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Category — Policy

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   No Comments

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   No Comments

Oregonians can now add four cannabis plants to their backyard vegetable gardens

Should I grow marijuana indoors or outdoors? | ‘Growing Grass’ (Part 1) In the first video of our growing marijuana series, we met with cannabis farmers, Michelle and Tyson Haworth, who explain the pros and cons of indoor and outdoor growing.

“If you leave them out in weeks of rain,” he said, “you will just get rotten marijuana.”

By Noelle Crombie
The Oregonian/OregonLive
June 27, 2015


You’ve got to be 21 or older to possess and grow cannabis in Oregon and your yard should be a private place where neighbors and passersby can’t easily see your plants.

Oregon’s new marijuana law allows people not only to possess marijuana, but also to grow it at home. Every household may have up to four marijuana plants.

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June 29, 2015   No Comments

Urban and suburban agriculture project begins in Republic of Cabo Verde

Republic of Cabo Verde,[5] is an island country spanning an archipelago of 10 volcanic islands in the central Atlantic Ocean. Located 570 kilometres (350 mi) off the coast of Western Africa, the islands cover a combined area of slightly over 4,000 square kilometres (1,500 sq mi).

Funded by the FAO with a total of US$400,000

Macua Hub
June 19th, 2015


A project aimed at urban and suburban production of fruit, vegetables, roots, tubers and ornamental plants will begin in the capital of Cabo Verde (Cape Verde), Praia, said the country’s Minister of Rural Development, Eva Ortet.

The minister, cited by newspaper A Semana, said the project, to be carried out by the central government, was part of a United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) programme to create subsistence green belts in cities and surrounding areas that it calls “urban and suburban agriculture.”

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June 28, 2015   No Comments

Baltimore Combats Food Deserts With Urban Farming Tax Break

Councilman William “Pete” Welch drafted the bill.

The tax break’s greatest benefit is its potential to clean, fill, and beautify the city, which she expects will restore the economic health and confidence both of Baltimore and of its residents.

By Julianne Tveten
15 June 2015


Urban farmers in the city of Baltimore will soon qualify for a 90 percent property tax break under a bill recently approved by Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake. The move, which is the latest in a series of tax-break initiatives for city growers seen in areas like San Francisco and Washington, D.C., is intended to bolster local production of healthy food.

Drafted by Councilman William “Pete” Welch, the bill, which will likely go into effect next month, gives a tax credit to farmers who make at least $5,000 per year selling crops and raise no more than five acres of land.

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June 27, 2015   No Comments

Here’s what better relations with the US mean for city farms in Cuba

ubausCuba has a unique and highly productive agricultural system in the cities and on the fringes of suburbia. Javier Ignacio Acuña Ditzel/Flickr

Both farmers and the Cuban government will need to work out how to resist international market pressures. Otherwise the unique, productive model of Cuban urban and peri-urban agriculture may disappear.

By Julia Wright
Senior Research Fellow, Agroecological Futures at Coventry University
By Emily Morris
Research Associate, Institute of the Americas, UCL at UCL
The Conversation
June 18, 2015


However, two factors protect the Cuban urban agriculture model.

The first is that it has become well-established. Farmers understand and have committed to agroecological principles, at least in urban and peri-urban zones. On the government side, the model has proven it can achieve development priorities and is enshrined in policy.

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June 26, 2015   No Comments

San Francisco’s Groundbreaking Urban Agriculture Program Turns One


There’s a common misconception that you can’t grow food in San Francisco—that it’s too urban, or this or that. That’s absolutely not true.

By Brie Mazurek, CUESA
June 13, 2015


CUESA: Tell us about the Urban Agriculture Program and how it’s developed over the last year.

Hannah Shulman: In 2012, people in San Francisco wanted there to be one place where they could get all the information they needed on urban agriculture, everything from where to get materials to build your garden to how to get a permit to build a garden on your property. We are now in 2015, our one-year anniversary.

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June 23, 2015   No Comments

Roseville, California urban farmer takes plight to the city

Roseville urban farmer Tyler Stowers works the crops on his property.

Roseville’s current zoning ordinances allow for “a non-residential business activity carried on within a dwelling by its inhabitants … that does not change the character of the surrounding residential area by generating more traffic or storage of materials than would normally be expected in a residential zone.”…

By Jorden P. Hales
Press Tribune
June 13, 2015


“I never expected to be talking to city councils,” said Stowers, a UC Berkley graduate who recently appeared at Roseville City Hall to give statements on how the city’s ordinances pertain to urban farming — not to mention the sale of crops produced by it.

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June 21, 2015   Comments Off on Roseville, California urban farmer takes plight to the city

Urban Farming Is Booming, But What Does It Really Yield?


The benefits of city-based agriculture go far beyond nutrition.

By Elizabeth Royte
Ensia and the Food & Environment Reporting Network
Apr 27, 2015
Elizabeth Royte is the author of three critically acclaimed books; her writing on science and the environment has appeared in Harper’s, National Geographic, Outside, The New York Times Magazine and other national publications.


FarmedHere, the nation’s largest player in controlled environment agriculture (CEA) pumps out roughly a million pounds (500,000 kg) per year of baby salad greens, basil and mint in its 90,000-square-foot (8,000-square-meter) warehouse on the industrial outskirts of Chicago. Like many hydroponic or aquaponic operations (in which water from fish tanks nourishes plants, which filter the water before it’s returned to the fish), the farm has a futuristic feel — all glowing lights and stainless steel. Employees wear hairnets and nitrile gloves. But without interference from weather, insects or even too many people, the farm quickly and reliably fulfills year-round contracts with local supermarkets, including nearly 50 Whole Foods Markets.

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June 20, 2015   Comments Off on Urban Farming Is Booming, But What Does It Really Yield?

Bringing the Farm to the City: How a Local Land Grant University is Supporting a Different Kind of Agriculture

Dr. Ellen Harris, Director of the Beltsville Agricultural Research Center taking a look at the red leaf lettuce being grown at the 144 Acre Muirkirk Agricultural Experimentation.

The work I witnessed during my time at UDC makes me excited for the future of how research and extension can help support urban agriculture as a safe, efficient, and healthy component of local and regional food systems.

By Ann Bartuska, Ph.D., Deputy Undersecretary, Research, Education, and Economics
United States Department of Agriculture
June 11, 2015


This year I have had the pleasure of visiting a number of urban agriculture operations. From California to Cleveland, the ability of individuals to realize the multidimensional benefits of agricultural production and leverage them in an urban context has been nothing short of amazing.

This past week I visited a University that is heavily involved in both the research and extension aspect of urban agriculture — right in the backyard of the Department’s Washington, D.C. headquarters.

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June 19, 2015   Comments Off on Bringing the Farm to the City: How a Local Land Grant University is Supporting a Different Kind of Agriculture

FAO Report: Climate Change And Food Systems


Agriculture is highly dependent on local weather conditions and, therefore, is expected to be highly sensitive to changes in climate in the years to come.

FAO Press Release
June 18, 2015

8 June 2015, Rome – Global warming will have profound consequences on where and how food is produced, and also lead to a reduction in the nutritional properties of some crops, all of which has policy implications for the fight against hunger and poverty and for the global food trade, experts say in a new book.

“Climate Change and Food Systems” collects the findings of a group of scientists and economists who have taken stock of climate change impacts on food and agriculture at global and regional levels over the past two decades.

“The growing threat of climate change to the global food supply, and the challenges it poses for food security and nutrition, requires urgent concerted policy responses … ,” wrote FAO Deputy Director-General Natural Resources, Maria Helena Semedo, in her foreword to the volume.

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June 18, 2015   Comments Off on FAO Report: Climate Change And Food Systems

Michigan Agriculture Workgroup Recommends Legislation to Support Urban Livestock Operations

goatImage from 1856. Click on image for larger file.

To address these uncertainties, a 21-member Urban Livestock Workgroup was created last summer to formulate recommendations regarding urban/suburban livestock operations.

The National Law Review
June 10, 2015


Of the 20 requests occurring after the new guidelines were issued, 6 of them were denied because the operations would have been too close to neighbors.

As explained by MDARD’s director of environmental stewardship, Jim Johnson, the denied sites “either had more than 13 homes within an eighth of a mile, or another residence within 250 feet.” Although site inspectors generally try to help applicants determine if there is any possible way to create a permissible livestock operation on their property—such as by putting the animals near the back of the property—sometimes it is just not possible.

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June 17, 2015   Comments Off on Michigan Agriculture Workgroup Recommends Legislation to Support Urban Livestock Operations

Leesburg, Florida allows residents to raise up to 15 chickens in their backyards.

Liam Knowles, 14, watches as his chickens eat from a feeder in a fenced area in his backyard in Leesburg on Friday. Photos By Brett Le Blanc / Daily Commercial.

Backyard chickens are permitted in Leesburg and certain areas of Lake County thanks to new ordinances that allow landowners to raise small flocks.

By Theresa Campbell
Daily Commercial
June 8, 2015


Urban farming appeals to 14-year-old Liam Knowles, who cares for 13 hens at his family’s home in the Palmora Park neighborhood of Leesburg. His chicken coop is protected by shade and is surrounded with wire fencing and plenty of room for birds to roam.

“I thought it was going to be like a zoo, but they are very calm. It has surprised me,” he said. “They really became pets instead of farm animals. They are very friendly and fun to have and fun to watch.”

The chickens come running when they see Liam.

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June 16, 2015   Comments Off on Leesburg, Florida allows residents to raise up to 15 chickens in their backyards.

FAO: Urban and peri-urban agriculture: the way forward for a zero hunger world


FAO Examples in Africa, Asia, Latin America and Caribbean Regions

By Ms Isabel Denis
Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations
11 May 2015


With a growing population estimate to more than 9 billion by 2050 and the growing of the cities estimate to 3,5 billion by 2025, the urban world will have to face challenges and opportunities. 85% of poor people in Latin America and around 50% in Africa and Asia will be concentrate in cities. In many developing countries, urban grow is link with the hope for rural populations to escape hunger, unemployment and insecurity.

They spend most of their income to feed themselves and suffer malnutrition, even at a higher grade than in rural areas, and 30% of them are unemployed. The vulnerable populations socially excluded, generally young and unemployed are a “new bomb” and source of global insecurity which constitute a challenge for the governments to solve.

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June 13, 2015   Comments Off on FAO: Urban and peri-urban agriculture: the way forward for a zero hunger world

Why More American Women Are Becoming Farmers

The team at Rise & Root Farm, from left to right: Jane Hodge, Karen Washington, Lorrie Clevenger, Maggie Cheney, D. Rooney, and Michaela Hayes. Photo: Rise & Root Farm/Facebook.

In 2012 there were 969,672 women farmers in the U.S., which accounts for a 10 percent rise in principal operators of agricultural operations who are women since 1978. As of 2012, about 30 percent of all farmers are women.

By Rachel Tepper
Associate Food Editor
Yahoo News
June 3, 2015


U.S. Department of Agriculture’s deputy secretary Krysta Harden also had a personal agenda: to get more women into farming. By the time I arrived at the flooded market, Harden, several vendors, and members of GrowNYC (which manages the Union Square market) had decamped to higher ground at a nearby sandwich shop. Among them was 61-year-old Karen Washington, one of six female urban farmers who earlier this year left the city to found Rise & Root Farm in Chester, New York.

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June 12, 2015   Comments Off on Why More American Women Are Becoming Farmers