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Category — Planning

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   No Comments

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   No Comments

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

Making cities sustainable with urban agriculture

shanghIn Shanghai much food used to be grown within the city. In recent years peri-urban agriculture has taken over from intra-urban cropping. Whilst some land has been paved over as the city expanded, large areas of peri-urban land are still being set aside for farming. Photo by Herbert Girardet.

“Even in remote places such as Irkutsk in Siberia with its very short growing season, I have seen people cultivate an great variety of vegetables”

By Herbert Girardet
3rd December 2014
An extract from Creating Regenerative Cities by Herbert Girardet, published by Routledge (Abingdon and New York) 2014.


I found the same in China, which has an age-old tradition of settlements permeated with food-growing areas. Today, at a time of very rapid urban-industrial growth, urban agriculture is still a very important issue for the Chinese.

Even megacities such as Shanghai, with about 15% population growth per year, one of the fastest growing cities on the planet, maintains its urban farming as an important part of its economic system.

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December 14, 2014   Comments Off

Academicians, NGOs push benefits of urban farming

21st century farms: UPM agriculture faculty dean Prof Dr Abdul Shukor Juraimi with a vertical farming system the university is working on. Abdul Shukor believes urban agriculture holds great promise in an increasingly urban world.

In Malaysia, Abdul Shukor said rooftop gardening has potential.

By Lim Wing Hooi
The Star
Nov 29, 2014


Universiti Putra Malaysia Assoc Prof Dr Yahya Awang added that the plants used in urban agriculture are types that people need daily with economic benefits that people tend to overlook.

“You don’t need to drive to buy a few leaves of lemon grass from a shop, which would cost you time, money and eventually cost the environment more than what the lemon grass would cost if you can just cut them from your backyard,” he said.

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November 30, 2014   Comments Off

Australia: Urban fringe agriculture under threat

Ben And Mark Honey Are Facing Urban Encroachment Near Their Dairy Farm In Kiama, Nsw (Sarina Locke)

Agricultural land on the fringes of our major cities is some of the most productive in the country, but urban encroachment is putting it at risk

Producer Cathy Pryor
Nov 26, 2014


Wayne Shields’ farm has been in his family since the 1970s, when his father first bought the fertile patch of land on the Mornington Peninsula to Melbourne’s east. In those days, the Peninsula was a quiet rural retreat from city life, frequented by holiday makers making a pilgrimage to the coast.

Forty years later, 30 per cent of the Mornington Peninsula is classified as urban and the boundary of metropolitan Melbourne is only 500 metres from the Shields farm.

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November 27, 2014   Comments Off

Vienna, Austria has added 530 hectares (1,310 acres) of fields and forests since WW2

A mangalitsa piglet costing 250 euros can fetch as much as 10,000 euros when served in Vienna’s finest restaurants, according to Christoph Wiesner.

After his election in 1994, Mayor Michael Haeupl expanded urban-farming initiatives that took root in the 1980s.

By Jonathan Tirone
Nov 25, 2014


After his election in 1994, Mayor Michael Haeupl expanded urban-farming initiatives that took root in the 1980s. A biologist who worked at the Natural History Museum before jumping into politics, he added tracts zoned for organic farming and leased them to small businesses, turning the city into one of Austria’s biggest vegetable producers.

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November 26, 2014   Comments Off

40 Percent Of The World’s Cropland Is In Or Near Cities

Gideon and Steven are brothers who farm maize, onions and other vegetables. Photo: Nana Kofi Acquah / IWMI

Somewhere around 1.1 billion acres is being cultivated for food in or within about 12 miles (20 kilometers) of cities.

By Eliza Barclay
November 12, 2014


Anne Thebo, an environmental engineer at the University of California-Berkeley and the study’s lead author, says that the research revealed that a surprisingly large number of urban farms rely on irrigation, especially in South Asia. Since many cities in this region are growing rapidly and already face challenges accessing enough water, these farms end up competing with the city for the scarce resource.

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November 20, 2014   Comments Off

Food and the City

Travelling Allotment Kit.

Our cities should not be exclusively industrial or commercial, and a more appreciative acceptance of urban agriculture is necessary in creating better cities for our future.

By John Wang
Harvard Political Review
Oct 22, 2014


Yet, paradoxically, producing food seems to be precisely what cities are worst at today. On an average day in Hong Kong, where 89 percent of its gross domestic product comes from the service economy, 2290 tons of vegetables are consumed. Only 1.9 percent are produced locally the city. The rest is imported from China and other countries. Agricultural activities make up around 0.1 percent of the city’s GDP. A similar situation holds in Singapore where roughly 90 percent of what is consumed is produced in some other thirty-plus countries. Cities, quite simply put, are incapable of feeding themselves.

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October 28, 2014   Comments Off

Should urban farms and community gardens be allowed to sell produce in Muskegon, Michigan?

The city planning commission is discussing whether urban farms, such as this McLaughlin Grows garden should be allowed to sell their crops. Photo by Dave Alexander.

Supporters said commercial sales would create jobs and promote healthy eating.

By Lynn Moore
October 15, 2014


The city planning commission on Thursday, Oct. 16, will discuss two proposed urban farming zoning amendments that would regulate large gardens operated by private individuals, neighborhood groups and nonprofit organizations.

One proposal would only allow gardens operated by nonprofit and neighborhood groups to accept “donations” for fruits, vegetables, herbs, plants and flowers. The other would allow any urban farm operation, including private ones, to sell produce to schools, restaurants, stores and the farmers market, but not to individuals.

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October 24, 2014   Comments Off

Across the US, Cities Struggle to Figure Out How to Accommodate Urban Farming

Sacramento has its share of farmer’s markets, but there are no urban farms within the city limits. Photo by Robert Couse-Bake.

Widespread interest in urban agriculture is forcing local authorities to re-examine rules that prohibit farming in cities

By Sena Christian
Earth Island Journal
October 2, 2014


Sure, nearly 1.4 million acres of farmland exist around the city, which is located in California’s vast and fertile Central Valley region, and the climate is amenable to growing produce year-round (drought complications notwithstanding). But there are no urban farms in Sacramento. The closest and most prominent urban farm, the 55-acre Soil Born Farms, exists outside the city limits.

Sacramento is relatively progressive when it comes to gardening: The city already allows frontyard vegetable gardens, urban chickens, and community gardens on private land and runs 13 community gardens on public land. But farming – that is, growing crops to sell – has fallen behind.

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October 12, 2014   Comments Off

Urban Farms Disappearing in the Goleta Valley


Environmental benefits provided by urban agriculture include decreased resource consumption and consequently, less waste.

Environmental Defense Center
Sept 24, 2014


This report focuses on the importance of protecting the few remaining parcels of agriculture within the urban boundaries of the Eastern Goleta Valley. “There are benefits to urban agriculture being located adjacent to homes, schools, transportation centers, etc. (e.g. local job creation, reducing the heat island effect, reductions in storm water runoff, and the health benefits of having fresh locally grown food available).

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October 2, 2014   Comments Off