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Category — Planning

1949 commuter train film shows Vancouver corridor land which today is in ‘community gardens versus railway dispute’

1949 film of the Interurban rail service from downtown Vancouver to Marpole and the Fraser River

Vancouver Arbutus Corridor Community Gardens could lose 60-70% of garden land space

City of Richmond Archives
Published on July 21, 2014

This clip shows the B.C.E.R. Lulu Island Line interurban on its run from downtown Vancouver through the Arbutus corridor to Marpole and the Fraser River Trestle. Filmed by tram enthusiast Ted Clark around 1949, the original 16 mm film underwent conservation treatment in 2012 and then was digitized. The complete film on DVD, along with a detailed shot list, can be purchased at the City of Richmond Archives for $20.00.

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July 21, 2014   No Comments

World cities, home to most people, to add 2.5 billion more by 2050: U.N.

citipopClick on image for larger file.

Tokyo is the world’s most populous city with 38 million inhabitants, followed by Delhi with 25 million, Shanghai with 23 million and Mexico City, Mumbai and Sao Paulo, each with around 21 million people.

“Managing urban areas has become one of the most important development challenges of the 21st century,” Wilmoth said.

By Mirjam Donath
United Nations
Jul 10, 2014


(Reuters) – More than half of the world’s seven billion people live in urban areas, with the top “mega cities” – with more than 10 million inhabitants – being Tokyo, Delhi, Shanghai, Mexico City and Sao Paulo, according to a United Nations report on Thursday.

That proportion is expected to jump, so that more than six billion people will be city dwellers by 2045, the U.N.’s World Urbanization Prospects report said.

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July 20, 2014   No Comments

A new vision for urban farming

wargard1919 War Gardens medallion.

A model where agriculture is reintegrated into urban and suburban areas — and locally produced food is sold and consumed locally.

By Jason Reed and Robert Puro
Daily News
July 7, 2014
Jason Reed, a movie producer formerly with Disney, and Robert Puro are co-founders of, a Los Angeles-based social venture dedicated to promoting innovation and investment in sustainable and urban agriculture.


One key to improving the urban farm system is aggregation. It’s easier, and certainly more cost-effective because of its scale, to collect on a daily basis hundreds of boxes of lettuce, truckloads of tomatoes, etc., sort them and then designate their ultimate destination — which is usually another, smaller sorting operation within a city. In the large-scale commercial farming operation, it’s one crop with one fleet of semi trucks from one aggregated source. The aggregation system for urban farming is obviously different — which means it’s riskier for the entrepreneur who wants to create that network.

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July 15, 2014   Comments Off

Tucson City may ditch proposed rules on urban agriculture

Infographic: Urban Agriculture Proposals in Tucson.

The chorus of opposition has made some council members wonder if the city is looking for a solution to a problem that doesn’t exist.

By Darren DaRonco
Arizona Daily Star
July 1, 2014


Proposed limits on how many chickens and goats city residents can keep in their backyards may be dumped before they’re ever adopted.

The same goes for new rules governing when you can sell your homegrown fruits and vegetables to your neighbors.

Tucson City Council members are having second thoughts about even bringing the changes to a public vote in the wake of outraged opposition from urban farmers who see their rights being impinged.

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July 13, 2014   Comments Off

A first spatial database on urban agriculture in the city of Rome

GIS_mapSMGIS_ map (a view of the dataset on the whole urban area, the points are the poligons centroids). Click on image for larger file.

Farming the Ethernal City

Eng. Flavio Lupia
Italian Institute for Agricultural Economics (INEA), Rome (ITALY)
July 2014

Urban agriculture (UA) has been acknowledged for several positive effects such as access to fresh food, human activities moderation, agro-biodiversity and social and cultural relationships.

In the city of Rome due to social and economical trends this kind of activities are spreading, but so far very few attempts has been addressed to inventorying the UA areas (e.g. community gardens, residential gardens, school gardens, illegal vegetable gardens, urban farms, etc.) through Earth Observations techniques. Some mapping experiences have been carried out but all lack of a well established methodology to be applied for a complete inventory.

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July 11, 2014   Comments Off

Vancouver could lose more than 10% of community garden plots due to Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) decision

CPR train passing the Maple Street Community Gardens in 2001. Photo by Sharon Slack taken at the corner of 6th Avenue and Maple Street. Click on image for larger file.

Approximately 425 of the 4000 community gardens plots in Vancouver will be affected

Vancouver Arbutus Corridor could lose 60-70% of gardening land space.

Below is a letter to the President of CPR from a longtime community gardener in the Maple Community Garden.

By Deirdre Phillips
Maple Street Community Gardener
July 9th, 2014
(Must read. Mike)

E. Hunter Harrison, CEO CP Rail (care of Ed Greenberg)
Chief Executive Officer and Director
Canadian Pacific
Wellington, Florida

“We have historic ties with communities along our tracks and our programs make contributions to the quality of life in these towns and cities.” CP Rail

Dear E. Hunter Harrison,

The above quote from your “Community Investment” section on your website is in complete contradiction to the power play that you and your executives are posing with the City of Vancouver – whom you refer to as ‘other parties’. You are threatening to destroy all the community gardens by July 31st, 2014 along the Arbutus Corridor simply because you can’t get what you are looking for in your negotiations with the City of Vancouver for the 66 foot wide ribbon of land along the Arbutus Corridor.

Your threat to remove what you call ‘excess vegetation’ along the tracks in the Arbutus Corridor by July 31st, 2014 is pure manipulation and quite a transparent attempt to get all of the community gardeners along the corridor to do your dirty work for you by putting pressure on the City of Vancouver. Yes, all of us gardeners love organic dirt but not dirty politics and your goal to maximize profits for your shareholders.

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July 10, 2014   Comments Off

What Tucsonans are saying about urban agriculture proposals


“So have you had complaints from individuals saying, ‘Hey, there’s a group of thugs selling vegetables?’ Just wondering.”

Arizona Daily Star
June 28, 2014


We’ll give Principal Planner Adam Smith the first word here, as he was no doubt feeling a bit henpecked by the end of the meeting.

On the city’s role:

“We’re making every attempt to (make clarification) where there is none in our current code. And where we’ve fallen short, as I’ve been hearing quite a bit tonight, just let us know.

“I don’t want you to see this as a staff-versus-you kind of relationship. Staff is very open to making amendments to the proposal.”

— Adam Smith,
Tucson’s principal planner and code expert

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July 7, 2014   Comments Off

University of California launches urban agriculture website


“We’ll also share stories about urban farms around California and news around the state about urban agriculture policies and initiatives,”

By Pamela Kan-Rice
UC California Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources
July 2, 2014


As local food has gained popularity, more city folks are growing food in their own backyards. Now they have a new online resource to consult about urban farming. The University of California Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources has launched a website to provide practical, science-based information for urban agriculture.

At the website at, visitors will find information on raising livestock, crop production, marketing and policies for farming in their backyards, on a few acres, at a school or in a community setting.

Rachel Surls, a UC Cooperative Extension advisor in Los Angeles County, and a team including UCCE farm advisors, policy and advocacy experts, urban planners, agricultural economists and others created the new urban agriculture website in response to the results of a UC survey of urban farmers in California.

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July 5, 2014   Comments Off

Nairobi, Kenya – Transforming Local Government For Agriculture in a Megacity

nairobiSlide from the presentation.

Colour presentation

By Diana Lee-Smith
Associate, Mazingira Institute
P O Box 14186 Nairobi 00800, Kenya
May 28, 2014


•How urban agriculture helps food security
•Nairobi’s food system inequalities
•Small food businesses
•Drivers of transformation: the policy process
•Realizing the Right to Food through spatial planning and small agribusiness promotion

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July 4, 2014   Comments Off

CP Rail orders Vancouver rail corridor community gardens to be removed by end of July

Members of Vancouver non profit ‘the world in a garden’ surprised to hear CPR map puts half this shed on its property. They say city told them its on city land. That’s a kids beekeeping school in background.

CP Rail is carrying out land survey of disused Arbutus rail line, and is giving residents a July 31 deadline

By Steve Lus
CBC News
Jul 03, 2014


In a letter to residents, the company said it has placed surveying stakes along the borders of its land, and will remove any property left after July 31, such as sheds, storage containers, vehicles and community gardens.

The company admits a dispute with the city over the railway’s right to develop the land is behind the efforts to reactivate the line, which has not been used in about 15 years.

In recent years the inactive right of way has become a popular dog walking spot, and sprouted community fruit and vegetable gardens, but the railway has been trying to get plans for a property development approved.

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July 3, 2014   Comments Off

A Survey of Urban Agriculture Organizations and Businesses in the US and Canada


Survey of 251 groups involved with urban agriculture (UA) projects in approximately 84 cities in the US and Canada

By Nathan McClintock & Mike Simpson
Toulan School of Urban Studies and Planning Portland State University
July 2014

Executive Summary

This report summarizes the results of an online survey, conducted during February and March 2013, of 251 groups involved with urban agriculture (UA) projects in approximately 84 cities in the US and Canada. This is only a preliminary report. As such, we present descriptive statistics rather than a interpretive analysis of the survey responses. Furthermore, it is important to recognize that these results are not necessarily representative of all urban agriculture businesses and organizations across North America. Nevertheless, these results point to certain trends and patterns that offer rich opportunities for further inquiry.

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July 1, 2014   Comments Off

Urban farming takes root in Boston

Belene Tesfaye, an apprentice farmer with City Growers, carefully tends to her plot. Zoning changes lowered the barriers for establishing commercial farms in Boston. Photo by Dina Rudick.

Small-scale growing has the potential to create jobs, clean up blighted landscapes, and improve neighborhood residents’ access to fresh, nutritious foods

By Sarah Shemkus
The Boston Globe
June 21, 2014


“Once you are in this field, doing this work, it changes you,” says Bobby Walker, a Roxbury native who is there on this tiny farm in Dorchester to teach aspiring farmers about the ins and outs of growing food in the city. “I can’t see a better job.” Walker and his trainees are part of an urban farming scene many believe is on the cusp of unprecedented growth.

As the popularity of local food has exploded over the past several years, advocates have started pushing to bring the movement to urban areas, where, they say, small-scale farming can create jobs, strengthen communities, and improve access to and education about fresh, healthy foods.

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June 30, 2014   Comments Off

Johannesburg lecturers are trying to open doors for urban agriculture in Soweto, South Africa


Campbell said the city of Johannesburg is in the process of implementing an urban agriculture policy as part of a larger food security initiative.

By Peter Ramothwala
The New Age
June 29, 2014


Johannesburg academics are in the process of initiating an ambitious urban farming project.

Two University of Johannesburg lecturers have embarked on a multi-stakeholder engagement project that aims to create opportunities for urban agriculture – in a sustainable food system for Soweto.

The project, titled Izindaba Zokudla (Conversations about Food) is part of the university’s Design Society Development within the faculty of art, design and architecture.

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June 29, 2014   Comments Off

Montreal urging residents to pick up urban agriculture

See video of announcement here.

Plans for expanding urban agriculture in downtown Montreal were announced by François Croteau, Rosemont-La Petite Patrie borough mayor Thursday June 26, 2014.

By René Bruemmer
The Gazette
June 26, 2014


MONTREAL — The borough of Rosemont–La-Petite-Patrie is urging residents and farmers to take back the land. And grow tomatoes. And lettuce.

Calling it a “small revolution in the world of urban agriculture,” borough mayor François Croteau announced measures Thursday to encourage citizens to plant vegetable gardens on public spaces throughout the borough, and for professional farmers to set up full-scale farms on commercial or institutional properties and sell their produce on site.

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June 27, 2014   Comments Off

Opinion: ‘Sustainable’ urban farms aren’t sustainable

Miniature wheelbarrow. 1900.

Posted in Vancouver Sun: Free land and tax dollars subsidize city agriculture

By Warren Mirko
Vancouver Sun
June 26, 2014


Already, urban farms are costing residents tax revenue which goes toward things such as bike lanes and park maintenance. Don’t think that income from the farm’s yields will offset the lost revenue. While these farms produce hundreds of tons of produce per year, they are producing the cheapest and most plentiful items people already purchase from any grocery store.

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June 27, 2014   Comments Off