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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   No Comments

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   No Comments

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

The Battle for Urban Ag


Community organizers fight for rights to sell the food you grow

By Amber Stott
Dec 10, 2014


The Sacramento Urban Agriculture Coalition, started in March of 2012, doesn’t have a traditional president or CEO. Instead, it’s comprised of entities including Alchemist Community Development Corporation, Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment, Pesticide Watch, Sacramentans for Sustainable Community Agriculture, Ubuntu Green, Soil Born Farms, local residents and community activists. They say we need expanded urban agricultural policies in Sacramento to truly move the dial on issues of poverty, health and hunger.

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December 22, 2014   Comments Off

Scandinavian Design Grow Box

A hydroponic grow box with everything you need to get started growing in your own home. Hand made in Sweden with Scandinavian design.

By Hemmaodlat


We started from scratch to find a way to build a food safe, simple and most of all beautiful grow box. Every grow box is handmade in Sweden using locally sourced wood, and then given a finish to make it withstand water. The grow box fits four plants and measures 60cm x 14,5cm x 15cm. It’s slim Scandinavian design works perfectly on your windowsill.

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November 9, 2014   Comments Off

7 elaborate urban farms

Kelly and Erik’s Los Angeles homestead. Photo by Emily Ho.

With the “moderate cost” of food for the average 19 to 50-year-old man in the U.S. at $295.90 per-month, according to the USDA, why wouldn’t you want to feed yourself from the land where you’re already paying to live?

By Ilyce Glink
CBS Moneywatch
November 1, 2014


Kelly Coyne and Erik Knutzen practice what they call “radical home ec.” Their Los Angeles home, which is often featured on their homesteading blog Root Simple, features a 1/12th-acre lot with bee hives, a chicken coop, fruit trees, vegetables, a rain barrel, a twig-burning stove, a solar dehydrator and compost bins.

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November 8, 2014   Comments Off

The Urban Farming Guys – Kansas City

Candy Fields took me on a lively tour of their aquaponics setup.

Urban Farming Guys are using a cave to turn up to 10,000 pounds of compostables into organic fertilizer every month, through the miracle of worm castings!

By Diane Desenberg
Groundbreaking Roots
June 25, 2014


Candy says that in its fourth year, the aquaponics system has far surpassed their original production goal of 1000 pounds of protein; they are probably closing in on 2000 pounds. They have improved on their original design. They now help others get off the ground with the Barrelponics system.

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November 5, 2014   Comments Off

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   Comments Off

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