Category — Environment
The Green Dragons program teaches about mental, physical and agricultural benefits in a combined program.
By Steve Annear
May 8, 2013
Here’s how it works: the Green Dragon approach starts with students growing their own seedlings that eventually get transplanted for full harvest either in an outdoor raised bed or garden, or in indoor greenhouses in Boston. The group has five agricultural sites around the city, including their largest one located at the South West Boston Community Garden in Roslindale.
According to Mike Cermak, one of the co-founders of Green Dragons, some of the earliest weapons used in martial arts were developed from modified farming tools, as a means of defense, something the program highlights when connecting the “common roots” of their teachings.
May 10, 2013 No Comments
When we eat food that’s been grown without chemicals, close to where we live, we reduce our fossil inputs and our emissions by 70%.
By Philip Be’er
Home Harvest Farms
What are we not being told about the short term impacts of global warming on the Vancouver area!! Learn how urban farming will contribute to the deceleration of global warming and could protect the value of property in Richmond and Delta while creating a billion green jobs around the world.
February 26, 2013 No Comments
The Badger Rock Middle School currently has 100 sixth and seventh-graders but will expand to 150 students next year. Students learn in a state-of-the-art building on Madison’s south side. The Center for Resilient Cities hosted a grand opening celebration on Sept. 18, 2012.
“Every single plant on this site — trees, shrubs and ground cover — is edible,” she said. “To my knowledge it is the only 100 percent edible landscape in the state. There’s not one blade of turf grass.”
By Jim Massey
The Country Today
Jan 15, 2013
MADISON — Middle school students on Madison’s south side don’t have to go far to learn how to grow, process and prepare their own food.
The students are immersed in the topic of food at Madison’s newest charter school, Badger Rock Middle School. The school, which opened in a state-of-the art building last fall, has an urban agriculture focus in conjunction with Growing Power, a nonprofit urban agriculture organization headquartered in Milwaukee. Growing Power has its Madison office in the Resilience Research Center, which also houses the school and the Resilience Neighborhood Center.
January 18, 2013 No Comments
Urban and peri-urban agriculture and forestry as a strategy for climate change adaptation and mitigation
Strategies could include adjustment of production systems, cropping patterns, selection of adapted crop varieties, diversification of cropping and/or farming systems, improved water management, using bio- and solid waste and rezoning for urban agriculture.
By Ir. Marielle Dubbeling
RUAF-Foundation (International network of Resource centres on Urban Agriculture and Food security)
The current challenges posed by climate change and its interaction with cities, urban poverty and food security are recognized globally. In its 2010 report, the World Bank makes a plea for innovative “outside-the-box” solutions to climate change adaptation and points out that environmentally sustainable solutions for food, water, energy and transport as integrated components of a city climate change adaptation and disaster risk management plan are needed (World Bank, 2010).
Urban and peri-urban agriculture and forestry (UPAF) is one of these “outside-the-box” solutions currently being considered. UPAF can play a strong role in enhancing food security for the urban poor, greening the city and improving the urban climate, while stimulating the productive reuse of urban organic wastes and reducing the urban energy footprint. A review of the literature indicates that UPAF helps cities to become more resilient in the following ways:
January 13, 2013 No Comments
Ten different models are in operation in urban locations such as rooftops, school yards and parking structures.
By Marcos Victorino
For over 30 years Agro Engineer Marcos Victorino has been developing technologies for urban agriculture projects in Brazil. With the increase of population in urban areas, few spaces available for deployment of gardens in new buildings, there is a need to create new technologies that fit in to urban structures. As there is little land vacant in big cities, the engineer developed an research project using roof tiles in order to assemble beds that are suspended.
The project is now success and ten different models are in operation in urban locations such as rooftops, school yards and parking structures.
January 5, 2013 1 Comment
$800,000 to develop demonstration gardens and $600,000 to build compost sites on urban farms or community gardens.
District of Columbia
Dept of the Environment
Dec 13, 2012
The Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) was awarded $800,000 to lead a partnership to develop demonstration gardens at recreation centers in each ward, providing greater access to healthy, local food. “Sustainability is at the core of DPR’s programmatic offerings,” said DPR Director Jesus Aguirre. “This grant will help create an urban-farm initiative to minimize food deserts and work with communities across the city to educate residents through programs at our recreation centers and the eight demonstration-garden sites.”
December 26, 2012 No Comments
“Behind the kitchen was Monique’s ever-expanding organic garden where she grew all her own produce.”
Extra Hot, No Water Blog
Sept. 30, 2009
Monique’s is a motley collection of tarp and wood structures and outlying tents, nestled at the foot of the forest right on the beach amidst the driftwood logs littering the length of the coast. As we walked closer, I realized there was a more permanent wooden structure set behind that turned out to be her house.
Monique is an extraordinary woman. She’s French Canadian and her husband, Peter, is a Ditidaht. She’s been living on the West Coast Trail for 20 years! She and Peter starting out selling snacks and drinks to hikers, hauling their wares each day the few kilometers to get to the coast but over time built their home directly on the WCT, expanding their offerings as they expanded their property.
November 18, 2012 No Comments
NYC’s urban farms face a climate reality check
By Cathy Erway
Nov 2, 2012
Stacey Murphy, founder of BK Farmyards, worries about how these drastic weather patterns might impact young people’s interest in farming. “With the percentage of farmers already having dropped to below 1 percent of the population, we are at risk of losing crucial farming knowledge,” she says. Murphy emphasized the importance of federal programs such as the Beginning Farmers and Ranchers Development Program, which has been in funding limbo since the 2008 farm bill expired last month.
On the other hand, it’s also possible that the weather will shape city farming for the better. “I foresee farmers using new growing strategies in response,” says Murphy.
November 12, 2012 No Comments
Research in Kenya suggests humans and animals living in close contact could be a cause of new diseases.
By Peter Greste reports from Nairobi, Kenya’s capital.
21 Oct 2012
Researchers in Kenya are warning that urban farms are helping spawn new diseases at an unprecedented rate.
The scientists found that larger slums and a growing demand for food are pushing humans and animals into closer contact, which could fuel the spread of epidemics.
October 22, 2012 2 Comments
This report provides a concise, practical, and scientifically-based overview of the typical conditions of urban soils, and offers recommendations for how such soils can be rehabilitated or reconditioned to support green infrastructure or urban agriculture.
US Environmental Protection Agency
EPA Publication No. 905R11003
Many urban areas are experiencing a significant increase in the number of vacant properties and a corresponding underutilization of substantial tracts of land. As part of efforts to revitalize these areas, communities are looking at green reuses of vacant properties, including parks, green infrastructure, and urban agriculture. The poor condition of the soils on these properties, however, can often be
a significant impediment to green infrastructure and urban agriculture uses. The soils are often severely compacted, lack sufficient organic matter, and can contain large amounts of construction debris, making them unsuitable as a growing medium.
This report provides a concise, practical, and scientifically-based overview of the typical conditions of urban soils, and offers recommendations for how such soils can be rehabilitated or reconditioned to support green infrastructure or urban agriculture. Reconditioning methods for improving poor quality soils will vary depending on soil conditions and the intended use of the site.
October 16, 2012 No Comments
Homeowners who keep chickens in their backyards have little way of knowing whether their eggs might be contaminated unless they have them tested themselves. Photo by Michelle V. Agins/The New York Times.
“It just takes a microscopic amount of lead to poison a child.”
By Julie Scelfo
New York Times
October 8, 2012
To the long list of food conundrums, add this one: new research has found elevated levels of lead in eggs from chickens in New York City’s public neighborhood gardens.
Preliminary results from a New York State Health Department study show that more than half of the eggs tested from chickens kept in community gardens in Brooklyn, Bronx and Queens had detectable levels of lead, unlike their store-bought counterparts. While lead is a naturally occurring element that is ingested in a variety of ways, it has been well established to be harmful to humans, even in very low quantities.
October 9, 2012 No Comments
Ecosystems provide three main kinds of services to the city: provisioning, regulating and enriching.
By United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)
and United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-HABITAT)
Urban agriculture can contribute to soil conservation, urban hydrology, microclimate improvement and urban biodiversity.
Where urban crops are produced for the local market, this markedly reduces the distance that food has to travel before it reaches the end consumer.
Even suburban gardens can support miniature ecosystems necessary for biodiversity – a recent study of 61 gardens in Sheffield, United Kingdom, ranging from tiny backyards to plots of land ten times larger, found 4,000 invertebrates, 80 kinds of lichen and more than 1,000 types of plant.
September 21, 2012 No Comments
Contra Costa Health Services say Richmond-grown fruits and vegetables are safe to eat and that they don’t expect any impact from the fire on soil or compost
By Wendi Jonassen
Richmond Confidential is an online news service produced by the Graduate School of Journalism at UC Berkeley for, and about, the people of Richmond, California.
August 24, 2012
After the Chevron refinery fire sent plumes of black smoke laden with chemicals into the air, Urban Tilth, one of Richmond’s urban agriculture organizations, wants the soil it uses to grow food tested for heavy metals.
Though the Contra Costa Health Services say Richmond-grown fruits and vegetables are safe to eat and that they don’t expect any impact from the fire on soil or compost, Doria Robinson, the executive director of Urban Tilth, said she worries about heavy metals like lead, arsenic, or mercury in the soil.
Other organic compounds that entered the air during the fire, like chloroform and ethanol, can be washed away, Robinson said, but heavy metals that can fall into the soil are particularly dangerous and hard to remove.
August 25, 2012 No Comments
In de Haagse Uitvinderswijk is de eerste Nederlandse Pothole Garden geplant op 22 april 2012.
Holes of Happiness
By Steve Wheen
This blog outlines a bunch of my gardening efforts around east London.
I don’t and never have claimed to be the first Guerrilla Gardener, or even the first pothole gardener for that matter – there are loads of examples of similar projects on the Guerrilla Gardening website. Pothole gardening seems to date back to a school group in the USA four years ago and there have been various other similar projects.
August 24, 2012 1 Comment
Halifax Regional Municipality (HRM), Canada
Environment Canada Science Horizon Youth Internship Program, Nova Scotia Agricultural College (NSAC), and the Halifax Regional Municipality (HRM). Ecology Action Centre (EAC)
This study was conducted to assess the level of heavy-metal contamination in the soils of urban gardens in the HRM. Four elements were chosen, and their concentrations in existing and potential urban gardens were measured. Soil samples were taken from specified locations following standard protocols. The following issues were addressed:
Development of survey design, sampling and analytical protocols; Identification of potential and existing urban gardens in the HRM; Selection of heavy metals of concern;
Collection, preparation and analysis of soil samples;
Comparison of the results of this study to studies conducted in other Canadian cities, and to background levels for native soils in Nova Scotia; and Investigation of potential spatial pattern for contamination occurrence within the HRM.
August 24, 2012 1 Comment
Trace metal concentrations in vegetable crops from plantings within inner city neighbourhoods in Berlin, Germany
By Ina Säumela, Iryna Kotsyukb, Marie Hölschera, Claudia Lenkereita, Frauke Webera, Ingo Kowarika
Department of Ecology, Technische Universität Berlin, Berlin, Germany
Botanical Garden of Khmelnitskij National University, Ukraine
Volume 165, June 2012, Pages 124–132
21 March 2012.
Food production by urban dwellers is of growing importance in developing and developed countries. Urban horticulture is associated with health risks as crops in urban settings are generally exposed to higher levels of pollutants than those in rural areas. We determined the concentration of trace metals in the biomass of different horticultural crops grown in the inner city of Berlin, Germany, and analysed how the local setting shaped the concentration patterns.
August 23, 2012 No Comments
“Don’t even dig. Buy a box and new soil. You’re better off with a clean area,” she said. “People have been living there for 300 years. It’s better to build up than dig down.”
By Georgia Kral
August 20, 2012
But all this toiling in the urban soil begs the question: is it safe?
The answer isn’t crystal clear — yet, but Green Thumb, the Parks Department organization that organizes gardens, distributes mulch and compost and offers education about gardening is currently investigating soil quality. In 2009, a consortium made up of Cornell University, Cornell’s Cooperative Extension in NYC, the New York State Department of Health and Green Thumb formed to determine the extent and distribution of metal elements in the soil and whether or not the produce grown in gardens is safe to eat. Just a fraction of the city’s community gardens are part of the study.
August 20, 2012 No Comments
Towards an agenda for Green communitarianism
By Christian Eriksson
From his blog
20 Aug, 2012
Of the many political movements to have sprung up over the past century, none have encompassed such a diverse range of beliefs as urban agriculture. Movements have taken Green, liberal, communitarian – even libertarian – forms, at once a testament to the movement’s flexibility and its apolitical nature. In this series of articles, I’ll be examining the many grandiose claims made on behalf of urban agriculture, and exposing a selection of delusions to which some of its adherents have been subject, beginning with the strange case of libertarian urban agriculture.
August 20, 2012 No Comments
Check with local zoning ordinances and keep it pretty to please the neighbors
By Tom Oder
Mother Nature Network
May 25 2012
Malone has made his garden neighborhood-friendly in a number of ways:
Giving his neighbors an open invitation to pick what they want when they want.
Leaving a dull knife near the street so neighbors can cut their own produce.
Using the garden as a teaching tool to help neighborhood children learn how to grow healthy food.
Donating food from the garden to a local food pantry.
July 27, 2012 No Comments
Plant Tomatoes. Harvest Lower Crime Rates.
Photographs by Emily Schiffer
Text by Alex Kotlowitz
July/August 2012 Issue
I suppose the easy thing to do would be to rail against food deserts, the dearth of fresh produce and other healthy foods for those living in impoverished neighborhoods. Or to enter the debate over whether there are, in fact, food deserts. (A couple of recent studies have suggested that proximity to decent grocery stores isn’t the key problem of inner-city nutrition.) But considering Emily Schiffer’s photos, I was reminded of Mother Teresa’s visit to a housing project on Chicago’s West Side in the mid-1980s. What rattled her was not the poverty of the pocketbook. She’d seen worse in India. Rather, it was what she called “the poverty of the spirit.”
July 24, 2012 No Comments