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Category — History

Philadelphia Obituary: Mary S. Corboy, city farm pioneer

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When Philadelphia magazine awarded Ms. Corboy the Philadelphian of the Year in 2008, the magazine wrote: “Armed with a BlackBerry and a sarcastic wit, Mary Seton Corboy is showing Philadelphia that the solution might be right beneath our feet.”

By Bonnie L. Cook
Philly.com
Aug 9, 2016

Excerpt:

In 1998, she found that vehicle in Greensgrow, a one-acre lot at 2501 E. Cumberland St. on which she built raised gardens and greenhouses to grow herbs and produce. What she couldn’t produce she had trucked in from local growers: peaches from South Jersey, tomatoes from Lancaster County, and meats, cheeses, and breads from farms within a short drive of Philadelphia.

The project was intended to breathe life into the long-neglected Philadelphia neighborhood – and it did.

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August 12, 2016   Comments Off on Philadelphia Obituary: Mary S. Corboy, city farm pioneer

Warsaw, Poland, Children working in a vegetable garden during WW2. From the collection of Yad Vashem

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polkids Click on image for larger file. During the first half of 1940, the organization’s aid activities focused on opening public soup kitchens and distributing food to the needy, on taking in the thousands of Jewish refugees and POWs who were pouring into the ghetto, and establishing institutions for childcare.

Janusz Korczack’s orphanage was situated at 92 Krochmalna Street and housed 150 children.

Photographer: Foto Forbert, Warszawa
Origin: Judenrat, Warsaw
ad Vashem Photo Archive

A short time after Warsaw was occupied by the Germans, the Jewish community organized a social welfare committee known as the Zydowska Samapomoc Spolczna (Jewish Social Self-Help), or the ZSS, in order to provide social assistance to the Jewish residents. Funding for the activities came primarily from the Polish branch of the Joint, which was also located in Warsaw. The Joint, short for The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, was an agency that had been founded by Jews in America in 1914 in order to provide aid for Jewish communities located outside the United States. Since it was an American institution, the Joint was permitted to continue its activities in occupied Poland.

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July 23, 2016   Comments Off on Warsaw, Poland, Children working in a vegetable garden during WW2. From the collection of Yad Vashem

Restoring Urban Fringe Landscapes through Urban Agriculture: The Japanese Experience

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“As for food, such was the primacy of urban agriculture, fruit and vegetables were named after the Edo suburbs known for producing them.”

Prof. Dr. Makoto Yokoharia, Marco Amatib, Jay Bolthousec & Hideharu Kuritad
The Planning Review
Volume 46, Issue 181, 2010
Special Issue: Metropolitan Peripheries
pages 51-59

Abstract:

This paper advocates the re-establishment of garden zones both in and around cities. Mixed land-use garden zones are conceptualized as spaces where urban residents can craft their own local food cultures and agro-biographies in response to the globalization of agriculture and food consumption. The case for creating garden zones is made by first outlining the legacy of post-war growth and planning policies, which attempted to clearly demarcate the line between urban and agricultural use. And, second, investigating the current demographic shifts which threaten the existence of domestic agricultural production and necessitate a new pro-urban agriculture planning paradigm. To develop this new planning paradigm, the third section looks back at the city of Edo to identify the urban agricultural heritage of what is now the modern-day megalopolis of Tokyo.

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June 22, 2016   Comments Off on Restoring Urban Fringe Landscapes through Urban Agriculture: The Japanese Experience

Historic, Hidden Gardens Producing Peaches in the Suburbs of Paris

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parpeachThe north-south orientation of the walls and the ability of limestone to trap the sun’s heat provided a few extra degrees of warmth for the fruits, allowing them to flourish farther north than their usual habitat.

At its high point, this area produced upwards of 15 million fruits a year, thanks largely to the murs à pêches, or ‘peach walls’. Established in the 17th century, this clever network — some 500 hectares of walls — helped protect the peach trees from the cold.

By Anna Brones
AtlasObscura
June 16, 2016

Excerpt:

The peaches of Montreuil became famous. They attracted royalty, earned a horticulturalist a prestigious Legion d’Honneur, and spurred an agricultural industry. Yet eventually, urban sprawl engulfed the walls.

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June 21, 2016   Comments Off on Historic, Hidden Gardens Producing Peaches in the Suburbs of Paris

Dig for victory: vegetable growing during WWII in pics

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undergAn employee of London Underground and a companion tending cabbages in a field beside South Harrow Station, September 1939.

17 great photos from The Telegram

Excerpts from comments on the site:

My Mother at 14 at the end of WWII was sent as a Landgirl to Sommerset from South East England.She remembers the Prisoners of war working in adjacent fields and there was strict no contact between the two groups.It is estimated that when Churchill talked the Wartime Cabinet to continue fighting the wwII after Dunkirk and the fall of France there was only 6 weeks reserves of food in Britain and start of starvation,and the Battle of the Atlantic was fierce 1940-1941. Yep they were sure rolling the dice and gambling with all the average peoples lives.

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June 11, 2016   Comments Off on Dig for victory: vegetable growing during WWII in pics

Cotswold Club 1944 – Growing their own, the Village Produce Association during WW2

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Rare 12 minute film.

There’s even a role for the children in bringing up the rabbits for food too!

Director: Charles de Lautour
United Kingdom 1944
Strand Film Company
Ministry of Information for Ministry of Agriculture
Donald Taylor, Edgar Anstey

If you can’t buy it, why not grow it yourself? If you’ve too much, then why not sell at the village produce stall? With WWII in full swing and many foods rationed, the Village Produce Association comes into its own in this film shot in the Cotswold village of Somerton, Oxfordshire.

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June 6, 2016   Comments Off on Cotswold Club 1944 – Growing their own, the Village Produce Association during WW2

World War 2: Use Spades Not Ships

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Artist: Abram Games

Creator
GAMES, ABRAM (artist)
Chromoworks Ltd, Willesden, London (printer)
Her Majesty’s Stationery Office (publisher/sponsor)

Before the Second World War, Britain had imported 55 million tons of food each year. Merchant shipping was immediately targeted by German U Boats and additional capacity was needed to import war materials. The ‘Dig for Victory’ campaign launched at the outbreak of the war encouraged the cultivation of gardens and allotments. Millions of instructional leaflets were issued and by 1943, over 1.4 million people had allotments and were producing over a million tons of vegetables a year.

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June 3, 2016   Comments Off on World War 2: Use Spades Not Ships

Rare UK video, 1942: Greenford and Northolt Dig for Victory Campaign

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From the plot to the pot

(Must see. Mike)

The Chairman of the Allotment Gardens Committee
Councillor A. J. Johnson
1942

Take up your trowels! During WWII, Britain’s food imports were severely restricted and local councils across the country commandeered public and private land for the growing of vegetables and crops. Here, an Ealing councillor implores local residents to take on an allotment to help feed the nation. ‘Dig for Victory’ was one of the war’s most iconic and successful mass publicity campaigns.

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June 2, 2016   Comments Off on Rare UK video, 1942: Greenford and Northolt Dig for Victory Campaign

‘Guinness For Strength’ Advertising

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Excerpt from Victoria and Albert Museum

Advertising of Guinness began on a national scale in 1929, through the advertising agency S. H. Benson. The collaboration between the copy-writer R. A. Bevan (son of the painter Robert Bevan), the art director Dicky Richards, and the artist John Gilroy, resulted in some of the most memorable posters ever produced. During Gilroy’s long association with Arthur Guinness Son & Co. Ltd., he invented the famous Guinness menagerie of toucans, seals, ostriches, camels, giraffes, etc. – based on studies he made at the zoo.

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June 1, 2016   Comments Off on ‘Guinness For Strength’ Advertising

Mel Bartholomew, an Engineer Who Popularized Square Foot Gardening, Dies at 84

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melMel Bartholomew in his square foot garden in Old Field on Long Island. Photo Credit Roger Thurber.

He concluded that 80 percent of a garden was wasted space — “space that doesn’t need to be fertilized, watered or improved, but does need to be weeded.”

By Sam Roberts
New York Times
May 8, 2016

Excerpt:

Mr. Bartholomew turned to gardening after retiring at 42 from his engineering and construction firm — a New Jersey concern that had worked on several State University of New York campuses — and moving his family to Long Island.

There, frustrated with weeding and watering rows of vegetables in his backyard, he applied his engineering expertise to conceive a densely packed, 12-foot-by-12-foot subdivided plot. It soon captured the imagination of aspiring horticulturists, introduced a bountiful harvest of vegetables into diets around the world, and inspired a public television program and a book that sold an estimated 2.5 million copies.

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May 10, 2016   Comments Off on Mel Bartholomew, an Engineer Who Popularized Square Foot Gardening, Dies at 84

Tucson, Arizona has a 4,100-year-old continuous history of agriculture inside the city limits.

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UNESCO recognizes Tucson as a City of Gastronomy

By Von Diaz
Splendid Table
April 1, 2016

Excerpt:

In December 2015, Tucson, Arizona, was named a City of Gastronomy in the Creative Cities Network by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). It is the first city in the U.S. to receive the designation.

Gary Nabhan, W.K. Kellogg Chair in Southwest Borderlands Food and Water Security at The University of Arizona, explains what that means for the city.

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April 7, 2016   Comments Off on Tucson, Arizona has a 4,100-year-old continuous history of agriculture inside the city limits.

From Cows to Concrete: The Rise and Fall of Farming in Los Angeles

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Forthcoming May 14, 2016

By Rachel Surls and Judith Gerber
Angel City Press
May 2016
(Must see. Mike)

Excerpt:

Q: What inspired you and [co-author] Judi Gerber to write this book?

It was different for both of us. During the time I was the UC Cooperative Extension County Director – this was about 15-20 years ago – I came across some statistics for farming in Los Angeles County that really surprised me. Once – relatively recently – Los Angeles County was a huge agricultural producer, but no one seemed to know this. It was once the largest, most bountiful agricultural county in the U.S. (for four decades, between 1909-1949). It’s now primarily urban and is the most populated county in the nation. So there was this extreme turnabout in only 40-50 years. I was intrigued.

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April 5, 2016   Comments Off on From Cows to Concrete: The Rise and Fall of Farming in Los Angeles

Edible Memory: The Lure Of Heirloom Tomatoes And Other Forgotten Foods

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These are the heirlooms and the antiques of the food world, endowed with their own rich histories.

By Jennifer A. Jordan
Chicago University Press
2015

Jordan begins with the heirloom tomato, inquiring into its botanical origins in South America and its culinary beginnings in Aztec cooking to show how the homely and homegrown tomato has since grown to be an object of wealth and taste, as well as a popular symbol of the farm-to-table and heritage foods movements. She shows how a shift in the 1940s away from open pollination resulted in a narrow range of hybrid tomato crops. But memory and the pursuit of flavor led to intense seed-saving efforts increasing in the 1970s, as local produce and seeds began to be recognized as living windows to the past.

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March 2, 2016   Comments Off on Edible Memory: The Lure Of Heirloom Tomatoes And Other Forgotten Foods

Vincent van Gogh: ‘Montmartre – Windmills and Allotments Paris’, March/April 1887

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From the Van Gogh Museum. Click on image for larger file. (Must see. Mike)

The expansion of the city is alluded to on the left by the large apartment building that rises above the fields.

Montmartre was still semi-rural in Van Gogh’s time, with allotments and farms. The windmills were a popular destination for day-trippers. The mill on the right, Le Blute-Fin, had a pavement café with a magnificent view of Paris, while the smaller windmill was nicknamed the Moulin à Poivre (‘peppermill’). The expansion of the city is alluded to on the left by the large apartment building that rises above the fields.

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February 22, 2016   Comments Off on Vincent van Gogh: ‘Montmartre – Windmills and Allotments Paris’, March/April 1887

Film: “The Seer – A Portrait of Wendell Berry”

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The most powerful way to draw a portrait of such an accomplished thinker and artist with a painfully lucid voice is to attempt to get behind his eyes and to imagine the world as rural farmers see it.

In 1965, Wendell Berry returned home to Henry County, where he bought a small farm house and began a life of farming, writing and teaching. This lifelong relationship with the land and community would come to form the core of his prolific writings. A half century later Henry County, like many rural communities across America, has become a place of quiet ideological struggle. In the span of a generation, the agrarian virtues of simplicity, land stewardship, sustainable farming, local economies and rootedness to place have been replaced by a capital-intensive model of industrial agriculture characterized by machine labor, chemical fertilizers, soil erosion and debt – all of which have frayed the fabric of rural communities.

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February 12, 2016   Comments Off on Film: “The Seer – A Portrait of Wendell Berry”