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Category — Land

Food waste: harvesting Spain’s unwanted crops to feed the hungry

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gleanAdvocates of gleaning say that the movement could reduce pressure on land use, improve diets, feed the hungry and provide work for the socially excluded. Photograph: Natalia Lázaro Prevost

Spain’s gleaning movement has grown rapidly in response to austerity, harvesting imperfect fruit and veg – that would otherwise be wasted – for food banks. Now its own line of jams, soups and sauces is taking off too

By Arthur Nelson
The Guardian
July 2016

Excerpt:

A 39-year-old Moroccan emigré with two small children, Abdelouahid began “gleaning” – harvesting farmers’ unwanted crops – with the Espigoladors (gleaners) after losing his job in the construction industry four years ago. It is Ramadan and he is fasting but still smiling as he cuts at the green jewels.

“I don’t like to spend my days at home, sending CVs to employers, waiting for their rejection letters, or going around the restaurants trying to find food,” he says. “I prefer to do something positive. A lot of people need this food. It is better to collect it than to leave it.”

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July 20, 2016   No Comments

Urban Dwellers Drive Massive Deforestation Locally and Abroad

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citwold

“Ironically, even as urban expansion drives forest clearance for agriculture, it simultaneously consumes existing farmland,” writes Prugh. “By one estimate, urbanization may cause the loss of up to 3.3 million hectares of prime agricultural land each year.”

Can a City Be Sustainable?
Senior Researcher Tom Prugh
Annual State of the World series from the Worldwatch Institute
May 2016

Excerpt:

A second, and likely lesser, factor linking urban growth to deforestation is that cities are often expanding into areas of farmland and natural habitat, including forests. Cities worldwide are growing by 1.4 million new inhabitants every week. Urban land area is expanding, on average, twice as fast as urban populations. The area covered by urban zones is projected to expand by more than 1.2 million square kilometers between 2000 and 2030.

“Ironically, even as urban expansion drives forest clearance for agriculture, it simultaneously consumes existing farmland,” writes Prugh. “By one estimate, urbanization may cause the loss of up to 3.3 million hectares of prime agricultural land each year.”

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July 16, 2016   No Comments

Interview with Karl Linn: Community Gardens: Reclaiming a Commons

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karll

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

Britain: Meet the city slickers who gave up everything to start a farm

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britfarmRosanna and Ian Horsley on their farm in Devon. Credit: Christopher Jones.

A growing number of people from outside the farming fraternity are buying up agricultural land in Britain and the properties that come with them. The amount of traditional farming families acquiring land and holdings has been depleting.

By Ben Pike
The Telegraph
21 June 2016

Excerpts:

There are three types of buyer entering the market. The investor (both private and corporate), who sees farmland as a commodity; those who escape to the countryside at the weekend and won’t tend the land themselves; and the new breed of ‘good lifer’, who has ditched the city day job and are ploughing all their funds and business acumen into running the farm themselves.

Residential buyers are also piling in, lured by the large farmhouses that often come with the land. “Some buy at £1?million and some at £20?million. They want to combine a lifestyle move with involvement in active farming,” says Lawson.

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June 26, 2016   Comments Off on Britain: Meet the city slickers who gave up everything to start a farm

Saskatoon, Saskatchewan to offer tax break to grow food on vacant lots

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gorde“The more food we can grow in Saskatoon, the more healthy we’ll all be,” says Gord Enns, executive director of the Saskatoon Food Council. Liam Richards / Saskatoon Starphoenix

Equal to 50 per cent of the annual property taxes on a vacant lot, but no more than $500 a year for residential sites and $1,200 a year for non-residential properties.

By Phil Tank
Saskatoon Starphoenix
June 1, 2016

Excerpt:

Grant to grow

Here’s how the City of Saskatoon proposes to encourage vacant lot owners to convert them to gardens for up to five years:

The goal: To increase food security in Saskatoon.

The grant: Equal to 50 per cent of the annual property taxes on a vacant lot, but no more than $500 a year for residential sites and $1,200 a year for non-residential properties.

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June 6, 2016   Comments Off on Saskatoon, Saskatchewan to offer tax break to grow food on vacant lots

‘Generation rent’ neglecting their gardens, warns Royal Horticulture Society

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rentThere has been an increase in younger tenants, known as ‘Generation Rent’ Credit: Jeffrey Blackler/Alamy.

The Royal Horticulture Society last year launched its Greening Grey Britain campaign with the launch of Europe’s biggest community gardening campaign and a three year target to transform 6,000 grey spaces into thriving gardens.

By Patrick Sawer
Telegraph
21 May 2016

Excerpt:

“Gardens are good for our towns and cities. This reduction of plants in front gardens and increase in grey is harmful for wildlife reducing their homes and food sources,” said Ms Biggs.

“It is also damaging for the nation’s health linked to increasing pollution and increasing temperatures during heat waves and puts our homes at more risk from flooding.”

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May 26, 2016   Comments Off on ‘Generation rent’ neglecting their gardens, warns Royal Horticulture Society

Vancouver farmers’ land growth being limited by mansion owners

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sothlHome in the Southlands, City of Vancouver. Photo by Stephen Rees.

“There are so many farmers who want to get into this kind of land. It would be nice if [the owners] had an incentive.”

By Francis Bula
Globe and Mail
May 5, 2016

Excerpt:

That kind of standoff throughout the region has Metro Vancouver exploring ways to change the tax system so that people who own agricultural land will be encouraged to use it for farming. The region is also looking at ways to take away the benefits from people who make it look like they are farming when they really aren’t.

All of that matters because Metro Vancouver has more farmland within its boundaries than any other North American city and because the region’s 2,600 farms produce the highest revenues in the province. It’s estimated that a hectare of land can produce at least $36,000 worth of vegetables in a year.

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May 6, 2016   Comments Off on Vancouver farmers’ land growth being limited by mansion owners

Urban Farming in Syria Saves Lives During Sieges

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syrirr
Irrigation systems in place and planting begins in Yarmouk.

The 15th garden, it’s an urban gardening project that provides food for people living in Syrian cities that are under siege. Currently there are 30 of the gardens in 17 different besieged cities throughout Syria.

By Bezdomny
Shareable
Apr 29, 2016
(Must see! Mike)

Excerpt:

The project started with a group of Zabadani women who needed seeds to grow food, yet nothing was allowed to enter or exit the city. At that time, Zabadani was still under siege by both Assad forces and Hezbollah. Siege warfare is brutal and turns a city into a prison. To give an example of how severe the blockade was, Abdallah says, not even the UN was able to retrieve dying patients from the city in order to give them proper care. And there is no shortage of patients in Syria, just this week the Assad regime attacked the rebel held side of Aleppo which destroyed a vital hospital and resulted in at least 50 deaths.

In response to the Zabadani Women’s call for support, a network of German farmers collected heritage seeds and money in a show of solidarity with Syrian farmers, and sent the seeds to Lebanon (which is just across the border from Zabadani). From Lebanon the supplies made their way to Zabadani through an underground network of activists who risked their lives to get the seeds through the blockade.

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May 1, 2016   Comments Off on Urban Farming in Syria Saves Lives During Sieges

Indonesia: Peri-urban agriculture in Jabodetabek Metropolitan Area and its relationship with the urban socioeconomic system

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insCitizen watering vegetables that planted on vacant land in the residential area in East Jakarta. Agriculture is crucial to Indonesian economic development so that discussing farmers is highly relevant as 39.96 million people. 35 percent of the total workforce — work in the agricultural sector.

Peri-urban agriculture (PUA) in the surroundings of Jakarta as well as in the East and Northeast of JMA has contributed to increasing food affordability as well as strengthening food security policy.

By Didit Okta Pribadi, Stephan Pauleit
Land Use Policy
Volume 55, September 2016, Pages 265–274

Abstract:

Peri-urban agriculture (PUA) has been proposed as an important urban element to deal with the challenges of increasing poverty, food insecurity, and environmental degradation as particularly found in rapidly expanding cities of the developing world. However, farming in the peri-urban is under strong pressure from urbanization. The economic and social roles of farming need to be better understood in order to integrate peri-urban agriculture into urban planning. This study used multivariate techniques and Geographically Weighted Regression to analyze statistical data at a village and sub-district, to explore the varying relationships between agricultural activities and urban economic activities, urban poverty and informality, as well as food security. This method was applied in the Jabodetabek Metropolitan Area (JMA) with Indonesia’s capital Jakarta at its core, and it resulted in some important findings.

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April 28, 2016   Comments Off on Indonesia: Peri-urban agriculture in Jabodetabek Metropolitan Area and its relationship with the urban socioeconomic system

Houston’s Hope Farms Breaks Ground

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hopeRecipe for Success Foundation celebrated Earth Day 2016 by officially breaking ground on Hope Farms.

Houston’s New Urban Farming Project Will Provide Fresh Produce, Farmer Training, Nutrition Education and Community Gathering Space in Historic Sunnyside

By Jovanna David
Press Release
Apr 22, 2016

Excerpt:

Located on seven acres in the heart of Houston’s historic Sunnyside neighborhood, the new Hope Farms will use organic methods to generate significant food crops in the midst of one of the city’s largest food deserts, while training military veterans to become successful agri-entrepreneurs.

Hope Farms is a critical component in achieving Recipe for Success Foundation’s mission to change the way children understand, appreciate and eat their food and to mobilize the community to provide healthier diets for children.

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April 27, 2016   Comments Off on Houston’s Hope Farms Breaks Ground

Real estate speculation threatens future of Metro Vancouver farmland

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kentm

KPU studies agriculture real estate speculation as it threatens the future of an economically viable bioregion in Richmond and Southwest B.C.

By Graeme Wood
Richmond News
April 22, 2016

Excerpt:

Presently, about one-third of farmed land in Metro Vancouver is leased.

Furthermore, Mullinix estimates some 44,000 acres of farmable land is not in production in Metro Vancouver.

Adding to the pressures is the increase in estate homes being built on ALR land. Such mansions are numerous in Richmond and set a new price benchmark based on its value as a luxury residential property instead of a working farm, according to the report.

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April 23, 2016   Comments Off on Real estate speculation threatens future of Metro Vancouver farmland

Harvard Doctoral student Aleksandar Sopov helped save Istanbul urban gardens

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spovAleksandar Sopov has worked to preserve urban gardens in Istanbul. “I had to save them,” he says. “When those public places are erased, it moves people into arenas where demagoguery can take place.” Rose Lincoln/Harvard Staff Photographer.

They had been tilled by Armenians, Greeks, Bulgarians, Albanians, and, more recently, Syrian and Afghan refugees. “Their destruction would be the destruction of that connection between the Middle East and Europe.”

By Leslie Macmillan,
Harvard Gazette
Apr 14, 2016

Excerpt:

Sopov said such ancient gardens are the forerunners of modern urban farming, which relates to modern concepts like food justice and sustainable cities. “When food is produced locally, consumers know more about farming practices,” he said, “so laborers aren’t unpaid and mistreated, and pesticides” aren’t used.

City farming is important because it engages a wide swath of urban dwellers, he said, creating a sense of community and shared purpose. The prevalent image of the eastern Mediterranean as divided along ethnic and religious lines and wracked by strife “is a recent political construct,” he said. In fact, despite the devastation wrought by the wars of the 20th century, “Skopje [in Macedonia] preserved many of its Ottoman caravansaries, hamams [baths], churches, mosques, madrasas,” proof of a vibrant, multicultural city.

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April 19, 2016   Comments Off on Harvard Doctoral student Aleksandar Sopov helped save Istanbul urban gardens

Real Estate Brokerage Firm Names the Top 10 U.S. Cities for Urban Farming

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10topEugene, OR, Burlington, VT, Santa Rosa, CA, Greenville, SC, Orlando, FL, San Francisco, CA, Albuquerque, NM, Columbia, SC, Tampa, FL, Raleigh-Durham, NC.

Ranking Based on Number of Homes Listed for Sale in 2015 with Gardens, Greenhouses or Chicken Coops

By Christin Camacho
Business Wire
Apr 13, 2016
(Must see. Mike)

Excerpt:

Eugene topped the list, with 20.5 percent of all home listings containing at least one keyword.

“It’s not uncommon for homeowners in Oregon to have chickens or honey bees,” said Matthew Brennan, a Redfin real estate agent in Portland. “The city of Portland allows homeowners to keep up to three animals, including chickens, ducks, doves, pigeons, pygmy goats and rabbits, without permits. Oregonians have a hankering for that sustainable lifestyle and Eugene is more affordable and has more space than Portland.”

The City of Eugene, like Portland, has played a big role in facilitating urban agriculture by allowing residents to keep more animals, like chickens and goats, on their property.

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April 14, 2016   Comments Off on Real Estate Brokerage Firm Names the Top 10 U.S. Cities for Urban Farming

London industrial property eyed for urban garden

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lonfreeWard 1 councillor Michael Van Holst stands in a 25 acre field, owned by Accuride, which he hopes will become an urban agricultural project space. The land, which had previously been farmed, now sits unused and could be an incubator for agriculture-related social enterprises, Van Holst says. Craig Glover/The London Free Press/Postmedia Network.

An urban garden may be in store for an east London industrial property where steel wheels are made, if a city councillor has his way.

By Norman DeBono
The London Free Press
April 8, 2016

Excerpt:

“There are a lot of ideas we have been working on. . . We don’t have a grocery store in this neighbourhood and we have a high level of poverty. Fresh food is limited,” Wills said.

The resource centre can mobilize the community and get volunteers, she said.

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April 14, 2016   Comments Off on London industrial property eyed for urban garden

Greater Cape Town, South Africa to develop 280ha of fertile urban farmland with more than 6 000 houses

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grphoilFarm workers in the Philippi Horticultrural Area pick vegetables to be sold at local supermarkets and informal trade vegetable stalls. It is feared at least 4 000 could lose their jobs if development plans for the area go ahead. Pictures: Michael Walker.

The area had been producing vegetables for the city since 1885 and he warned that the short-term profit for a few developers would have a negative effect on the long-term benefit of food, water and climate security offered by the aquifer.

By Asanda Sokanyile
Weekend Argus
Apr 2, 2016

Excerpt:

The consequence, campaign convener Nazeer Sonday warned, would be loss of production of more than

150 000 tons of vegetables and flowers annually, along with as many as 4 000 jobs.

“The land was bought from private farmers by developers who are now waiting for the city to rezone it to allow them to build their estate, which will not only take away the jobs of more than 4 000 farmworkers, but will also ruin the aquifer which could supply the city with almost a third of its potable water needs,” he said.

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April 9, 2016   Comments Off on Greater Cape Town, South Africa to develop 280ha of fertile urban farmland with more than 6 000 houses