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Urban Agriculture in and around Chicago

2 Hour Presentation By Local City Farmers

Oct 1, 2014

Local agriculturists discuss growing food in Chicago’s urban environment at this event hosted by Windy City Sustainability. This program was produced by Chicago Access Network Television (CAN TV).

October 11, 2014   No Comments

So You Want To Be a Farmer

farmmapIllustrations by Julia Rothman. Click on image for larger file.

Ever dream of chucking it all for the simple life? Read this first.

By Jesse Hirsch
Modern Farmer
September 15, 2014

Many small farms take in apprentices or interns (a largely semantic distinction) for a growing season. According to Thistlethwaite, this is an all but mandatory step in your farm journey. And not just for one season. She suggests apprenticing for three to four years before you even consider starting your own farm. This will not only provide a basic knowledge base, but also ensure that farming is something you enjoy. “[Apprenticing] is gut check time,” she says. “It gives you the chance to ask yourself: ‘Is this really who I am?’”

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September 17, 2014   Comments Off

Vacant lot in Providence, Rhode Island becoming greenhouse space with ‘Lots of Hope’

This empty lot at 433 Prairie Ave. in Providence will soon hold a greenhouse that will produce fresh produce for the surrounding community. The Lots of Hope program, which began last year with support from the Rhode Island Foundation, has already resulted in the creation of two farms. Photo by Kris Craig/The Providence Journal.

This new greenhouse will be a place where neighbors of all ages can come to learn and work together to build a more sustainable city.”

By Richard Salit
Providence Journal
Aug 19, 2014


The city has recently had success taking empty urban lots and turning them into productive vegetable gardens. Now city officials want to go a step further when their next “Lots of Hope” project turns vacant space into a greenhouse.

The greenhouse, to be built this fall on a small lot at 433 Prairie Ave., is intended to provide fresh, healthy food for the surrounding community. Low-cost leases will help farmers succeed and the produce will be made available to school food service vendors, which are required to purchase 15 percent of their food locally.

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September 16, 2014   Comments Off

San Francisco property owners to get tax break from creating urban farms

Kevin Bayuk, a teacher at the Urban Permaculture Institute, tends a new bed at the 18th and Rhode Island Garden. Photo by Leah Millis, The Chronicle.

Starting Sept. 8, owners of empty lots could save thousands of dollars a year in property taxes in exchange for allowing their land to be used for agriculture for five years or more.

By Tara Duggan
SF Gate
August 31, 2014


“I have heard from literally hundreds of residents who would like to have the opportunity to farm, but the waiting lists for a lot of our community gardens are over two years long,” said Board of Supervisors President David Chiu, who wrote the local legislation. “There is simply not enough space.”

This law could change that.

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September 2, 2014   Comments Off

Young volunteers ‘excluded’ from working at City Farm in London

kidsdisShola Fellows and Claudia Cruz at the Farm Family protest.

30 children and young people with disabilities looked after animals at Brooks Farm

By Natalie Glanvill
This is Local London
19th August 2014


A group of young volunteers, which has helped out at a city farm for 30 years, will not be allowed to work there after it changed hands, it has emerged.

The ‘Farm Family’, which includes about 30 children and young people with disabilities, or those at risk of getting involved in crime, looked after animals at Brooks Farm in Skeltons Lane Park, Leyton, when it was managed by Waltham Forest council.

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August 26, 2014   Comments Off

Pacific Institute says California drought one of the most severe on record

calwaterUntapped Savings. Click on image for larger file.

Affecting urban areas, ecosystems, and agriculture.

By Pacific Institute
August 2014

60% of the state is experiencing exceptional drought – the most severe drought category. – and it is only getting worse since it will be another 2-3 months before the rainy season.

Since January 2014, 3800 wildfires have burned 44,000 acres in California, compared to an average of 2,800 wildfires burning 35,200 acres on average.

Currently, more than 58% of the state is now considered to be in exceptional drought, up from 37% last week.

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August 11, 2014   Comments Off

Green Sense Farms Scraps Sun For LEDs in in Portage, Indiana

Green Sense Farms President and Founding Farmer Robert Colangelo. (Photo via Green Sense Farms Facebook page.)

“We sell to Whole Foods, whose regional headquarters is in Munster, Ind. Right now, we sell primarily to wholesale resellers and are looking at servicing select restaurants.”

By Melissa Wiley
July 24, 2014


Green Sense Farms, which opened last May in Portage, Ind., grows herbs, micro- and leafy greens 22 hours a day, 365 days year, in 25-foot-tall carousels via light recipes powered by 7,000 LEDs courtesy of Royal Philips, a Dutch technology firm. The LEDs, which emit less heat than traditional fluorescent lights, allow Colangelo and team to plant crops in closer proximity, thereby harvesting more pounds of produce per square foot and excising both sun and soil as variables.

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August 1, 2014   Comments Off

Proposed urban farm at the city’s former St. Clair Village public housing site in Pittsbugh

greenClick on image for larger file.

One day be one of the coun­try’s larg­est ur­ban farms

By Diana Nelson Jones
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
July 14, 2014


The Hill­top Al­liance is work­ing with Grow Pitts­burgh, the Penn State Co­op­er­a­tive Ex­ten­sion and the Al­le­gheny Land Trust to make that hap­pen. The al­li­ance is a non­profit um­brella whose staff or­ga­nizes proj­ects with ad­vo­cates from or­ga­ni­za­tions in nine south­ern neigh­bor­hoods.

The St. Clair Vil­lage pub­lic hous­ing site, which con­tained 465 units at its peak, was fully de­mol­ished by 2010. What’s left of the neigh­bor­hood — 209 peo­ple in pri­vately owned homes — needs ev­ery­thing a farm would pro­vide: fresh food, a chance for en­ter­prise, and youth train­ing and ed­u­ca­tion.

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July 24, 2014   Comments Off

Complaints low one year after Lakewood, Colorado expands urban ag

Matt Post holds his daughter, Morgan, 9 months, on the back of Daisy the goat in the backyard of their home in Lakewood. City Council passed an ordinance allowing backyard chickens and goats one year ago. (Seth McConnell, YourHub)

Since April 2013, the city has issued 52 permits for hens, eight for goats, seven for ducks and 26 for beekeeping on residential lots 6,000 square feet or smaller.

By Austin Briggs
Denver Post


From April 2013 through June 2014, there have been five complaints on bees, 20 for chickens and one on dwarf goats.

“There has not been an uptick in complaints,” said city planner Paul Rice.

“I’ve been surprised, but there has yet to be any complaints in my ward,” Councilman Paul agreed.

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July 24, 2014   Comments Off

National Geographic: Urban Farming Yields Fresh Foods, Land Reuse


In backyards and on once-barren city lots, local growers produce crops and livestock.

By Martha M. Hamilton
for National Geographic
May 18, 2014


A new wave of urban agriculture is flourishing because it benefits consumers concerned about sustainably grown food as well as cities with land to spare. It started in 2008, fueled both by economic stress and concerns about nutrition, childhood obesity, and diabetes highlighted by First Lady Michelle Obama.

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May 19, 2014   Comments Off

Brooklyn Hotel to have 20,000 Square Foot Public Rooftop Farm

Closeup of rooftop farm. Click on image for larger file.

May 2, 2014


The Level Hotel being developed by Zelig Weiss at 55 Wythe Avenue in North Williamsburg will look like a Jetsons style tower above a narrow base with a well lit half block of shops below. The rendering appeared on a website of the Shopping Center Group, whose SCG-Retail is leasing out the commercial space in the as-yet-unbuilt complex.

The complex will include a 183-room luxury hotel and the whole thing, including retail and office space, will be 320,000 square feet, as previously reported. The site is located between North 12th and North 13th streets. SCG-Retail is leasing 40,000 square feet of retail, including 20,000 square feet on the ground floor with ceilings 18 to 23 feet high. There will also be a 20,000 square foot rooftop farm that will be open to the public. The whole shebang is supposed to be completed this year, according to the retail listing flyer. We suspect that timetable has changed.

Read the complete article here.

May 14, 2014   Comments Off

These Algae Farms Cover The Walls Of Buildings And Soak Up Carbon


Urban farming meets plankton. Walls might be the next frontier.

By Adele Peters
Fast Coexist
Apr 28, 2014


“Micro-organisms like algae are like bacteria–it’s one of those things that in our culture people try to get rid of,” Griffa says. “But algae offer incredible potential because of their very intense photosynthetic activity.” Algae take in carbon dioxide and produce oxygen while growing. Compared to a tree, micro-algae are about 150 to 200 times more efficient at sucking carbon out of the air.

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May 11, 2014   Comments Off

Land Accessibility Among Urban Crop Farmers in Lagos, Nigeria


Benefits Potentials of Urban Crop Farming

By Christopher Odudu
LAP LAMBERT Academic Publishing

It is generally felt that agricultural production is located in the rural areas to be exploited to provide food for the teeming population especially the population of our towns and cities. Only little is known of the rising importance of crop farming taking place in various towns and cities world-wide. The activity enhances households’ food security, income, employment and makes numerous contributions to a city’s social, economic and environmental development.

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May 2, 2014   Comments Off

Urban farming reverses unsustainable practices and cultivates community resources

Our Harvest Cooperative – Photo: Bobby Gayol.

Sixty-nine percent of Cincinnati residents live 1.5 miles or more from a mainstream grocery store

By Judy George
City Beat
Apr 9, 2014


For Cincinnati to grow more food, more land must be committed to sustainable production and more farmers need to be trained. Our Harvest, a worker-owned cooperative in College Hill, recently began an incubator farm to work toward that goal.

Last year, Our Harvest grew 45,000 pounds of produce on land it leased in Wooden Shoe Hollow and at the 30-acre Bahr Farm in College Hill, feeding 200 CSA members and supplying fresh vegetables to a variety of retail outlets. In March, it leased 100 more acres to grow food in Morrow.

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April 24, 2014   Comments Off

‘Farm City’ author’s new book ‘Gone Feral: Tracking My Dad Through the Wild’


Author Novella Carpenter on the success of ‘Farm City,’ being a mother and her newest book (release date June 17, 2014)

By John Liberty
April 12, 2014


The topics of urban farming, eating healthier and, when possible, buying locally, are very popular right now, but the conversation can be tricky, too, Carpenter said. The success of “Farm City” has propelled her into an advocacy role.

Carpenter said she avoids “preaching” to people about the virtues of eating locally, or establishing your own garden. She said in low income communities such as hers, families are struggling to make ends meet. As such, many people are eating foods high in sugar leading to an “epidemic” where one in three children have diabetes. Carpenter said one in every two children in her community have diabetes.

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April 14, 2014   Comments Off