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Category — Planning

Urban farms need financially sound business models to be truly sustainable

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Before launching an urban farm, the producer should consider the effect of scale along with substantial production risks. Expect small, single digit returns on their investment with the need for development of an appropriate business strategy.

By Frank Gublo,
Michigan State University Extension
Posted on August 17, 2015

Excerpt:

Every week Michigan State University Extension educators and MSU Product Center counselors receive inquiries about the feasibility of starting a farm. In recent years, the interest in sustainable urban agriculture as a tool for repurposing cities such as Detroit has grown but has produced few ventures at a commercial scale. Financial sustainability urban farm operations we see in southeast Michigan however is still questionable. This is due to the smaller scale, lower prices of fruit and vegetable crops, and the production management skills of the farmer-producer. The dream of becoming a full time urban farmer is a lofty goal that few will achieve. Strategy, realistic planning, and beautiful execution of the farm plans are critical in achieving a successful outcome.

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August 25, 2015   No Comments

Paris, France – YES to R-Urban in Colombes! NO to the temporary car park that is planned to replace it!

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Save R-URBAN, an internationally acclaimed professional and citizen initiative of resilient regeneration in Colombes, near Paris, and persuade the municipality and other authorities of the general interest of preserving this project whose main site in Colombes is currently threaten to become a temporary parking.

Excerpt from Petition:

In 2013, the first R-URBAN building Units were finalised in Colombes : Agrocité (Urban Agriculture and Environmental Pedagogy) and Recyclab (Recycling, Social Economy and Eco-construction). Currently several hundred local users regularly develop and run resilience-oriented activities (urban farming, bee keeping, poultry, recycling, eco-design, organic waste processing, etc). Amongst them, dozens of people have been working on the project or have initiated their own jobs. The ecological balance promoted by these initiatives is exceptionally impressive: 6 time reduction of CO2 emission/year for the Agrocité users, 24t/year organic waste recycling, 50t/year water reduction, 3t/year organic vegetable production.

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August 6, 2015   Comments Off on Paris, France – YES to R-Urban in Colombes! NO to the temporary car park that is planned to replace it!

Urban Food Systems and Global Sustainable Land Use

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Examples for Urban Agriculture-related Activities of Cities. Click on image for larger file.

Urban Agriculture ranges from subsistence production and processing at household level to fully commercialized agriculture, and typically complements rural agriculture.

By Uwe R. Fritsche, Sabine Laaks, Ulrike Eppler
International Institute for Sustainability Analysis and Strategy
April 2015
Berlin

Excerpt:

Executive Summary:

Global land use is dominated by agricultural production, especially permanent grasslands for animal grazing, and for cultivating feed and food crops. The global food system (value chain of production and consumption of food as well as transport, processing etc.) changed radically over the last centuries, from subsistence agriculture and food production within and close to villages and cities to more rural production and urban consumption patterns nowadays, with a growing role of international trade.

The future of the global food system is rather uncertainty due to climate change impacts, diet dynamics, and yield developments. With cities and urban areas being “hotspots” of sustainability challenges and opportunities, urban food systems (as subsets of the global food system) are of interest.

Cities occupy a share of 0.5% of the global land area, and approx. 4% of the global arable land. Thus, urban food production cannot have a major direct impact on global land use, even if many cities will grow substantially in the future. Yet, there are specific agricultural land uses which can possibly be replaced by so-called Urban Agriculture (UA), and activities favoring urban food systems may have important indirect effects.

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August 6, 2015   Comments Off on Urban Food Systems and Global Sustainable Land Use

Could the trend for urban agriculture be putting a strain on city water supplies?

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If all the lawns in this particular neighbourhood were replaced with crops, Johnson and his colleagues estimated that around 37% of the local population would be provided with all their vegetable needs for the year, assuming a 150-day growing season and a density of around 5000 people per square kilometre.

Paper by Mark S Johnson, Michael J Lathuillière, Thoreau R Tooke and Nicholas C Coops
Environmental Research Letters
Vol 10 Number 6
June 9 2015
(Must see. Mike)

Excerpt:

“We estimated that the water demand could increase by more than 50% if urban agriculture were scaled to a significant degree,” said Johnson, who published the findings in Environmental Research Letters (ERL). “Water-smart agriculture – drip irrigation, rain-water harvesting and the like – would help manage the additional water demand and should be encouraged, particularly in regions experiencing water stress.”

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August 4, 2015   Comments Off on Could the trend for urban agriculture be putting a strain on city water supplies?

Unique urban agriculture container used for demonstration garden in Montreal

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Borough Mayor Russell Copeman in front of the Conserre. Click on image for larger file.

The project is aimed at promoting awareness of the potential of urban agriculture among citizens.

PR News Wire
July 20, 2015

Excerpt:

The Conserre is a container that was transformed into a demonstration garden in which various vegetables, fine herbs and edible flowers were planted on July 7. The project is aimed at promoting awareness of the potential of urban agriculture among citizens. The Conserre will remain at the Vendôme metro station until the fall of 2015. Every week, community education workers will be on site to maintain the garden and answers questions from citizens.

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July 25, 2015   Comments Off on Unique urban agriculture container used for demonstration garden in Montreal

Don’t Let Food Be the Problem – Producing too much food is what starves the planet.

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Former U.N. special rapporteur Olivier De Schutter challenges the agency’s claim on hunger, stating that numbers, if anything, have remained steady and explains why local responses, not solely international actions, will defeat hunger.

By Olivier De Schutter
Foreign Policy
July 2015
[Olivier De Schutter (@DeSchutterUNSR), a legal scholar focusing on economic and social rights, served as the United Nations’ special rapporteur on the right to food from 2008 to 2014.]

Excerpts:

On the consumers’ side, today food-policy councils in North America invoke sovereignty; examples from Toronto to Oakland are increasingly influencing experiments elsewhere. Sovereignty has given rise to farmers markets in Mumbai and Beijing, among other cities, and to school gardens and urban agriculture as citizens seek to reconnect to local farmers and, more broadly, to the food systems on which they depend.

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July 24, 2015   Comments Off on Don’t Let Food Be the Problem – Producing too much food is what starves the planet.

Greater Jakarta: City develops urban farming in subdistricts – in 66 location

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“After we set up the plantations, residents will be responsible for taking care of them.”

The Jakarta Post
July 14, 2015

The city administration has developed 66 modest urban farming spots located across various neighborhoods in an effort to make the city “greener”.

Fisheries, Agriculture and Food Security Agency head Darjamuni Taseda said that the 66 locations included those in Gandaria Selatan in South Jakarta, Slipi in West Jakarta and Kebon Bawang in North Jakarta. Darjamuni said that the agency was responsible for setting up the urban gardens and teaching residents how to take care of the plants.

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July 23, 2015   Comments Off on Greater Jakarta: City develops urban farming in subdistricts – in 66 location

Food and the City – Histories of Culture and Cultivation

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Thirteen Essays On Urban Agriculture

Edited by Dorothée Imbert
Harvard University Press
July 2015
(Must see. Mike)

Food and the City explores the physical, social, and political relations between the production of food and urban settlements. Its thirteen essays discuss the multiple scales and ideologies of productive landscapes—from market gardens in sixteenth-century Paris to polder planning near mid-twentieth century Amsterdam to opportunistic agriculture in today’s Global South—and underscore the symbiotic connection between productive landscape and urban form across times and geographies. The physical proximity of fruit and vegetable production to urban consumers in pre-revolutionary Paris, or the distribution of fish in Imperial Edo, was an essential factor in shaping both city and surroundings.

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July 20, 2015   Comments Off on Food and the City – Histories of Culture and Cultivation

Research to define the role of innovation in the business development of urban farming

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Student online survey request

By Mathilde Coussy
Wageningen UR Greenhouse Horticulture in The Netherlands
2015

I am working at Wageningen UR Greenhouse Horticulture in The Netherlands with Mr Jan-Willem van der Schans and Mr Tycho Vermeulen.

In the frame of this work I am currently doing a research on urban farms. My goal is to define the role of innovation in the business development of urban farming.

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July 16, 2015   Comments Off on Research to define the role of innovation in the business development of urban farming

Pilot Project Could Turn Hydro Corridors Into Urban Farms in Toronto

hydrtoPhoto by Jeremy Gilbert.

Community groups are looking to access Hydro One-owned land to grow market gardens.

By Joshua Sherman
Torontoist
July 9, 2015

Excerpt:

Some of Toronto’s hydro corridors could be yielding fruit and vegetable crops in time for next year’s harvest as a fresh pilot project plants roots.

Plans for four market gardens–a cross between a farmer’s market and a community garden–are sprouting through a collaborative effort between the City and Toronto Urban Growers, a local urban-agriculture group.

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July 10, 2015   Comments Off on Pilot Project Could Turn Hydro Corridors Into Urban Farms in Toronto

Big City, Little Farms: A Look at Urban Agriculture

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Maryknoll School students working in air raid garden, Punahou, Honolulu, Hawaii, ca. 1942. Description on photograph of three boys working in an air raid garden at the Maryknoll School in Punahou. “Lettuce-a-plenty from air raid gardens. School desks on porch.Click on image for larger file.

And while in some situations, urban farming is more of a luxury rooted in the desire to know more about one’s food, in others it is a promising means of making good food affordable.

By Grow Intelligence
Providing data, Driving progress
Jun 2015

Excerpt:

Air pollution can also be a destructive reality: in polluted areas of China, for example, crop yields have decreased by 25%. Additionally, although the idea of using wastewater as a form of irrigation may be environmentally romantic—given that the practice offers fertilization and removes dirty water from streets—the water used in this practice can also store disease-causing pathogens. Building a common understanding, standards and practice when it comes to wastewater use will be essential in ensuring the safety of crops produced.

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July 5, 2015   Comments Off on Big City, Little Farms: A Look at Urban Agriculture

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

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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

Excerpt:

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

Mapping Urban Agriculture in Chicago

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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
OnEarth
June 16, 2015

Excerpt:

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   Comments Off on Mapping Urban Agriculture in Chicago

China: Villages changed into cities liberating women from farm drudgery

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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)

Excerpts:

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   Comments Off on China: Villages changed into cities liberating women from farm drudgery

San Francisco’s Groundbreaking Urban Agriculture Program Turns One

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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
KQED
June 13, 2015

Excerpt:

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   Comments Off on San Francisco’s Groundbreaking Urban Agriculture Program Turns One