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Category — Planning

In pinched Soviet times ‘dacha gardens’ grew some 90 percent of Russia’s vegetables

German Shingel fills a tub for watering the garden under the watchful eye of his father, Yevgeniy. To outwit Russia’s short growing season, many dacha owners set flats of seedlings on their urban windowsills in March. Photograph by Jonas Bendiksen.

One out of three Russians owns a dacha. In the Moscow region, where there are some one million dachas. Boris’s dacha, like most in Valday, is a garden plot with a cabin. Such plots, originally six sotkas (.15 acre), date back to Soviet-era land distribution programs that allowed Russians to endure postwar food shortages made worse by the disaster of centrally planned agriculture.

By Cathy Newman
Photograph by Jonas Bendiksen
National Geographic
July 2012
(Must see. Mike)


The soil is sacred, almost mystical to Russians, a legacy of pagan beliefs and peasant tradition. “The religion of the soil,” philosopher Nikolay Berdyayev called it. A dacha provides the opportunity to dig in that soil and be close to nature. “By the end of the day I am tired and stressed,” a Valday woman tells me. “I go to the garden, touch the ground, and bad things go away.”

In July the soil yields cucumbers and feathery dill, also squash, peas, and green onions. July is for berries: black, red, and white currants; blueberries; blackberries; raspberries; gooseberries; and delicately perfumed wild strawberries, which, even more than the resinous astringency of pine, is the smell of summer. August brings mushrooms (a light rain is known as a “mushroom rain”): the prized beliy, or white mushroom, and boletes that grow near birch trees and can be dried. Also potatoes—always potatoes. A Valday garden is unthinkable without them, although they cost less to buy than grow.

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March 29, 2015   No Comments

Arab States of the Gulf encouraged to embrace urban agriculture

Image Credit: Ramachandra Babu/©Gulf News.

“In many Emirati households, it is quite common that the household has its own herd of goat or sheep, their own palm trees and other minor agricultural practices. However, the modern practice of urban farming utilises all spaces, especially those that are on buildings and skyscrapers, which current Emirati agricultural practices don’t.”

By Saeed Al Gergawi
Gulf News
March 9, 2015

Note: The Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf known as the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), is a regional intergovernmental political and economic union consisting of all Arab states of the Persian Gulf, except for Iraq. Its member states are Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates.


Where cities and towns within the GCC will grow their own crops and set up “farmer’s souqs” starting early in the morning on Friday and end before the Friday prayers, we will see building porters who will double as both farmer and porter, and help farm vegetables, fruits and crops that are requested by the building tenants; and then the GCC as a community will be able to depend on itself for its agricultural goods and the sustenance of the nation.

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March 16, 2015   Comments Off

Urban Agriculture Study of 660 acres around Los Angeles River area


The Urban Agriculture Plan seeks to create a healthy, sustainable Los Angeles River neighborhood through the lens of urban agriculture.

Perkins/ Will et al.
Jan 30, 2015

Executive Summary:

It identifies specific strategies, locates potential interventions, and suggests means of project implementation.

The Plan is not a policy document. The process as well as the result
is assisting the Los Angeles River Revitalization Corporation and others to facilitate responsible community and economic development focused on environmental and food-based activities in the area of study.

The study area consists of 660 acres and coincides directly with the extents of the Cornfield Arroyo Seco Specific Plan (CASP). The CASP provides the foundation for this plan, however the study also builds upon many other documents such as the LARRMP and the NELA Riverfront District Vision

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March 15, 2015   Comments Off

Karachi, Pakistan planner promotes urban agriculture

The once lush green spaces of areas such as Malir are being defiled as unplanned urban sprawl encroaches upon their domain. Photo: Muhammad Javaid/Express

Karachi’s green spaces are dwindling at an alarming rate. With zoning violations a common practice, parks are being converted into built land. Even trees and plantations acting as green belts on road medians are giving way to advertising panels.

By Farhan Anwar
The Express Tribune
March 1, 201


Karachi’s green spaces are dwindling at an alarming rate. With zoning violations a common practice, parks are being converted into built land. Even trees and plantations acting as green belts on road medians are giving way to advertising panels.

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March 7, 2015   Comments Off

Nine-city assessment of Urban and peri-urban agriculture (UPA) in Africa and Asia.


Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
Kampala, Uganda
Dakar, Senegal
Ibadan, Nigeria
Tamale, Ghana,
Chennai, India
Kathmandu, Nepal
Dhaka, Bangladesh

Enhancing scientific capacity to inspire informed action on global environmental change

Urban and peri-urban agriculture (UPA) faces significant pressures from rapid urban expansion and related stresses. START and UNEP recently partnered with several organizations to undertake a nine-city assessment of UPA in Africa and Asia. The assessments examined key environmental and governance dimensions of UPA to advance understanding of how increasing urban pressures on land and water resources, and intensifying climate risks, are undermining the resilience of UPA in the face of rapid urban development.

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February 22, 2015   Comments Off

City Gardeners Track the Value of Urban Farming

A man prepares his plot at a community garden in Albany, New York. (AP Photo/Mike Groll)

More than 215 gardens, concentrated in the Northeast but with some sprinkled across the U.S. and Canada, are using the Toolkit. Since the app debuted last May, those plots have collectively grown 46,600 pounds of food.

By Henry Grabar
Next City
February 10, 2015


The Five Borough Farm Toolkit doesn’t force urban growers to get serious about measurement. But gardeners say that the Toolkit’s Barn app, which requests dozens of environmental, social and economic metrics from garden leaders, is a vast improvement over using pencil and paper. It tells them how to keep track and encourages them to do so.

“I was just doing it off the cuff,” says Carla Green, who runs the Green Garden in Newark. “Of course I had a book that I was doing my coordination with, saying we need to do x, y and z. But the Barn toolkit details it and organizes it for me.”

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February 20, 2015   Comments Off

Rodale Institute to set up organic gardens in the City of Allentown

Rodale Institute officials plan to use growing towers like these to bring fresh, organic produce to Allentown. Dozens of plants can fit into one of these towers, which are filled with compost and a bit of straw. Photo by Rodale Institute.

“We want to take the whole city organic and we’re starting with produce.”

By Jennifer Sheehan
Of The Morning Call
Jan 31, 2015


Once the sites are chosen, Rodale Institute will set up gardens using “gardening towers,” which are vertical garden boxes that can be easily placed on any parking lot or open space as long as there’s good access to sunlight and water.

A large-size growing tower can be 5 feet tall and 3 feet wide and can house dozens of plants, depending on the type of plants and how much space they require. The towers are filled with compost and a little straw to keep it together while the plants are inserted vertically up the wall of the towers.

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February 10, 2015   Comments Off

Raising crops in the city


Radio interview with Joe Nasr

Nora Young
CBC Radio Spark
February 08, 2015

The common division between rural agricultural producers and urban food consumers is really a modern invention. Now, from community gardens to converted warehouses used for hydroponics, there’s a renewed interest in raising crops in the city.

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February 9, 2015   Comments Off

New new online data bank is running to empower NYC farming!

NYC Parks Commissioner Mitchell Silver attended our launch meeting for Mill. Photo: Ozgur Gungor.

A New Era in Urban Agriculture

Design Trust for Public Space
Monthly Newletter
Jan 27, 2015


We were thrilled to introduce Mill, a revolutionary data aggregator for urban agriculture, to a leading group of industry experts and decision makers, including NYC Parks Commissioner Mitchell Silver, last month.

Mill, which is now featured by the New York State Department of Agriculture & Markets, provides data and reports for use of general public, policymakers and funders, in the same way Barn does for farmers and gardeners.

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February 3, 2015   Comments Off

Judge says Canadian Pacific Railway can bulldoze sheds and smash through community gardens in Vancouver

CP Rail says it will take a couple of weeks to study the Supreme Court ruling before deciding when to restart the repair operations on the Arbutus corridor rail line, above.
Photograph by: Jeff Lee, Vancouver Sun

Vancouver City loses bid to stop CP Rail’s Arbutus corridor plan

Brent Jang And Ian Bailey
The Globe and Mail
Jan. 20 2015,


Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd. was within its rights to bulldoze some sheds and smash through community gardens along its unused Arbutus corridor, a judge has ruled, and the company can forge ahead with plans to store railcars on the abandoned line.

“The City did not and cannot claim any property interest in the Arbutus corridor, nor can the City assert such rights on behalf of others in response to the proposed use of the corridor” by CP, Chief Justice Christopher Hinkson of B.C. Supreme Court wrote in his judgment released Tuesday.

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January 21, 2015   Comments Off

Why a Denver Suburb Has Gone All-In for Farming

Walking their goats.

Want to start an urban farm without permitting hassles? Dreaming of dwarf goats in your yard? Move to Wheat Ridge, Colorado.

By Anna Bergren Miller
City Lab
Jan 7, 2015


Wheat Ridge, Colorado, is experiencing an agricultural renaissance. Once known informally as Carnation City, the Denver suburb built its economy on a foundation of flower nurseries, apple orchards, and assorted vegetable crops. But by the time Wheat Ridge incorporated in 1969, residential and commercial development had eaten up much of the town’s farmland.

Five decades later, when city leaders sat down to rewrite the community’s comprehensive plan, they identified urban agriculture as a focal point.

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January 19, 2015   Comments Off

Hong Kong to acquire 80 hectares of land to create the city’s first agricultural park.


It would likely boost the annual amount of local produce by 25 per cent to about 20,400 tonnes, equivalent to a value of about HK$200 million.

SCMP Editorial
Jan 5, 2015


With more than 90 per cent of fresh produce coming from the mainland, there would seem little to be gained from the idea. Farming is a fickle business, being governed by the weather and seasons and requiring costly equipment and fertiliser. Land for housing and recreation is in short supply. Setting aside space to grow what can already be obtained for reasonable prices elsewhere would appear to make little sense. With the government’s compensation rate for farmland presently at HK$808 per square foot, acquiring the 80 hectares would cost, by the Post’s estimates, at least HK$7 billion.

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January 14, 2015   Comments Off

Renovated historic fire station would anchor city’s revised ‘urban farm’ program

The century-old former fire station No. 9 at 2518 Winter St. will be renovated into the centerpiece of an “urban farm” — a concept city officials hope will spread and bring better nutrition to so-called “food deserts.” Photo by Kevin Leninger.

Initial site’s demise may have been blessing in disguise, officials say

By Kevin Leininger
The News-Sentinel
December 29, 2014


When the city rejected its first applicant to develop a pilot “urban farm” earlier this year, it could have represented a setback in efforts to bring better nutrition to underserved areas sometimes called “food deserts.”

Instead, officials insist, it spurred changes that in many ways make the revised project more attractive than its predecessor.

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January 12, 2015   Comments Off

Reuters: Underground and on rooftops, farms set roots in big cities

Mayor of Leeds in food garden. Unknown date.

“There’s such a huge disconnect between people and where their food comes from,” he said. “Some kids in London probably think spaghetti grows on trees.”

By Shyamantha Asokan
Jan 8, 2015


LONDON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – On a cold and rainy Friday afternoon, Steven Dring is tending his baby carrots in a somewhat unusual setting. The green shoots are in a try of volcanic glass crystals under LED lights – and the tray is in a tunnel 33 meters underneath a busy London street.

Dring is the co-founder of Zero Carbon Food, one of a clutch of projects trying to help feed the world’s booming cities by farming in local spots – and often unexpected ones.

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January 11, 2015   Comments Off

Pittsburgh group aims to transform vacant parcel of land to include townhouses, urban farming

hilltSee larger image here.

By Tory N. Parrish
Dec. 21, 2014


The Hilltop Alliance wants to turn the vacant, 107-acre parcel into Hilltop Village Farm, which would include 120 for-sale and rental townhouses, as well as an urban farm using about 20 acres for a farm incubator, youth farm and community-supported agriculture farm, or CSA. The Allegheny Land Trust wants to buy the land from the housing authority, and lease some of it for farming and protect about 60 acres of steep hillside.

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January 6, 2015   Comments Off