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Category — Planning

Los Gatos, Saratoga: County identifies land pockets for urban farming


There are 1,074 of vacant lots that have been identified by Santa Clara County as potential urban agriculture incentive zones.

By Judy Peterson
San Jose Mercury News Saratoga
June 17


There are minimum requirements for the program, including parcel size. Parcels must be at least 4,356 square feet in size but no larger than three acres. In addition, the parcel must be in an urban agriculture incentive zone. It cannot have any dwellings, although tool sheds, greenhouses and produce stands are OK. Also, the entire parcel must be utilized for agricultural activity.

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July 2, 2015   No Comments

Mapping Urban Agriculture in Chicago


Much of the 64 acres of land Taylor found were home gardens, illustrating what private yards, decks, and roofs are bringing to the local food movement.

By Susan Coser
June 16, 2015


With the Chicago Urban Agriculture Mapping Project, researchers are on a mission to find where and how much food is grown within the Windy City. This data was once only available in the form of a hodgepodge of community-garden lists that weren’t always complete or accurate. For instance, when John Taylor, a graduate student at the University of Illinois, compared one of those lists to what he could see on Google Earth in 2012, he found that just 13 percent of the listed gardens produced food.

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July 1, 2015   No Comments

China: Villages changed into cities liberating women from farm drudgery


She spent her childhood working in the fields, feeding the family’s pigs. The destruction of rural China became for Xiao Zhang a liberation – and an opportunity. This is the story of how her life changed as much as her country.

By Carrie Gracie
BBC News
June 22, 2015
(Must See. Mike)


She’d started helping with the farm work almost as soon as she could walk and when she was 11, she dropped out of school.

“Every family was poor but we were poorer,” she says.

“My mother was often ill. As the eldest I always had to help out, feeding the pigs, working in the fields, looking after the little ones.

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July 1, 2015   No Comments

San Francisco’s Groundbreaking Urban Agriculture Program Turns One


There’s a common misconception that you can’t grow food in San Francisco—that it’s too urban, or this or that. That’s absolutely not true.

By Brie Mazurek, CUESA
June 13, 2015


CUESA: Tell us about the Urban Agriculture Program and how it’s developed over the last year.

Hannah Shulman: In 2012, people in San Francisco wanted there to be one place where they could get all the information they needed on urban agriculture, everything from where to get materials to build your garden to how to get a permit to build a garden on your property. We are now in 2015, our one-year anniversary.

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June 23, 2015   No Comments

Urban Farming Is Booming, But What Does It Really Yield?


The benefits of city-based agriculture go far beyond nutrition.

By Elizabeth Royte
Ensia and the Food & Environment Reporting Network
Apr 27, 2015
Elizabeth Royte is the author of three critically acclaimed books; her writing on science and the environment has appeared in Harper’s, National Geographic, Outside, The New York Times Magazine and other national publications.


FarmedHere, the nation’s largest player in controlled environment agriculture (CEA) pumps out roughly a million pounds (500,000 kg) per year of baby salad greens, basil and mint in its 90,000-square-foot (8,000-square-meter) warehouse on the industrial outskirts of Chicago. Like many hydroponic or aquaponic operations (in which water from fish tanks nourishes plants, which filter the water before it’s returned to the fish), the farm has a futuristic feel — all glowing lights and stainless steel. Employees wear hairnets and nitrile gloves. But without interference from weather, insects or even too many people, the farm quickly and reliably fulfills year-round contracts with local supermarkets, including nearly 50 Whole Foods Markets.

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June 20, 2015   Comments Off on Urban Farming Is Booming, But What Does It Really Yield?

Riverside, California Ag conference pushes urban farming

Workers pick Navel oranges in Councilman Chris Mac Arthur’s family’s orange grove on Monday, February 17, 2014. Riverside officials are trying two new programs to encourage more agriculture in the greenbelt and keep the citrus that’s left. Kurt Miller, Staff Photogrpher

Mac Arthur, whose family owns a citrus grove, said that urban farming is compatible with conservation, especially in the greenbelt, which has approximately 1,000 fallow acres.

By Fielding Buck
The Press Enterprise
Published: June 9, 2015


The three-day event is intended to encourage urban farming in the city’s greenbelt and create a “Riverside grown” brand identity, Mac Arthur said in a phone interview earlier this week.

Mac Arthur said the greenbelt is becoming attractive to investors. Factors include 4,600 acres set aside for agriculture, affordable groundwater, and a desire for locally sourced foods.

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June 11, 2015   Comments Off on Riverside, California Ag conference pushes urban farming

South Columbia subdivision to feature edible landscaping

Apples and berries grow in small gardens May 27 at The Gates, a new subdivision in South Columbia. The gardens, called The Orchard at The Gates, also will provide a space for community education for the Columbia Center for Urban Agriculture. Photo by Beatriz Costa-Lima.

An edible landscape that not only will beautify the neighborhood but also supply its residents with locally grown food.

By Kylee May
June 4, 2015


COLUMBIA — Adam Saunders spent much of Wednesday crawling on his hands and knees and pulling weeds from around the bushes and trees he and others have planted at The Gates, a residential subdivision being developed near Old Plank Road in south Columbia. Every once in a while, he’d pause to pick a blueberry or a raspberry from one of the bushes and munch on it.

The Gates in many ways will be like the other subdivisions that have been popping up in this fast-growing area. Combined with the nearby Barcus Ridge, the 273-acre property will feature about 270 upscale homes along curvy streets and cul-de-sacs in a neighborhood largely surrounded by woods.

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June 11, 2015   Comments Off on South Columbia subdivision to feature edible landscaping

Toronto Developers See Demand for Urban Agriculture in Condominium Settings

Community Building Through Urban Agriculture

Diamond Schmitt Architects
June 02, 2015

Senior Associate Jennifer Mallard along with Heela Omarkhail of The Daniels Corporation discuss ways urban agriculture is woven into design and development projects.The focus of this 18-min presentation given at Doors Open Toronto 2015 is the Regent Park redevelopment in downtown Toronto. The Diamond Schmittt Architects-designed One Cole and Paintbox condominiums integrate food-based initiatives such as garden plots and a social enterprise restaurant as a means of active community planning.

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June 9, 2015   Comments Off on Toronto Developers See Demand for Urban Agriculture in Condominium Settings

Winnipeg City report digs into zoning to preserve agricultural land inside Perimeter

winipClick on image for larger file.

At the same time, interest in local food — both commercially produced and in community gardens — skyrocketed. The number of community gardens within the city jumped to 208 in 2014 from 161 in 2012, the report noted.

By Bartley Kives
Winnipeg Free Press
June 2, 2015


Winnipeg is considering ways to ensure agricultural production persists within city limits as the number of farms declines and demand for local food increases.

A report to be considered by council’s property and development committee today calls for the city to look at preserving some agricultural land on a permanent basis, devising new zoning categories for specialized farms and creating a new food policy council that could direct city facilities to purchase more local food.

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June 9, 2015   Comments Off on Winnipeg City report digs into zoning to preserve agricultural land inside Perimeter

WorldWatch Institute: Creative Urban Farming


Providing food for a growing population sustainably and creatively

By Emma Hansen
WorldWatch Institute
May 19, 2015


Though innovative and unique in their technologies, these ways of growing food have their drawbacks. Freight Farms shipping containers are climate controlled and do not use natural sunlight, increasing the amount of energy needed to power them. They are also relatively expensive and may not be a viable option for providing large amounts of food to urbanites, especially those living in lower-income neighborhoods with low access to fresh foods. The Plantagon may reduce any need for chemical pesticides and herbicides, but it requires the construction of a whole new facility and has a large energy demand to maintain climate settings.

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June 8, 2015   Comments Off on WorldWatch Institute: Creative Urban Farming

Urban Land Institute, British Columbia, holds Urban Farming Walking Tour


From enticing pedestrian streetscapes and public space, to the integration of urban agriculture, learn how these initiatives can be used to generate value.

Vancouver BC
June 10, 2015
Time: 4:00 pm – 6:30 pm

Increasingly, the ability of community builders to deliver on health is translating into market value for projects. The ULI Building Healthy Places Toolkit outlines recommendations that can be used to promote health at the building or project scale, and shape vibrant, highly desirable communities. The Southeast False Creek neighbourhood serves as a model case study for these initiatives, and is already seeing the return as it quickly evolves into one of Vancouver’s most thriving communities.

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June 1, 2015   Comments Off on Urban Land Institute, British Columbia, holds Urban Farming Walking Tour

Can Africa’s urban farms go vertical?

A worker harvests fresh produce from a tower at Sky Greens vertical farm in Singapore.

Now is the time to forge the creative partnerships between African entrepreneurs, Western vertical farming pioneers, social impact funders, and corporations to develop economically rewarding but also safe food solutions for Africa’s cities.

By Esther Ngumbi
Thomson Reuters Foundation
21 May 2015


As a poor student at Kenyatta University in Kenya, I experienced the direct results of this reality. The only food I could afford was Sukuma Wiki, the most commonly eaten leafy vegetable around. I ate it every day of the week, and was often sick. As it turns out, the greens were most likely grown using contaminated water.

In a study published by East African Medical Journal, scientists discovered that the levels of fecal bacteria in water used for irrigating crops and washing vegetables in markets was dangerously high.

Even worse, such cases of food contamination are widely found, as most wastewater generated from urban centers goes untreated into the surrounding environment.

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May 31, 2015   Comments Off on Can Africa’s urban farms go vertical?

Sydney Mayor building a $1.65 million ‘city farm’ for inner-west hipsters — complete with stingless bees and a ‘bee hotel’

Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore wants to bring farming to the inner city. Picture: John Appleyard.

“The benefits reach well beyond the commercial value of the food itself to educational, cultural and social values for participants and the broader community.”

By Miles Godfrey
The Daily Telegraph
May 12, 2015


The farm, which should have a 100-tree fruit orchard, 1000 square metres of land for crops, chicken hutches, outdoor kitchens, farmers’ markets and animal husbandry classes, is expected to be running by July 2016 and could mirror a similar “urban farm” in lower Manhattan’s Battery Park.

The Sydney project has been on the cards since 2009 and will produce an estimated 4.5 tonnes of fruit and vegetables per year, host composting demonstrations and cooking classes.

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May 11, 2015   Comments Off on Sydney Mayor building a $1.65 million ‘city farm’ for inner-west hipsters — complete with stingless bees and a ‘bee hotel’

Urban Farming Is Booming, But What Does It Really Yield?

Photo by Marcin Szczepanski.

City-based agriculture produces 15 to 20 percent of food globally. In the U.S., its benefits go far beyond nutrition.

Elizabeth Royte
Apr 27, 2015


Though they don’t get as much press as for-profit farms and heavily capitalized rooftop operations, community gardens — which are collectively tended by people using individual or shared plots of public or private land, and have been a feature in U.S. cities for well over a century — are the most common form of urban agriculture in the nation, producing far more food and feeding more people, in aggregate, than their commercial counterparts.

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May 10, 2015   Comments Off on Urban Farming Is Booming, But What Does It Really Yield?

Homestead Farms, an Oasis in the Midst of Urban Development in City of Fort Worth, Texas

Michael and Sarah Faris operate a farm store on their property. Photo by Brittany Solace.

Miller says there are 1,278 known farms in Tarrant County, with the median size at 15 acres, Homestead Farms’ current size. “Most is traditional pasture land that will probably be developed in the future,” Miller says. “It’s hard to do it in an urban area.”

By Sandra Engelland
The Keller Magazine
Apr 30, 2015


With housing developments and strip malls popping up all around them, and a Fort Worth road project poised to take a painful bite out of their land, the Farrises are working hard to preserve their little corner of country living — and share it with their urban community.

Tuesdays through Saturdays, they open up Homestead’s slice of simpler times to visitors. A small, rustic billboard on Keller Hicks Road invites passers-by to turn into the property’s pebbled drive for a visit to the tiny farm store. There, raw goat milk is available for purchase in glass bottles along with pasture-raised eggs, grass-fed beef, free-range chicken products and seasonal produce from their own field and those of other local growers.

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May 9, 2015   Comments Off on Homestead Farms, an Oasis in the Midst of Urban Development in City of Fort Worth, Texas