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Canadian Institutions Supported ‘City Farmer’ in Formative Years

City Farmer poster created by Environment Canada.

City Farmer’s Funding Sources 1978 – 1984

By Michael Levenston
Executive Director
City Farmer
March 27, 2015

Looking back to the beginning of our ‘activist’ non-profit society, we see that many funding agencies took a chance with our ideas and gave us money. Rather than urban agriculture being seen as something threatening, all levels of government and many independent funding bodies encouraged it. The dollar amounts were not large but they sustained us and allowed us to do our work without interference.

City Farmer held courses at the University of British Columbia, (later our website was also hosted by the University); we were leased a large portion of land belonging to the Vancouver Park Board for a community garden; our Demonstration Food Garden is on City of Vancouver land; our initial funding came from the Federal Ministry of Energy, Mines and Resources; other Ministries such as Employment & Immigration Canada and Secretary of State of Canada also funded us; Environment Canada produced our large colour poster; the private sector funding included MacMillan Bloedel Ltd., Gulf Canada Ltd. and TD Bank; and major independent funders such as the Vancouver Foundation, the Leon and Thea Koerner Foundation, and the McLean Foundation came through for us.

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March 28, 2015   No Comments

‘Crates to Plates Garden’ In Columbia, Missouri

Outside of Lucky’s Market in Columbia you will find dozens of milk crates filled with vegetables and plants.

For eight-weeks during the summer, low income high school students will be employed to attend garden based classes

By Courtny Jodon
Connect Missouri
Mar 15, 2015


Outside of Lucky’s Market in Columbia you will find dozens of milk crates filled with vegetables and plants.

Saturday, it hosted the first-ever Crates to Plates Garden work day. During this work day, volunteers in the community lined milk crates, filled them with soil and planted the garden’s first seeds. Members of the Columbia Center for Urban Agriculture helped volunteers install the milk crate garden.

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March 27, 2015   No Comments

Profile of an Urban Homesteader in Corvallis, Oregon

Profile of an Urban Homesteader from Cooking Up a Story on Vimeo.

As an urban homesteader—she was chosen in 2012 as 1 of 7 “Homesteaders of the Year” by Mother Earth News

By Rebecca Gerendasy
Cooking Up a Story
March 2015


As Charlyn Ellis explains in the video, she grows a variety of fruits and vegetables on her property and tries to stay within a 100 mile radius of her home to meet her family’s year-round needs. Everything she grows is eaten on a daily basis: “the soft fruits, the herbs, the lettuces, [and] the greens”. In winter, she augments what she needs at other farms, her CSA and at the farmer’s market. Often she eats what’s in season because that’s when foods are fresh and local, and when they’re out of season—like apples from Chile, she feels they don’t taste as sweet, so she says “why bother”?

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March 25, 2015   No Comments

Will Brixton City Farm in the UK be a reality?

Brixton City Farm day by Liam N. Cohen.

The Federation of City Farms and Community Gardens (FCFCG), a charity which supports and represents community managed farms, gardens and allotments, has nearly 200 city and school farm members from across the UK, and an estimated 200 city farms and community gardens in development.

Written by Katrin Magnussen
Brixton Blog
March 14, 2015


“It all started when I house sat for a friend who keeps quails in his kitchen. I got hooked,” Tamara Russell, the chair of Brixton City Farm tells Brixton Blog’s Shelley Phelps.

Russell is part of a group of local people who have been farming animals in their homes and gardens.

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March 23, 2015   No Comments

Urban and peri-urban agriculture in low-income countries


Workshop held in Uppsala, Sweden

SLU Global


About 30 participants from different parts of the world, researchers, students, practioners and policymakers, came together for a one day workshop in order to highlight, discuss and identify dilemmas and gaps in knowledge related to agricultural practice in and around cities in low-income countries. The workshop was held at Sunnersta Herrgård in Uppsala, in the close surroundings to the SLU Uppsala campus.

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March 21, 2015   No Comments

In Los Angeles, You Can Now Use City Land for a Free Vegetable Garden


Instead of driving to the store to get quality produce, L.A. residents can now plant gardens sandwiched in between sidewalk concrete and asphalt.

By Adele Peters
March 11, 2015


Four years ago, Ron Finley was given an arrest warrant for planting carrots. Finley, who lives in South Central L.A., was tired of driving miles to find healthy food, so he’d planted a vegetable garden in the small strip of city-owned land between the sidewalk in front of his house and the street, an area he was required to maintain. The problem? The city required a $400 permit to use it as a garden, which Finley didn’t pay.

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March 20, 2015   No Comments

Feeding Denver, one garden at a time

Urban farming classes this spring at Highland Event Center.

In our area, a one-acre farm can make $70,000 in revenue; but even $2,000-$5,000 helps out a family.”

By Laurie Dunklee
North Denver Tribune
March 4, 2015


“Cities don’t welcome farms, but farms outside the cities become suburbs. Corporate farms grow stuff other than what humans eat. Less than .2 percent of the food we eat in the Denver metro area comes from our state. Our whole country produces less than 10 percent of the food we eat. As city dwellers we have abdicated food production to “others” – other people, other places, other states and other countries. We live in trust that food is being produced and that it will show up at our local grocery store in time for our hunger. We live in false security that someone is taking care of our food needs and our city’s food shed.

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March 13, 2015   Comments Off

Urban farms may be best use for vacant city lots and industrial areas

Stone’s Throw Urban Farm in Minneapolis has 2½ acres in production. Last year, it produced $50,000 in vegetables per acre.

Minneapolis and St. Paul: Devany said her message to real estate professionals is that the urban agriculture movement is becoming “a player in thinking about what constitutes the ‘highest and best use’ of urban land.

By Don Jacobson
Star Tribune
February 19, 2015


Events like the foreclosure crisis brought this to the forefront and created an opening for people to rethink land uses,” she said. “What I want to do is keep this conversation going and create other ways to find permanent sites for urban agriculture without there having to be a tragedy like the foreclosure crisis, which of course affected low-income communities disproportionately.”

Stone’s Throw, which unlike many urban farmers is a for-profit operation using a business model adapted to inner-city sites, has 2?½ acres in production, which last year produced $50,000 in vegetables per acre — far exceeding the rural farm average of $5,000 to $10,000 per acre.

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March 1, 2015   Comments Off

Growing Power awarded $250,000. from USDA


Hands-on, intensive six-week program to train 30 beginning farmers in urban and peri-urban agriculture

Wisconsin Ag Connection
Feb 11 2015

The USDA announced that a combined $1 million in grants are being awarded to two Wisconsin organizations that implement programs to train beginning farmers. U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin’s office said the Dairy Grazing Apprenticeship in Seymour and Growing Power of Milwaukee will share the funds, which are being provided through the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program.

“Our strong agricultural tradition is a driver of economic growth and these grants are an opportunity to boost our agriculture economy by ensuring the next generation of farmers can get their start,” Baldwin said. “The average age of Wisconsin farmers is almost 60 years old. Now more than ever, it is critical that aspiring farmers have the financial tools and technical assistance they need get up and running on their own farms.”

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February 23, 2015   Comments Off

The Tao of Vegetable Gardening


Cultivating Tomatoes, Greens, Peas, Beans, Squash, Joy, and Serenity

By Carol Deppe
Chelsea Publishing

—Gene Logsdon, author, Gene Everlasting and The Contrary Farmer

“If you want to read the complete, deepest-down lowdown on how to grow organic vegetables successfully, this is the book. It also stands as a guide to the most genuine, independent lifestyle possible, relying only on nature and the author’s awesomely detailed knowledge of plant life to achieve successful food production and a contented way of life. The reader learns not only how to grow and cook vegetables, but how to breed new varieties and save the seed. And while you read her book, you are also charmed with the Tao philosophy of living—something I have come to believe is a sure path to tranquility.”

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January 29, 2015   Comments Off

Prison Garden: Gangsters, Swastikas, Tweakers and Permaculture

Neaners (center), Larry (far right), at the first garden site, during Neaners’ first month home from prison.

When you try to create a beautiful, sprawling permaculture garden with guys you meet in jail, it might not look like the glossy design handbook.

By Chris Hoke
Modern Farmer
January 21, 2015


When we designed a permaculture-style garden this last year, we had lofty visions. Our organization works with migrant farmworkers and folks we meet in the jail where we visit as regular chaplains. We seek out and serve the people society uses up or throws away — deporting them or locking them up in social dumpsters.

We already had the gang and drug recovery home, but this new garden would be a site of healing, healthy work in the soil, reconciliation with the natural world after years of trauma, drugs, violence and prison cells. Back to nature. Wendell Berry kind of stuff.

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January 22, 2015   Comments Off

Are school meals the new gourmet cuisine in Tanzania?

Students of Mbuyoni primary school pick vegetables to be cooked for lunch that day.

Among the 8 million children under five years old estimated to be living in Tanzania, 42 per cent are stunted and 16 per cent are underweight, according to UNICEF.

By Meera Senthilingam,
December 22, 2014


It’s 06:30am and the sun has just risen over the bustling gardens of Mbuyoni elementary school, in the coastal city of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

On this sunny morning, fits of giggles and screeches of laughter fill the hot and humid air, as would be expected in most schools around the world. But the source of fun is somewhat less expected — farming.

“I like to grow blackjack, fame flower, pumpkin leaves and sweet potatoes,” explains 11-year old Zulfa Mussa in her native language of Kiswahili.

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January 5, 2015   Comments Off

Tax break sowing the seeds of urban agriculture growth in San Francisco

Dr. Aaron Roland, left, greets neighborhood resident John Tobeler in the physician’s permaculture garden on Rhode Island Street. It was the first time the two neighbors have met, although both have enjoyed the garden. Photo by Mike Koozmin.

For the next five years, his property-tax bill will total $80 not $35,688 under the new Urban Agriculture Incentive Zone program

By Joshua Sabatini
The SF Examiner
Jan 4, 2015


Roland, 57, a family doctor who lives in the Mission, is San Francisco’s first property owner to obtain a tax break under the new Urban Agriculture Incentive Zone program. For the next five years, his property-tax bill will total $80 not $35,688.

“I bought it thinking I would build a home,” Roland said.

He never did but after growing attached to the open-space gem, the thought of selling it off for housing makes him depressed. The tax break removes all doubt as to whether he’s making the right decision.

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January 4, 2015   Comments Off

‘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

Fresh Herbs Garden and Honey is the Height of Good Taste at The Ritz-Carlton, Istanbul, Turkey

Spa deck at The Ritz-Carlton, Istanbul.

The city’s most imaginative location for a garden.

Istanbul, June 10, 2014 — The dramatic panoramic view of the Bosphorus from The Ritz-Carlton, Istanbul has long been regarded as one of the city’s most unforgettable experiences.

But now two new highlights are delighting guests — garden-fresh produce from a unique rooftop herb garden discretely located on the same level as the hotel’s famous spa terrace and honey from three beehives based on top of the iconic landmark.

“Everything we grow in the rooftop garden will be used in our restaurants adding a genuinely fresh new dimension to enjoying a meal in the restaurants,” said Massimiliano Zanardi, the hotel’s General Manager.

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December 27, 2014   Comments Off