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Category — Planning

Potential for urban agriculture on former farmland at Bredtvet and Gaustad, Oslo, Norway

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A study of soil resources, current land use, and users’ and stakeholders’ desires and perceived challenges

By Cristina Gil Ruiz,
NIBIO Report
Norwegian Institute of Bioeconomy Research
Jan 2, 2016

SUMMARY:

Oslo has experienced an increase in the number of urban agriculture (UA) projects and growth in public interest. The study investigated how user groups could carry out UA projects in two apparently unoccupied plots of former farmland: Bredtvet and Gaustad. Soil characteristics, current land use, users’ desires, and the challenges they perceived for the development of UA projects were studied. It seems possible to integrate UA projects in both areas without disturbing current land uses, thereby leading to
the recuperation of the soil resources of the former farmland. UA can have multiple purposes, such as food growing, social integration, community building, and health improvement. Major challenges hindering UA projects result from lack of institutional support and funding.

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February 5, 2016   No Comments

Venezuela launchs a national conference on urban agriculture

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Under President Nicolas Maduro’s predecessor Hugo Chavez, the Venezuelan government began promoting urban agriculture as a way to improve food sovereignty. | Photo: Minci

If we want a society that is viable, progressive, socialist and humanist, then we need … productive cities,” Maduro stated.

Telesur
Jan 30, 2016

The Venezuelan government is meeting with grassroots groups to discuss expanding the country’s urban agriculture.
Venezuela launched Saturday a national conference on urban agriculture, aimed to boost the productivity of small scale crops in major cities like Caracas.

The conference is the first of its kind in Venezuela, and will include government officials and representatives of grassroots organizations. President Nicolas Maduro is also expected to attend.

The president has said improving urban agriculture will support his government’s aim to bolster the broader economy.

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January 31, 2016   No Comments

Arizona State University project to create physics-based model to study the effects of establishing neighborhood gardens

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Alex Mahalov (left) and Stephen Shaffer discuss “what if” scenarios related to converting vacant lands around Phoenix into urban farms.

“On a larger scale, if we were to convert all the current vacant integrated lands in Phoenix into crops, would we be able to irrigate them for the next 80 years, or would they just last for two or three years and we’d run out of water? We can start looking at these kinds of scenarios,”

By Rhonda Olson
Arizona State University
Jan 22, 2016
(Must see. Mike)

Excerpt:

The interdisciplinary team from ASU, consisting of computational and climate scientists, mathematicians, statisticians, geoscientists and social scientists, will help predict the yields of crops and to study “what if” scenarios and optimize outcomes of future crops.

For example, the team will study what would happen if vacant lands around the Phoenix metropolitan area were converted to farms. The model will be able to take a future map of the city expansion and samplings based on current densities, and use that data to predict a future city scenario. Bringing food closer to consumers with less shipping means fresher, more nutritious food available at lower cost.

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January 25, 2016   No Comments

Union of Concerned Scientists’ Report: “Fixing Food”

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In California, the Oakland Food Policy Council launched the Right to Grow campaign to promote food as a human right. In 2014, the group successfully removed permitting requirements for farming on vacant lots and selling the food to the community.

Fresh Solutions from Five Cities: More than 800 acres of publicly owned land in Oakland could be used for food production and farming. Just 500 of these acres could produce as much as 48 percent of the vegetables consumed in the city.

Union of Concerned Scientists Report
Fixing Food: Fresh Solutions from Five U.S. Cities (2016)

Excerpt:

Research on the impacts of urban agriculture in Oakland and other cities reveals the potential for urban residents farming publicly owned and formerly vacant land to produce large quantities of the foods—including high-value products such as vegetables and eggs (Rogus and Dimitri 2014)—needed to address dietary deficiencies in many urban populations. One study in Detroit estimated that with commercial yields, urban farmers using just 74 percent of the city’s publicly owned vacant land could produce three-quarters of the fresh vegetables and nearly half the fresh fruit currently consumed in Detroit (Colasanti, Litjens, and Hamm 2010).

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January 18, 2016   Comments Off on Union of Concerned Scientists’ Report: “Fixing Food”

Antananarivo Urban Commune, Madagascar: adapting to climate change through urban farming and organic waste recovery

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We would like to widely share the benefits of urban farming, especially in large cities in the South

France Diplomatie
Jan 12, 2016
(Must see. Mike)

Excerpt:

Tamara Teissedre-Philip : The project is based on a platform of development actors who incorporate urban farming into their respective action frameworks, to reduce the risk of food insecurity in the most vulnerable communities. A proposal on urban organic waste recovery is being drawn up.

What solution have you highlighted for combating climate change?

The practice of urban farming mitigates the impacts of climate change by:

lowering greenhouse gas emissions through reduced transport of foodstuffs, self-sufficiency and short supply chains;

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January 16, 2016   Comments Off on Antananarivo Urban Commune, Madagascar: adapting to climate change through urban farming and organic waste recovery

At maximum food production, urban food crops can produce between 1% and 4% of Seattle’s food

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The boundary of Seattle is shown in the middle, and the four white lines show the percentage of Seattle fed if the pasture/hay and crops land are converted to intensive agriculture. Credit: University of Washington

We expand beyond the city Seattle limits to find that a buffer of 58 km around the city is required to meet 100% of the city’s food needs.

Urban food crop production capacity and competition with the urban forest
By Jeffrey J Richardson, L. Monika Moskal
Urban Forestry & Urban Greening
Volume 15, 2016, Pages 58–64
(Must see. Mike)

Highlights:

We developed a geospatial method to estimate a city’s maximum food crop production capacity.

We applied the method to Seattle, WA, and found that that between 1% and 4% of Seattle’s population could be supported with a complete vegetarian diet from food grown within the city.

We modeled the effect of urban tree canopy on reducing the maximum food crop production capacity of Seattle through shading.

We estimated the foodshed needed to support 100% of Seattle’s food needs.

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January 14, 2016   Comments Off on At maximum food production, urban food crops can produce between 1% and 4% of Seattle’s food

The inconstant gardener: Brooklyn saves some borough community gardens, dooms others

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462 Halsey Community Garden is safe. Filmed from Nov 2011-May 2012 by Jessica Esptein, Zac Hoffman, & Edward Wardrip.

“Moving gardens is impossible. When they say they are moving a garden, what they really mean is: we are going to take away this thriving community resource and move it to a different community.”

By Allegra Hobbs
The Brooklyn Paper
Jan 11, 2016

Excerpt:

When 596 Acres discovered several of those lots were being used as community gardens, it corralled locals together to defend their green spaces — gardeners organized protests and circulated petitions, and local officials beseeched higher-ups to save the doomed blooms.

In total, the housing department will hand 27 Brooklyn gardens over to the parks department — 16 of those were on city land, but not on the development list.

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January 12, 2016   Comments Off on The inconstant gardener: Brooklyn saves some borough community gardens, dooms others

The Effect of Community Gardens on Neighboring Property Values

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ponnster

We find that community gardens have, on average, significant positive effects on surrounding property values, and that those effects are driven by the poorest of host neighborhoods (where a garden raises neighboring property values by as much as 9.4 percentage points within five years of the garden’s opening).

By Ioan Voicu and Vicki Been
Real Estate Economics
2008 V36 2: pp. 241–283

Excerpt:

Cities across the United States that have considerable vacant land are debat- ing whether to foster community gardens on that land, while cities with land shortages are debating when to replace gardens with other uses. Meanwhile, many cities are looking for new ways to finance green spaces. Little empirical evidence about the neighborhood impacts of community gardens is available, however, to inform the debate or to help cities design financing schemes.

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January 9, 2016   Comments Off on The Effect of Community Gardens on Neighboring Property Values

Reasons for a New York citywide urban agriculture policy and physical plan

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mayny
Mayor de Blasio will finally get to add affordable housing by razing nine community gardens. But other greens will be preserved. Photo by Angus Mordant/For New York Daily News.

Perhaps the best opportunity to start the urban agriculture planning process is with the very program that led to this yearlong garden controversy: the mayor’s signature affordable housing plan.

By Nevin Cohen
Associate Professor, City University of NY School of Public Health
Huffington Post
Jan 5, 2016

Excerpt:

The most compelling reason for a citywide urban agriculture policy and physical plan is to make the system more transparent, equitable and sustainable. Currently, there are no clear criteria for which gardens to save, for how long, through what mechanisms, or at what cost. These decisions are often ad hoc, based on which gardeners are most active and organized, politically connected, and able to provide their own labor and resources. These may sound like reasonable criteria, but they have the effect of disadvantaging communities that would gain the most from gardens and farms but in which poverty, language barriers, immigration status, and other challenges make sustaining a garden more difficult.

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January 6, 2016   Comments Off on Reasons for a New York citywide urban agriculture policy and physical plan

Urban farming is growing in Toronto, but needs nurturing

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Toronto Star Illustration.

Since a food strategy was named one of the Toronto Star’s top 10 Big Ideas, Toronto has begun creating community gardens in hydro corridors, updated its food strategy and signed a global accord.

By: May Warren
Toronto Star
Jan 05, 2016

Excerpt:

Rhonda Teitel-Payne of Toronto Urban Growers, a group also involved with the CEED garden project, said tweaking the city’s green-roof bylaw to allow food gardens is one example of small changes that could have a big impact on urban agriculture.

“There’s a lot of neighbourhoods that don’t have open land, per se, but you can still grow quite a lot on a rooftop,” she said.

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January 6, 2016   Comments Off on Urban farming is growing in Toronto, but needs nurturing

City region agrifood systems in the urbanizing Nile Basin community

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Island farming on the Nile River.

The total population of the Nile Basin riparian countries was around 85 million at their independence era, with projection of over a billion persons within this millennium. That booming demography requires mitigation, adaptation and adoption of urban agricultural policies and planning, consideration of imperatively adequate food and nutrition systems to cope with this dynamics.

By Mohamed Yassin
Sudan Tribune
Dec 11, 2015

Excerpt:

Family farming in rural areas is increasingly losing terrain at the expenses of the urban farming for multiplicities of reasons and drivers. Urban areas are offering more attractive employment opportunities and better chances of higher income and availability of basic deliverables, basically associated with the industries, trade, technologies, education, health and tertiary sector of services. The Agricultural sector has a shifting and dynamic nature and adaptability related to these urbanization processes, through the urban gardens, nurseries, and other sorts of multifunctional agri-food systems.

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December 22, 2015   Comments Off on City region agrifood systems in the urbanizing Nile Basin community

Namibia, Africa: City Looks Into Urban Agriculture

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The capital city, Windhoek, Namibia, is located on the High Plateaus, at an altitude of 1,646 m, in about the geographical centre of the country.

“With yet another year of low rainfall however, the availability of water for urban agriculture is an enormous challenge in Windhoek.”

Namibia Economist
Dec 11, 2015

Excerpt:

The newly re-elected Mayor of Windhoek said at the opening event of the two-day workshop that the City Council passed a resolution on the establishment of Windhoek food systems that will focus on a food bank and urban agriculture initiatives.

“With yet another year of low rainfall however, the availability of water for urban agriculture is an enormous challenge in Windhoek. The focus of the workshop will lie on sharing experiences about agriculture in arid regions, re-use of waste water and innovative technologies that allow to practice (peri-) urban agriculture in face of water scarcity.

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December 18, 2015   Comments Off on Namibia, Africa: City Looks Into Urban Agriculture

Herb Gardens, Goats & Real Estate Developers: Considerations in Community Development

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Davie Village Community Garden in Vancouver BC. Photo by Daryl Mitchell.

Some urban farm promoters are “pushing local officials to begin setting aside plots for urban agriculture because of the health and community benefits.”

By Susan Raab
Non-profit Quarterly
Nov 25, 2015

Excerpt:

Urban farms and community gardens have been popular for a number of years, particularly as the farm-to-table movement took off. In cities across the country, many vacant, often blighted lots were adopted and converted to bring “healthy food, commerce and eye-pleasing greenery to dreary neighborhoods” and to supply restaurants and farm markets with locally grown produce. But now, according to the Associated Press, “as more people look to live and work in central cities, growers say it’s harder to find and remain on land now sought by developers.” At risk, farm advocates say, is not only the ability to grow food nearby and cultivate nature in more parts of the city, but the community spirit that often grew up around these projects.

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December 12, 2015   Comments Off on Herb Gardens, Goats & Real Estate Developers: Considerations in Community Development

Minnesota Department of Agriculture creates survey to understand key issues facing urban agriculture

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electric farmClick on image for larger file.

Purpose: “The Commissioner of Agriculture must convene interested stakeholders and develop a proposal to effectively and efficiently promote urban agriculture in Minnesota cities.”

Minnesota Department of Agriculture
2015

Excerpt:

In 2015, the Minnesota State Legislature passed the Omnibus Agriculture, Environment and Natural Resources Finance Bill – SF5 – Special Session Chapter 4, Art. 2, Sec. 85, urban agriculture proposal which states the following: “The Commissioner of Agriculture must convene interested stakeholders and develop a proposal to effectively and efficiently promote urban agriculture in Minnesota cities. For purposes of this section, “urban agriculture” means producing agricultural plants, poultry, or livestock on public or private property within city limits.

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December 11, 2015   Comments Off on Minnesota Department of Agriculture creates survey to understand key issues facing urban agriculture

FAO’s Food for the Cities Programme has new website

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“Our struggle for global sustainability will be won or lost in cities” – Ban Ki-moon, UN Secretary-General

FAO
2015

Within the framework of the FAO’s Food for the Cities Initiative, this programme aims to build more sustainable and resilient city region food systems, by strengthening rural-urban linkages. We are working closely with local governments to identify gaps, bottlenecks and opportunities for designing sustainable food policies and strategies to improve food systems at a city region scale.

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December 11, 2015   Comments Off on FAO’s Food for the Cities Programme has new website