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Category — Policy

Michigan Panel opposes legal shield for city, suburban livestock


“Why can’t I have 10 rabbits in my back yard in the city if my neighbor can have four barking Rottweilers?”

By John Flesher
Associated Press
Mar 15, 2015


Traverse City — People who raise chickens or other livestock in cities and suburban residential areas should not have the protection from nuisance lawsuits that Michigan grants to farmers in the countryside, says a report to the state’s agricultural policymakers released Sunday.

Backyard farming should continue to be regulated through local zoning ordinances, although the state should encourage the practice and develop guidelines on matters such as proper animal care, waste management and slaughter methods, said the document by the Urban Livestock Workgroup.

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March 29, 2015   No Comments

Sacramento City Council approves urban farm ordinance

Yada Yisreal, 8, and Tirtsah Yisreal of Yisreal Family Farms tend to their family’s half-acre of vegetable garden in October. The Yisreal family is at the forefront of the urban farming and sustainable agriculture movement, which was aided Tuesday by Sacramento’s City Council passing a city farming ordiance. Andrew Seng Aseng@Sacbee.Com

In a 6-1 vote, the city effectively opened the door to minifarms

By Marissa Lang
Sacramento Bee


In a 6-1 vote, the city effectively opened the door to minifarms on private properties and in vacant lots that would be able to sell produce out of urban farm stands, despite reservations from some council members about urban beekeeping and how urban agriculture may affect those who live close to the new farms.

The new ordinance enables city residents to grow and sell food directly from their properties and offers tax incentives to landowners who allow their properties, including vacant lots in residential, commercial, industrial and manufacturing zones throughout the city, to be turned into minifarms. The farms would be restricted to 3 acres.

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March 25, 2015   No Comments

Thunder Bay, Ontario Food Strategy looking for potential urban agriculture projects

Thunder Bay Food Strategy coordinator Kendal Donahue says they are looking for public input on potential locations for urban agriculture projects.Photo Jodi Lundmark,

“Cities are growing food on boulevards. They’re growing food on rooftops.”

By Jodi Lundmark,
Mar 4, 2015


Anyone with an idea of an area in their neighbourhood that could be turned into a community garden, a pollination corridor or a compost system can submit their idea online by April 1.

“The food strategy is about building up community resilience in terms of local food systems,” said Donahue, adding they want people to start thinking differently about where a new project could go or where they could add on to an existing community garden.

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March 12, 2015   Comments Off

Toledo, Ohio, City council hears from urban farming groups

This restaurant grows some of its own food.

If local residents bought just 5-percent of their produce from local gardens and farms that could inject $305 million into the local economy.

By Bill Hormann
13 ABC
Feb 25, 2015


El Tipico is one of those small, family- owned restaurants that has built its reputation on good food.

Since 1968, the owners have grown their own and do their best to buy local produce…

But they need to buy more.

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March 8, 2015   Comments Off

Vancouver’s parks allow food production, including fruit and nut orchards and beekeeping

The Oak Meadows Park pollinator garden at West 37th and Oak is home to a pollinator hotel (pictured), made from a retired phone booth. The centrepiece of this pollinator’s paradise, the hotel is filled with tubes, nooks and crannies attractive to insects. The 1,500-square-foot pollinator garden is part of a network of bee-friendly biodiversity that extends into VanDusen Gardens. Photograph by: Jason Payne, VANCOUVER SUN

At the Beaconsfield Community Garden there are plans to build an outdoor bread oven.

By Randy Shore
Vancouver Sun
Feb 25, 2015


Vancouver’s oldest park-based community garden is also one of its biggest, at 3.3 acres. Strathcona Community Garden was created in 1985, divided into one-third allotment gardens, one-third natural plant and animal habitat and the balance is a unique espalier fruit orchard. The site features the Eco-Pavilion meeting space, greenhouse and beehives.

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March 5, 2015   Comments Off

Urban agriculture showing some life on San Fransisco lands

Land adjacent to the College Hill reservoir could be used in a pilot agriculture project. Mike Koozmin/The S.F. Examiner

Last year, there were 750 people on a waiting list to use community gardens in the Recreation and Park Department’s portfolio. The department oversees 38 community gardens, which average about a quarter of an acre in size.

By Joshua Sabatini
SF Examiner
Feb 25, 2015


San Francisco residents four years ago called for more urban agriculture space in The City, prompting a pilot program that is now beginning to bear fruit.

The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission announced Tuesday that a new garden site is expected to open this summer in Bernal Heights and another site in Crocker-Amazon could be built out late next year.

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March 5, 2015   Comments Off

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   Comments Off

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   Comments Off

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   Comments Off

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   Comments Off

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