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Towards Regenerated and Productive Vacant Areas through Urban Horticulture: Lessons from Bologna, Italy

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Pictures of urban horticulture projects in Bologna.

Six case studies representing this variety of vacant areas were identified and evaluated

By Daniela Gasperi, Giuseppina Pennisi, Niccolò Rizzati, Francesca Magrefi, Giovanni Bazzocchi, Umberto Mezzacapo, Monique Centrone Stefani, Esther Sanyé-Mengual, Francesco Orsini, and Giorgio Gianquinto
Sustainability Journal
December 2016

Abstract:

In recent years, urban agriculture has been asserting its relevance as part of a vibrant and diverse food system due to its small scale, its focus on nutrition, its contribution to food security, its employment opportunities, and its role in community building and social mobility. Urban agriculture may also be a tool to re-appropriate a range of abandoned or unused irregular spaces within the city, including flowerbeds, roundabouts, terraces, balconies and rooftops. Consistently, all spaces that present a lack of identity may be converted to urban agriculture areas and, more specifically, to urban horticulture as a way to strengthen resilience and sustainability.

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January 19, 2017   No Comments

Dublin farmer and the tubers for Mars

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Andrew Douglas, shown with Jayden Whelan, left, and Malena Behan, hopes his potatoes will feed explorers like in The Martian. Photo by Andres Poveda.

Andrew Douglas, a horticulturist who set up Dublin’s first rooftop farm, plans to supply potato pods to a Nasa mission on the slopes of a Hawaiian volcano, where the space agency is simulating life on Mars.

By Gabrielle Monaghan
The Sunday Times Ireland
January 15 2017
(Must see. Mike)

Excerpt:

A version of the Irish potato will boldly go where no spud has gone before — to a Mars simulation habitat run by Nasa.

Andrew Douglas, a horticulturist who set up Dublin’s first rooftop farm, plans to supply potato pods to a Nasa mission on the slopes of a Hawaiian volcano, where the space agency is simulating life on Mars. Nasa is hoping to send humans to the red planet by the 2030s.

In 2013, Douglas set up a kitchen garden on the roof of the Chocolate Factory building in Dublin before moving it to the top-floor science lab at Belvedere­ College. There are now 180 varieties of heritage and heirloom potatoes growing in upcycled water cooler bottles and artificial grass offcuts on the college’s rooftop. “Who better to help experiment with growing spuds on Mars than an Irishman?” said Douglas.

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January 15, 2017   No Comments

Urban Agriculture in Helsinki, Finland

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Behind hedges and in boxes, Helsinki’s urban citizens are active urban growers.

The oldest type of UA in Helsinki is a Siirtolapuutarhat, which translates to “colony gardens,” but in casual speech they are called cottage allotments. The first garden was founded in 1918 and at present there are nine gardens with a total of 1,926 plots.

Sophia E. Hagolani-Albov
Doctoral Student in Agricultural Sciences at the University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland
2017
(Must see. Mike)

Excerpt:

Finland has become a predominantly urban society. When Finland gained its independence in 1917, only 10 percent of the population lived in urban areas. By 1960 that figure had risen to 55 percent, and presently 70 percent of Finns live in urban areas, according to the Finnish Environmental Institute. Yet most Finns, even those living in cities, have close ties to their cultural heritage and agricultural roots in the countryside. This photo journey explores the spaces, places, and practices of urban agriculture (UA) in Finland’s capital, Helsinki. The city sits at latitude 60.6? N and has approximately 600,000 residents. This might not seem like a place well suited for urban agriculture, but an enthusiastic population of growers and the long summer days make this a hotbed of UA development.

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January 14, 2017   No Comments

Paris startup plans to grow produce in shipping containers

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agrc

Fruits and vegetables in Europe travel, on average, 1500 km before reaching your table. They’re harvested too soon and they are expected to ripen during the transportation process.

Agricool
Press Release
Nov 23, 2016

Excerpt:

Agricool is a startup created in 2015 by Gonzague Gru and Guillaume Fourdinier, two sons of farmers who couldn’t find any high-quality fruits and vegetables in the city. The problem was obvious: fruits and vegetables sold in cities don’t have any taste and they’re full of pesticides. The reason was obvious, too: fruits and vegetables in Europe travel, on average, 1500 km before reaching your table. They’re harvested too soon and they are expected to ripen during the transportation process. What’s worse, they’re selected precisely for their ability to travel instead of for their taste. And why do they come from so far away? Because space is rare: in France, 25 square meters of agricultural land disappears each second. So if we want to eat high-quality fruits and vegetables, we need to find a way to grow them in cities.

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December 12, 2016   Comments Off on Paris startup plans to grow produce in shipping containers

Spain: Network of Community Urban Gardens in Madrid organizing short film festival “Humus Film Festival”

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See some of the short films received in last year´s competition.

Wanting to receive short films from gardens in cities around the world, to enrich this festival

By Alberto Peralta
Organizer Humus Film Festival
Next event: Mar 24-26, 2017

This festival welcomes all perspectives and approaches to urban agriculture, whether amateur or professional, from surrealist or poetic visions to humorous or realistic scenarios.

Looking people who might be interested in telling a funny, personal or surreal story about the garden and the city.

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December 8, 2016   Comments Off on Spain: Network of Community Urban Gardens in Madrid organizing short film festival “Humus Film Festival”

Wales: This Gardener Regularly Grows 100-Pound Vegetables

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Phillip who is one of 13 children, cultivated his green-fingered wizardry in the family garden.

From Great Big Stories
and Wales Online – David Owens
(Must see. Mike)

Growing up in a family of 13, Phillip Vowles learned to appreciate the effort it took to feed all his brothers and sisters. So when he started harvesting his own crop, he decided to supersize his venture. As Phillip says, “big vegetables feed big families.” Today, his giant veggies top-out at over 100 pounds and can feed more than just a few families.

“I’m retired now but I spent a life in farming after leaving school,” he said. “I was made redundant and then became a self-employed gardener, so you could say it’s in my blood.”

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December 5, 2016   Comments Off on Wales: This Gardener Regularly Grows 100-Pound Vegetables

AUPA PROJECT: ‘Urban Agriculture and Food Vulnerability’.

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aupa

By Thomas Ducrocq
INRA/AgroParisTech, UMR SAD-APT
Equipe Agricultures Urbaines, Paris

My work done on the impact of gardenning in the diet of gardeners comes from 5 comunity gardens (jardins associatifs) located in deprived neighbourhoods in Paris, France, and its close suburbs.

This work is the conclusion of the 1st year of the French part of the “AUPA: Agriculture Urbaine et alimentation des Populations Vulnérables (urban agriculture and food vulnerability)” project. AUPA is led simulteanously in Sevilla (Spain) and Paris by researchers from Fance (Christine Aubry, Jeanne Pourias, Thomas Ducrocq: AgroParisTech/INRA) and Spain (Raul Puente Asuero and Ana Zarandieta-Jaen, Universidad Pablo de Olavide, Sevilla).

This works explores two main topics:

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December 4, 2016   Comments Off on AUPA PROJECT: ‘Urban Agriculture and Food Vulnerability’.

Sicily: A community garden in Librino, Catania

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sicily
Close up of gardens in 2013. Click on image for larger file.

There are about 40 gardens presently

By Roberto
Volunteer with the project
Nov 30, 2016

We started our work about 20 years ago as a non profit association working with the children in a suburban district of Catania (Sicily), Librino, where there was a high crime rate.

As volunteers we focused on after-school activities. After ten years, someone had the idea to start a rugby team to help children. We chose rugby, because it is a contact sport and can help children to unload their daily stress because they see so much brutality in their district. It also teaches them many positive attitudes such as respect for rules, and respect for rivals, etc.

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November 30, 2016   Comments Off on Sicily: A community garden in Librino, Catania

Paris: Vegetables, fish and hops to be farmed on Parisian rooftops and car parks

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roparis

33 teams have been selected by the City of Paris for the Parisculteurs project, which aims to use rooftops and car parks in the capital for vegetable, fish and hops farming.

FreshPlaza
11/17/2016
(Must see. Mike)

Excerpt:

Amongst those selected are landscapers, farmers, architects, associations and start-ups. 13 of the locations are being made available by the City of Paris and 20 by partners (social housing, RATP- public transport operator, private companies…).

Whilst all of the projects have agroecology in common, they also each show a huge variety in farming techniques including : aquaponics, aeroponics, permaculture, growing in pots, mushroom hydroponic. Assistant to the Mayor and in charge of green spaces, Pénélope Komitès, says that “They are concrete responses to the climate and food double challenge that towns and metropolises are faced with”.

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November 24, 2016   Comments Off on Paris: Vegetables, fish and hops to be farmed on Parisian rooftops and car parks

Trendiest restaurant in Copenhagen is situated in a rooftop farm

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rodan Click on image for larger file. ØsterGRO, whose fields are the setting of the restaurant. See the farm here.

Stedsans ØsterGro has a 600-square metre urban rooftop garden where organic produce grows right in the middle of Copenhagen, Denmark.

The Local
Nov 7, 2016

Excerpt:

“I always wanted to have a restaurant at a place that really reflected the way I cook. So when we heard about the rooftop farm – the first in Scandinavia – I told Flemming, ‘This is it. This is where I want to show my food to the world. Here in these fields, with people sitting in this greenhouse in the middle of the city.’”

So that’s exactly what they did. The couple asked the rooftop farmers if they could build a small restaurant in the greenhouse.

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November 14, 2016   Comments Off on Trendiest restaurant in Copenhagen is situated in a rooftop farm

Du Jardinage Au Paysage

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parisg Click on image for larger file.

Comment les jardiniers des jardins associatifs contribuent-ils à la construction de paysages alimentaires ?

Par Anne-Cécile DANIEL
AGROCAMPUS OUESTCentre d’Angers – Institut National d’Horticulture et de Paysage
2011-2012

Excerpt:

« Ilots de verdure » situés généralement en milieu urbain ou périurbain, les jardins associatifs sont des espaces sur lesquels des individus membres d’un groupe associatif pratiquent le jardinage. On y cultive principalement des légumes, fruits, condiments et fleurs, mais aussi des éléments qui vont bien au-delà des plantes cultivées, comme les liens sociaux, les loisirs, l’éducation à l’environnement, la citoyenneté etc. Gérés par des associations, ces espaces peuvent être sous forme de parcelles collectives ou bien délimités en plusieurs lopins de terre individualisés, et ce, pour la grande joie des personnes qui y ont accès.

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November 12, 2016   Comments Off on Du Jardinage Au Paysage

Sweden’s Railway Gardeners – Tragard pa Sparet (Garden on the track)

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trac Click on image for larger file.
A general view of Tragard pa Sparet (Garden on the track) in Stockholm, Sweden. See slideshow of city farming in Sweden.

An increasing number of Swedish city-dwellers are growing their own in window boxes and allotments or are visiting public gardens built in or on industrial or office spaces.

Photography by Maxim Shemetov. Reporting by Helena Soderpalm.
Reuters
Nov 9, 2016

Excerpt:

Inspired by New York’s Highline, a garden built on an elevated railroad, and Berlin’s Prinzessinnengarten, a reclaimed wasteland, a Stockholm neighbourhood has turned a disused railway into a communal space for hundreds of amateur gardeners.

Five years ago, local man Philipp Olsmeyer wanted to make his Sodermalm area greener and contacted local authorities with his idea for the Tradgard pa Sparet – Swedish for “Garden on track”.

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November 10, 2016   Comments Off on Sweden’s Railway Gardeners – Tragard pa Sparet (Garden on the track)

Urban farming in Amsterdam: Green fingers in the city

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amstf
Urban farming in Amsterdam. Photo: Molly Quell.

From herb gardens to football pitches of pigs, that empty lot on the corner of your neighbourhood could be filled with a lot more than stray rubbish and weeds.

By Molly Quell
Dutch News
Oct 26, 2016

Excerpt:

One especially hot July day, 13 students from as far as Singapore trampled through a garden in Amsterdam Noord. As it was summer holiday, the university students missed the usual gardeners, a group of nine and 10-year-olds from a nearby primary school.

The students were participating in a month-long graduate course called The Urban Food Experience offered by the University of Amsterdam. As part of the course they were touring Voedseltuin IJplein, one of the many community gardens in the city. In fact Amsterdam has 188 registered city gardens, ranging from small community herb gardens to a football pitch full of pigs.

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November 4, 2016   Comments Off on Urban farming in Amsterdam: Green fingers in the city

El huerto curativo

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elcur

By Tomas Mata
Plataforma Editorial, 2012

Author:

After a professional career as a journalist, publisher, media consultant and startup mentor, mainly focused on sustainability, health and food, I am now in the process of launching a startup incubator for urban agriculture and local distribution in Barcelona. The aim is to create skills and technologies to promote food, energy and environmental sustainability, generate social inclusion and foster a circular economy.

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October 30, 2016   Comments Off on El huerto curativo

Goats guests of honor at Prague rooftop reception

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goatprg
A culture activist Ondrej Kobza sits on a chair next to two goats on the terrace of a rooftop community garden and cafe atop the Lucerna Palace in Prague, Czech Republic, October 20, 2016. REUTERS/David W Cerny

“Our goal is to have a community garden here, so that people could raise tomatoes, for example,” added Kobza, who has rented a 1,000-square meter space on top of the building completed in 1921 by the grandfather of late President Vaclav Havel.

By Jiri Skacel; Writing by Robert Muller; Editing by Andrew Heavens
Reuters
Oct 20, 2016

Two goats wander across the roof of Prague’s famous Lucerna Palace – the first beneficiaries of a new push to open up public spaces high above the packed streets of a crowded city.

The animals were guests of honor at the opening of a terrace on the city-centre landmark, whose lower floors hold the Czech Republic’s oldest cinema, a theater, a music venue, restaurants and an ornate shopping arcade.

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October 27, 2016   Comments Off on Goats guests of honor at Prague rooftop reception