Photo Credit: Cathy Huyghe

The vineyard is temporary – it will be relocated to a private residence within the city later this summer. The bottom line is that it’s an exceptional example of local, urban agriculture that’s also inspiring for the space and the connections it creates.

By Cathy Huyghe
Forbes
June 6, 2016

Excerpt:

In midtown Atlanta, on 14th Street, this small vineyard “grew” directly as a result of this festival, its place in the city, and the idea of what agriculture means food and wine enthusiasts. Coming across this vineyard on 14th Street would be like coming across a vineyard as you walk along Van Ness in San Francisco, or Sixth Avenue in New York, or Beacon Street in Boston: very much not what you’re expecting yet, when you get over the initial confusion, it also very much makes perfect sense.

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June 12, 2016   Comments Off on Atlanta’s pop-up vineyard

Fun, fashionable products for the urban agriculture enthusiast!

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See 18 photos of their new collection here.

Fluffy Layers offers exciting new designs and ideas for farmers everywhere.

Excerpt from Fluffy Layers website:

Company Bio: Fluffy Layers is an agriculture-fashion company headquartered in Silver Spring, Maryland. With the resurgence of raising chickens and urban farming, Fluffy Layers provides unique designs and an innovative approach to utilitarian clothing. Its signature Egg Collecting Apron® offers a fashionable, fun, and functional way for chicken owners and their families to collect eggs each day. The apron keeps one’s hands free and doesn’t require a heavy and cumbersome basket during collection time.

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June 10, 2016   Comments Off on Fun, fashionable products for the urban agriculture enthusiast!

Baltimore vertical farmers teach restaurants to grow microgreens

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micrLarry Hountz and his wife, Zhanna, founded City-Hydro, an urban farm that uses LED lights and water to grow microgreens out of a second-floor room of their rowhouse near Patterson Park. They supply a dozen local restaurants with fresh microgreens and have expanded into selling equipments to help several restaurants start their own growing rooms. (Kenneth K. Lam, Baltimore Sun). Also see video on website. Click on image for larger file.

City-Hydro, an urban farm that grows microgreens for local restaurants, is piloting an onsite growing program for restaurants.

By Sarah Meehan
The Baltimore Sun
May 31, 2016
(Must see. Mike)

Excerpt:

Tucked in a back corner of La Cuchara’s dining room, baby radishes, lemon basil, arugula, sorrel and dill stretch their tiny leaves beneath the glow of LED lights, waiting to be snipped, sprinkled on dishes, briefly admired and gobbled up by diners.

The Woodberry restaurant is among the first in Baltimore growing microgreens onsite using a process created by the urban farm City-Hydro.

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June 5, 2016   Comments Off on Baltimore vertical farmers teach restaurants to grow microgreens

Examining press coverage of farm-to-table movement

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Laura Reiley also wrote an equally detailed and totally hair-raising companion exposé of farmers markets. She visited a dozen different markets, counted 346 discrete vendors and found that only 16, or less than 5 percent, of “farmers” actually grow stuff on their own farms.

By Bret Thorn and Nancy Kruse
Nation’s Restaurant News
May 27, 2016

Excerpt:

Reiley read menus at restaurants that mentioned the farms where their food was supposed to have come from, then she asked the farmers if they sold to those restaurants, and when they said they didn’t she confronted the restaurants and asked them why they were such liars.

Sometimes it was an oversight — a menu that hadn’t been rewritten after purveyors were changed — sometimes it was more nefarious, and sometimes it was pretty darn insulting, like the restaurant with the tagline “Death to Pretenders” that pretended to make its own cheese curds and claimed to use wild local shrimp when in fact it was farm-raised in India.

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June 3, 2016   Comments Off on Examining press coverage of farm-to-table movement

‘Farmacation’: California student startup to connect local farmers with city dwellers

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Connecting farmers in the San Francisco Bay area with urbanites who want a taste of rural living and are willing to pay for it.

Editor: Hou Qiang
Xinhua
2016-05-27

Excerpt:

“To both of us, food is so much more than sustenance,” Toombs said in a press release from UC Berkeley on Thursday. “It’s a means of creating community, and a way to foster connectedness with the world around us.”

While its business model is expected to be finalized this summer, the seeds of Farmcation began to sprout last summer, when Lesser and her then-fiance moved to her family’s farm in western Massachusetts, where they grew an acre of vegetables and raised 65 chickens to serve to their 240 wedding guests later that August.

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June 1, 2016   Comments Off on ‘Farmacation’: California student startup to connect local farmers with city dwellers

New Crop of Companies Reaping Profits From Wasted Food

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surplAndrew Northrup, a “produce hustler” at Cerplus, carries strawberries left over at the end of a farmer’s market in South Berkeley, Calif.

“I’m convinced there’s a business that’s a kind of Uber for refrigerated trucks,” said Jesse Fink, a founder of the travel site Priceline who now calls himself a food waste evangelist.

By Elizabeth D. Herman
For The New York Times
May 24, 2016

Excerpt:

He cited examples like the Forager Project, Misfit and Back to the Roots. “Many of these emerging brands incorporate food waste and upcycling products” — using once-discarded materials as components of new products — “as part of their brand portfolio.” Others, he said, are working to solve the unusual distribution and logistics challenges posed in using food scraps.

Some of the new businesses can bootstrap their operations, since they are essentially taking inexpensive or free scraps from others. But many have taken outside investment.

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May 28, 2016   Comments Off on New Crop of Companies Reaping Profits From Wasted Food

Tyson Gersh, 26: Co-founder and president, The Michigan Urban Farming Initiative

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rcainTyson Gersh is a Crain’s 20 in their 20s winner for 2016.

Over the past five years, he’s led 8,000 volunteers to produce 50,000 pounds of food, feeding over 2,000 individual city households. And he’s nowhere near done.

By Laura Cassar
Crain’s Detroit Business
May 22, 2016

Excerpt:

“The role of MUFI is not simply to use vacant land to feed food-insecure individuals, but rather to position itself as a driving force in rethinking how urban spaces are developed and to model the many ways that urban agriculture adds value to modern urban spaces,” Gersh said.

Now, in addition to 300 crops, the farm features nearly a dozen offshoot projects, including a public composting toilet, an off-grid shipping container home designed as a cost-competitive pilot for repurposing blighted housing stock, and a retention pond made from the foundation of a blighted home that supplies an off-grid automated drip-line irrigation system to the adjacent farm.

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May 26, 2016   Comments Off on Tyson Gersh, 26: Co-founder and president, The Michigan Urban Farming Initiative

This Indonesian Startup Lets City Dwellers Play FarmVille In Real Life

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Help a local farmer invest in seeds and watch your investment bear fruit.

By Adele Peters
Co-Exist
05.18.16

Excerpt:

Someone living in a high-rise in Jakarta may not have a balcony, let alone a garden plot for growing food. But an Indonesian startup is working to turn city dwellers into virtual farmers: Through the platform, called iGrow, someone can invest in seeds for an underemployed farmer in a rural area, and then get regular updates as the food grows. When the crop is sold, seed investors share in the profits.

“The main thing is [to] create food security for all people,” says founder Iqbal Muhaimin. “We want people to participate in food security by making them say, ‘I grew my own food.'”

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May 23, 2016   Comments Off on This Indonesian Startup Lets City Dwellers Play FarmVille In Real Life

Seattle’s Lark restaurant will source veggies from co-housing rooftop

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Lark joins a small set of Seattle restaurants with a patch of dirt available to grow some of their own ingredients including Poppy and its off-Broadway herb garden. Volunteer Park Cafe and Terra Plata too, have gardens too. Meanwhile, the Wandering Goose has kept its own bees.

By J Seattle
Capitol Hill Seattle
May 6, 2016

Excerpt:

A Capitol Hill restaurant is taking its dedication to locally sourced ingredients to a new level. Lark announced Friday it is collaborating on an urban garden high above 12th Ave atop the new Capitol Hill Urban Cohousing building:

We are thrilled to be partnering with Capitol Hill Urban Cohousing (CHUC) and Seattle Urban Farm Company in a new venture that redefines ‘local’ for Lark’s food sourcing.

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May 14, 2016   Comments Off on Seattle’s Lark restaurant will source veggies from co-housing rooftop

Ball State students build prototype mobile greenhouse for urban agriculture

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“This is a prototype that lends itself to the sort of transient nature of the urban farm, which … is moving toward the mainstream,” says Timothy Gray, associate professor of architecture.

By Seth Slabaugh,
The Star Press
May 5, 2016

Excerpt:

“Urban farming by its nature tends to be transient and temporal,” Gray said. “A lot of urban farming springs up on areas in inner cities suffering from attrition and old factory sites and building demolition sites. By nature, these areas tend to be subject to the whims of development. It might be a great spot at one point in time but as development shifts in the city, urban farms are the first thing to be dislocated.”

Urban farms also tend to be on marginal properties. The CUE Farm, for example, is in a floodplain where permanent facilities aren’t permitted. “Since it’s on wheels, it’s not a permanent facility,” Gray said.

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May 12, 2016   Comments Off on Ball State students build prototype mobile greenhouse for urban agriculture

Albany Bistro offers new urban garden as farm-to-table movement takes hold in Decatur, Alabama

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alrfChef Jake Reed waters the Albany Bistro sustainable urban kitchen garden, Wednesday. Photo: John Godbey.

The Albany Bistro owners said there have been talks about a roof-top garden as well as bee hives to provide honey and pollinate their plants.

By Evan Belanger
Decatur Daily
May 1, 2016

Excerpt:

This month, Albany Bistro upped the stakes, announcing the establishment of the region’s first urban, onsite garden where it will grow 21 varieties of heirloom tomatoes, as well as peppers, lettuces, cucumbers, zucchini, okra, squash and dozens of fresh herbs for the restaurant.

Brown said the onsite garden will supplement their locally grown produce supply and serve as a demonstration that urban agriculture is possible for restaurants and consumers.

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May 7, 2016   Comments Off on Albany Bistro offers new urban garden as farm-to-table movement takes hold in Decatur, Alabama