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Category — History

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”

Indigenous Food Leader supports strengthening urban-rural bond through urban agriculture

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If we can strengthen the food bonds between urban Indian communities and reservation, rural and remote Indian communities and families, we can also improve the nutrition and health of both.

UC Food Observer
Jan 7, 2016

Excerpt:

Interview with Janie Simms Hipp, J.D., LL.M. is the founding director of the Indigenous Food and Agriculture Initiative at the University of Arkansas School of Law, the nation’s first law school-based initiative focusing on tribal governance, strategic technical policy assistance and Native youth and professional education supporting Native food systems.

Q: What about urban agriculture and Tribal Nations?

Janie: Many American Indians live in urban settings due to federal relocation policies. These families are many times strongly linked to “home” and often go back to their home communities for ceremonies and maintaining connections with the traditions and cultures of their tribes. If we can strengthen the food bonds between urban Indian communities and reservation, rural and remote Indian communities and families, we can also improve the nutrition and health of both.

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January 11, 2016   Comments Off on Indigenous Food Leader supports strengthening urban-rural bond through urban agriculture

Backyard Atomic Gardens of the 1960s and their Undocumented Legacy

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Another readily available atomic mutant Paige Johnson mentions is the ‘Rio Star’ grapefruit, “which accounts for 75% of the grapefruit production in Texas … bred solely to produce flesh and juice that is more red in color than previous varieties.”

By MessyNessy
Messiness Chic
2 Oct, 2015

Excerpt:

Have you ever seen a strangely misshapen tomato growing in your vegetable garden? A uniquely pigmented plant in your backyard that’s just not like others, able to thrive even in the harshest of seasons? There’s a very good chance that it could be an atomic heirloom from a forgotten atomic garden of the 1950s and 60s.

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November 29, 2015   Comments Off on Backyard Atomic Gardens of the 1960s and their Undocumented Legacy

Paris, 1914 – Market Gardens and Markets

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Color photography made in Paris using Autochrome Lumière technology between 1914 and 1918.

A wealthy banker of the time, Albert Kahn commissioned four photographers to create an archive of the period using the technique based on a series of color filters made from microscopic grains of potato starch dyed red, green and blue.

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November 28, 2015   Comments Off on Paris, 1914 – Market Gardens and Markets

Heirloom Harvest: Modern Daguerreotypes of Historic Garden Treasures

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“Probably the most famous commercial heirloom is the Moon and Stars watermelon.”

By Amy Goldman
Bloomsbury Press
Published Oct. 27 2015

On two hundred acres in the Hudson Valley, Amy Goldman grows heirloom fruits and vegetables–an orchard full of apples, pears, and peaches; plots of squash, melons, cabbages, peppers, tomatoes, eggplants, and beets. The president of the New York Botanical Garden has called her “perhaps the world’s premier vegetable gardener.” It’s her life’s work, and she’s not only focused on the pleasures of cultivating the land and feeding her family–she’s also interested in preserving our agricultural heritage, beautiful and unique heirlooms that truly are organic treasures.

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November 26, 2015   Comments Off on Heirloom Harvest: Modern Daguerreotypes of Historic Garden Treasures

Lily’s Victory Garden (Tales of Young Americans)

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By Helen L. Wilbur (Author), Robert Gantt Steele (Illustrator)
Sleeping Bear Press
February 17, 2010

When Lily learns about a lottery for land plots to grow Victory Gardens, she tries to apply. But when the garden club president tells her she’s too young to participate, Lily refuses to give up. She knows where there’s a house with a big yard. The Bishops live in the largest house in town. It also has the largest yard. But the Bishops’ son was the first soldier from the town to die in the war. Now Mrs. Bishop has hidden herself away in their house. When Lily asks Mr. Bishop for the use of a small plot within his yard, his grudging approval comes with the stern warning, “No bothering Mrs. Bishop.”

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November 7, 2015   Comments Off on Lily’s Victory Garden (Tales of Young Americans)

1844 – Kitchen Garden described in “The Count of Monte Cristo” by Alexandre Dumas

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Maximilian digging in his Paris market garden plot. From the 1888 Rutledge edition with over 500 illustrations.

Chapter 51 – Maximilian becomes a ‘city farmer’ so he can visit with his true love Valentine

“Horticulture seemed, however, to have been abandoned in the deserted kitchen–garden; and where cabbages, carrots, radishes, pease, and melons had once flourished, a scanty crop of lucerne alone bore evidence of its being deemed worthy of cultivation.”

Chapter 51: Pyramus And Thisbe
Maximilian Morrel visits his love, Valentine, the daughter of Monsieur Villefort.

Excerpt:

The proprietors of the mansion had many years before thought it best to confine themselves to the possession of the house itself, with its thickly planted court–yard, opening into the Faubourg Saint–Honore, and to the garden shut in by this gate, which formerly communicated with a fine kitchen–garden of about an acre. For the demon of speculation drew a line, or in other words projected a street, at the farther side of the kitchen–garden. The street was laid out, a name was chosen and posted up on an iron plate, but before construction was begun, it occurred to the possessor of the property that a handsome sum might be obtained for the ground then devoted to fruits and vegetables, by building along the line of the proposed street, and so making it a branch of communication with the Faubourg Saint–Honore itself, one of the most important thoroughfares in the city of Paris.

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October 22, 2015   Comments Off on 1844 – Kitchen Garden described in “The Count of Monte Cristo” by Alexandre Dumas

First Garden Manual in the Western World

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Written in Latin between 1304 and 1309 by Petrus de Crescentiis, a wealthy lawyer from Bologna in Italy, Ruralia Commoda was the only publication of its kind during Henry VIII’s reign.

Royal Collection Trust
The Queen’s Gallery
Buckingham Palace

Excerpt:

According to the manual, the size of the garden and the perfection of the trees and plants within it were an expression of a king’s status, wealth and mastery over his environment. A royal garden should occupy a plot of 20 acres or more, and the planting of fragrant herbs was recommended because they ‘not only delight by their odor, but … refresh the sight.’ The gardener should ‘between these plants … form turf in the fashion of a seat, flowering and pleasant.’ The royal garden should include walks and bowers, ‘where the king and queen can meet with the barons and lords when it is not the rainy season’ and should be surrounded by suitably high walls.

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September 27, 2015   Comments Off on First Garden Manual in the Western World

A restored historic site and urban farming training and education center in Boston

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An architect’s rendering shows the proposed renovation of the Fowler-Clark farm. Image Courtesy Historic Boston Incorporated.

Historic Boston Inc. will restore 18-19th century Fowler-Clark farm, home and barn

By Jule Pattison-Gordon
Bay State Banner
9/16/2015

Excerpt:

“We’ll be the key for urban agriculture in Boston,” said Spence. UFI’s larger goals include vacant land acquisition, then leasing to those who wish to start urban farms. The organization also conducts research and development of new farming ideas.

“There’s a lot to be learned here by a lot of different people. Hopefully it will be a real inspiration to the people who are already growing tomatoes in their front yards, but also to people who are thinking about it or who would like to,” said Kathy Kottaridis, executive director of HBI. “It should draw people throughout the region who really want to learn techniques for urban farming and harvesting methods and use of planting beds.”

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September 23, 2015   Comments Off on A restored historic site and urban farming training and education center in Boston

£10,000 Grant to Archive Thousands of Photos, Slides And Film Footage Of Hackney City Farm History

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The site before the farm was built.

More than 600 volunteers had come together in the decade before the farm’s creation to find a suitable site for the urban farm

By Emma Bartholomew
Hackney Gazette
11 September 2015

Excerpt:

“We are in contact with the volunteer who led that movement, and the original farm manager, we have recordings of them, we want that to be at the archives so future generations can see how community action created the farm in the 80s.

“I think that kind of thing was much more usual and possible in the 80s because there were people who were able to and who did give their time because they felt that was important.

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September 20, 2015   Comments Off on £10,000 Grant to Archive Thousands of Photos, Slides And Film Footage Of Hackney City Farm History

Kentish Town City Farm in London began in 1972

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A documentary made for the heritage project by the young filmaker, Joe Dickie.

By the late 60’s some people were taking over vacant properties and doing the repairs themselves. The squatting movement was born, and with it, the roots of Kentish Town City Farm.

In 1972, a local organization called Inter-Action rented a house, a cottage and part of the disused timber yard known as Gloster Parquet – now the site of Kentish Town City Farm. They found, tucked behind the terrace houses, the remains of a complex of buildings surrounded by yards of overgrown weeds that backed onto the railway. The buildings included stables, a workshop, a store house and steel framed hangars. Local businessmen donated building materials and equipment worth over £5000. A team of volunteers, youth workers, farm workers and Inter-Action’s architects and builders converted the stables and buildings into a farm, riding school and gardens.

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July 30, 2015   Comments Off on Kentish Town City Farm in London began in 1972