New Stories From 'Urban Agriculture Notes'
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Category — Horticulture Therapy

A Kale of Two Cities: Cultivating Social Justice

finca
La Finca Del Sur.

Urban agriculture pioneers have repurposed vacant land, greened the city, created community space, and introduced city dwellers to fresh local food.

By Nevin Cohen and Kristin Reynolds
Huffington Press
Apr 14, 2014

Excerpt:

In many ways, cultivating social justice is more important than bringing in a bountiful harvest because simply growing more food in the city, as healthy and delicious as it may be, will never feed all those in need. Even a vastly expanded urban agriculture system will not ensure healthy communities until cities address the roots of food system disparities: poverty, discrimination, and unequal power and privilege. That’s how urban agriculture can really make a difference.

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April 18, 2014   No Comments

The benefits of gardening and food growing for health and wellbeing

benefits

This study reviews current literature and highlights compelling case for commissioning of food growing by health service, with foreward by Professor Tim Lang.

By Garden Organic and Sustain
Gareth Davies, Maria Devereaux, Margi Lennartsson, Ulrich Schmutz, Sarah Williams
April 2014

Excerpt from Forward:

We can all benefit from gardening and community food-growing projects. It is widely recognised that regular contact with plants, animals and the natural environment can improve our physical health and mental well-being. When we grow food and flowers, we are engaging with the natural world at a pace that provides a welcome antidote to the stresses of modern life.

For the large number of people in our society – children and adults – who live with challenging physical or mental health problems, gardening and community food growing can be especially beneficial.

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April 1, 2014   Comments Off

WW1 Prison Camp became almost self-sufficient in fruit and vegetables

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By the end of the war, the camp was almost self-sufficient in fruit and vegetables, a far cry from the food poverty going on outside the walls. Click on image for larger version.

Gardening at Ruhleben in Berlin, a First World War prison camp

By Ed Cumming
The Telegraph
Feb 1, 2014

Excerpt:

The 5,000 or so British men who found themselves in Germany when war broke out did not count themselves lucky at first. As potential enemy soldiers, they could not be allowed to go home. “What were four thousand Britishers doing in Germany when their country declared war? The answer – that none of them had the faintest idea of what was coming – is almost incomprehensible today,” wrote J Davidson Ketchum, a Canadian psychologist who was interned and wrote about the experience afterwards.

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February 8, 2014   Comments Off

What Urban Farming Can Learn From The Developmentally Disabled

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Urban farming offers special needs people the vehicle through which they can learn a skill set in a new industry that is designed to provide a very good living if done right.

By Brian Donnelly
Powerhouse Growers
22/01/2014

Excerpt:

I remember when Kelsey first came to my greenhouse. It was all so strange for her – the system I have created is like no other – it is strange to everyone even me. There was resistance to getting in the dirt. There was nervousness about helping and doing something wrong. I stood next to her as she tried and every time her fingers touched the dirt she would wipe them on my shirt. I was very dirty after a while and she was laughing and enjoying it thoroughly.

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January 31, 2014   Comments Off

Dartmoor Prison, UK: its gardens are the exemplar of a successful horticultural rehabilitation project

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“We sell the eggs in the prison shop,” says Northam. “The money goes toward their upkeep. Whatever is left goes back into the gardens.”

By Emma Inglis
The Telegraph
18 Jan 2014

Excerpt:

The gardens at Dartmoor prison are the exemplar of a successful horticultural rehabilitation project. In 2006, prison officer Ivan Judd had an idea to transform the disused exercise yards of the old punishment unit into vegetable gardens to be tended by inmates in the resettlement wing. Judd approached Business in the Community, who put in him in touch with the Eden Project. Jane Knight, landscape architect at Eden, was one of the first on board.

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January 28, 2014   Comments Off

The Insight Garden Program’s Vegetable Garden at San Quentin State Prison

Prison Gardens Help Inmates Grow Their Own Food — And Skills

By Eliza Barclay
NPR
January 12, 2014
(Must see. Mike)

Excerpt:

In the video, filmed in December, we see inmates at San Quentin building five raised beds for vegetables in the prison yard of the medium security unit. The inmate Charles’ excitement about the prospect of a homegrown tomato is pretty palpable. It’s the first vegetable garden inside a California state prison.

Planting Justice helped oversee the garden project in partnership with Insight Garden Program, which has been helping inmates at San Quentin rehabilitate and get training in flower gardening since 2003.

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January 20, 2014   Comments Off

Bangalore Kitchen Gardener: Anusuya Sharma

indkitch
Anusuya Sharma in her flourishing medicinal garden.

‘Medicinal plants are all you need for good health’

Kavya Chandra
The Alternative
10 September, 2013

Excerpt:

Meet one of India’s most experienced kitchen gardeners – Anusuya Sharma – renowned expert on medicinal plants, author of two books on terrace gardening (‘Tarasi Tota Ondu Inuku Nota’ in 2007 and ‘Hittilu Kaitotakkondu Kaipidi’ in 2010) and winner of the Srishti Sanman award by Honey Bee’s Network National Innovation Foundation.

I am 70 years old and rarely fall sick. My garden is responsible for this and I am very grateful.”

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January 17, 2014   Comments Off

Gardening “Boot Camps” for Troubled Youth in Chicago

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The Chicago Botanic Garden teaches inmates about sustainable horticulture and urban agriculture. Photo by Chicago Botanic Garden.

Urban agriculture offers important life lessons for young inmates.

By Emily Gilbert
Worldwatch Institute
November 22, 2013

Excerpt:

Rather than a jail term, a program from the Cook County Boot Camp in Illinois is finding ways to reach troubled youth and inmates through urban gardening. Among the educational and vocational offerings the program offers is work in a three-quarter-acre garden that produces tomatoes, kale, carrots, and a host of other vegetables. The young male inmates learn life lessons and job skills through gardening, leading some to explore new career opportunities and lifestyle choices through agriculture and green jobs.

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December 11, 2013   Comments Off

Urban Farms – Growing hope under fire in Kansas City

BeatrixPotterGreenhouse1903

I thought about the young victim. And I thought about how I probably would have been in the garden at the time of the shooting if I had not been needed at home. I thought about all of the kids and the adult volunteers that worked in the garden.

By Angela Greene
Cultivate Kansas City’s Newsletter
December 2013-January 2014
Angela Greene is an urban farmer in Kansas City, Kansas

Excerpt:

Around 9 p.m. later that evening I received a call from a friend asking if I was okay.

“Well,” I said. “As best that I know, why?” That’s when I learned the shooting I heard was at my garden, two blocks from my home on the corner of 13th and Georgia streets. I quickly secured my family and rushed to see what happened.

I arrived at my garden to find a scene that looked like a television crime drama! Police and caution tape blocked the entire perimeter. Floodlights illuminated the scene as though it was daylight. Officers and detectives trampled through my rows of okra and tomatoes.

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December 10, 2013   Comments Off

Reposting story from 2008: Nelson Mandela – Prisoner, Rooftop Food Gardener

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Photo from A Prisoner in the Garden.

Nelson Mandela 1918-2013

Excerpt from his autobiography, Long Walk to Freedom.

“The Bible tells us that gardens preceded gardeners, but that was not the case at Pollsmoor, where I cultivated a garden that became one of my happiest diversions. It was my way of escaping from the monolithic concrete world that surrounded us. Within a few weeks of surveying all the empty space we had on the building’s roof and how it was bathed the whole day, I decided to start a garden and received permission to do so from the commanding officer.

“Each morning, I put on a straw hat and rough gloves and worked in the garden for two hours. Every Sunday, I would supply vegetables to the kitchen so that they could cook a special meal for the common-law prisoners. I also gave quite a lot of my harvest to the warders, who used to bring satchels to take away their fresh vegetables.”

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December 8, 2013   Comments Off

Allotments improve mental health says UK survey


The Benefits of having an allotment.

Brighton and Hove Allotment Federation

BHAF Press Release
Nov 28, 2013

Excerpt:

A major survey of plot holders in Brighton and Hove, just completed in October 2013 shows that 92% of plot holders either agreed or strongly agreed that allotments improved their mental health or provided stress relief. 53% strongly agreed and 39% agreed. According to the survey 4500-5000 people regularly use the allotments in Brighton and Hove.

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December 4, 2013   Comments Off

Good Samaritan adds farm for community health in Atlanta

A one-acre farm serving thousands of patients with fresh vegetables and herbs every week

11Alive
Oct 25, 2013

Excerpt:

A thriving one-acre farm to make sure that patients eat right.

“The concept of an urban farm is new. The concept of linking it to a health center is also new. We are the first. It is truly cutting edge when you look at the whole health of the person. We are relay bringing the circle to completion by doing this,” Warren said.

Adding to it, the Center runs nutrition classes for patients, and they say their eating habits are changing.

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November 2, 2013   Comments Off

Making urban agriculture inclusive in Kenya

sifa2
Sifa has a talent for urban market gardening. © Shujaaz.FM

To raise awareness about the importance of including people with disabilities and develop strategies to include them in urban agricultural activities, a pilot project in Thika, Kenya was implemented.

By The New Agrologist
Sept 2013

Excerpt:

With the help of two agronomists from Real Impact – a Kenyan NGO that works to increase food security through community-based nutrition gardens – demonstration gardens were established in two schools that catered for children with disabilities. The aim was to enable students and other people in their communities with disabilities to learn about innovative urban agriculture techniques. Sack gardening and vermiculture were chosen because they require little space, are inexpensive and could provide people with meaningful employment. Both methods are also easily accessible for wheelchair users.

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October 6, 2013   Comments Off

Prison Gardens Give Inmates the Opportunity to Grow Fresh Produce for Local Communities

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Prison garden designed by Texas A&M AgriLife Research scientists at Sanchez Prison in El Paso, Texas. Photo by Kathleen Phillips / AgriLife Today.

A jail in Northwest Ohio reports savings of over US$25,000 as a result of prison gardens.

by Saumya Jain
Food Tank
Sept 24, 2013

Excerpt:

For prisoners, spending time in the gardens is “a whole lot better than sitting in one place and having to count the minutes go by,” according to Diana Claitor, director of the Texas Jail Project. Prison coordinators from Ohio’s Sandusky County Jail have commented that the satisfaction of gardening “gives inmates a sense of self-worth.” Moreover, prisons typically use gardening as an incentive to encourage good behavior.

But the system has its limitations. It works best in areas that have large tracts of available and fertile land. Additionally, only low and medium security prisoners, who can be allowed to leave prison grounds without safety concerns, are able to participate in these programs. The Garden Project however, has shown that prison gardening has improved the quality of rehabilitation overall.

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October 5, 2013   Comments Off

Space Farming: NASA looks to grow fresh veggies

spaceveg
NASA’s Nicole Dufour (left) and Gioia Massa perform prelaunch testing on lettuce sprouts, under LED grow lights. Photograph by Stephen Allen.

No one is allowed to eat anything before the plants are thoroughly vetted for cosmic microbes.

By Jesse Hirsch
Modern Farming
September 10, 2013
(Must read. Mike)

Excerpt:

Levine and Massa are part of the team developing the Vegetable Production System (VEGGIE) program, set to hit the ISS later this year. This December, NASA plans to launch a set of Kevlar pillow-packs, filled with a material akin to kitty litter, functioning as planters for six romaine lettuce plants. The burgundy-hued lettuce (NASA favors the “Outredgeous” strain) will be grown under bright-pink LED lights, ready to harvest after just 28 days.

NASA has a long history of testing plant growth in space, but the goals have been largely academic. Experiments have included figuring out the effects of zero-gravity on plant growth, testing quick-grow sprouts on shuttle missions and assessing the viability of different kinds of artificial light. But VEGGIE is NASA’s first attempt to grow produce that could actually sustain space travelers.

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October 2, 2013   Comments Off