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Category — Policy

FAO Representative in Venezuela Highlights Urban Farming Initiatives

FAO representative for Venezuela, Marcelo Resende (Photo: Miguel Romero)

Urban agriculture educates and create consciousness about food safety and production, and that is vital.

By Marcelo Resende & Vanessa Davies – Correo Del Orinoco
February 25th 2015


In regards to urban farming, you know that many people laughed at President Chavez when he suggested vertical hen houses? Do you really think urban farming is a viable option in Venezuela?

The Venezuelan government has a good vision for the future. Many would think that Venezuelans have no need for urban agriculture, because there is plenty of land to sow. But from a futuristic perspective, society’s great challenge lies in the city. Cuba has provided a great example for urban farming. They are creating agricultural policies within the city, which awakens consciousness and vocation for production. The FAO along with the [agricultural] ministry is developing the project with through training. With urban farming we can take on other elements of food safety, such as obesity. Without a doubt, urban farming creates a new culture around agricultural production- of coexistence with the earth, the seed, and [cycles of] production. Even if it doesn’t have a huge impact on the economy, it is a social program that motivates, organizes, and promotes a relationship between people and cultivation.

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March 2, 2015   No Comments

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

Indiana Bill to promote urban fresh food options passes House


House Bill 1248 promotes urban farming programs

By Aubrey Helms
February 17, 2015

INDIANAPOLIS – A bill aimed at bringing fresh food to urban areas – often referred to as “food deserts” – passed the House on Thursday evening.

House Bill 1248 would require the Indiana State Department of Agriculture to develop and promote urban farming programs, food cooperatives and farmers’ markets. It would seek to create partnerships through Indiana institutions such as Purdue University.

The bill’s author, Rep. Justin Moed, D-Indianapolis, said in January that “One of the biggest complaints I get when I go door-to-door is that there aren’t any grocery stores in urban neighborhoods anymore.”

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February 19, 2015   No Comments

Santa Clara County: Tax Breaks for Urban Farms

A view of the Garden to Table urban farm, right off of Taylor Street in San Jose. (Photo via Facebook)

“Thus, the resulting loss of tax revenue to the county and other governments would not be large.”

By Jennifer Wadsworth
San Jose Inside
Feb 9, 2015


Property owners who commit their land to agricultural use could qualify for sizable tax breaks under a plan up for discussion Tuesday at the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors meeting.

The proposal by Supervisor Ken Yeager would reduce property taxes for private owners who dedicate blighted or empty lots as urban farms for five years.

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February 18, 2015   Comments Off

Dallas committee votes to recommend garden sales

Members of the Dallas Plan Commission’s Zoning Ordinance Committee explore a community garden in East Dallas during a tour of urban agriculture on Jan. 8, 2015.

“It’s kind of strange — we’ll let ice cream trucks roll down the street and sell all kinds of sugary things, but you can’t sell a carrot,”

Elizabeth Findell
Dallas Morning News
Feb 5, 2015


The committee Thursday took action to change that, formally recommending changes to city code that would allow gardeners in residential areas to sell their produce off-site, and allow on- or off-site sales from gardens in commercial areas.

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February 15, 2015   Comments Off

Minneapolis Chicken Summit: Feathers ruffled over backyard chicken changes


Question: How do chickens like to bake cake?
Answer: From scratch

By Jon Collins
MPR News
Jan 30, 2015


“I’ve got the classic situation where I’ve got a grumpy neighbor,” Henry said. “It would be maybe difficult for me to get the signature requirement right now because one of my next door neighbors is opposed to it.”

But even among those at the Minneapolis Chicken Summit not everyone supported making it easier to get a permit to raise chickens in the city.

Minneapolis Animal Care and Control officials said there were 266 permitted chicken coops in Minneapolis last year. In the late 2000s, there were only a couple dozen.

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February 9, 2015   Comments Off

Clean soil to be required for food crops in Vancouver community gardens

The Vancouver Park Board will be mandating that community gardens and local agriculture projects be planted in soil free of urban contaminants.
Photograph by: Jason Payne, Vancouver Sun.

Nearly 80 per cent of people who responded during a public consultation period approved of the draft revisions

By Randy Shore
Vancouver Sun
February 5, 2015


VANCOUVER — New Vancouver Park Board guidelines will require that edible plants grown in community gardens and agricultural projects be planted in soil free of urban contaminants.

New soil and barriers must be used where the quality of the existing soil is not known, and the Park Board will ensure that affordable soil testing will be available to growers, according to a draft of the new Urban Agriculture Policy expected to be approved later this month.

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February 6, 2015   Comments Off

Could Washington, D.C., Become the American Capital of Urban Farming?

Mchezaji “Che” Axum.

New policies could inspire even more interest in a D.C. land-grant university that teaches Washingtonians how to grow food.

By Steve Holt
Take Part
January 26, 2015


Forget bureaucratic institutions and monuments to the paper pushers that have walked their halls—Mchezaji “Che” Axum hopes to usurp these dominant images of the nation’s capital: He wants urban farms to come to mind when people think of the District of Columbia. The third-generation Washingtonian envisions the district’s fast-growing urban core dotted with small plots that, together, would be capable of feeding its roughly 700,000 residents fresh, healthy fruits and vegetables.

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February 4, 2015   Comments Off

Zimbabwe: A “new” farmer has emerged in urban areas

Growing vegetable crops within towns and cities, to supply urban markets, is becoming increasingly popular. Photo by FAO/Erick-Christian Ahounou.

City by-laws support urban farming which is the reason we have agro zones in Harare such as the Hogerty Hills, Waterfalls, Tynwald, parts of Borrowdale, Marlborough and Hatfield.

By Sydney Kawadza
All Africa The Herald
Jan 22, 2015
(Must read. Mike)


The 62-year-old grandmother who stays in Mufakose said she has had her plot since 2009 and has been feeding her family from that land.

“The plot has helps me feed my family. I have never bought any maize meal for all these years. Even in drier years I have managed to harvest enough to take me to the following year,” Mrs Zirangwa said.

She currently lives with seven relatives at her home. There are several challenges associated with urban agriculture.

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January 31, 2015   Comments Off

Food Tank Summit: “Cultivating Better Urban Food Systems”

Features a group of advocates for changing where we grow our foods and how we think about the origin of our food.

Written by Maggie Roth, GWU Student
2015 Food Tank Summit
Jan 28, 2015


The panel’s last speaker was instantly recognizable to most in the audience: winner of the James Beard Foundation Medal, restauranteur, head judge on television’s Top Chef, and passionate food activist, Chef Tom Colicchio. As a special guest at the Food Tank Summit, Colicchio recalled his own experiences with urban farming in Elizabeth N.J., watching his grandfather grow vegetables in five-gallon containers.

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January 30, 2015   Comments Off

Clearwater, Florida to consider permitting microbreweries, encouraging urban farms

Clearwater gardeners.

He said planning staff also recommends amending the development code to identify areas where food production would be viable and to support urban agricultural activities.

By Mark Schantz
Gazette Correspondent
Published: January 16, 2015


Proposed changes include adding urban farms as a permissible use in industrial, research and technology districts and community gardens in most residential districts, as well as institutional districts. The amendments also address hydroponics or other food production facilities in existing and new buildings.

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January 25, 2015   Comments Off

Securing Water for Urban Farms

A farm grows kale in view of the Chicago skyline. Globally, farms in and around cities span an area the size of the European Union. Photo credit: Linda N/CC

Linking urban water management more closely to urban farming has the potential to increase food security, water productivity, and community health, while reducing chemical fertilizer use, long-distance food and water imports, and related greenhouse gas emissions at the same time.

By Sandra Postel
National Geographic
January 8, 2015
Sandra Postel is director of the Global Water Policy Project, Freshwater Fellow of the National Geographic Society, and author of several books and numerous articles on global water issues. She is co-creator of Change the Course, the national freshwater conservation and restoration campaign being piloted in the Colorado River Basin.


Yet a surprisingly large share of the world’s cropland is found not in rural areas, but within cities and their immediate surroundings. Some 456 million hectares (1.13 billion acres) of land is cultivated directly in cities or within 20 kilometers (12.4 miles) of an urban perimeter, according to a recent study conducted by researchers at the International Water Management Institute in Colombo, Sri Lanka, the University of California-Berkeley and Stanford University, and published in the journal Environmental Research Letters.

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January 20, 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

HCM City in Vietnam agricultural restructuring a success story

Bui Van Da raises crocodiles in HCM City’s Binh Chanh District. The export of crocodiles and crocodile skins has contributed to a significant improvement in the city’s agricultural value last year. — VNA/VNS Photo Pham Do

To encourage farmers switching to urban agriculture, the city has decided to provide soft loans for farmers.

Jan 18, 2015


The city farmers had an average annual profit of VND325 million (US$15,400) per ha last year, up 15.2 per cent against 2013, according to the municipal People’s Committee.

Last year, farmers who grew safe vegetables had an annual profit of VND400 million ($19,000) per ha and those who bred milk cows had an annual profit of VND100 million ($4,700) for raising 20 milk cows.

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January 18, 2015   Comments Off