Category — Environment
Universidad Politécnica de Madrid researchers assess potential risk for human health associated with metals in urban gardens
Results show that there exist significant differences in the average total concentration of the elements among the studied urban gardens depending on their localization and previous uses of the soil.
Nov 11, 2015
Researchers from the School of Mining and Energy Engineering at UPM collected samples of arable soil layers of different urban gardens and assessed the metal content and the physicochemical properties of the soil. Most of the risk assessment models are based on the total concentration of pollutants in the environment, but they do not consider that just one part is really absorbed by our organism.
November 19, 2015 No Comments
The garden, attached to the absorption center, began with 10 furrows (trenches used to plant seeds)—one per family—then grew to 50, and eventually to 100, with more currently being planned.
By June Glaze
Nov 6, 2015
“They can plant whatever they want, including fruits and vegetables they had in Ethiopia that they miss in Israel. It’s wonderful to see families working together, using their skills, feeling proud of themselves. And when they leave the absorption center for new homes, they bequeath their furrows to new families coming in,” Katzenell said.
“These are people who came here with no jobs, no Hebrew, and with traditional [agrarian] knowledge that, living in an urban environment, they couldn’t pass on to their children,” said Moran Slakmon, co-director of Earth’s Promise with her husband, Adam Ganson.
November 13, 2015 No Comments
A pear hanging from a LUrC sampled urban fruit tree in Dudley Triangle. Dan Brabander and student Ciaran Gallagher taking in-situ measurement of fruit tree bark with XRF-NITON. Credit: Ciaran Gallagher and Dan Brabander.
“The intersection of urban geohealth and citizen science is an emerging research paradigm for prioritizing projects that have immediate implications for designing best practices that promote a wide expression of safe and sustainable urban agriculture.”
Via the Geological Society of America
Nov 2, 2015
The League of Urban Canners study investigated the concentrations of lead in urban fruits when they were peeled and unpeeled as well as washed and unwashed. That was intended to distinguish whether the fruits were taking up lead internally or being contaminated by dry deposition from the air or from soil dust.
“We found there was no difference between these variables,” said Ciaran Gallagher, an undergraduate researcher majoring in Environmental Chemistry at Wellesley College, who will be presenting the research on Monday, Nov. 2 at the annual meeting of the Geological Society of America in Baltimore. Gallagher will be co-presenting with geoscience undergraduates Hannah Oettgen and Disha Okhai.
November 9, 2015 Comments Off on Hunting down hidden dangers and health benefits of urban fruit in Baltimore, Maryland
Launched by: Fondation Nicolas Hulot (FNH), the International Urban Food Network (IUFN) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)
Highlighting the strategic links between SUSTAINABLE FOOD, SUSTAINABLE URBAN DEVELOPMENT and CLIMATE CHANGE, this initiative will showcase successful mechanisms and approaches to help respond to the challenges of achieving sustainable urban food systems in a changing climate. And it will usefully add to policy discussions for COP21, and beyond.
What will CLIMATE CHANGE URBAN FOOD initiative bring you?
4 webinars (2 in English, 2 in French) featuring international experts and practitioners discussing keys of implementing synergies between climate and food action at local level.
September 30, 2015 Comments Off on Climate Change Urban Food Initiative – Webinars Oct/Nov 2015
Enhancing gardens as habitats for flower-visiting aerial insects (pollinators): should we plant native or exotic species?
This experiment has shown that flowering garden plant assemblages can provide a resource for pollinators regardless of the plants’ origin and that the greater the resource available the more pollinators will visit.
By Andrew Salisbury, James Armitage1, Helen Bostock1, Joe Perry, Mark Tatchell and Ken Thompson
Journal of Applied Ecology
Aug 11, 2015
1. Domestic gardens typically consist of a mixture of native and non-native plants which support biodiversity and provide valuable ecosystem services, particularly in urban environments. Many gardeners wish to encourage biodiversity by choosing appropriate plant taxa. The value of native and non-native plants in supporting animal biodiversity is, however, largely unknown.
2. The relative value of native and non-native garden plants to invertebrates was investigated in a replicated field experiment. Plots (deliberately akin to garden borders) were planted with one of three treatments, representing assemblages of plants based on origin (native, near-native and exotic). Invertebrates and resource measurements were recorded over four years. This paper reports the abundance of flower-visiting aerial insects (‘pollinators’) associated with the three plant assemblages.
August 18, 2015 Comments Off on Enhancing gardens as habitats for flower-visiting aerial insects (pollinators): should we plant native or exotic species?
In terms of the new draft law, no person would be allowed to use or allow the use of human excreta as fertiliser, while people would also be barred from irrigating vegetables and plants with raw waste water.
By Andrew Kunambura
Aug 6, 2015
THE Harare City Council (HCC) is set for renewed tension with residents after it approved the amendment of a by-law that seeks to halt the rampant use of raw human waste as fertiliser.
The new by-law sailed through a full council meeting last Thursday and now awaits ministerial approval.
At law, all council by-laws have to be approved by the Minister of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing.
August 17, 2015 Comments Off on Raw Human Waste As Fertiliser For Urban Agriculture In Zimbabwe Linked To Typhoid And Cholera
Mark Bittman samples plants growing along the sidewalks of Oakland, Calif., with Philip Stark and Tom Carlson from the University of California, Berkeley.
Not only can wild edibles be sold at markets and to restaurants, they’re essential in maintaining soil health
By Mark Bittman
New York Times
Jul. 9, 2015
(Must see. Mike)
With Stark and Carlson, everything was different. We parked our car at a corner in West Oakland and within seconds these gents were pointing out sow thistle, mallow, dock, sourgrass, and nearly everything else you see here. Most of it was good enough to eat on the spot; some of it would’ve benefited from cooking. A portion … well, I’d ignore.
July 10, 2015 Comments Off on A Walk on the Wild (Edibles) Side in Berkeley
Feature documentary looking at the latest science about the health benefits of children re-connecting with nature
“I think that city farms could play a massive part in future health!”
By Toni Harman,
Producer / Director, A Probiotic Life
As well as the general point about the need for our children to reconnect with nature, the film explores the latest science that suggests young children could really benefit from being more exposed to more farm microbes.
We recently returned from filming on an Amish farm in Indiana where the children have remarkably low rates of asthma and allergies – the scientists hypothesise that a diet of locally sourced organic food plus the children being exposed to the microbes from farm animals from a very young age – these could be conferring considerable health benefits for the Amish children.
July 1, 2015 Comments Off on Feature documentary looking at the latest science about the health benefits of children re-connecting with nature
Norway’s capital is creating a route filled with flowers and ‘green roofs’ to protect endangered pollinators essential to food production
via The Guardian
25 June 2015
From flower-emblazoned cemeteries to rooftop gardens and balconies, Norway’s capital Oslo is creating a “bee highway” to protect endangered pollinators essential to food production.
“We are constantly reshaping our environment to meet our needs, forgetting that other species also live in it,” Agnes Lyche Melvaer, head of the Bybi, an environmental group supporting urban bees, which is leading the project.
“To correct that we need to return places to them to live and feed,” she explained, sitting on a bench in a lush city centre square bursting with early Nordic summer growth.
June 27, 2015 Comments Off on Oslo creates world’s first ‘highway’ to protect endangered bees
Agriculture is highly dependent on local weather conditions and, therefore, is expected to be highly sensitive to changes in climate in the years to come.
FAO Press Release
June 18, 2015
8 June 2015, Rome – Global warming will have profound consequences on where and how food is produced, and also lead to a reduction in the nutritional properties of some crops, all of which has policy implications for the fight against hunger and poverty and for the global food trade, experts say in a new book.
“Climate Change and Food Systems” collects the findings of a group of scientists and economists who have taken stock of climate change impacts on food and agriculture at global and regional levels over the past two decades.
“The growing threat of climate change to the global food supply, and the challenges it poses for food security and nutrition, requires urgent concerted policy responses … ,” wrote FAO Deputy Director-General Natural Resources, Maria Helena Semedo, in her foreword to the volume.
June 18, 2015 Comments Off on FAO Report: Climate Change And Food Systems
She sells the butterflies for education and events, including weddings. Releasing butterflies at special events is better for the environment than releasing balloons, which litter and can harm wildlife, she said.
By James bruggers
June 5, 2015
Blair Leano-Helvey is bringing a new twist to Louisville’s growing urban agriculture scene. She’s started a butterfly farm.
“It’s just like any other farm,” she said. “It’s just that we have very small livestock.”
And colorful, too.
June 14, 2015 Comments Off on Butterfly farm takes flight in Louisville, Kentucky
“If you don’t monetize these projects, they are going to fail.”
By: Christina Herrick
March 25, 2015
Although the vineyard is only three-fourths of an acre, Frazier did his homework on what to plant, where, and how. Frazier was a complete novice, so he immersed himself in learning.
He’s consulted with Greg Johns, manager of Ohio State University’s Ashtabula Agricultural Research Station, and David Popp of Bacchus Vineyard & Winery Services LLC, who serves as his viticulturist.
There are 14 rows, 21 vines per row, half Frontenac and half Traminette, chosen specifically for their cold-hardiness.
April 5, 2015 Comments Off on From Riots To Vineyard — A Story of Urban Revival in Cleveland, Ohio
The lack of an effective system of trash sorting and processing works against us, because much of the waste used for compost in the urban organic gardens has had previous contact with materials like cans, paints, and batteries, thrown indiscriminately into landfills all over the country.
By Rosa Lopez
1 March 2015
Nationwide, about 40,000 people work in urban agriculture projects on some 83,000 acres (130 square miles) that are divided into 145,000 parcels, 385,000 patios*, 6,400 intensive gardens and 4,000 urban organic gardens. These last under the leadership of the Ministry of Agriculture, although with some autonomy for crop management.
With these lands planted in populated areas, it has been the goal to reduce food insecurity, offer greater access to fresh produce and to expand green spaces in urban zones.
March 11, 2015 Comments Off on Havana, Cuba – Lettuces of Lead
Other pollinators don’t like urban areas as much as rural, but bees live in similar numbers across different landscapes
By Marissa Fessenden
February 12, 2015
Katherine Baldock, of the University of Bristol, surveyed pollinator abundance across 36 different sites that spanned farmland, nature reserves and urban areas. Her team counted honey bees, bumble bees and other flying pollinators. The group found that each area had about the same amount of total pollinators. Even though urban areas might not seem like the ideal place for flower-loving bees, those landscapes held more diverse bee species, though the other pollinators were less diverse and numerous. Baldock and her colleagues published their findings in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B.
February 24, 2015 Comments Off on City Bees Are Actually More Diverse Than Country Bees
Designing for Beauty and Biodiversity in the Home Garden
By Rick Darke and Doug Tallamy
A home garden is often seen as separate from the natural world surrounding it. In truth, it is actually just one part of a larger landscape made up of many living layers. And the replacement of the rich layers of native flora with turf grass greatly diminishes a garden’s biological diversity and ecological function.
February 18, 2015 Comments Off on The Living Landscape