New Stories From 'Urban Agriculture Notes'
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Category — Entrepreneurs

Online questionnaire to be completed by Urban Agriculture Entrepreneurs

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MSc thesis student is exploring business models in urban agriculture

Shuang Liu (MSc student in Organic Agriculture, Wageningen University)
Han Wiskerke (Professor of Rural Sociology, Wageningen University)

Despite the growing attention and support for urban agriculture and the increase in urban farming businesses, little is known about the business aspects of UA. This is not only an omission in UA research, but it could also constrain the development of UA businesses in the future.

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October 22, 2014   No Comments

Yard Too Small For A Garden? Grow Vegetables Vertically

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Paul Langdon, of Wethersfield, and his vertical portable hydroponic garden. Photo by Stephen Dunn / Hartford Courant.

Won first prize in the sustainability category last weekend at the Maker Faire

By Christopher Hoffman
Courant
Sept 26, 2014

Excerpt:

The 43-year-old software engineer turned to hydroponics, or gardening without soil. Langdon and his friend Curt Downing of Glastonbury designed and built a compact, vertical hydroponic garden that grows 160 plants and is controlled from a cell phone.

Langdon and Downing aren’t the only ones who think the garden — made of PVC pipe, downspouts and gutters — is cool. Earlier this month, their rig won first prize in the New York Maker Faire’s sustainability category.

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October 19, 2014   No Comments

Wenatchee, Washington, where pot is legal: Farming city makes room for a new crop

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Click on image for larger file. Gardener Dustin Hurst talks about his operation at Monkey Grass Farms, an indoor marijuana growing company operating in East Wenatchee, Washington. “Raising cannabis is my favorite thing, and I can’t think of anything else I’d want to do,” he said. Marc Lester / ADN. See complete slide show here.

City Mayor Frank Kuntz voted in favor of the initiative. Nationally, “I think that’s where we’re headed … whether you like it or don’t like it.”

By Laurel Andrews
Alaska Dispatch News
Oct. 16, 2014

Excerpt:

Drive through East Wenatchee, past rows of tidy apple orchards, and you’ll come across Gecko Growers marijuana farm. Visible from the road, a 12-foot wall rises around the marijuana plants, in striking contrast to neighboring farms that have no fences or visible security.

“Beautiful, isn’t it?” co-owner Kevin Dietz said on a sunny September afternoon, standing on the deck overlooking the outdoor grow. He watched with crossed arms as co-owner and master gardener Gary Bryant disappeared and reappeared among the farm’s 259 plants, some of which reached 13 feet into the sky.

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October 18, 2014   No Comments

Roaming city farm on derelict Hull sites aims to combat food poverty in UK

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Grand Design: An artist’s impression of how the farm could look.

“Empty land doesn’t do anything for the aesthetic of the city and our idea is to use these derelict spaces to create something that will add value.”

By Hull Daily Mail
October 08, 2014

Excerpt:

The mobile farm will be housed in ship containers that reflect Hull’s shipping heritage, which can be easily moved to different locations around the city.

Mark said: “The concept is simple – we build a temporary site on unused land and if a developer wants the site back, we can simply pick it up and shift it to a new home.”

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October 18, 2014   No Comments

Angel City’s Limited Edition Rooftop Ale – Made with Rooftop Hops in LA


Meet Ray, Angel City’s resident farmer. Ray turns spent grain from the brewing process into compost, and grows hops on our rooftop garden in Downtown LA.

Roof-to-bottle – available in 22oz bottles and on draft

By Justin Bolois
Los Angeles Magazine
Oct 7, 2014

Excerpt:

Adjacent to the fruits and vegetables are blue 55-gallon drums used to grow Cascade, Chinook, and Columbus hops for the Rooftop Ale. Narkevicius devised his own drain-back irrigation system, and put coconut husks at the bottom of each drum to act as a filter. “The way he draws up schematics is amazing,” says Foerstner. “He’s like Da Vinci in that way.”

The Rooftop Ale is a light and citrusy pale ale—a great complement to the vegetal, grassy aroma that wafts from the garden. Narkevicius describes the whole thing as a grand “experiment.” They were able to harvest just under 14 pounds of hops, but he insists they have their sights set on a much larger yield for the next go-around. In the meantime, Narkevicius is busy toying with pH levels of the water and drawing up other ideas to expand his operation.

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October 13, 2014   No Comments

Female Urban Farmers Make Nude Calendar To Raise Money For New Land

From Ten-Speed Greens Urban Farm

By James Cave
The Huffington Post
09/26/2014

Excerpt:

Two Florida women hope that by selling a pin-up calendar featuring naked female farmers and strategically placed produce, they can raise enough money for a down payment on some new land.

That’s the pitch behind an Indiegogo campaign from Ten-Speed Greens Urban Farm. The company’s owners, Claire Mitchell and Danielle Krasniqi, are currently farm-less; the landlord of their previous farm wanted to build homes there instead. So the ladies and their friends decided to strip down — tastefully — and rally folks to donate to their cause.

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September 27, 2014   Comments Off

Spaces2Grow

“Our company provides tools and information designed to support food production at home.”

Excerpt from their FAQ:

Perhaps you want to grow your own food but don’t know where to start. Or you may think you lack space or knowledge or time to do the necessary research. Or you may be looking for someone to guide you through creating garden spaces and to continue to guide you as you plant, tend, harvest and store your food.

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September 27, 2014   Comments Off

Uk Mushroom Farm Recycling Coffee Waste

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“Growing mushrooms in this way is absolutely ideal for Urban Agriculture”

By Ben Messenger
Waste Management World
19 September 2014

Excerpt:

The UK’s first urban mushroom farm that grows oyster mushrooms using recycled coffee grounds has launched this week.

According to GroCycle, a project launched by Fungi Futures CIC, a social enterprise based in Devon, coffee grinds represent a huge waste stream and recycling them to grow protein-rich Oyster mushrooms is a showcase for how food can be grown sustainably.

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September 26, 2014   Comments Off

Chas Hodges’ rock ‘n’ roll allotment: From Chas & Dave to growing his own

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Chas Hodges from pop duo Chas & Dave in his Hertfordshire allotment. Photo by Luke Santilli.

Chas of the popular British rock/cockney (or rockney for short) band Chas & Dave.

By Jane Clinton
Express
June 22, 2014

Excerpt:

He is clearly in his element as he gives me a guided tour: “Come and smell this wild garlic,” he says pulling a piece from the earth. “It doesn’t get fresher than that.”

Next he holds up some newly unearthed spring onions: “You get them in the supermarket and there’s no smell. Hmm lovely,” he sniffs, and smiles. “Here, you can have that as a present.” He laughs as he hands me the first of many such gifts.

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September 25, 2014   Comments Off

Urban Farming’s Grande Dame: Karen Washington

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During the growing seasonn, Karen Washington works nearly every day in the Garden of Happiness, the community garden that she helped found in 1988 across the street from her home in the Bronx. Photo by Chester Higgins Jr.

A Believer in Vacant Lots

By Dan Shaw
New York Times
Sept 19, 2014

Excerpt:

Karen Washington, a community activist who has been called “urban farming’s de facto godmother,” found her bliss when she moved to the Bronx nearly 30 years ago and began growing vegetables in her backyard. Gardening was not part of her heritage.

“My parents and grandparents were not farmers,” said Ms. Washington, who recently retired after 37 years from her day job as a physical therapist. “I took out books from the library and learned what to do.”

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September 21, 2014   Comments Off

This startup in Beijing buys old shipping containers and turns them into urban hydroponic farms

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From left to right: Kazuho Komoda, Young Ha, and Stuart Oda.

The initial market will be limited to China.

By Paul Bischoff
Techinasia
September 8, 2014

Excerpt:

This 13-year-old shipping container in the middle of a field in Beijing’s Shunyi district might not be easy on the eyes, but it’s shaping up to be a godsend for the tongue. On the inside, it’s been completely renovated to house a fully automated hydroponic farm with 1,600 heads of lettuce, celery, and other leafy greens for human consumption.

The facility was designed and built by the three founders of Alesca Life Technologies, a Beijing-based sustainable agriculture startup. The team spent an entire year designing the unit for maximum efficiency and output. They just conducted their first full harvest about three weeks ago.

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September 17, 2014   Comments Off

The farm-to-vase movement: Local flower farms sprout on urban lots around New Orleans


Four New Orleans flower farms give a shout out to their favourite flowers.

The vast majority of cut flowers sold in the United States today are imported from Colombia, the Netherlands, Kenya, Israel

By Susan Langenhennig
NOLA.com – The Times-Picayune
August 20, 2014

Excerpt:

More than a decade ago, the soft-spoken gardener began growing roses, lilies, lavender and other flowers and fragrant herbs on a formerly blighted lot, now laid out in a neat parterre.

Interest in the less-traveled bouquet is finally catching up with her.

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August 30, 2014   Comments Off

University of Michigan graduate student uses vacant Detroit house for urban shrimp farming

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University of Michigan graduate student Lizzie Grobbel holding a young shrimp in a net. Photo credit: Clive Waldron.

“Detroit has an estimated 79,000 vacant homes, many of which the city wants to demolish.”

By Jeremy Allen
mlive
Aug 10, 2014

Excerpt:

Lizzy Grobbel, an environmental engineering master’s student and a Dow Sustainability Fellow at U-M, is pursuing a pilot project called “urban revitalization through sustainable small-scale aquaculture.”

Her mission: turning a vacant Detroit house into a shrimp farm.

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August 18, 2014   Comments Off

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

Excerpt:

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

Don’t Let Your Children Grow Up to Be Farmers

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From left, Josiah Venter, Noah Patrone-Werdiger and Toby Fischer remove rocks at Ro-Jo Farms in Bethany, Conn. Photo by Lili Holzer-Glier for The New York Times.

“In urban areas, supporting your local farmer may actually mean buying produce from former hedge fund managers or tax lawyers who have quit the rat race to get some dirt under their fingernails.”

By Bren Smithaug
New York Times
Aug. 9, 2014

Excerpt:

The dirty secret of the food movement is that the much-celebrated small-scale farmer isn’t making a living. After the tools are put away, we head out to second and third jobs to keep our farms afloat. Ninety-one percent of all farm households rely on multiple sources of income. Health care, paying for our kids’ college, preparing for retirement? Not happening. With the overwhelming majority of American farmers operating at a loss — the median farm income was negative $1,453 in 2012 — farmers can barely keep the chickens fed and the lights on.

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August 12, 2014   Comments Off