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Category — Planning

Urban agriculture—Europe’s untapped potential

This was the first comprehensive, interdisciplinary study of urban agriculture in Europe. Published in 2015, it still attracts interest from researchers and policymakers alike, and will be presented at the 2018 Green Week.

Frank Lohrberg / Lilli Lika / Lionella Scazzosi / Axel Timpe (eds.)
European Cooperation in Science and Technology (COST)
June 11, 2018

Excerpt:

Urban Agriculture Europe (UAE), a COST-funded network of over 120 researchers from 29 countries worldwide, investigated how urban agriculture provides solutions in Europe and contributes to innovative cities that are economically and environmentally viable.

Although the network ended in 2016, it is still making an impact. Its research has been cited extensively in a detailed briefing for the European Parliament.

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June 18, 2018   No Comments

Urban agriculture could transform Baltimore’s blighted neighborhoods

City-Hydro, an urban farm that grows microgreens for local restaurants, is piloting an onsite growing program for restaurants. (Kenneth K. Lam)

Today, there are more than 100 community and school gardens in Baltimore, as well as more than 20 urban farms and several organizations working to support urban producers.

By Brent Flickinger
Baltimore Sun
May 30, 2018

Excerpt:

Successful examples abound. The Black Church Food Security Network supports growing food on church-owned properties. Another local example is the highly successful “hoop house” greenhouse project at Civic Works in Clifton Park, now operating for eight years. Such hoop houses are popular all over the world; in England, 90 percent of strawberries are grown in these, and use of toxic pesticides and herbicides is avoided. Further, the recent outbreak of E. Coli in lettuce grown in Arizona ought to provide further motivation to get fresh, clean, local food.

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June 6, 2018   No Comments

Urban growth: meet the city farmers looking to use vacant land and abandoned buildings to transform Scotland’s food landscape

Abi Mordin and Kristina Nitsolova (blue shirt) are ‘Propogate’. They are a driving force in Urban Gardening and are photographed here at Moogety Community garden in Govan..24/05/18. (Photo by Kirsty Ande)

Dr Roy Neilson, a scientist at Dundee’s James Hutton Institute, said there was “real potential” for urban growers to supply city cafes and other businesses.

By Karin Goodwin
The Herald
May 26, 2018
(Must read. Mike)

Excerpt:

A group of local food producers is aiming to transform Scotland’s cities, and overhaul the country’s food landscape, by creating urban farms on vacant land and in empty buildings.

Their vision for the city includes market gardens selling unusual and high-end vegetables, based in vacant plots in deprived areas, and vertical growing projects in which salad and veg can be produced commercially, or fish farmed, in stacked “towers” in abandoned warehouses.

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May 27, 2018   Comments Off on Urban growth: meet the city farmers looking to use vacant land and abandoned buildings to transform Scotland’s food landscape

Canada: Embracing ‘citified’ agriculture means rethinking land use priorities, says U of A researcher

Michael Granzow says projects like community gardens in cities are beneficial, but they need to be part of longer-term planning that also looks at issues like land use, housing and income inequality. (Photo: Supplied)

“Urban agriculture isn’t going to be the answer to all of our problems, but it’s a space of hope—a small but crucial part of a larger move towards ecologically and socially inspired models of urbanism.”

By Bev Betkowski
Folio
May 18, 2018

Excerpt:

“It’s important we think about how urban agriculture projects are working in a larger context and how they’re actually addressing social, environmental and food-related concerns, as opposed to how we assume they’re doing this.

“There’s a need to specifically define what urban agriculture is and how it might differ from one urban context to another.”

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May 26, 2018   Comments Off on Canada: Embracing ‘citified’ agriculture means rethinking land use priorities, says U of A researcher

Ghana: Urban Agriculture in Tamale: a policy narrative

The core of the suggested Tamale plan involves municipal assemblies purchasing larger areas of flood prone land and specifically dedicating them to agriculture so that they cannot be reallocated or sold.

For URBANET UrbanFoodPlus RUAF Foundation Ghana WASH Programme University for Development Studies and International Water Management Institute by I. Bellwood-Howard, E. Chimsi, S. Abdul-Ganiyu and R. van Veenhuisen
Institute of Development Studies
Jan 24, 2016

Executive summary:

Tamale, the capital of Ghana’s Northern region, is a fast-growing metropolis situated in the Guinea savannah. It has a tradition of urban and peri-urban cultivation, and its current rapid growth means that there is a need to analyse the role of urban and peri-urban agriculture (UPA) in the city’s sustainable development. UPA in and around Tamale takes many forms, with various crop farm types characterised by different spatial and tenure arrangements and access to irrigation facilities. These can be broadly categorised as open space intra-urban sites, open space peri-urban sites, intra-urban backyard farms, isolated farms in interstitial intra-urban spaces, formal peri-urban irrigation schemes and peri-urban non-irrigated farming.

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May 21, 2018   Comments Off on Ghana: Urban Agriculture in Tamale: a policy narrative

No Farms, No Food, No Future: American Farmland Trust Releases New Report On The Loss Of Farmland

Between 1992 and 2012, almost 31 million acres of farmland were lost, equal to all the farmland in Iowa. Expanding urban areas accounted for 59 percent of the loss.

American Farmland Trust
May 9, 2018
(Must see. Mike)

Washington, DC – Today, American Farmland Trust releases the most comprehensive assessment ever undertaken of the loss of U.S. farmland and ranchland. “Farms Under Threat: The State of America’s Farmland” sounds a stark warning: The loss of farmland is serious and will accelerate unless we take action. Among the report’s key findings:

• Between 1992 and 2012, almost 31 million acres of farmland were lost, equal to all the farmland in Iowa,
• Nearly twice the area of farmland was lost than was previously shown,
• 11 million of those acres were among the best farmland in the nation,
• Development disproportionately occurred on agricultural lands, with 62 percent of all development occurring on farmland, and
• Expanding urban areas accounted for 59 percent of the loss. Low-density residential development, or the building of houses on 1-to-20-acre parcels, accounted for 41 percent.

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May 9, 2018   Comments Off on No Farms, No Food, No Future: American Farmland Trust Releases New Report On The Loss Of Farmland

UK: Demand for allotments shoots up but gardeners face 90 year waiting list

Alison Swanson at Bridgehaugh Park allotments (Chris Austin / DC Thomson)

There are believed to be 300,000 allotments in Britain, with around 10,000 in Scotland. That’s up by around 4000 since 2007, yet waiting lists remain ridiculously long in some areas.

By Murray Scougall
Sunday Post
01 May 2018

Excerpt:

“It’s 90 years for some of the allotments in central Edinburgh and waiting lists have had to be closed in other cases,” explained gardener and writer Kenneth Cox, speaking on the eve of National Gardening Week, starting tomorrow.

Exercise, health, well-being, community spirit and awareness of where our food comes from are all being flagged as potential factors in the upswing of our horticultural hobbies.

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May 5, 2018   Comments Off on UK: Demand for allotments shoots up but gardeners face 90 year waiting list

Homes Or Gardens? Developers And Urban Farmers Grapple Over Vacant Land

Signs hung up in front of a vacant lot in Weeksville, Brooklyn, in 2014 by members of 596 Acres, an organization that maps vacant lots in New York City and advocates for community stewardship of th at land. Murray Spenser Cox

Washington has witnessed a successful partnership between an urban garden and a developer in her Bronx community.

By Lea Ceasrine
NPR
Apr 28, 2018

Excerpt:

Vacant lots dot lower-income neighborhoods across the country. In many cities, urban growers have planted in those lots, repurposing abandoned city land into gardens with farmers markets and healthy food.

But cities often still register such plots as “vacant,” which allows them to be snatched up by housing developers. In communities where both housing and fresh food are needed, the fight over valuable vacant land is prompting policy reform — and tense collaboration — between developers and gardeners.

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May 5, 2018   Comments Off on Homes Or Gardens? Developers And Urban Farmers Grapple Over Vacant Land

Rodney Spencer and the struggles and rewards of a West Oakland urban farm

Rodney Spencer, executive director of City Slicker Farms, visits with Chance the rabbit, the newest inhabitant of the urban farm in Oakland. Photo: Paul Chinn.

“Urban farming methods applied to a small property can meet the needs of dozens of people,” Spencer said. “It’s a waste of money to manicure landscapes that could (instead) produce food inexpensively and efficiently.”

By Andrew Simmons
San Francisco Chronicle
April 27, 2018

Excerpt:

The Farm Park is rabbit paradise, especially for a young buck accustomed to the Clawson area of West Oakland. City Slicker Farms wants the park to be a paradise for Clawson residents too, a place where people without access to grocery stores selling affordable produce can learn sustainable urban farming practices and discover how to eat healthier. Hemmed in by fast-growing condo developments, crumbling older houses, and the clang and wheeze of light industry, the park at Hannah and Peralta streets feels like an oasis.

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May 5, 2018   Comments Off on Rodney Spencer and the struggles and rewards of a West Oakland urban farm

‘It’s more than just gardening’: Urban farming creates opportunity for job growth, food access

Gibron Jones founded HOSCO eight years ago to help provide training, education and expand urban farming food operations. Ashley Gieseking | Sauce Magazine

There are multiple ways to become involved. Whether it’s donating and supporting local farmers, or just coming out and lending a hand when it’s time to put some seeds in the ground,” she said.

By Lara Hamdan
St. Louis Public Radio
Apr 25, 2018

Excerpt:

Klene said urban farming includes growing crops in the city in “places you don’t expect,” such as vacant lots and rooftops.

“You don’t need 50 acres out in the country to start a farm. You can start a farm in your own backyard in the city,” Klene said. She added that “it’s more than just gardening,” since organizations like HOSCO use urban farming to create jobs.

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May 2, 2018   Comments Off on ‘It’s more than just gardening’: Urban farming creates opportunity for job growth, food access

Urban Agriculture Could Potentially Produce a Tenth of the World’s Food. Is Grass Really the Best Use for Your Yard?


Amanda Matson with husband Derek Ehrman and baby Elliot outside their home in Raleigh. Photo by Caitlin Penna.

There seems to be momentum behind the conviction that the collective cultivation of underutilized public spaces such as empty lots and rooftops just might save the world.

By Amanda Abrams
Indy
Apr 25, 2018

Excerpt:

But if urban agriculture gets people salivating, what about the other unoccupied patches of green right before us: private lawns, those monocultures that many Americans spend more than an hour a week manicuring even though they produce nothing useful? There are roughly forty million acres of lawn in the U.S., according to a 2015 NASA study—three times more acreage than any other irrigated crop. That’s a lot of land, and an enormous amount of lost potential. The average lawn is roughly a fifth of an acre, which doesn’t sound like much. But unlike big farms, gardens tend to be intensively managed, which means they can often yield an impressive amount of vegetables.

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May 2, 2018   Comments Off on Urban Agriculture Could Potentially Produce a Tenth of the World’s Food. Is Grass Really the Best Use for Your Yard?

Green shoots of hope: the Chelsea Flower Show garden celebrating the ingenuity of Syrian refugees


(Must see video. Mike) Film: Urban Agriculture in Domiz Camp, Iraq. In 2017 we met Castro Youssef, a refugee film maker in Domiz camp. We purchased him a video camera to document our work and record the everyday life of refugees. Through his work we have been able to prepare a short film about Domiz Camp in Iraq which explores the home gardens, liberation garden, and Crisis Response Garden kits.

“Imagine having the presence of mind when you’re having to flee ­conflict to take seeds of your ­favourite rose with you,” marvels Massey.

By Annie Gatti
The Telegraph
April 27, 2018
(Must see. Mike)

Chelsea Flower Show designers who are ­creating gardens for charities or other not-for-profit organisations usually have several months to immerse themselves in the sponsor’s world before submitting their initial design.

Tom Massey, who is making his Chelsea debut with a Main Avenue garden for Lemon Tree Trust, had just a couple of weeks to come up with a plan before the RHS deadline.

The trust, a US and UK-based group working to create ­pilot projects in urban agriculture and green spaces among displaced communities, gave him an open brief: they wanted a garden that would celebrate the ­resilience and ingenuity of refugees living and making gardens in the harsh conditions of Domiz Camp in the Kurdish region of northern Iraq, where summer temperatures soar above 40C and drop below freezing in winter, and where the trust has been providing horticultural support since 2015.

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April 28, 2018   Comments Off on Green shoots of hope: the Chelsea Flower Show garden celebrating the ingenuity of Syrian refugees

Toward Sustainable Relations Between Agriculture and the City

Presents multilevel approaches of sustainable relations between agriculture and the city
Written by scientists in agronomy, geography and urban planning
Includes methodological frameworks and case studies in Europe and the Mediterranean

Editors: Soulard, Christophe-Toussaint, Perrin, Coline, Valette, Elodie (Eds.)
Springer 2018

This book gives an overview of frameworks, methods, and case studies useful for the analysis of the relations between agriculture and the city, in Europe and the Mediterranean. Its originality lies in the analysis of urban food systems sustainability from an actors’ perspective. All the chapters consider the key role of actors in the definition of innovations and pathways, which enhance sustainability, seen as an ongoing process. Part 1 presents systemic approaches of agricultural-urban interactions at the city-region scale in France, Egypt, Italy and Morocco.

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April 28, 2018   Comments Off on Toward Sustainable Relations Between Agriculture and the City

Canada: Would-be urban farmers peeved by provincial building code regulations in Edmonton

Mike Day, left, and Andy Day, right, hope city council will make it easier for urban farmers to use shipping containers to grow produce. (KEVIN TUONG)

Report by city administration says all structures larger than 10 square metres must measure up

By Ameya Charnalia
StarMetro Edmonton
April 17, 2018

Excerpt:

Some urban farmers say stringent provincial building codes are hampering their plans to farm in the city.

Ryan Mason, co-owner of Reclaim Urban Farms, is asking councillors to help residents navigate provincial red tape for erecting temporary structures on urban agricultural land.

“I just want to sell lettuce to restaurants,” said Mason, whose Garneau-area hoop house was considered non-compliant and shut down because he didn’t have a building permit.

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April 27, 2018   Comments Off on Canada: Would-be urban farmers peeved by provincial building code regulations in Edmonton

China: Shanghai’s Suburban Farm on Chongming Island

One of Shen Hong’s farms, located in Xianqiao Town on Chongming Island, presents a bucolic scene of man and nature existing in harmony.

“Urban agriculture, like farming in suburban areas in big cities like Shanghai, is different from the traditional way of farming,” says Huang, an urban planner for more than 20 years. “It is aimed not only at fulfilling the need for food production, but also at providing local residents and urban consumers with a deeper understanding of how our daily lives relate to nature.”

By Yao Minji
Shine
Apr 11, 2018

Excerpt:

Like many modern farms in suburban Shanghai, Huang hosts workshops that are especially popular among families with children. Visitors can see how crops are grown organically and come to understand how somewhat higher costs of food are worth the knowledge that what we eat is safe and nutritious.

“The idea of sustainable farming depends heavily on consumers becoming more eco-minded,” Shen says. “We have forgotten the nature of agriculture. It is to supply nutrition and make you healthy. But consumers are typically driven by taste and price. For many years, most consumers have placed a higher priority on taste and low price than on quality and nutrition.”

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April 16, 2018   Comments Off on China: Shanghai’s Suburban Farm on Chongming Island