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Category — Planning

South L.A. “Gangsta Gardener” Ron Finley Fights to Save His Garden From Eviction

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Ron Finley in his gangsta garden.By Ryan Orange for LA Weekly.

The Ron Finley Project, the non-profit that drew international recognition for its community garden in South Los Angeles, is facing eviction from the land where founder Ron Finley first planted seeds in 2010.

By Jennifer Swann
La Weekly
January 6, 2017

Excerpt:

After years of financial problems, the property on Exposition Boulevard was purchased at a foreclosure auction by the real estate investment company Strategic Acquisitions for $379,003 last November, according to L.A. County records. But Finley, the longtime activist and self-described “gangsta gardener” who had been leasing the property, is not leaving his garden — and the community it serves — without a fight.

“They’re used to people caving in and we’re not planning on caving in,” he told the Weekly. “What I try to do is the right thing, and I’m confident in that. You can take all you want, but you can’t take my soul.”

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January 14, 2017   No Comments

Afghanistan: I can grow vegetables to feed my family and from the surplus I can even make a small profit

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Assadulah in his greenhouse. Foto: PIN Archive.

The EU funded project lasted for 28 months and in total supported over 1000 low income households, specifically focusing on women with particularly limited access to income generating activities.

People in Need Czech Republic
2017
(Must see. Mike)

Excerpts:

Assadullah has been selected as beneficiary of a project tackling urban poverty in Mazar-i-Sharif in Northern Afghanistan, undertaken by People in Need and funded by the European Union. One of the project activities is focused on kitchen gardening.

Assadullah’s life changed a great deal since he started cultivating the small garden behind his house. “Before I joined the project I did not have enough information about agricultural activities and did not know even know what a greenhouse is,” describes Assadullah. “Previously our daily diet did not include vegetables and if we had guests we had to buy vegetables in the market,” he adds.

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January 13, 2017   No Comments

Interdisciplinary University project creates model to predict land use, climate effects and even potential profit of farming in cities

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Volunteers help prepare soil and beds at the Spaces of Opportunity urban farm in Phoenix, Arizona.

The model will look at what would happen if vacant land in a city were turned into urban farms, which could produce food for the neighbors and help mitigate the urban heat-island effect, in which concrete and asphalt stay warmer overnight, raising temperatures. Conversely, plants and trees allow desert land to cool at night.

By Mary Beth Faller
Arizona State University
Jan 5, 2017

Excerpt:

As Phoenix continues to sprawl toward Tucson, urban planners are working to prevent the entire 100-mile corridor between Arizona’s largest metro areas from becoming nothing but concrete and asphalt.

Unfettered development, experts say, can strain resources and increase temperatures and pollution, setting off a chain reaction of problems for the region and its residents.

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January 12, 2017   No Comments

Book: Urban Agriculture for Growing City Regions – Connecting Urban-Rural Spheres in Casablanca

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The example of Casablanca, one of the fastest growing cities in North Africa

Edited by Undine Giseke, Maria Gerster-Bentaya, Frank Helten, Matthias Kraume, Dieter Scherer, Guido Spars, Fouad Amraoui, Abdelaziz Adidi, Said Berdouz, Mohemed Chlaida, Majid Mansour, Mohamed Mdafai
Routledge
2015

This book demonstrates how agriculture can play a determining role in sustainable, climate-optimised urban development. Agriculture within urban growth centres today is more than an economic or social left-over or a niche practice. It is instead a complex system that offers multiple potentials for tomorrow’s megacities. Urban open space and agriculture can be connected to productive urban landscapes – this forms new urban-rural linkages in the urban region and helps shape the city. But in order to do this, agriculture has to be seen as an integral part of the urban fabric and it has to be put on the local agenda.

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January 12, 2017   No Comments

Venezuela: Urban Agriculture and the Production of Plenty for the Man

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Minister Lorena Freitez (fourth from the right) among dozens of others holding up pots with growing seedlings (Lorena Freitez). Click on image for larger file.

We have won the world’s first Ministry of Urban Agriculture, which not only holds a new possibility for a healthier, humane and economic agriculture, but also a niche from which to build the foundations for new forms of production that guarantee greater sovereignty.

By Lorena Freitez
Minister Of Popular Power For Urban Agriculture
Venezuela Analysis
January 6th 2017
(Must see. Mike)

Excerpt:

The first major mission of the Ministry of Popular Power for Urban Agriculture (MINPPAU) was precisely this: 29,426 productive units were registered throughout the country, bringing together 100,000 people motivated to produce, through activating the Urban Agriculture National Registry. We prioritized 10 of the largest and most populated cities from across the country in order not to distract us from urban areas and we proposed 13 short cycle vegetables with the clear intention of having the first harvest sown in these cities between 90 and 100 days and with a minimum output (50 kg of seeds and 104,000 tomato seedlings), the production of 377 tonnes of vegetables (tomatoes, eggplants, paprika, peppers, radishes, lettuce, among others) and that the produce could all be eaten at the close of the 100 day agro-urban production campaign.

This first campaign “100 Days for Urban Agriculture” was nothing more than a strategy to visualize and accompany a new political-productive “agro-urban” Venezuelan subject who, synthesizing the best of the countryside and the city, entered into economic democratization disputes. In 100 days: 1) we knew the potential of urban agriculture in Venezuela, mapping those committed to agriculture and militant in those cities; 2) we visualized the people’s capacity to solve problems; 3) we awakened restlessness and enthusiasm in those indifferent or skeptical about these new forms, subjects and productive spaces; 4) we identified the main challenges of sustainable and humane agriculture in cities.

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January 7, 2017   Comments Off on Venezuela: Urban Agriculture and the Production of Plenty for the Man

Ventura County Editorial: Improving our community one lot at a time

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George Laubender (left) and Don Helm inspect stalks of corn at the Dr. Manuel M. Lopez Community Garden in Oxnard.
(Photo: Jeremy Foster/Special To The Star)

New York University researchers studied 636 community gardens in New York City and found they boosted sale prices of homes within a 1,000-foot radius

Ventura County Star
Dec 28, 2016

Excerpt:

The Oxnard lot had been vacant for more than 30 years before former mayor Manuel Lopez donated the site. Lopez had bought the lot to build an office for his optometry practice, but that never came about. “I want to give people pride in the neighborhood, pride in the city,” he said at the garden’s January 2012 groundbreaking. But as often happens with volunteer efforts, people move away, get busy with other things or just lose interest, and a project moves slowly or stalls.

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January 6, 2017   Comments Off on Ventura County Editorial: Improving our community one lot at a time

What’s Good In The Agrihood? Can it work in Philadelphia?

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Where an urban or community farm offers an opportunity for people to supply themselves and their neighbors with fresh produce, an agrihood focuses on making a farming outfit the very center of a small community, the way manufacturing used to be.

By Quinn O’callaghan
The Philadelphia Citizen
Dec 28, 2016

Excerpt:

Kuck says that the top selling point of such agrihoods would be the fact that they help legitimize the usefulness and utility of accommodating for green spaces in modern urban planning. “Even 30 years ago, there were 500 community gardens and backyard plots without support, and we lost a lot of those developments by not prioritizing how green spaces play a role in how we shape and plan for cities,” Kuck says. “In some ways, the term ‘agrihood’ is a little bit irrelevant to me, but if it gets people thinking about planning and galvanizing them in the future, that’s great.”

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January 6, 2017   Comments Off on What’s Good In The Agrihood? Can it work in Philadelphia?

California farmers fear foreign workers will be deported

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Trump’s remarks were felt sharply in California, which produces nearly half the country’s fruits, vegetables and nuts valued of $47 billion annually.

By Scott Smith
Associated Press
Jan 5, 2017

Excerpts:

Roughly 325,000 workers in California do the back-breaking jobs that farmers say nobody else will do, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Manuel Cunha Jr., president of the Nisei Farmers League farming association, estimates 85 percent of California farmworkers live in the United States illegally.

Leticia Alfaro, a food-safety supervisor at the farm, said in an interview that many of her friends who work in the fields don’t have proper documentation like her, and they take Trump’s threats seriously.

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January 5, 2017   Comments Off on California farmers fear foreign workers will be deported

Five urban farming projects in Chicago to watch in 2017

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Laura Erickson, market coordinator for Windy City Harvest, takes beds of lettuce out of the water to be cleaned and sent to market on Dec. 7, 2016. Windy City Harvest, now working out of the Arturo Velasquez Institute, grows more than 100,000 pounds of produce a year.

Like a tomato plant bursting from a pothole, Chicago’s urban farming scene is a tiny hope-filled industry in a tough city, steadily growing as a source of jobs, economic development and food in some of the poorest neighborhoods on the South and West sides.

Greg Trotter
Chicago Tribune
Dec 21, 2016

Excerpt:

The city is jumping into the urban farming game, aided by a $1 million federal grant, one of 45 projects awarded a total of $26.6 million this year through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s annual Conservation Innovation Grants.

Through its “Growing for Chicago” initiative, the city plans to promote and coordinate urban farming efforts, provide microgrants and training through partnerships with existing nonprofits, and prepare vacant land in the Englewood neighborhood for farming, said Chris Wheat, chief sustainability officer for Chicago.

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December 30, 2016   Comments Off on Five urban farming projects in Chicago to watch in 2017

Nature Journal: ‘Agriculture – Sowing the city’

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Aztecs farming on an artificial islands called a chinampa in Tenochtitlan. De Agostini Picture Library/G. Dagli Orti/Bridgeman Images

“Urban agriculture will be there when new challenges arise.”

By Laura Lawson
Nature 540, 522–524
International Weekly Journal of Science
22 December 2016

Excerpt:

Agricultural urbanism is entering a new phase as a framework to address community cohesion and food access. From Shanghai to Detroit, advocates are mapping the urban-agriculture landscape — highlighting the existence of vacant lots and ‘food desert’ neighbourhoods ripe for transformation. Often, this enables farmers to network, discuss shared concerns and advocate. A model is New York City’s Five Borough Farm, a project of the Design Trust for Public Space. Here, site documentation, metrics development and proposals for supportive policies and practices are managed collectively.

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December 29, 2016   Comments Off on Nature Journal: ‘Agriculture – Sowing the city’

Growing mega-cities will displace vast tracts of farmland by 2030, study says

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New Delhi, India. Between 1991 and 2016 the population of India’s capital and its suburbs ballooned from 9.4 million to 25 million. The United Nations Report on World Urbanisation projects that Delhi will have 37 million residents by 2030. Photograph: OLI/Landsat 8/USGS/NASA

Our results show that urban expansion will result in a 1.8–2.4% loss of global croplands by 2030, with substantial regional disparities. About 80% of global cropland loss from urban expansion will take place in Asia and Africa.

Globally, the croplands that are likely to be lost were responsible for 3–4% of worldwide crop production in 2000. Urban expansion is expected to take place on cropland that is 1.77 times more productive than the global average.

Governance of urban area expansion thus emerges as a key area for securing livelihoods in the agrarian economies of the Global South.

By Emma Bryce
The Guardian
Dec 27, 2016
(Must see. Mike)
Excrpt:

Our future crops will face threats not only from climate change, but also from the massive expansion of cities, a new study warns. By 2030, it’s estimated that urban areas will triple in size, expanding into cropland and undermining the productivity of agricultural systems that are already stressed by rising populations and climate change.

Roughly 60% of the world’s cropland lies on the outskirts of cities—and that’s particularly worrying, the report authors say, because this peripheral habitat is, on average, also twice as productive as land elsewhere on the globe.

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December 28, 2016   Comments Off on Growing mega-cities will displace vast tracts of farmland by 2030, study says

Tear Down That Fence: A Tale Of Urban Farms & The Barriers In Their Way

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East Capitol Urban Farm is now embraced, supported, and operated by its community. Removing barriers has afforded Ward 7 residents the opportunity to: plant over 3,600 produce plants; operate 70 garden spaces; engage over 300 D.C. Public School Students

By Dr. Dwane Jones
Special to the AFRO
December 19, 2016
Dwane Jones, PH.D. is the Director of the Center for Sustainable Development and Resilience, a division of the University of the District of Columbia College of Agriculture, Urban Sustainability, and Environmental Sciences.

Excerpt:

Given the large amount of vacant properties and unused space in many underserved urban areas (cities like Baltimore and Detroit come to mind), it may sound easy. But it’s not. Case in point: In 2015, CAUSES leased three acres of vacant property directly across the street from a Metro stop in D.C.’s struggling Ward 7 to construct the East Capitol Urban Farm. A partnership between several agencies and organizations, East Capitol Urban Farm is the District’s largest-scale urban agriculture and aquaponics facility. It’s an ambitious effort to bring healthy produce to an underserved area of the District.

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December 28, 2016   Comments Off on Tear Down That Fence: A Tale Of Urban Farms & The Barriers In Their Way

Why Urban Agriculture Should Be Important to Black People

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Richmond native Duron Chavis is the new community engagement coordinator for Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden.

African and Indigenous people of the Americas have an historic affinity toward agriculture.

By Duron Chavis
Linked-In
Dec 17, 2016
(Chavis started his career in community advocacy as first a volunteer then an employee of the Black History Museum and Cultural Center of VA. More about the author here.)

Excerpt:

Another reason is for economic empowerment. For the more passionate community gardener who may have had an overabundance in cabbage; have no fear! You can make green by growing greens! There are farmers markets (or you can start a farm stand in your neighborhood) available to get rid of your fresh veggies and put some money in your pocket at the same time. There has been an explosion of the last ten years in the demand for local foods that are organic and produced sustainably.

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December 26, 2016   Comments Off on Why Urban Agriculture Should Be Important to Black People

Survey says land costs and acquisition issues make urban agriculture difficult in St. Louis

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Sweet Potato Project founder Sylvester Brown and Tamara plant sweet potato seeds in front of Union Avenue Christian Church in June. Kim Oswalt | St. Louis Public Radio

“We have a very serious issue with over 10,000 vacant parcels that the city itself owns,” Spencer said. “And we know when urban agriculture flourishes in a city, its children, residents are healthier and they’re smarter about what they choose to eat.

By Eli Chen
STL Public Radio
Dec 14, 2016

Excerpt:

The St. Louis Food Policy Coalition, consisting of environmentalists, policy experts and community leaders, collected 854 responses that came from nearly every neighborhood in the city. Residents were asked about their interest and participation in urban agriculture and the challenges they faced in doing so.

“We really want to make sure that if there is going to be economic opportunity created from urban agriculture in the city that we want it to be the result of citizens in the city that have come together and said that that’s something they want,” said Melissa Vatterott, food and farm coordinator for the Missouri Coalition for the Environment.

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December 22, 2016   Comments Off on Survey says land costs and acquisition issues make urban agriculture difficult in St. Louis

South Africa: Western Cape Government Strategic Framework for Household Food and Nutrition Security

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The Framework adopts a food systems approach to analysing, interpreting and responding to the features of the wider food system that create and contribute to food insecurity.

By Sibonile Khoza, Tristan Görgens and Shakira Maharaj, Professor Julian May, Darryn Durno and more.
Western Cape Government
Sept 2016

Excerpt:

3.3.2 Urban agriculture and subsistence

Although most analysts agree that the direct contribution of urban agriculture to food security is small, support for this activity remains part of the policy toolkit41. Recent research has demonstrated that the viability of community development through urban agriculture extends beyond viewing the benefits in narrow economic terms. Applying a sustainable livelihood framework to urban agriculture in Cape Town has shown that increasing the resilience of livelihoods does not depend only on financial capital, but human, social, physical and economic capital as well. As is found in research throughout Africa, as well as in South Africa, the majority of the cultivators are middle-aged and older women who are household heads. Four types of urban agriculture occur in Cape Town, namely home cultivation, group cultivation, institutional cultivation and non-profit garden centres.

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December 20, 2016   Comments Off on South Africa: Western Cape Government Strategic Framework for Household Food and Nutrition Security