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Category — Environment

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   No Comments

The University of Minnesota is studying whether urban farming can reduce heat in metropolitan areas.

Robin Major of Stone’s Throw Urban Farm.

“If you’re farming in a city, then you’re taking what used to be an impervious surface with little vegetation and making it pervious and growing vegetation”

By Lyra Fontaine
Minnesota Daily
July 02, 2014


This summer, new University research will explore a new way of mitigating heat islands — urban farming — which could help reduce heat in metropolitan areas while providing a source of fresh produce and groceries to cities.

This has yet to be explored, said Katherine Klink, a geography, environment and society associate professor.

“People just haven’t thought of [urban farms] as a potential heat island mitigation strategy,” Klink said.

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July 18, 2014   No Comments

Greenhouse in Toronto’s Wychwood Park helps community gardens

Stop’s Green Barn: Greenhouse & Compost Demonstration Centre

Videographer Audra Brown visits a century old former streetcar repair building that has been converted into a greenhouse.
City News Toronto
June 1, 2014

Excerpt from Stop’s website:

The Stop’s Green Barn is a heritage building re-designed to Gold LEED environmental standards that grows year-round organic produce.

The Green Barn houses a 3,000-square-foot state-of-the-art greenhouse in which we grow a variety of produce, including kale, Swiss chard, lettuce, herbs, tomatoes, eggplant, peppers, grapefruit, pineapple, Meyer lemons, Mizuna mustard, baby bok choy, chilies, nasturtiums, geraniums, bananas, oranges, avocado, cassava, taro, sweet potato, Indian spinach, jade, lemon balm, figs, marigold, tamarind, radishes, sprouts, callaloo, aloe vera, and olive.

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June 10, 2014   Comments Off

Urban Agriculture – Innovative water recirculation systems

Fresh City workers trim sprouts. Credit: Fresh City.

How urban agriculture set-ups cultivate local produce with the help of innovative water recirculation systems.

By Saul Chernos
Water Canada
May 12, 2014


“We’re trying to reduce our footprint on the environment as much as we possibly can,” explains Lauren Rathmell, a founding member who oversees Lufa’s greenhouse operations. She says Lufa’s hydroponic greenhouses use up to 90 per cent less water than comparable ones that don’t recirculate. “It’s all automated. We irrigate most of our plants using drip lines set up where we water the plants from above. Water that’s not taken up by the plants and doesn’t evaporate is captured, sent down to our collection tank, filtered, and reused.” Some plants, mostly the lettuces, grow with their roots submerged entirely in gently flowing water, continuously irrigated. Others sit in soilless coconut husk grow sacs.

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May 26, 2014   Comments Off

Food Safety News – Safely integrating urban agriculture

Frequent Watering of the Victory Garden Is Necessary During the Early Stages of Growth. ca. 02:1943
Watering the Victory Garden. 1943.

While growing food within city limits is exciting for urban dwellers, it also raises some unique food safety issues.

By Kelly Damewood
Food Safety News
May 2, 2014


To be clear, my opinion is that urban farmers and gardeners can absolutely keep livestock safely within the city limits. However, my experience has been that urban livestock keepers are also more likely to be novices. As a result, I have seen some unfortunate situations where people underestimate the amount of attention baby goats need or the dedication it takes to milk a goat every day.

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May 23, 2014   Comments Off

When it comes to using pallets in the garden, proceed with caution

Sample ISPM logo showing the MB for methyl bromide treatment of the wood.

Pallet manufacturers in Canada and the United States must now either heat-treat or fumigate pallets as a precaution against such pests as the emerald ash borer.

Organic Gardening
June 2014


Discarded shipping pallets, long used as construction material by gardeners, have now been discovered by crafters. But recent regulations designed to prevent invasive pests from hitching a ride in the wood mean some pallets really shouldn’t be used in the garden or home (or burned for fuel, either).

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May 16, 2014   Comments Off

Concerns about toxic soils in New York’s Community Gardens

Photo by Richard B. Levine.

In New York City, there are more than 700 community gardens and urban farms.

By Vinnie Mancuso
New York Observer


Bad news for people who like to support their local community gardens when shopping for their vegetables. Good news for people who love ingesting arsenic and lead with their vegetables.

The New York Post reports that a study on soil contamination by the state Center for Environmental Health found toxic soil at 70 percent of New York’s gardens. A shocking 44 percent of the total gardens had lead levels above federal guidelines.

A Freedom of Information Law request by the Post revealed the exact names and locations those gardens most contaminated. Brooklyn did not come out looking so hot.

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May 13, 2014   Comments Off

RUAF: Urban Agriculture as a Climate Change and Disaster Risk Reduction Strategy


RUAF Urban Agriculture Magazine No. 27, March 2014

RUAF-Foundation (International network of Resource centres on Urban Agriculture and Food security)
March 2014


This issue is prepared with support of the UN Habitat Cities and Climate Change Initiative. It reports on the joint urban agriculture programme implemented by RUAF and UN Habitat. This issue also shares findings of a CDKN funded innovation project on monitoring urban agriculture impacts on climate change.

Cities and climate change are virtually inseparable. Cities are major contributors to Green House Gas (GHG) emissions and thus climate change.

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April 18, 2014   Comments Off

ARUP’s ‘Cities Alive’ – 3.1 Integrating Urban Food

Eco-city, China by Arup.

Report envisages cities of the future as integrated networks of intelligent green spaces, designed to improve the health and wellbeing of citizens.

Cities Alive
April 2014
160 pages

Excerpt: Pages. 85-89

“Rooftop farms in some of the world’s most crowded cities, including Hong Kong, New York and Tokyo, are adding green to the gray. They are reconnecting city dwellers with nature, teaching consumers about homegrown food and offering a glimpse, perhaps, of a more secure and sustainable food supply.”
—Mary Hui, New York Times (2012)

Many commentors now predict that we will see peak food around the world in the next two decades— we will begin to consume more food than we can possibly produce. Following that, alternatives to the current model of mass agriculture will have to be found. A big potential for an alternative model lies within the idea of the natural city.

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April 9, 2014   Comments Off

Adapting our food system to climate change is about more than just guacamole

Project Hope volunteer Sylina Alton, 16, harvests beets from a garden last September. Photo by Young Kwak.

The sky may not be falling, but 2014 could be the year when global climatic shifts finally hit home for the drastically under-prepared U.S. population.

By Taylor Weech
The Inlander
Mar 7, 2014


The people need their guacamole. Or so it seemed when the Internet exploded in rage and disbelief this week over a line in an otherwise mundane risk assessment sent to investors in Chipotle, the popular Mexican fast food chain. It concluded that climate change is affecting the price of some ingredients, like avocados and tomatoes, and Chipotle could be forced to cut out guacamole, at least temporarily.

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March 16, 2014   Comments Off

Melbourne Australia’s Community Hop Ale

Beer rep Steven Germain with We Make Beer partner in crime Dan.

The Circle Of Hops

Crafty Pint


One half of Make Beer is beer rep Steven Germain (above right with We Make Beer partner in crime Dan). At his home, he has 12 hop plants that he will be harvesting this weekend. His intention was always to create a fresh hop beer with them and, in part inspired by the fact he may not have enough flowers to do a 100 litre batch justice and also by a desire to launch a community project, he decided it would be even more fun if said beer featured hops grown by other people in their respective backyards.

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March 12, 2014   Comments Off

‘I cycled 5000 miles guerrilla gardening, trading seeds’

Our Urban Soil

By Tom Boyden
Trending City
Dec 19, 2013

I cycled 5000 miles guerilla gardening, trading seeds and working with organic and urban farmers in 9 countries. I filmed everything with the idea that I’d make a 3 minute action movie to get people thinking about our soil and the huge part it plays in the sustainability of our cities.

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December 22, 2013   Comments Off

Urban Gardening: Managing the Risks of Contaminated Soil

In 2012, 35% of U.S. households grew food, spending $3.3 billion in the process, up from 31% of households spending $2.5 billion in 2008. One million households participated in community gardens in 2008.

Former parking lots and car washes often carry metals, PAHs, petroleum products, solvents, or surfactants. Demolished commercial or industrial buildings may leave behind asbestos, polychlorinated biphenyls, petroleum products, or lead-based paint chips, dust, or debris. High-traffic roadways have a legacy of lead and PAHs from vehicle exhaust. Former parks and lands adjacent to railroad rights-of-way can bear pesticide residues.

By Rebecca Kessler
Environ Health Perspectives; DOI:10.1289/ehp.121-A326
(Must Read. Mike)

Author Rebecca Kessler is all too familiar with the difficulties and uncertainties of cleaning up dirty urban soil, having embarked on a multiyear project to convert a paved parking lot at her Providence, Rhode Island, home into a beautiful and fruitful garden.


The most thorough solution to cleaning up a garden is to remove the contaminated soil, then lay down a special fabric barrier topped with clean soil.4 But that’s a huge undertaking that can cost thousands of dollars, even for a small yard, putting it out of reach for most gardeners.

Simply installing the barrier fabric and new soil on top of the old is a more feasible option. So is building raised beds filled with clean soil—especially for root crops—and covering any exposed contaminated soil with mulch or grass. Less problematic soils can be amended by mixing in plenty of compost to dilute contaminants and bind them to soil particles. Gardeners can further reduce their exposure by peeling root crops, removing the outer leaves of leafy crops, washing their produce and hands before eating, and leaving dirty garden gear outside.

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December 3, 2013   Comments Off

New Scottish Bill proposes that local authority must provide allotments where there is demand

Edinburgh Allotments.

‘Consultation on the Community Empowerment Bill’

The Scottish Government
Riaghaltas na h-Alba
November 06, 2013

This consultation seeks views on a range of proposals intended to give people in communities, and those supporting them in the public sector, a range of new ways to help deliver a better Scotland.

Chapter 4 – Excerpt from Allotments section:

Local Authority Duty to Provide Allotments

173. Under existing legislation, where the local authority considers there to be a demand for allotments in their area, it is under a duty to acquire any suitable land for the purpose of letting as allotments. We intend to retain a similar duty which is set out in this section. Respondents to the Allotments consultation indicated that provision of allotments by the local authority should be linked to and triggered by demand.

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November 15, 2013   Comments Off

Louis Albert de Broglie, the Gardener Prince

Prince Louis Albert de Broglie, wearing a vest from his own Le Prince Jardinier line. Photo by Beatriz da Costa.

“Land is being treated as a dead body. We should be using our land to re-create local economy, and to give families a chance to eat healthy foods.”

By Anna Watson Carl
Wall Street Journal
Oct. 10, 2013


Friends also thought he was crazy, toiling away in his gardener’s hat, and they nicknamed him “Le Prince Jardinier” ( The Gardener Prince ). The name stuck. Soon he created a line of handmade gardening tools, clothing and furniture emblazoned with his nickname and embellished with a trowel and a straw hat. Originally carried by high-end stores like Bergdorf Goodman, today the line is sold at La Bourdaisière’s gardening boutique and on the ground floor of Deyrolle.

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October 30, 2013   Comments Off