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Category — Planning

Urban Dwellers Drive Massive Deforestation Locally and Abroad

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“Ironically, even as urban expansion drives forest clearance for agriculture, it simultaneously consumes existing farmland,” writes Prugh. “By one estimate, urbanization may cause the loss of up to 3.3 million hectares of prime agricultural land each year.”

Can a City Be Sustainable?
Senior Researcher Tom Prugh
Annual State of the World series from the Worldwatch Institute
May 2016

Excerpt:

A second, and likely lesser, factor linking urban growth to deforestation is that cities are often expanding into areas of farmland and natural habitat, including forests. Cities worldwide are growing by 1.4 million new inhabitants every week. Urban land area is expanding, on average, twice as fast as urban populations. The area covered by urban zones is projected to expand by more than 1.2 million square kilometers between 2000 and 2030.

“Ironically, even as urban expansion drives forest clearance for agriculture, it simultaneously consumes existing farmland,” writes Prugh. “By one estimate, urbanization may cause the loss of up to 3.3 million hectares of prime agricultural land each year.”

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July 16, 2016   No Comments

Habitat III, the UN’s conference on cities will explore urban agriculture as a solution to food security

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ungarden UN staff and New York City Parks’ Green Thumb open the United Nations Food Garden on Nelson Mandela International Day, July 24, 2015, United Nations Headquarters, New York.

“Food security is one of the big issues that is going to be dealt with in Habitat III in relation to urbanization” said Juan Close, director of UN Habitat said here last week.

By Anne Dutt
InterPressService
July 11, 2016

Excerpt:

Habitat III, the UN’s conference on cities this coming October will explore urban agriculture as a solution to food security, but here in New York City, it has shown potential for much more.

Record-high levels of inequality are being felt most prominently in the world’s cities. Even In New York City, the heart of the developed world, many urban communities have food security issues.

Since the year 2000, New York City food costs have increased by 59 percent, while the average income of working adults has only increased by 17 percent.

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July 12, 2016   No Comments

Urban Agriculture As A Global Warming Tool

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Wayne Roberts.

‘In the era of global warming, urban agriculture’s ability to generate spaces for the development of social skills and adaptability is likely more important than its ability to produce food.’

By Wayne Roberts
30 ways cities can prepare for global warming
OpportunityCity, No 22
July 2016

Excerpt:

Last month, I made the case at the Grey to Green conference (put on by Green Roofs for Healthy Cities in Toronto) that there are 30 expressions of urban agriculture that either prevent damage (mitigation is the official phrase), or adapt positively to damage, caused by global warming. Last week, at an Urban Food Systems Symposium at Kansas State University in Kansas City where I spoke, I learned about a lot more expressions of urban agriculture that respond to other city challenges — including refugee resettlement and poverty reduction, which Kansas excels in, thanks to the exemplary work of Cultivate Kansas City.

There are so many kinds and scales of urban ag, we need a wide umbrella term to cover them all.

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July 11, 2016   No Comments

Forbes Opinion: Urban Farming Is A Ludicrously Stupid Idea

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Urban farming just doesn’t make sense as a food production system.

By Tim Worstall
Fellow at the Adam Smith Institute in London
Forbes
July 4, 2016

Excerpt:

Why pay $3 million for the space for 40 cows? Note that this isn’t even their grazing nor fodder land, this is just the byre and milking shed. Which can be set up really very much more cheaply elsewhere, away from the expensive city land.

To construct an example to show the silliness of this.

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July 4, 2016   Comments Off on Forbes Opinion: Urban Farming Is A Ludicrously Stupid Idea

As citizens residing in megacities, we are no longer connected with farming

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What is really required is a push from urban municipalities to introduce urban farming as a social policy and to integrate urban agriculture as an integral part of urban planning and design.

By Saahil Parekh
Business Standard
June 1, 2016

Excerpt:

As citizens residing in megacities, we are no longer connected with farming. We no longer care about where our fruits and vegetables are coming from, understanding how to identify the good ones from the bad, and their nutrition value. It is an irony that we check for energy and nutrition charts on manufactured foods that we pick off the shelves or burger meals that we order at the counters of fast-food restaurants, but hardly give any thought to the salubriousness of the vegetables we buy at the sabji mandi. Our only criterion is how cheap, and the presence of pesticides or other harmful chemicals doesn’t even play on our minds.

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June 11, 2016   Comments Off on As citizens residing in megacities, we are no longer connected with farming

Learning for Sustainable Agriculture: Urban Gardening in Berlin

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In the last decade Berlin has become a hot spot and the international “capital” of urban gardening: In 2002 there were some eight urban gardens in Germany and none in Berlin, meanwhile (August 2013) there are more than 100 urban gardens in Berlin.

By Stephanie Wunder
SOLINSA
Ecologic Institute
September 2013

The study analyzes urban gardening initiatives in Berlin. It focused on the following aspects:

First, it sheds a light on how urban gardening motivates community involvement with specific reference to the development of Berlin’s urban gardening movement. It also clarifies the role of sustainability in these efforts and motivations.

Second, it looks for the success factors as well as barriers faced; with a particular focus on the role of governance structures, knowledge sharing and decision making processes.

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June 8, 2016   Comments Off on Learning for Sustainable Agriculture: Urban Gardening in Berlin

Growing Food For Growing Cities

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Transforming Food Systems In An Urbanizing World

By Douglas Bereuter and Dan Glickman, cochairs Thomas A. Reardon, principal author Endorsed by an Independent Advisory Group
The Chicago Council of Global Affairs
April 2016
124 pages

Excerpt:

Growth in the world’s cities is exploding. Today, more people live in urban areas than in rural areas. By 2050, 66 percent of the world’s people are expected to live
1n cities, feuling unprecedented demand for food. Especially low – and middle – income countries(LMICs) in Asia, Africa, and Latin America, feeding urban populations has become an urgent and critical challenge.

As cities grow, diets are changing. Urban consumers are demanding a more diversified diet, including fruits, vegetables, dairy, and meat, and are increasingly consuming processed foods. Accompanying these shifts is the transformation of supply chains, affecting farmers, small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), and consumers. A process has begun, which will continue for decades, that is transforming food systems from farm to fork.

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June 8, 2016   Comments Off on Growing Food For Growing Cities

Sudan: Urban Agriculture Facing Land Pressure in Greater Khartoum – The Case of New Real Estate Projects in Tuti and Abu Se ‘id

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Dr Alice Franck’s Presentation On Urban Agriculture At The Sudanese Institute Of Architects (SIA)’S 4Th Scientific And Professional Conference

On 23rd May, 2016, Dr Alice Franck, Geographer and Coordinator of CEDEJ Khartoum, presented her paper at the Sudanese Institute of Architects (SIA)’s 4th Scientific and Professional conference.

Excerpt from Abstract:

My initial research into this location of intense speculation examined the future of the central areas that remained under agricultural activity and how they were gradually being transformed into urban areas (Franck 2007). The approach adopted analysed the resistance of agriculture and farmers to the spread of real estate and the pressure of competition over land ownership. Five years later, the action in favour of urban plan renewal has been drastically intensified and the capacity for resistance severely diminished; three of the five market gardening areas (Tuti, Shambat, Abu Se’id, Abu Rof and Mogran) observed during fieldwork in 2001–5 are subject to huge real estate projects (Mogran, Abu Se’id and Tuti). In this chapter, I focus my analysis on how landowners and the entire agricultural sector can both adapt to and confront the transformation.

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May 26, 2016   Comments Off on Sudan: Urban Agriculture Facing Land Pressure in Greater Khartoum – The Case of New Real Estate Projects in Tuti and Abu Se ‘id

Expedition agroparks

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Research by design into sustainable development and agriculture in the network society

By Peter J.A.M. Smeets
Wageningen Academic Pubishers
2011 Pages: 320

This book is the result of several years of expedition into the development of metropolitan FoodClusters. The author’s fascination for the agricultural landscapes in and around metropolises led him to the conclusion that improving the efficiency of agriculture is the most effective way to safeguard the quality of such landscapes. The wasteful modes of production developed in the past 150 years have led to a serious decline in both the surface area and the quality of the highly valued landscapes.

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May 24, 2016   Comments Off on Expedition agroparks

Colorado Springs: New ‘TinyFarm’ in town wants zoning change to sell veggies from home

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yourmyYour neighbourhood is my neighbourhood – Tanja Esch | Urban Art Now

Pikes Peak Small Farms PBC estimates the city has more than 18,000 acres of farmable infill. And if, as the group’s prospectus claims, a half-acre can eventually feed 60 people, the tiny farm model is ripe to do big things.

By Nat Stein
Colorado Springs Independent
May 18, 2016

Excerpt:

As it stands, that would be considered a garage sale under current land-use definitions. Per zoning regulations, citizens can have two garage sales a year with combined sales over $300 subject to tax.

Lonna Thelen in the city’s land use division told the Indy that urban agriculture has different designations for those that have a retail component and those that don’t. Community gardens without on-site sales are permitted in residential zones, but adding that sales component makes it crop production, zoned only for agricultural districts. Certain home occupations are permitted by the land use division as long as hours of operation, number of employees, volume of customers, exterior signage and off-street parking fit the city’s parameters.

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May 23, 2016   Comments Off on Colorado Springs: New ‘TinyFarm’ in town wants zoning change to sell veggies from home

Agrihoods take root: a housing trend rooted in agriculture

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The Cannery, a community designed around a small farm in Davis, about 20 miles west of California’s capital, Sacramento.

By Michelle Locke
The Associated Press
May 17, 2016

Excerpt:

Master developer The New Home Co. was looking to build a neighborhood, not just homes, and market research showed that people wanted to connect to community. So “it made lots of sense to take this 7.5-acre piece of property and turn it into an urban farm, have that be the focus point,” says Kevin Carson, New Home president.

Residents can sign up for a weekly box of produce from the farm, and no matter what their level of participation they get to feel part of something, says Carson. “They can see the pumpkins being harvested or the tomatoes being planted or the different seasons that happen on a farm.”

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May 22, 2016   Comments Off on Agrihoods take root: a housing trend rooted in agriculture

The real value of urban farming. (Hint: It’s not always the food.)

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The environmental benefits of urban farming get even more complicated when we consider indoor “vertical farms,” which are often touted as a sustainable option that use less soil and water. Although designs differ, some of these set-ups can use an enormous amount of energy, especially if they require artificial lighting.

By Brad Plumer
VOX
May 16, 2016

Excerpt:

“It’s hard to make sweeping generalizations here,” Santo told me. When designed right, urban farms can make some modest but valuable improvements to the sustainability of our food system. But when designed poorly, they can end up being even worse for the environment — say, if they’re using fertilizer inefficiently and polluting nearby waters with nitrogen run-off.

In our conversation, Santo mentioned one feature of urban farms that often gets shortchanged in dry policy discussions: “They can reconnect people with how to grow food.”

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May 22, 2016   Comments Off on The real value of urban farming. (Hint: It’s not always the food.)

RUAF renewed its Global Partnership on Sustainable Urban Agriculture and Food Systems

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RUAF Update – May 2016

Excerpt:

In a recent meeting (18-21 April 2016) in its new home base in Amersfoort, the Netherlands, RUAF Foundation, with several of its founding partners and a number of new partner institutions have renewed the RUAF Global Partnership on Sustainable Urban Agriculture and Food Systems.

This new partnership replaces the RUAF member network that existed since the start of RUAF in 2000. The current members of the RUAF Partnership are a mix of municipalities, research institutes, and NGOs and include: the International Water Management Institute based in Colombo, Sri Lanka; the Institute of Geographical Sciences and Natural Resources Research of the Chinese Academy of Sciences based in Beijing, China;

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May 13, 2016   Comments Off on RUAF renewed its Global Partnership on Sustainable Urban Agriculture and Food Systems

A Review Of The Benefits And Limitations Of Urban Agriculture

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Vacant Lots To Vibrant Plot

By Raychel Santo Anne Palmer Brent Kim
John Hopkins Centre for Liveable Future
May 2016
(Must see. Mike)

Excerpt:

Recommendations for framing the merits of urban agriculture.

Urban agriculture should be evaluated for the multifaceted nature of its outcomes – social, health, environmental, and economic – and not merely for its potential outputs in terms of food production or economic development measures.

The list below offers a number of evidence-based talking points for advocates seeking to advance urban agriculture policy and programs:

1) Urban agriculture’s most significant benefits center around its ability to increase social capital, community well-being, and civic engagement with the food system.

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May 9, 2016   Comments Off on A Review Of The Benefits And Limitations Of Urban Agriculture

Vancouver farmers’ land growth being limited by mansion owners

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sothlHome in the Southlands, City of Vancouver. Photo by Stephen Rees.

“There are so many farmers who want to get into this kind of land. It would be nice if [the owners] had an incentive.”

By Francis Bula
Globe and Mail
May 5, 2016

Excerpt:

That kind of standoff throughout the region has Metro Vancouver exploring ways to change the tax system so that people who own agricultural land will be encouraged to use it for farming. The region is also looking at ways to take away the benefits from people who make it look like they are farming when they really aren’t.

All of that matters because Metro Vancouver has more farmland within its boundaries than any other North American city and because the region’s 2,600 farms produce the highest revenues in the province. It’s estimated that a hectare of land can produce at least $36,000 worth of vegetables in a year.

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May 6, 2016   Comments Off on Vancouver farmers’ land growth being limited by mansion owners