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Category — Environment

How Walking in Nature Changes the Brain

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Walking and biking on a gravel trail along the new Arbutus Greenway in Vancouver, BC.

These results “strongly suggest that getting out into natural environments” could be an easy and almost immediate way to improve moods for city dwellers, Mr. Bratman said.

By Gretchen Reynolds
New York Times
July 22, 2015

Excerpt:

City dwellers also have a higher risk for anxiety, depression and other mental illnesses than people living outside urban centers, studies show.

These developments seem to be linked to some extent, according to a growing body of research. Various studies have found that urban dwellers with little access to green spaces have a higher incidence of psychological problems than people living near parks and that city dwellers who visit natural environments have lower levels of stress hormones immediately afterward than people who have not recently been outside.

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September 12, 2016   Comments Off on How Walking in Nature Changes the Brain

Dubai’s Sustainable City Includes Urban Farming

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There is a 3 hectare farm running across the City’s central spine. This community farm accommodates 38,000 sqft (3,500 sqm) of Biodome Greenhouses dedicated to the growing of fruits, herbs and vegetables.

By Nick Webster
The National AE
Sept 4, 2016

Excerpts:

The city’s urban farm produces more than 20 kinds of herbs and will soon start growing fruit and vegetables once the productive landscape matures. About 2,000 date palms are on the property. Green compost is used on everything grown.

“We are also looking into composting our food waste, turning it into a resource that will improve our soils.

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September 10, 2016   Comments Off on Dubai’s Sustainable City Includes Urban Farming

The no-stink, no-mess, biodegradable food scrap container that goes right into your compost

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undersweb

Made from 100% recycled corrugated boxes

By Gabe, Greg and Glenn
PostModern

The idea for {POST}MODERN grew (literally) from stinky plastic buckets in our families’ kitchens. About 10 years ago, our hometown of Seattle started curbside collection of food scraps. We loved the idea of composting food waste, but the countertop containers and compostable bag liners were disgusting, wet, stinky additions to our homes. So, we started working on ways to make collecting food scraps easy and clean.

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July 31, 2016   Comments Off on The no-stink, no-mess, biodegradable food scrap container that goes right into your compost

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   Comments Off on Interview with Karl Linn: Community Gardens: Reclaiming a Commons

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

Climate change causes City Farmer to try different gardening techniques in Vancouver plot

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MikeSharonCity Farmer’s Michael Levenston and Sharon Slack, along with other staff, have created a climate-change adaptation garden. Photo by Carlito Pablo.

Inside City Farmer’s office is a copy of Resilient Gardens 2016: Climate Change, Stress Disorders, Pest Update. Levenston and Slack recommended this new book by Salt Spring Island–based pest-management and gardening expert Linda Gilkeson.

By Carlito Pablo
Georgia Straight
June 8th, 2016

Excerpt:

Last summer was so hot that many probably thought it was one for the books. Well, it turned out that Earth in 2015 had its warmest summer in recorded history. It was another sign that the planet is heating up, due mainly to human-induced greenhouse-gas emissions into the atmosphere.

For some folks in Vancouver, the dry conditions at the time made gardening so challenging that they immediately started an experiment.

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June 9, 2016   Comments Off on Climate change causes City Farmer to try different gardening techniques in Vancouver plot

Honeybees pick up host of agricultural, urban pesticides via non-crop plants

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perdyEntomologist Christian Krupke at the Purdue Bee Laboratory with pollen collected by Indiana honeybees. (Purdue Agriculture photo/Tom Campbell)

Agricultural chemicals are only part of the problem. Homeowners and urban landscapes are big contributors, even when hives are directly adjacent to crop fields.”

By Keith Robinson
Purdue University
May 31, 2016

Excerpts:

“Although crop pollen was only a minor part of what they collected, bees in our study were exposed to a far wider range of chemicals than we expected,” said Krupke. “The sheer numbers of pesticides we found in pollen samples were astonishing. Agricultural chemicals are only part of the problem. Homeowners and urban landscapes are big contributors, even when hives are directly adjacent to crop fields.”

Long, now an assistant professor of entomology at The Ohio State University, said she was also “surprised and concerned” by the diversity of pesticides found in pollen.

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June 4, 2016   Comments Off on Honeybees pick up host of agricultural, urban pesticides via non-crop plants

The real value of urban farming. (Hint: It’s not always the food.)

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citry(Artisticco/Shutterstock)

The environmental benefits of urban farming get even more complicated when we consider indoor “vertical farms,” which are often touted as a sustainable option that use less soil and water. Although designs differ, some of these set-ups can use an enormous amount of energy, especially if they require artificial lighting.

By Brad Plumer
VOX
May 16, 2016

Excerpt:

“It’s hard to make sweeping generalizations here,” Santo told me. When designed right, urban farms can make some modest but valuable improvements to the sustainability of our food system. But when designed poorly, they can end up being even worse for the environment — say, if they’re using fertilizer inefficiently and polluting nearby waters with nitrogen run-off.

In our conversation, Santo mentioned one feature of urban farms that often gets shortchanged in dry policy discussions: “They can reconnect people with how to grow food.”

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May 22, 2016   Comments Off on The real value of urban farming. (Hint: It’s not always the food.)

Shorebird finds protection in Moncton-area community garden – New Brunswick, Canada

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kildThe white-bellied killdeer, described as “very vocal” is a shorebird you can find without going to the beach. (Alain Clavette)

“I think a mother killdeer could not have chosen a better place for a nest,” said Clavette.

By Paul Hantiuk
CBC News
May 07, 2016

Excerpts:

Community gardeners near the Moncton Area Control Centre were expecting to dig in for another planting season but instead found a killdeer had set up a nest right in the middle of their plot.

Charles Daigle, a photographer who works for NAV Canada in Riverview, found the bird when he went to till the garden. He has since done his best to make sure it would be protected.

“We’re going to be delayed a bit of course. I’m in charge of the garden but I talked to the people who are in charge of the building and basically we all made the decision unanimously to give the bird some space and let it do its thing.”

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May 14, 2016   Comments Off on Shorebird finds protection in Moncton-area community garden – New Brunswick, Canada

A meta-analysis of urban and peri-urban agriculture and forestry in mediating climate change

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Africa is undergoing an unprecedented urban transition both in pace and scale.

By Shuaib Lwasa, Frank Mugagga1, Bolanle Wahab,
David Simon, John P Connors and Corrie Griffith
Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability
2015, 13:68–73

Abstract:

This paper systematically reviews literature on urban and peri-urban agriculture and forestry (UPAF) in mediating climate change. The study includes both peer-reviewed and grey literature (274 literature sources), and synthesizes evidence and agreement on both UPAF’s potential and limitations for mitigating and adapting to climate change. Eight East and West African cities were included in the review: Accra, Addis Ababa, Dakar, Dar es Salaam, Douala, Kampala, Ibadan and Nairobi. The review focuses on urban livelihoods, ecosystem services and urban policy responses as pathways to mediating climate change.

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May 3, 2016   Comments Off on A meta-analysis of urban and peri-urban agriculture and forestry in mediating climate change

Confronting the Dark Side of Urban Agriculture

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francFrancois Manchebo.

All urban agricultures are not sustainable, and some may even produce deleterious effects on the city inhabitants as well as on the city itself.

By François Mancebo, PhD,
Director of the IRCS and IATEUR, is professor of urban planning and sustainability at Rheims university. He lives in Paris.
The Nature of Cities
April 8, 2016

Excerpt:

Get back to the ground level: conventional farming within cities is potentially a much graver concern, be it located in a skyscraper or just in the ground. The big issue here is the dissemination of pesticides and fertilizers as well as of the wastes and the by-products of industrial urban agriculture, especially in vine-growing or grain-growing regions—two agricultural productions with high added-value—where vines and fields are frequently incorporated in the city. The inhabitants of such cities are exposed to critical levels of pesticides on a daily basis without them even knowing. Well, they are beginning to know, and it appears that they are not happy at all.

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April 9, 2016   Comments Off on Confronting the Dark Side of Urban Agriculture

Japan is Combatting a Decline in Farming

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Chickens wander freely among the rice paddies and raised beds of City Farm Odaiba. Joshua Hunt.Click on image for larger file.

The earthquake, tsunami, and resulting nuclear disaster that rocked Japan’s Tohoku region in March of 2011 dealt a series of sharp blows to the 70,000 farmers living in Fukushima prefecture

By Joshua Hunt
Modern Farmer
March 23, 2016

Excerpt:

City Farm Odaiba, which sits atop a high-rise overlooking Tokyo Bay, on the manmade island of Odaiba, represents one of many initiatives aimed at reversing the farm-sector decline. Established in 2012 by real-estate behemoth Mitsui Fudosan as a kind of refuge for elderly farmers who had fled Tohoku after the tsunami, the community farm—with rice paddies, soybean fields, staked tomatoes, raised beds, and a flock of resident chickens—quickly became something more than a place for the displaced people to dirty their trowels.

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March 30, 2016   Comments Off on Japan is Combatting a Decline in Farming

Perspective: City farming needs monitoring

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andyAndrew A. Meharg.

In general, fruit and vegetables produced in city environments contain more undesirable substances than rural produce.

Andrew A. Meharg
Nature: International Weekly Journal of Science
March 16, 2016
Andrew A. Meharg is a plant and soil scientist at Queen’s University Belfast, UK.

Excerpt:

It may be possible to build new cities that avoid the current contamination issues. But in existing cities, where urban farming is an afterthought, some lateral thinking is required to give urban agriculture a future. Growing non-food crops such as textile fibre plants, biomass crops and timber would make use of urban and suburban waste land, green the city, recycle waste water and biosolids, and produce crops that currently take up rural land that is ideal for food production.

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March 23, 2016   Comments Off on Perspective: City farming needs monitoring

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Unveils Food Computers

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TED Talk: What if we could grow delicious, nutrient-dense food, indoors anywhere in the world? Caleb Harper, director of the Open Agriculture Initiative at the MIT Media Lab, wants to change the food system by connecting growers with technology.

Build a PFC, Climate Recipes, User Interface, Open Source, School Programs, The Future of Food

The Open Agriculture Initiative (OpenAG) is on a mission to create more farmers for the future of food production. We are developing the open source hardware and software platforms for sensor-controlled hydroponic and aeroponic agriculture systems.

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March 16, 2016   Comments Off on Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Unveils Food Computers

Groundfridge – the ultimate root cellar

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gorf

The company claims the storage capacity is comparable to that of 20 standard refrigerators, meaning it can hold up to 500 kilograms of food.

Designed by Floris Schoonderbeek
Award winner 2015
(Must see. Mike)

Excerpts:

Before fridges and electricity existed, digging a hole in the ground was just one of the many ways people went about preserving their perishables. Despite taking its cues from this old method, the Ground Fridge still feels like a fresh idea.

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March 7, 2016   Comments Off on Groundfridge – the ultimate root cellar