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Category — Planning

Canada’s Environmentalist, David Suzuki: How much food can cities produce?

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David Suzuki is 80 years old. He is a scientist, broadcaster, author, and cofounder of the David Suzuki Foundation.

Cities needn’t be wastelands of car-choked roads and pavement. Incorporating food production into ever-expanding urban areas makes cities more livable and enhances the natural systems that keep us alive and healthy.

By David Suzuki
Georgia Straight
Aug 25, 2016

Excerpt:

It’s still possible to grow a lot of food in urban areas, especially with composting and enriched-soil techniques. Ladner writes that Toronto plans to supply 25 percent of its fruit and vegetable production within city limits by 2025, and a study from Michigan State University concluded that Detroit could grow 70 percent of its vegetables and 40 percent of its fruit on 570 vacant lots covering 5,000 acres of city land.

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August 25, 2016   No Comments

South Africa: Use urban agriculture to grow the economy

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salPhoto by Zanele Zulu.

Urban agriculture makes use of human aptitude rather than machinery and develops skills that can be applied to other industries in the long run, says the writer.

By Pierre Heistein
IOL
Aug 16, 2016
Pierre Heistein is the instructor of UCT’s applied economics for smart decision making course.

Excerpt:

Initially the provincial programme will help households to bolster their income and diversify their dinner table. But thereafter the number of small farming operations will conglomerate into a larger economic system. Resellers and wholesalers will appear, possibly co-ordinating the production of small farmers and collectively marketing and selling their produce. The economy will grow from the bottom.

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August 24, 2016   No Comments

Agriculture needs a makeover to lure young people back to farming

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Around the world, farmers are ageing as the sector fails to attract younger talent who head instead to cities in search of work

By Magdalena Mis and Isaiah Esipisu
Thomson Reuters Foundation
22 August 2016

Excerpt:

In an urbanising world, city farming has become fashionable in recent years, with urban farms mushrooming from Accra to Mumbai and London.

According to a 2014 study, city dwellers were farming an area the size of the European Union.

But while the trend is welcome, urban farmers won’t be able to feed themselves any time soon, experts say.

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August 22, 2016   No Comments

Sowing Seeds in the City: Ecosystem and Municipal Services

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New Book: From White House to Tacoma, WA, urban agriculture is growing

By Sally Brown (Editor), Kristen McIvor (Editor), Elizabeth Hodges Snyder (Editor)
Hardcover: 407 pages
Publisher: Springer; 1st ed. 2016 edition (April 26, 2016)
(Must see. Mike)

Summary:

Urban agriculture has the potential to change our food systems, enhance habitat in our cities, and to morph urban areas into regions that maximize rather than disrupt ecosystem services. The potential impacts of urban agriculture on a range of ecosystem services including soil and water conservation, waste recycling, climate change mitigation, habitat, and food production is only beginning to be recognized.

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August 19, 2016   No Comments

Urban agriculture may be inefficient, but it’s a model for a sustainable future

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Rooftop garden at Eastdale Collegiate Institute in Toronto built by FoodShare Toronto. Students grow fresh fruit and produce on the roof of the school which is used by the school’s culinary program and cafeteria.
(for The Globe and Mail/Ian Clarke)

Urban agriculture is not a panacea and it can’t replace rural farms. But it can reduce the carbon footprint of our food, help create resilient cities and food systems, reduce the urban heat island and air-conditioning costs, reduce demands on city infrastructure and create jobs.

By Ian Clarke
Contributed to The Globe and Mail
Aug. 10, 2016

Excerpt:

Globally, a recent survey found that 5.7 per cent of the world’s total cropland is urban, and that it produces more food per hectare than traditional rural farms. Studies have shown that Toronto has 6,200 hectares that could be made available for agriculture on unused rooftops and hydro corridors. These green roofs would provide an ongoing municipal savings of approximately $37-million a year in infrastructure costs and additional savings to businesses and residents on air-conditioning costs. In 2009, research from Detroit showed that if 20 per cent of fresh food was grown within the city, it would create 4,700 jobs and bring in nearly $20-million in taxes. Urban agriculture is very efficient at producing both food and jobs.

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August 14, 2016   Comments Off on Urban agriculture may be inefficient, but it’s a model for a sustainable future

Detroit plots course on land use as leader in urban farming

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Greg Willerer, owner of Brother Nature Produce, harvests some leafy greens for a local restaurant. He farms in the city’s north Corktown neighborhood and is one of dozens of Detroit farmers trying to carve out a living. Photo by Larry Peplin.

Willerer and other farmers are eager to expand land ownership in a city that is a national leader in urban farming. But city planners don’t have green thumbs when it comes to figuring out how much of the vacant land should be farmed and how much preserved for other uses.

By Marti Benedetti
Crains’ Detroit Business
Aug 6, 2016

Except:

Dan Carmody, Eastern Market president, said Detroit is a national leader in urban farming because of “the sheer number of people participating in it.”

He said there are 20,000 people working on 1,400 gardens or growing sites in the city.

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August 11, 2016   Comments Off on Detroit plots course on land use as leader in urban farming

New York Building With Communal Gardens

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The harvest at Hunters Point South is shared by members, and some of the produce is sold to other residents. Credit Steve Freihon

At Hunters Point South, an affordable housing complex in Long Island City, Queens, a garden club with about 100 members helps tend a 2,300-square-foot communal garden on the 14th floor of one of two buildings.

By Kaya Latermanaug
New York Times
Aug 5, 2016

Excerpt:

So far this summer, there has been a bountiful harvest of strawberries, string beans, Swiss chard and arugula, according to Gerard Lordahl, a director of GrowNYC who has helped shape the garden club. “I wouldn’t be surprised if we get over 1,000 pounds of produce by the end of the season,” he said.

GrowNYC will run the garden through the 2017 gardening season and then hand off the operation to garden club members who will elect a board and adopt bylaws. With so many residents on the waiting list, the club is exploring expanding its offerings to incorporate activities for nonmembers, like educational programs for children with an emphasis on where their food comes from, Mr. Lordahl said.

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August 10, 2016   Comments Off on New York Building With Communal Gardens

Further 90,000 allotments are needed in the UK to keep up with demand, according to the National Allotment Society

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Watercolour of allotments at Hackney Wick with the playing fields of the Eton Mission, Leyton in the distance. Signed and dated ‘Rose. Sept 1937’.
Artist/Maker:Rose, George Herbert, born 1882.
Click on image for larger file.

This week is National Allotments Week, which celebrates the 330,000 plots that already exist in the UK and seeks to increase the number available.

By Elizabeth Henry,
Horticulture Week
Aug 8, 2016

Excerpt:

The NAS is calling on people who care about allotments to “do their part” to protect them:

Allotment associations – protect your site by registering as a community asset. Allotment Federations – keep allotments in the public eye, make sure they are mentioned in the Local Plan and lobby councillors and MPs.

Councils – preserve and value your allotment service – it has the potential to deliver some of your public health targets.

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August 10, 2016   Comments Off on Further 90,000 allotments are needed in the UK to keep up with demand, according to the National Allotment Society

New community garden, farmers market planned for Detroit’s east side

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detorc Click on image for larger file.

Wolverine Human Services, state kick off $50,000 crowdfunding campaign

From their fundraising page:

The Project

We plan to build a community garden and training site that will be cultivated by the residents of the streets surrounding the Wolverine Center and the John S Vitale Community Center. It will include the following key components:

A community garden with raised beds and paved pathways for growing herbs and vegetables that meets ADA Accessibility regulations.

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July 31, 2016   Comments Off on New community garden, farmers market planned for Detroit’s east side

Productive spaces assessed in Food System and Food Security Study for the City of Cape Town

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Figure 9.7: Foods eaten by households in Cape Town in the previous 24 hours (Source: Battersby, 2011, p15) Click on image for larger file.

The Provincial Department of Agriculture has supported 114 community gardens within the City since 2008 to present.

Prepared by: Jane Battersby (UCT)
Gareth Haysom (UCT)
Godfrey Tawodzera (UCT)
Milla McLachlan (Stellenbosch)
Jonathan Crush (UCT)
First Public Report July 2016
July 5, 2014
334 pages

Excerpt:

Productive spaces

The in-city food production is of benefit to a city like Cape Town, particularly in terms of delivering cheaper food and bringing greater dietary diversity and nutritional benefit. The discussion of Cape Town’s in-house food supply focuses on commercial agriculture and the form and fate of the unique productive agriculturally-zoned areas within the boundaries of the City of Cape Town (Chapter 4) and urban agriculture (Chapter 5). A constant theme is the tension between the valuation of agricultural land in terms of its

contribution to food security versus alternative means of valuation such as the argued need for land for development and housing options. Detailed information is available on this element of the food system and its analysis prompts the following conclusions:

• There is vital agricultural production within Cape Town. While there is large-scale production of grapes and other fruit for export, there is also high production of staple vegetables and livestock, both of which support more local consumption;

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July 26, 2016   Comments Off on Productive spaces assessed in Food System and Food Security Study for the City of Cape Town

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   Comments Off on Urban Dwellers Drive Massive Deforestation Locally and Abroad

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

Urban Agriculture As A Global Warming Tool

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wr
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   Comments Off on Urban Agriculture As A Global Warming Tool

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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WheatSt.GardensTLW

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