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Urban farms need financially sound business models to be truly sustainable

citysc

Before launching an urban farm, the producer should consider the effect of scale along with substantial production risks. Expect small, single digit returns on their investment with the need for development of an appropriate business strategy.

By Frank Gublo,
Michigan State University Extension
Posted on August 17, 2015

Excerpt:

Every week Michigan State University Extension educators and MSU Product Center counselors receive inquiries about the feasibility of starting a farm. In recent years, the interest in sustainable urban agriculture as a tool for repurposing cities such as Detroit has grown but has produced few ventures at a commercial scale. Financial sustainability urban farm operations we see in southeast Michigan however is still questionable. This is due to the smaller scale, lower prices of fruit and vegetable crops, and the production management skills of the farmer-producer. The dream of becoming a full time urban farmer is a lofty goal that few will achieve. Strategy, realistic planning, and beautiful execution of the farm plans are critical in achieving a successful outcome.

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August 25, 2015   No Comments

Tourism-focused farms give Chinese city dwellers a break from urban life

chinatA woman tends to a vegetable garden at one of the parks. Image: How Hwee Young/Epa

In areas around big cities like Beijing, farms are also offering leisure and tourism activities.

By Lili Sams
Mashable
August 1, 2015

Excerpt:

In 2014, Chinese farms had more than 1.2 billion visitors, according to the China Tourism Association. That’s up from more than 900 million visitors in 2013, which generated $4.7 billion in revenue. To put the popularity of farm tourism in perspective, that accounts for about a third of all holidays in the country.

Farms offer residents of China’s biggest metropolises a refreshing break from urban life, while giving rural populations the chance to earn a decent living.

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August 9, 2015   Comments Off on Tourism-focused farms give Chinese city dwellers a break from urban life

Urban agriculture project to transform unused warehouse in Indianapolis

butterc

The $1.3 million renovation will allow the company to grow year-round and hire 20 people.

By wishnicknatario
WishTV
July 22, 2015

Excerpts:

An unused warehouse in Indianapolis is being transformed to create fresh produce and jobs.

Right now the building, off of South Rural Street, is filled with old cars. In a few months, it’ll be replaced with produce. Vegetables you’ll be able to buy in local grocery stores.

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July 29, 2015   Comments Off on Urban agriculture project to transform unused warehouse in Indianapolis

Infographic: 14 Ways Keeping Backyard Chickens Saves Your Garden and the Environment

14wSee complete infographic here.

By Claire Smith
The Happy Chicken Coop
2015

Excerpt:

Chickens were domesticated around 9000 years ago in Indian and Eastern Asia. Since then they have been the source of much amusement, enjoyment and food.

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July 17, 2015   Comments Off on Infographic: 14 Ways Keeping Backyard Chickens Saves Your Garden and the Environment

Hydroponic Gadget for City Farmers

flux
The prototype Flux device. Photo courtesy of Flux.

Put the Flux device in the water reservoir to monitor the delicate water chemistry and give you automated alerts about what needs adjusting.

By Abigail Leichman
Israel21
July 15, 2015

Excerpt:

Whether you’re growing berries in Brooklyn or kale in Karachi, a small device coming soon from an Israeli entrepreneur will help you grow it better on water, hydroponically.

“Our solution based on sensors and community lets individuals and smallholder farms access cutting-edge hydroponics technologies, until now available only to big industry,” says Karin Kloosterman, Jaffa-based CEO of Flux.

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July 15, 2015   Comments Off on Hydroponic Gadget for City Farmers

Modern Halifax house features rooftop urban agriculture

rofdecClick on image for larger file.

The roof top garden beds on their King Street home, in which the Fitzgeralds plant vegetables and herbs, resemble what they witnessed on their journey.

By Jonathan Waddell
HALIFAX — Special to The Globe and Mail
Jun. 18, 2015

Excerpt:

She, and her husband and builder, Brainard Fitzgerald, wanted to see how urban agriculture was accomplished in countries where the practice was a necessity. Their rare partnership harkens back to the roots of the profession when architects combined the talents of designer and craftsman.

She proposed to visit countries in Central and South America and Cuba, a place to which Ms. Fitzgerald now takes her students from Dalhousie University School of Architecture.

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June 28, 2015   Comments Off on Modern Halifax house features rooftop urban agriculture

Managing change and building resilience: A multi-stressor analysis of urban and peri-urban agriculture in Africa and Asia

1940-50
Tending the garden, Sichuan, China, ca.1940-1950.

Resilience of UPA systems is being undermined by urban growth pressures

By Jon Padghama, Jason Jabbourb, Katie Dietrichc,
Urban Climate
Volume 12, June 2015, Pages 183–204

START and UNEP, along with several partners in Africa and South Asia, recently completed a 9-city assessment of urban and peri-urban agriculture that focused on the environmental dimensions of UPA. An article in Urban Climate synthesizing the findings of the assessment is available here. The article examines how poor governance, haphazard urban growth patterns and extreme events are amplifying impacts on UPA systems that may undermine the capacity of UPA systems to meet urban food as well as adaptation needs.

The assessments can be accessed at http://start.org/programs/upa

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May 16, 2015   Comments Off on Managing change and building resilience: A multi-stressor analysis of urban and peri-urban agriculture in Africa and Asia

Ori: Handmade tool from Slovenia to help you determine growing spaces between the plants

The holes and the legend on Ori will guide your sowing and planting experience.

By Seed Guardians Association; Origo Co-op
2015

Excerpt:

The main purpose in the use of Ori is to help you determine growing spaces between the plants on your gardening surface. It can be considered as a gardening ruler with a twist of design.

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May 16, 2015   Comments Off on Ori: Handmade tool from Slovenia to help you determine growing spaces between the plants

The Community-Scale Permaculture Farm

commscal

The D Acres Model for Creating and Managing an Ecologically Designed Educational Center

By Josh Trought
Chelsea Green Publishing
Release Date: March 17, 2015

Excerpt:

The Community-Scale Permaculture Farm describes not only the history of the D Acres project, but its evolving principles and practices that are rooted in the land, its inhabitants, and the joy inherent in collective empowerment.

For almost twenty years, D Acres of New Hampshire has challenged and expanded the common definition of a farm. As an educational center that researches, applies, and teaches skills of sustainable living and small-scale organic farming, D Acres serves more than just a single function to its community. By turns it is a hostel for travelers to northern New England, a training center for everything from metal- and woodworking to cob building and seasonal cooking, a gathering place for music, poetry, joke-telling, and potluck meals, and much more.

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April 17, 2015   Comments Off on The Community-Scale Permaculture Farm

1851: The gardener’s text-book – containing practical directions upon the formation and management of the kitchen garden

blgreenh

The well-known tomato, which is now highy esteemed in all kitchens, was formerly raised in the flower garden under the name of love-apple, and was by some persons considered poisonous.

By Schenck, Peter Adam
New-York : O. Judd & company
c1851

Excerpts:

The common day labourer of England, a man of much less intelligence and shrewdness than the greater portion of our working classes, is distinguished by a remarkable degree of skill and taste in the cultivation and embellishment of the little spot of ground connected with his dwelling. Here it is that he spends the odd moments of time between his regular hours of labour; and while he bestows the greatest attention upon the vegetables which are afterwards to grace his humble board, he does not forget the excellent effect of a few flowers in the door-yard.

The stranger who passes along the road cannot fail to infer that comfort and happiness preside in that cottage, however lowly may be its roof, and however rustic and unpolished may be its inmates.

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April 13, 2015   Comments Off on 1851: The gardener’s text-book – containing practical directions upon the formation and management of the kitchen garden

1841 – The Cultivation of Every Requisite Vegetable in the Kitchen Garden

andgen

Being the result of 35 Year’s Practical Experience in this Climate

By Andrew Gentle
Late Curator of the Elgin Botanic Garden, New York
1841

… and was entrusted with the management of two very extensive establishments in the Old Country for six years, before I embarked for this “land of the free.” In the year 1805 I commenced operations for Dr. Hopsack, in New-York by laying out his grounds.

Excerpt:

Cure for Cancer: Wood Sorrel – Acetosella

The reader, perhaps, may be anxious to know in what way I became possessed of this important

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April 7, 2015   Comments Off on 1841 – The Cultivation of Every Requisite Vegetable in the Kitchen Garden

Ohio group helps city dwellers get most out of yards

harmo
Tayse Baillieul and husband helped start the group.

Formed last month, Columbus Agrarian Society plans activities, workshops to aid local residents in growing their own food

By Kevin Parks
This Week news
March 23, 2015

Excerpt:

“It’s really just an effort to bring like-minded people together to network, to share information and enhance the food being grown in our city, whether it’s the casual backyard gardener or the more-intense people trying to grow most of their own food,” Swain said last week. “We’re trying to see if we can’t help others achieve whatever their goals are.”

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April 3, 2015   Comments Off on Ohio group helps city dwellers get most out of yards

Canadian Institutions Supported ‘City Farmer’ in Formative Years

Poster
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   Comments Off on Canadian Institutions Supported ‘City Farmer’ in Formative Years

‘Crates to Plates Garden’ In Columbia, Missouri

crates
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

Excerpt:

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   Comments Off on ‘Crates to Plates Garden’ In Columbia, Missouri

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
co-founder
Cooking Up a Story
Food.Farmer.Earth.
March 2015

Excerpt:

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   Comments Off on Profile of an Urban Homesteader in Corvallis, Oregon