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Category — Policy

USDA undersecretary tours University of Georgia’s community garden


Kevin Concannon, U.S. Department of Agriculture undersecretary for food, nutrition and consumer services, visited the farm and demonstration garden.

By Staff Reports
July 26, 2015


UGArden was founded in 2010 by UGA students who wanted to start a community garden on Athens Campus. The UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences gave them space for the garden on a parcel of land formerly used for livestock research. Today, it’s grown into a 4-acre, sustainably managed farm that provides agricultural experience to students and fresh produce to food-insecure seniors through UGA’s Campus Kitchen program and to local food banks.

Concannon was pleased with the way UGArden serves as a venue for public service and for research into sustainable agriculture practices — including small-scale cover crop plots, a solar-powered farm building and organic production practices.

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August 2, 2015   No Comments

More city dwellers are embracing ‘hobby farms’

Dominique Salamone and daughter Glory feed chickens in their backyard. The former sheet-metal factory forewoman started keeping livestock in 2010 and says her hobby farm accords peace, purpose and a more healthful alternative to red-meat dishes. (Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times)

‘It’s like we live in the country’

By Michelle Hofmann
LA Times
July 24, 2015


In addition to chickens, today’s urban barnyards include goats, turkeys, potbellied pigs, cows and bees. And what distinguishes a so-called hobby farm from other animal-related enterprises? For IRS purposes, a hobby farm is a homestead run primarily for pleasure, not profit.

“The dividing line is when you start selling the products,” said Rachel A. Surls, sustainable food systems advisor for the University of California Cooperative Extension in Los Angeles County. “Once you start selling the produce, you are a farm and bound by a lot of rules and regulations.”

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August 1, 2015   No Comments

Find out how the law affects Detroit’s urban farms


Stephen Henderson talks with Nick Leonard, Equal Justice Works Fellow at the Great Lakes Environmental Law Center, about the laws that govern urban farming and the upcoming Detroit Food Entrepreneur Legal Workshop on July 30th.

July 23, 2015


Basic legal background: Leonard says that many people just do not know what rules apply to urban farming, but ignorance is no defense in the eyes of the law. He says people need proper approvals to know how to organize as nonprofits or low liability companies and to be familiar with zoning ordinances.

Neighborhood outreach: Leonard says that neighborhood outreach is very important. He says people are often wary of outsiders in Detroit and many people have negative associations with agriculture, so farms should be open about what they are doing and why.

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July 31, 2015   No Comments

Don’t Let Food Be the Problem – Producing too much food is what starves the planet.


Former U.N. special rapporteur Olivier De Schutter challenges the agency’s claim on hunger, stating that numbers, if anything, have remained steady and explains why local responses, not solely international actions, will defeat hunger.

By Olivier De Schutter
Foreign Policy
July 2015
[Olivier De Schutter (@DeSchutterUNSR), a legal scholar focusing on economic and social rights, served as the United Nations’ special rapporteur on the right to food from 2008 to 2014.]


On the consumers’ side, today food-policy councils in North America invoke sovereignty; examples from Toronto to Oakland are increasingly influencing experiments elsewhere. Sovereignty has given rise to farmers markets in Mumbai and Beijing, among other cities, and to school gardens and urban agriculture as citizens seek to reconnect to local farmers and, more broadly, to the food systems on which they depend.

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July 24, 2015   No Comments

Greater Jakarta: City develops urban farming in subdistricts – in 66 location


“After we set up the plantations, residents will be responsible for taking care of them.”

The Jakarta Post
July 14, 2015

The city administration has developed 66 modest urban farming spots located across various neighborhoods in an effort to make the city “greener”.

Fisheries, Agriculture and Food Security Agency head Darjamuni Taseda said that the 66 locations included those in Gandaria Selatan in South Jakarta, Slipi in West Jakarta and Kebon Bawang in North Jakarta. Darjamuni said that the agency was responsible for setting up the urban gardens and teaching residents how to take care of the plants.

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July 23, 2015   No Comments

Government Ministers highlight agriculture at urban farm in Edmonton, Alberta


Minister of Tourism and Culture David Eggen was very pleased with the idea. “It’s reassuring to know that people are taking the time to use urban landscapes to grow food.”

By Kirby Bourne
July 12, 2015


When you think of Northlands you likely think of horse racing, Oilers games, maybe K-Days, but there is another word that should spring to mind, farm.

Last June vacant space on the campus was refurbished into a commercial urban farm. Since then Director of Agriculture Heather Shewchuck says they’ve been focusing on promoting local and sustainable food.

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July 22, 2015   No Comments

Food and the City – Histories of Culture and Cultivation


Thirteen Essays On Urban Agriculture

Edited by Dorothée Imbert
Harvard University Press
July 2015
(Must see. Mike)

Food and the City explores the physical, social, and political relations between the production of food and urban settlements. Its thirteen essays discuss the multiple scales and ideologies of productive landscapes—from market gardens in sixteenth-century Paris to polder planning near mid-twentieth century Amsterdam to opportunistic agriculture in today’s Global South—and underscore the symbiotic connection between productive landscape and urban form across times and geographies. The physical proximity of fruit and vegetable production to urban consumers in pre-revolutionary Paris, or the distribution of fish in Imperial Edo, was an essential factor in shaping both city and surroundings.

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July 20, 2015   No Comments

India Ag Ministry says: Urban agriculture order of the day

Sanjeev Chopra, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperation.

Agriculture is no more just a rural affair

By M. Somasekhar
Hindu Business Line
July 7, 2015


“It’s time that agriculture in urban areas is promoted. Governments and institutions should focus on this,” argues Sanjeev Chopra, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperation.

Agriculture is no more just a rural affair, he believes. Therefore, the priority should be to make use of the available infrastructure in urban areas. He made this point while delivering a lecture on ‘Leveraging Agriculture as the Key Growth Driver in India’ at the Administrative Staff College of India, here.

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July 18, 2015   Comments Off on India Ag Ministry says: Urban agriculture order of the day

Growing flock of Bostonians embrace urban chicken-rearing

The Chickeness Khrysti Smith holds her chicken Tribble during the class on raising urban chickens she teaches at Green City Growers in Somerville. Nicolaus Czarnecki/Metro Photo:

Raising livestock is banned in most of the city, but many amateur chicken farmers keep birds on the fly.

By Spencer Buell
July 5, 2015


A backyard chicken farmer of six years, Smyth offers classes, consultations and coop-building services. Her work has earned her the title “Chickeness of Somerville.”

“One way of looking at it is I’m a backyard chicken concierge,” Smyth said.

The venture, Smyth said, has been much more successful than a past service she offered giving consultations on green living. People didn’t want tips on composting, she said, they wanted help with hens.

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July 15, 2015   Comments Off on Growing flock of Bostonians embrace urban chicken-rearing

City hopes new bylaw will help Edmonton’s urban farms bloom

Reclaim Urban Farm, Edmonton.

“It’s created a way for … new urban farmers to get involved in agriculture in the city with minimal barriers.”

By Gordon Kent,
Edmonton Journal
June 30, 2015


City councillors gave tentative support Tuesday to zoning changes they hope will make Edmonton’s urban farming business blossom.

The new bylaw, which must be approved following a public hearing in October, would eliminate the need for a development permit for personal gardens and community gardens on public land.

Outdoor urban farms, generally small operations on vacant lots, would also require less paperwork, and operators could sell produce and erect storage buildings with the proper permits.

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July 10, 2015   Comments Off on City hopes new bylaw will help Edmonton’s urban farms bloom

$5000 fine: City of Ottawa picks fight over front yard garden

See video here.

City threatens to uproot woman’s small veggie garden

There’s something therapeutic about tending to a garden, but what if you don’t have room for one in the backyard? That was the issue for an Ottawa-area woman, so she planted one in the front yard instead.

See video here.

July 9, 2015   Comments Off on $5000 fine: City of Ottawa picks fight over front yard garden

Pittsburgh urban farming takes ‘big step forward’ with new ordinance

Goats are released on a hillside in Polish Hill to eat brush and vines not easily cut back by other means. Photo Darrell Sapp/Post-Gazette.

Mayor Bill Peduto will sign the bill in the coming days, spokesman Tim McNulty said.

By Molly Born
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
July 8, 2015


Pittsburgh City Council passed an ordinance Tuesday making it cheaper and easier for residents to get permits to raise chickens and goats and keep beehives.

The ordinance replaces a 2011 urban agriculture zoning law that charged city residents fees totaling $340 and required a hearing process that could take 10 to 12 weeks. Now, homeowners and renters can bring a site plan detailing a desired coop, apiary or other animal structure and get a permit in a single day for $70.

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July 8, 2015   Comments Off on Pittsburgh urban farming takes ‘big step forward’ with new ordinance

Living costs too high? Try growing your own food, minister urges Malaysians

Agricultural and Argo base minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri looking at the ‘terung ular’ after officiating the Urban farming event in Penang, June 29, 2015. Picture by K. E. Ooi

“In Malaysia, a family spends an average of RM350 per month on vegetables alone and by growing some of these vegetables, the costs of purchasing the vegetables can be cut to a significant amount,” he said.

By Opalyn Mok
Malay Mail Online
June 29, 2015


GEORGE TOWN, June 29. More Malaysians should consider following the trend of urban farming, Agriculture and Agro-Based Industry Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said today, pointing out that it would not only help alleviate the burden of soaring living costs but also helps families eat healthier home-grown products.

He said at a time when living costs are increasing, it is more economical for Malaysians to start urban farming by growing their own vegetables in their gardens, backyard or even in their apartment balconies.

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July 7, 2015   Comments Off on Living costs too high? Try growing your own food, minister urges Malaysians

Long Beach, California City Council to ease rules on chickens, goats and bees

Vice Mayor Suja Lowenthal is one of the major sponsors of the recommendation.

Donna Marykwas shed tears after the Council voted in favor of the changes. She had founded Long Beach Grows, an organization dedicated to educating the public about urban agriculture.

By CJ Dablo
Signal Tribune
June 26, 2015


Proponents of urban agriculture in Long Beach tasted a new victory at the City Council meeting on June 23. City council members unanimously approved a recommendation to request a change to the municipal rules governing chickens, goats and bees. The city attorney will be required to return to the Council with a new ordinance, which will require two readings to be fully passed.

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July 6, 2015   Comments Off on Long Beach, California City Council to ease rules on chickens, goats and bees

Los Gatos, Saratoga: County identifies land pockets for urban farming


There are 1,074 of vacant lots that have been identified by Santa Clara County as potential urban agriculture incentive zones.

By Judy Peterson
San Jose Mercury News Saratoga
June 17


There are minimum requirements for the program, including parcel size. Parcels must be at least 4,356 square feet in size but no larger than three acres. In addition, the parcel must be in an urban agriculture incentive zone. It cannot have any dwellings, although tool sheds, greenhouses and produce stands are OK. Also, the entire parcel must be utilized for agricultural activity.

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July 2, 2015   Comments Off on Los Gatos, Saratoga: County identifies land pockets for urban farming