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Category — Policy

European Research Media Centre looks at urban agriculture

London Sheep being driven down Strand about to cross Waterloo Bridge, circa 1926. Click on image for larger file.

In the future, policy makers must be aware that urban agriculture is worth the effort of creating new policies and it can be a viable option.

By Thijs Westerbeek
European Research Media Centre
Oct 23


“The goal of the Supurbfood project,” Han Wiskerke tells, “is to make urban and peri-urban agriculture much more important than it is now.” Wiskerke is the coordinator of the project and a professor of rural sociology at Wageningen University and Research Centre in the Netherlands. He goes on to explain that the project also aims to close the food-waste cycle, to shorten the food supply chains, and to create multifunctional land use in cities.

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October 29, 2014   No Comments

Oakland plowing a path for urban farming on vacant lots

Lisa Hermanson waters plants at Farmscape, on a lot at the old West Oakland train depot. Photo by Liz Hafalia / The Chronicle.

Property owners who want to temporarily turn their land over to urban gardeners can contact the Oakland Food Policy Council for assistance

By Carolyn Jones
SF Gate
October 20, 2014


After four years of planning, the city is poised to eliminate bureaucratic roadblocks for urban gardeners, making it easier for residents to turn the city’s 3,000 vacant lots into fields of arugula and marigolds.

“We can’t feed everyone by doing this, but it’s a start,” said Lara Hermanson, owner of Farmscape, an urban gardening and landscaping company in Oakland. “This will really give a leg up for nonprofits, businesses and people who just want to grow their own food.”

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October 27, 2014   No Comments

Detroit couple’s farm animals seized

video platformvideo managementvideo solutionsvideo player
The couple and police have conflicting stories. But one thing is clear: it’s against the law to have chickens and goats at a home in Detroit.

Distraught Owner Of Goats, Chickens: ‘Detroit Police Pleaded With Animal Control, Ordered To Seize Family Pets’

Oct 23, 2014


Wednesday morning, officers from the City of Detroit seized goats and chickens from a couple’s home on Detroit’s west side. The couple purchased their home in a Detroit neighborhood near Brightmoor for only $2,000 in May. The home is located across the street from a 14,000-acre park by the Rouge River. The low price is common for properties in the area because it is now so neglected that some of it is returning back to nature. David and Sky Brown said that they have no neighbors living nearby.

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October 24, 2014   No Comments

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   No Comments

Urban agriculture grows in Charleston, West Virginia backyards

Sarah Saville, who lives on Lewis Street on Charleston’s East End, keeps chickens in her backyard. Photo by Bob Wojcieszak/Daily Mail.

Saville is one of a growing number of residents taking advantage of the city’s urban agriculture ordinance which allows for the raising of poultry, as well as bees.

By Matt Murphy
Charleston Daily Mail
Oct 12, 2014


Charleston’s urban agriculture ordinance was likely the first in the state when it was passed in July 2013.

Among the highlights of the ordinance were gardens permitted in all zoning areas of the city, and that residents were allowed to keep hens and three beehives without city approval.

Charleston Neighborhood Planner Geoff Plagemann said almost immediately after the ordinance was passed, the planning department was flooded with calls of residents asking questions about the law — and how they could have their own chickens or bees.

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October 23, 2014   No Comments

Namibia’s Deputy Prime Minister: ‘Investing in urban agriculture is another area that needs serious consideration’

Gardening in Namibia. By Mike Knight.

“Last years drought has taught us that … our duty is to plan and shape the urban agricultural system in ways that will alleviate hunger and poverty …”

By Mandisa Rasmeni
The Economist
17 October 2014


Organisation in order to raise the profile of family farming and smallholder farming,” said Hausiku.
Hon. Hausiku added that the commemoration of the World Food Day is one of many actions that can be taken at a political and technical level in creating awareness among urban dwellers on the impact of food waste. He also added that it creates a platform to sensitize the nation on the importance of food banks and other initiatives which promote food security in the country.

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October 22, 2014   No Comments

Food policy searchable database contains over 100 policies


Municipalities and counties got a big boost today with the unveiling of a searchable database with more than 100 newly adopted innovative, local government food system policies that can be shared and adapted across the country.

By Rachel Teaman
The Growing Food Connections Policy Database
October 20, 2014

The Growing Food Connections Policy Database, hosted by the School of Architecture and Planning at the University at Buffalo, will assist local governments as they work to broaden access to healthy food and help sustain local farms and food producers.

Growing Food Connections, a federally-funded research initiative to strengthen community food systems nationwide, has compiled over 100 policies governing issues as diverse as public investment in food systems, farmland protection, local food procurement and food policy council resolutions.
The Growing Food Connections Policy Database was launched today at the American Farmland Trust’s national conference, which includes sessions on food systems policy, in Lexington, Ky.

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October 21, 2014   No Comments

Chicago Slams Urban Farmer for Rats, Weeds in Former Vacant Lot

Moah’s Ark Slammed by City. Mo Cahill was issued 25 building code violations at her home and farm on Touhy Avenue. Photo credit: DNAinfo/Benjamin Woodard.

The city has collected more than $19.5 million in fines since 2009 from property owners who have violated the ordinance governing weed growth.

By Benjamin Woodard
DNA Info Chicago
October 8, 2014


An urban farmer who bought and then transformed a vacant lot into an urban farm and garden has been hit by the city with 25 building code violations.

Now she worries the city could take her to court and force her to uproot the farm.

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October 17, 2014   No Comments

Toronto’s mayoral candidates offer food for thought on urban agriculture

Toronto mayoral candidate Olivia Chow.

Our leading mayoral candidates say they would cultivate city funding for more projects to grow food on surplus city land, create gardens

Rob Ford’s brother Doug did not respond

By Jennifer Bill
Toronto Star
Oct 15 2014


Do our mayoral candidates have an appetite for urban agriculture? Farmers’ markets, rooftop gardens, food cultivation in residential backyards and agriculture projects in city parks are examples of urban strategies that could revolutionize the city’s food production and reduce dependence on foreign-grown foods. We asked our leading mayoral candidates about where they stood on urban ag.

Question: Do you support devoting more city funding or surplus city land for urban agriculture projects?

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October 16, 2014   Comments Off

Congressman Tim Ryan (D-Ohio) – ‘Retool the system by funding and supporting urban agriculture’

See Ryan’s new book here. Hardcover – October 14, 2014

“There should be a garden in every schoolyard, a kitchen in every school and a salad bar in every cafeteria…”

By Nicole Goodkind
Yahoo Finance
Oct 15, 2014


Rep. Ryan believes the way to retool the system is by funding and supporting urban agriculture, subsidizing farmers who produce fruits and vegetables and creating markets for local growers. Ryan also believes that schools need to make changes.

“There should be a garden in every schoolyard, a kitchen in every school and a salad bar in every cafeteria so we can begin to teach our young people how to eat,” he says.

Of course, changing the agricultural industry isn’t easy. Agribusiness lobbyists have spent over $63 million so far this year and have contributed quite a bit to the campaigns of house members, including $694,007 to Ohio representative John Boehner. Going against big agriculture seems a bit like David going up against Goliath.

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October 15, 2014   Comments Off

Mayor of Baltimore backs tax credits for urban farms

Urban Farm. In the foreground are metal tubes for the first greenhouse. Photo by Perna, Algerina.

Mayor’s office opposed City Council bill in 2011; now supports Welch’s legislation

By Luke Broadwater
The Baltimore Sun
October 1, 2014


In legislation pending in a City Council committee, Welch is seeking a 90 percent break on property taxes for urban farmers who grow and sell at least $5,000 of fruit and vegetables a year. The credits, which must be approved by the city’s Cffice of Sustainability, are good for five years, but can be renewed for a total of 10 years, according to the bill.

Welch has said he hopes the legislation will help eliminate the city’s so-called food deserts in which some neighborhoods have no access to healthy food nearby.

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October 10, 2014   Comments Off

L.A. City Council introduces plan to encourage urban farming

Los Angeles City Councilman Curren D. Price, pictured in February, joined Councilman Felipe Fuentes proposing tax breaks for landowners who lease vacant property for agriculture. (Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times)

The Los Angeles Food Policy Council estimates that 8,600 parcels in Los Angeles would be eligible.

By Angel Jennings
LA Times
Oct 8, 2014


A motion introduced Wednesday by Councilmen Felipe Fuentes and Curren Price calls for landowners to receive tax breaks for leasing vacant property for agriculture.

“There are thousands of vacant, unproductive lots throughout Los Angeles,” said Fuentes, who represents the 7th District, which covers the Northeast Valley. “By converting empty parcels into urban farms, we can encourage local economic development, green our communities and provide produce in neighborhoods that lack access to fresh foods.”

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October 9, 2014   Comments Off

Bill H.R.5616 – ‘To promote and enhance urban agricultural production’ referred to the House Committee on Agriculture.

03:25:19171917 War Garden cartoon.Click on image for larger file.

In The House Of Representatives September 18, 2014

H. R. 5616

To promote and enhance urban agricultural production and agricultural research in urban areas, and for other purposes.

Ms. Kaptur (for herself, Ms. Fudge, Ms. Moore, Ms. Norton, Ms. Matsui, Ms. Pingree of Maine, Mr. Ryan of Ohio, Mr. McGovern, Mr. Conyers, and Mr. Young of Alaska) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Agriculture



Congress finds the following:
(1) Dramatic economic, demographic, and land use changes
have created pockets of arable land suitable for agricultural
production in and around urban areas of the United States.

(2) Advances in agricultural practices make production
possible in and around urban areas that were previously
cordoned off from agricultural production.

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October 6, 2014   Comments Off

Vancouver Filmmakers live like dumpster divers for six months

For six months, Vancouver filmmakers Grant Baldwin and Jenny Rustemeyer ate only discarded food. Their shocking documentary, Just Eat IT! highlights the fact that 40 per cent of all North American food goes into landfills.

By Daphne Bramham
Vancouver Sun
October 1, 2014


Baldwin and Rustemeyer spent $200 during those six months on food that was being culled from shelves because of slight blemishes or its best before date — that misleading number that makes consumers shun its purchase.

Rustemeyer estimates they salvaged $20,000 worth of food from dumpsters behind grocery stores, food warehouses and processors.

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October 4, 2014   Comments Off

Ruling on urban farm a mixed bag in Encinitas, California

goatssGoats at Coral Tree Farm.

Council decides site can sell veggie baskets, but can’t hold yoga classes

By Barbara Henry
U-T San Diego
Sept. 25, 2014


An urban farm in Encinitas that has run afoul of neighbors can operate in a limited way, the City Council decided late Wednesday. Offering yoga classes isn’t one of them.

Coral Tree Farm can continue its agricultural operations and it can also sell its veggie baskets onsite, but offering farm tours will require a special city permit and yoga classes won’t be allowed at all.

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October 4, 2014   Comments Off