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Category — Middle East

Sana, Yemen: Historic urban gardens in Unesco world heritage site damaged by war


Devastation in Yemen: historic district of Sana’a before and after – in pictures

By Arnel Hecimovic
The Guardian
12 June 2015

A Saudi-led air strike killed at least six civilians and destroyed historic houses in the old quarter of Sana’a, two days ahead of UN-brokered peace talks in Geneva. The air raid was the first in the Unesco world heritage site in Yemen’s rebel-held capital since the coalition started its air campaign in March against the Iran-backed Houthi rebels.

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June 13, 2015   Comments Off on Sana, Yemen: Historic urban gardens in Unesco world heritage site damaged by war

Pakistan Agricultural Research Council needs help to kick-start urban agriculture

Farmers’ market in Layyah, Pakistan at twilight.

Dr Iftikhar says people need to help cities produce vegetables and fruits to cater to their own demands

Daily Times
April 28, 2015


ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Agricultural Research Council (PARC) Chairman Dr Iftikhar Ahmad on Monday sought help from academia and students to materialise the concept of urban agriculture, initially in the capital city.

“Pakistan’s progress and prosperity is linked with agriculture, so as much as we promote this sector it would help boost overall economy of the country,” Dr Iftikhar said while addressing at the prize distribution ceremony of Overseas Pakistanis Foundation (OPF) Girls College.

“Besides promoting the rural agriculture, there is need that we also work for urban agriculture to help cities produce vegetable and fruits to cater to their own consumption demands.”

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May 5, 2015   Comments Off on Pakistan Agricultural Research Council needs help to kick-start urban agriculture

Urban agriculture a possible solution to United Arab Emirates (UAE) food needs

Dewa’s garden in Al Quoz, above, has a plot with more than 400 vegetables. Courtesy Dewa.

Dr Rashid bin Fahad, the Minister of Environment and Water, said continued reliance on traditional agricultural practices would not resolve food supply challenges.

By Emmanuel Samoglou
The National UAE
March 11, 2015


ABU DHABI – Urban agriculture in the UAE has the potential to surmount the environmental obstacles it faces to provide fresh produce to residents, agricultural experts say.

The hot weather is the main problem for farmers, but staff at Dubai Electricity and Water Authority’s (Dewa) building in Al Quoz have successfully grown cabbages, tomatoes and cauliflower on the rooftop.

They use Green Mat, a subsurface farming medium that helps to conserve irrigation water. It is developed by Landex Green Environmental Solution in the UAE.

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March 21, 2015   Comments Off on Urban agriculture a possible solution to United Arab Emirates (UAE) food needs

Arab States of the Gulf encouraged to embrace urban agriculture

Image Credit: Ramachandra Babu/©Gulf News.

“In many Emirati households, it is quite common that the household has its own herd of goat or sheep, their own palm trees and other minor agricultural practices. However, the modern practice of urban farming utilises all spaces, especially those that are on buildings and skyscrapers, which current Emirati agricultural practices don’t.”

By Saeed Al Gergawi
Gulf News
March 9, 2015

Note: The Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf known as the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), is a regional intergovernmental political and economic union consisting of all Arab states of the Persian Gulf, except for Iraq. Its member states are Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates.


Where cities and towns within the GCC will grow their own crops and set up “farmer’s souqs” starting early in the morning on Friday and end before the Friday prayers, we will see building porters who will double as both farmer and porter, and help farm vegetables, fruits and crops that are requested by the building tenants; and then the GCC as a community will be able to depend on itself for its agricultural goods and the sustenance of the nation.

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March 16, 2015   Comments Off on Arab States of the Gulf encouraged to embrace urban agriculture

Speakers from Philips, Plantagon and Hungry Planet Farms to Share Insights in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates


Conference on ‘Building Resilience in Urban Agriculture’ March 9-11


ADFCA will convene the event in partnership with some of the world’s most innovative organisations, including the RUAF Foundation, Association for Vertical Farming, and the University of Arizona. As part of this, industry experts will convene to outline a high-level Urban Agriculture Strategy for the Abu Dhabi Capital City District. Ready with market and city spatial data, participants will examine the potential application of the full range of urban agriculture typologies to understand Abu Dhabi’s fresh produce productive potential, evaluating risks and compatibility with its urban fabric.

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March 1, 2015   Comments Off on Speakers from Philips, Plantagon and Hungry Planet Farms to Share Insights in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

Update 23 – Resource Centre /Urban Agriculture/Food Security (RUAF)


RUAF Update 23 – Feb 2015


Ongoing activities
• GROW the City Cafés in the Netherlands
• UA Enterprise development in India
• Promoting market oriented urban agriculture in Gaza
• Urban food mapping and WASH in Burkina Faso and Ghana
• WASH progress in Nepal and Bangladesh and the World Water Day

New projects
• Urban Green Education for Enterprising Agricultural Innovation
• Support to the City of Milan and other cities in urban food planning
• Developing tools for mapping and assessing sustainable city region food systems
• Supporting enterprises for urban waste recycling for food production

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February 16, 2015   Comments Off on Update 23 – Resource Centre /Urban Agriculture/Food Security (RUAF)

Lahore, Pakistan evicts buffaloes, cows and other cattle from urban union councils


They make a plan to make Lahore a cattle-free city, raid barns and farms and net the cattle. As soon as the drive is over, the cattle again return to their places.

By Khalid Hasnain
Feb 3, 2015


Under the policy, cattle eviction campaigns are to be launched by the town municipal administrations with the district livestock wing or the officials/departments concerned of the CDGL. At present, the nine town administrations seem not bothered by the presence of cattle.

Famous social activist Prof Ajaz Anwar sees cattle an integral part of nature’s ecosystem, saying their only place is countryside.

“Metropolitan cities all around the world discourage keeping cattle in homes or sheds,” he told Dawn. “Here, it’s a matter of ill-planning. If they’ve banned cattle in urban UCs, the officials should have implemented it well.”

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February 3, 2015   Comments Off on Lahore, Pakistan evicts buffaloes, cows and other cattle from urban union councils

‘The future is edible landscaping,’ predicts CEO of Israel’s GreenWall

Visitors to the World Expo 2015 in Milan (Expo Milano) next May will see a 1,200-square-foot GreenWall outside Israel’s pavilion growing wheat, rice and corn in keeping with the expo’s theme, “Feeding the world.”

By Karin Kloosterman
Israel 21c
December 15, 2014


First, the company incubates the “look and see” wall at its farm before installing it on the customer’s location. The systems incorporate technical knowhow from Israeli drip-irrigation pioneer Netafim; and GreenWall has developed its monitors, sensors and controls in cooperation with Israeli water-monitoring company Galcon.

Even European companies that have built vertical gardens of their own are making serious inquires to Barness. “Five years ago, when I came with this idea of saving water to the Europeans, well, they just laughed at me. They have those water fountains that run all day long outside in the villages and cities,” he says.

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January 1, 2015   Comments Off on ‘The future is edible landscaping,’ predicts CEO of Israel’s GreenWall

Syria Pulse: Besieged Aleppo residents turn to farming

Ahmad planting vegetables near his house in the Masaken Hanano neighborhood of Aleppo city, Nov. 14, 2014. Photo by Mohammed al-Khateib.

In his modest garden, Ahmad planted mint leaves, potatoes and fava beans.

By Mohammed al-Khatieb
Nov 14, 2014


Suleiman and his friend take turns to look after the new “residents.” While he was feeding one of the rabbits, Suleiman explained how the idea was conceived. “My friend and I were wondering what we could possibly do if Aleppo was besieged. We got the idea of building large farms that cater to the people’s animal-product needs. But, nobody adopted the project, so we reduced its scale, and I found that my deserted house would be the perfect place for it.”

“In cooperation with the neighborhood councils, we are seeking to spread this idea all over the city. Whether we want to prepare ourselves for the siege or we are doing this as a hobby or trade, it is still great,” he added.

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December 12, 2014   Comments Off on Syria Pulse: Besieged Aleppo residents turn to farming

Istanbul’s Threatened Urban Agriculture

Garden in Piyale Pasa. Photo by Jennifer Hattam.

“These fields here used to meet one-third of the food needs of the European side of the city, and it’s still the closest large agricultural area to the city center – just 25 kilometers away from Taksim Square,”

By Jennifer Hattam
Culinary Back Streets
September 30, 2014,


Many of the city’s once numerous small farms and market gardens (known in Turkish as bostan) have already fallen victim to urbanization or are at risk of doing so. The grubby neighborhood between the Emniyet bus station in Aksaray and the Yenikap? metro terminal was as recently as the 1950s covered with green fields famed for their cucumbers. Parking lots and gas stations sit atop what were bostan lands just a few years ago in the grey and gritty Piyale Pa?a neighborhood of Beyo?lu. That area’s one remaining market garden, alongside the 16th-century Piyale Pa?a Camii, is hemmed in by a busy highway, service-bus parking strips and carwash and tire shops.

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October 2, 2014   Comments Off on Istanbul’s Threatened Urban Agriculture

Refugees from Syrian attacks fight starvation with food gardens

Yarmouk residents (in Damascus) transform the spaces between buildings into gardens that can produce vegetables.

Accused of using starvation as a weapon of war, the Syrian government continues to besiege areas across the country, forcing civilians to find new ways to make ends meet.

By Olivia Alabaster
The Daily Star
July 12, 2014


In Yarmouk (in Damascus), the activist said that people mostly grow cucumbers, tomatoes, eggplant and zucchini, but even then people do not have enough to eat, and there is no bread – wheat being too difficult to grow, and requiring machines which in turn rely on fuel, a scarcity, and lots of open space.

But, Hevi said, the ability to produce one’s own food was important for people in these areas. While the U.N. occasionally delivers food baskets to the area, which they refer to as “food security,” being able to grow one’s own food is much more sustainable and offers “food sovereignty.”

Growing one’s own food “makes sense on so many levels,” said Hevi, who is German-Iraqi. “You can produce your own food, and you can also sell it, so you can refinance some of the project.”

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July 28, 2014   Comments Off on Refugees from Syrian attacks fight starvation with food gardens

Urban Agriculture in Casablanca, Morocco

How can agriculture be integrated into the urban structure and the urban development process in Casablanca

The project is a research and demonstration project of the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) under the research program “Research for the Sustainable Development of Megacities of Tomorrow – Energy- and Climate-Efficient Structures in Urban Growth Centres” of the Federal Republic of Germany.

Urban Agriculture in Casablanca, Morocco

1. Challenge
• Rapid urban growth is reducing and fragmenting agricultural land within the city region
• Conventional planning tends to neglect agriculture and open space as valuable resources and parts of the regional land use structure
• Informal development further contributes to the fragmentation of land us patterns and the reduction of open space
• Low awareness of the potential of urban agriculture for a productive green infra- structure and sustainable food supply

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December 27, 2013   Comments Off on Urban Agriculture in Casablanca, Morocco

‘Lettuce Grow’ – An environmental citizenship project in Pakistan


‘Lettuce Grow’ project for young people and communities – introducing them to growing Kitchen Gardens

Society for International (SIE) runs the iEARN Pakistan Centre in Karachi, Quetta and Islamabad focusing educational development and capacity building of K-12 students, teachers and youth in general
Dec 12, 2013

Excerpted from the Facebook page:

“I am extremely excited to start a kitchen garden at a school in my community,” says a YES alumna during the Lettuce Grow Training Program.

Twenty YES Alumni and Access teachers enthusiastically participated in the Lettuce Grow project today on December 12, 2013 at the iEARN Center, Karachi. The day was packed with an interactive session on container gardening and hands on experience of growing vegetables and fruits easily.

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December 23, 2013   Comments Off on ‘Lettuce Grow’ – An environmental citizenship project in Pakistan

Amman, Jordan: In home gardens, there’s income and food for urban poor


Last week the Jordanian ministry of agriculture decided to start selling fruit saplings to the public at bargain prices

By Elizabeth Whitman
The Business Mirror
Inter Press Service
14 Dec 2013


As utilitarian as it is cheery, this rooftop array is one of several urban-agriculture projects that are significantly improving livelihoods for the urban poor in this sprawling city. A slowly but steadily growing phenomenon in Jordan, urban agriculture has vast potential for reducing poverty and improving food security, and it has the added benefit of greening and cleaning up more rundown sections of cities.

But the success of urban agriculture depends on key components that are increasingly difficult to secure: land and water. Space for planting is growing ever slimmer in Jordan, and the country suffers from a perpetual shortage of water.

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December 20, 2013   Comments Off on Amman, Jordan: In home gardens, there’s income and food for urban poor

Urban Agriculture and the Transformation of Yedikule in Istanbul

The public gardens offer jobs and income for approximately 200 Bostancis and offer town grown products for the regional market.

A lot of farmers migrated to Yedikule from more countrified regions.

By Lennart Kudla
December 3, 2013


The public gardens of Yedikule in Istanbul are not only one of the oldest intra-urban agricultural areas of Istanbul (more than 1500 years old), but also a fragment of one of the largest green spaces of the city. They are located close to the ancient city wall (built between 413 and 412 B.C.). In former times there were moats to protect ancient Byzantine from its numerous enemies during sieges. After the conquest of Constantinople by the Turks (1453) the walls and the moats slowly lost their importance.

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December 12, 2013   Comments Off on Urban Agriculture and the Transformation of Yedikule in Istanbul