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Category — Planning

Urban Farming Gets New York City Council Attention

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Rob Laing, right, CEO and founder of Farm.One, and farmhand Caleb Raff at the Farm.One hydroponic farm at the Institute of Culinary Education in lower Manhattan on Wednesday. Photo: Claudio Papapietro For The Wall Street Journal

Rooftop gardens, greenhouses and ‘vertical farms’ may benefit from more clarity on zoning and insurance

By Thomas MacMillan
Wall Street Journal
July 20, 2017

When Robert Laing was setting up his indoor herb-growing business in Manhattan last year, it took months to find someone willing to insure his tiny hydroponic operation.

“You say, ‘I’m a farm,’ and they put you over to their farming division and they say, ‘How many acres do you have?’ and you say, ‘300 square feet,’” Mr. Laing said.

New York City has the largest urban agriculture system in the country, including community and rooftop gardens and greenhouses, as well as “vertical farms” like Mr. Laing’s company, Farm.One, which cultivates microgreens in windowless rooms aglow with LED lights. But a recent report by the Brooklyn Law School finds new growers are sometimes stymied by confusion and lack of regulations.

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July 20, 2017   No Comments

USA: 20 percent of fruits and vegetables went unharvested in parts of the country because of a dwindling labor force

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“Building a wall won’t help farmers.”

By Jay Saunders
AAEA
July 18, 2017

Excerpt:

There is a huge shortage of labor and tightening border control and increasing deportation is making it harder for vegetable and fruit growers to find workers,” said Stephen Devadoss of Texas Tech University. “Building a wall won’t help farmers.”

“What we found is there will be a negative effect because these policies don’t provide any solutions to what farmers are currently facing,” Devadoss said. “There is already a labor shortfall and consequently farmers can’t do basic operations, including harvesting.”

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July 19, 2017   No Comments

92 per cent of Canadian farms have no transition plan ready, Stats Can says

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Future of Canadian family farms at risk

By Jessica Smith Cross
The Canadian Press
Jul 16, 2017

Excerpt:

A growing number of farmers are nearing retirement without having formally planned for their successors, putting the next generation of small-scale farming at risk — something Maynard and advocates are urging farming families to think about.

“Our grandfather didn’t really want to talk about selling the farm, ever, until it was too late and he had to,” Maynard said.

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July 18, 2017   No Comments

Post-Disaster Food and Nutrition from Urban Agriculture: A Self-Sufficiency Analysis of Nerima Ward, Tokyo

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Figure 9. Disaster drill held in Nerima ward. (a) Urban farmland with a high diversity in crops; (b) Farmer and volunteers preparing soup with fresh vegetables from the farm in a portable gas stove; (c) Rice and crackers provided by the municipality as emergency food with freshly made soup containing vegetables from the farm; (d) People from the neighborhood familiarizing with each other and the farmer (photographs by the authors, November 2016).

The present study aimed to quantify the potential nutrient production of urban agricultural vegetables and the resulting nutritional self-sufficiency throughout the year for mitigating post-disaster situations.

By Giles Bruno Sioen, OrcID, Makiko Sekiyama, Toru Terada and Makoto Yokohari
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017
(Must see. Mike)

Abstract:

Background: Post-earthquake studies from around the world have reported that survivors relying on emergency food for prolonged periods of time experienced several dietary related health problems. The present study aimed to quantify the potential nutrient production of urban agricultural vegetables and the resulting nutritional self-sufficiency throughout the year for mitigating post-disaster situations. Methods: We estimated the vegetable production of urban agriculture throughout the year. Two methods were developed to capture the production from professional and hobby farms: Method I utilized secondary governmental data on agricultural production from professional farms, and Method II was based on a supplementary spatial analysis to estimate the production from hobby farms. Next, the weight of produced vegetables [t] was converted into nutrients [kg].

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July 16, 2017   No Comments

Interview: Architect Thomas Kosbau on the exciting future of sustainable design in NYC

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To see food, community gardens, and urban agriculture become such a priority is a litmus for how important it is to the world.

By Emily Nonko
6ftsq
June 26, 2017

Excerpt:

ORE’s latest project—and the one Kosbau feels best embodies his design philosophy—is Farmhouse, a sustainably-designed, minimalist community venue and kitchen for the city organization GrowNYC. The Union Square building features a live indoor growing area, fully-functioning kitchen, and a design inspired by the traditional geometry of the American barn. Kosbau and GrowNYC have continued their partnership to design a massive Bronx agricultural distribution center for the organization, to be called FoodHub. When it opens, the building will employ the city’s first closed-loop, entirely organic energy system that utilizes self-purifying algae blooms generated by rainwater. The system, of course, was designed by Kosbau.

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July 2, 2017   Comments Off on Interview: Architect Thomas Kosbau on the exciting future of sustainable design in NYC

Alaska: Officials in Anchorage are taking steps to convert a blighted downtown property into an urban farm

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The 15-acre property in question is the former site of the Alaska Native Hospital.

Under the proposal from downtown Assembly member Christopher Constant, the area would first be tested for contamination, then potentially turned into an “urban agriculture center.”

By Zachariah Hughes
Alaska Public Media
June 21, 2017

Excerpt:

“The land’s been sitting fallow,” Constant said. “At this point my personal hope is that we’ll do something positive with that land. Let’s put in a farm. And I’m not talking about a garden, I mean a farm.”

Constant would like to see the area grow produce like herbs or greens that can easily be brought to markets and restaurants in Anchorage. One of the eventual goals of the farm idea is creating training and employment opportunities for people living in nearby shelters or on the streets.

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June 26, 2017   Comments Off on Alaska: Officials in Anchorage are taking steps to convert a blighted downtown property into an urban farm

Philadelphia: Thomas Paine Plaza will transform into a big urban farm in 2018

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PHS will bring a temporary urban farm to Thomas Paine Plaza, similar to this pop-up garden that was set up at in 2011 at 20th and Market. Photo courtesy of Pennsylvania Horticultural Society.

The produce produced from the farm will be donated to Broad Street Ministry, a non-profit organization that serves the homeless.

By Melissa Romero
Curbed Philadelphia
JUN 20, 2017,

Excerpt:

Goodbye, larger than life Parcheesi pieces, hello 2,000-square-foot urban farm: Next summer, the Thomas Paine Plaza in Center City will be transformed into a large community farm that’s estimated to produce about 1,000 pounds of fruits and vegetables.

The Pennsylvania Horticultural Society (PHS) was just awarded a $300,000 grant from the Pew Center for Arts & Heritage to create a “Farm for the City” at Thomas Paine Plaza, across from City Hall. The plaza is well-known for its 20-year-old “Your Move” art installation that features over-sized dominoes, chess and bingo pieces, and other game pieces scattered all over the plaza.

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June 25, 2017   Comments Off on Philadelphia: Thomas Paine Plaza will transform into a big urban farm in 2018

A Plan Takes Root: Brockton Urban Agriculture (Massachusetts)

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The Brockton Planning Department recently released a report that it commissioned to examine the conditions for urban agriculture in Brockton, concluding that the city is fertile grounds for small-time farming

By Marc Larocque
Enterprise
June 16, 2017

Report By Andrew Kilduff and Tim Tensen
Conway School of Landscape Design
Winter 2017
(Must see. Mike)

Excerpt:

Cholakis, a faculty member at the Conway School. “But there’s a huge opportunity to use urban agriculture to bring people together, revitalize neighorhoods, make strong community connections and engage the schools. The most potential benefit is in that social and educational aspect.”

Brockton City Hall officials signed a contract worth up to $7,000 for the Conway School to conduct the study.

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June 23, 2017   Comments Off on A Plan Takes Root: Brockton Urban Agriculture (Massachusetts)

Mapped: Where New York City’s millions of square feet of farmland are hidden

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Click on image for larger file. Source: Columbia University, UDL, Farming Concrete, Thread Collective, BofA Merrill Lynch Global Research

At about 2 million square feet, Queens County Farm in Floral Park is by far the Big Apple’s biggest.

By Frank Chaparro
Business Insider
05 Jun 2017

Excerpt:

In the 2017 edition of its annual TransformingWorld Atlas, which uses maps to illustrate global economic, political and investment trends, Bank of America Merrill Lynch included a map of the five boroughs and their numerous farms, greenhouses, and community gardens.

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June 7, 2017   Comments Off on Mapped: Where New York City’s millions of square feet of farmland are hidden

Canada: Vancouver Urban Farming Census 2014 – 2016

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Four farms contributed data on the number of people who engaged with their farms in 2016. 14,943 people came to these four farms throughout 2016 for field trips, summer camps, celebration programs, workshops and other public events.

Marcela Crowe, Project Lead & Researcher
Marc Schutzbank, Project Consultant & Writer
Shauna MacKinnon, Project Consultant & Writer
Lisa Rilkoff, Graphic Designer
A project of the Vancouver Urban Farming Society (VUFS)
June 2017
(Must see. Mike)

Excerpts:

These farms grow! From 2010 to 2016 the sales value from urban farms grew more than five-fold from $129,000 in annual sales to $746,000. Sales to restaurants have been the leading growth area with sales increasing from $13,400 in 2010 to $390,400 in 2016. In 2013, high sales volumes corresponded with greater land under production. In 2016, two of the top three farms were indoor operations with a footprint of 4,000 sq ft or less.

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June 5, 2017   Comments Off on Canada: Vancouver Urban Farming Census 2014 – 2016

Canada: London Ontario’s fights urban agriculture’s peskiest pest: Red tape

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Toronto urban farm.

Urban farms offer cities a multitude of benefits, but municipal bylaws have long hindered them. London councillors are hoping to change that with a new strategy

By Mary Baxter
TVO
May 25, 2017

Excerpt:

Still, the owners of Urban Roots are excited about the London strategy. They’d like the city’s help in launching their venture, and so far, municipal staff have helped where possible. But right now, says Graham Bracken, also of Urban Roots, “they don’t have the policy. They can’t point to any sorts of policies to give us any sort of preferential treatment.”

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June 2, 2017   Comments Off on Canada: London Ontario’s fights urban agriculture’s peskiest pest: Red tape

Nepal: Fertile lands turning into concrete jungle

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A view of Kathmandu Valley from Kirtipur.

Most of the urban growth in Nepal is happening at the expense of fertile farmlands and cities are using peripheral land in a wasteful manner due to the lack of clear policies on the preservation of farmlands

Himalayan News Service
May 21, 2017

Excerpt:

In Nepal, urban agriculture has gained attention as a legitimate urban issue only in recent years.

“So far, the tendency among urban policymakers had been to view agriculture as a sector non-compatible to urban development. There has been renewed interest in integrating the issue of food security into urban development process,” it said.

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May 25, 2017   Comments Off on Nepal: Fertile lands turning into concrete jungle

Lord Heseltine addresses the potential of horticulture to benefit deprived communities

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Lord Heseltine.

“Step by step as urban living has created the huge conurbations, people have sought to use nature to humanise the built environment. I think this is a lesson with still much to teach us.

By Matthew Appleby
Horticulture Week
May 22, 2017
(Must read. Mike)

Excerpt:

“There are no simple answers to complex questions but gardening can play a part. Derelict land is all too present. Provide them with the tools to plant it. If they plant it they may feel a pride in what they did. They may wish to defend it, even extend it. The work requires little skill but it offers ladders. If a person starts by tidying the garden of an elderly pensioner, there is a short journey to a full time job with elderly folk willing to pay someone to do the same in nearby more prosperous suburbs.

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May 23, 2017   Comments Off on Lord Heseltine addresses the potential of horticulture to benefit deprived communities

Portugal: Lisbon develops urban farming as part of its anti-crisis strategy

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The city plans on expanding the green space available for farming by converting a six hectares swamp into a large urban farm dedicated to the formation of unemployed inhabitants.

By Luc Berman
New Europe
June 8, 2015

Excerpt:

About five hundred families are currently managing and eating from the vegetables and fruits they harvested from their green plot. By 2017, the city aims at doubling the number of families benefitting from this program by transforming a few of the 25 hectares of green spaces still available in the city.

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May 21, 2017   Comments Off on Portugal: Lisbon develops urban farming as part of its anti-crisis strategy

‘Doomsday’ seed vault meant to survive global disasters breached by climate change

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The Global Seed Vault. By Crop Trust.

Fortunately, no seeds were damaged

By Alessandra Potenza
Verge
May 19, 2017

Excerpt:

The seed bank designed to preserve the world’s crops and plants in the event of global disaster isn’t prepared to withstand the greatest global disaster facing our planet: global warming. Melting permafrost on the Norwegian island of Spitsbergen, where the Svalbard Global Seed Vault is located, has seeped into the seed bank, raising questions of how the structure will be able to survive in the future as the Earth keeps warming.

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May 20, 2017   Comments Off on ‘Doomsday’ seed vault meant to survive global disasters breached by climate change