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Category — Planning

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   No Comments

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   No Comments

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

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