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Category — Policy

Urban farming work sows discord in Toledo, Ohio

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Thomas Jackson cleans up a pile of wood chips, branches, and tree stumps around his Milburn Avenue home in Toledo. Mr. Jackson said he is preparing the land so he can establish urban agriculture in the area. Photo by Lori King.

Officials cite lack of proper permits, neighbors add complaints

By Tom Troy
Toledo Blade
Feb 1, 2016

Excerpt:

A Toledo man’s effort to establish “urban agriculture” in Toledo’s central city is running up against nuisance complaints brought by neighbors.

Thomas Jackson, 44, of 1489 Milburn Ave., has piled up wood chips on seven parcels centering on Auburn and Milburn avenues.

He said his goal is to produce organic vegetables. Neighbors think he’s storing wood chips from his tree-removal business.

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February 6, 2016   No Comments

Edgewater, Colorado joins other Jeffco cities in allowing backyard farm animals

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Homer the goat checks out the camera while his owner, Alison Williams, holds out food for him at her Edgewater home on Jan. 21. (Anya Semenoff, YourHub)

The city now regulates chickens, ducks, rabbits, miniaturized goats and beehives

By Austin Briggs
Denver Post
Jan 26, 2016

Excerpt:

Residents in a detached home now can have a total of three dogs and/or cats; the cap is two for people who live in an apartment. Up to six regulated animals are allowed — including any combination of chickens, ducks, rabbits, miniaturize goats and beehives (one hive counting as an animal).

Licensing and compliance will be required for all regulated animals, and the slaughter of animals is prohibited.

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February 2, 2016   No Comments

Karnataka, India: The State Horticulture Department is also successfully promoting kitchen gardening in urban areas

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When Mhon Chumi Humtsoe shifted to Bengaluru 15 years ago, she dearly missed the greenery back home in Nagaland. She hoped to create some space for herself and toiled to put up a terrace garden on her rented premises.

According to the Department statistics, over 50,000 households have benefitted from the project in the last two years. This year it aims to reach about 20,000 households spread over 30 districts of the State. Despite all these efforts, less than 10 per cent of our terraces have gardens on them.

By Radha Prathi
Deccan Herald
August 25, 2015

Excerpt:

If one is under the impression that only civil society organisations and enterprising individuals are working towards the green goal, then one must stand corrected. The State Horticulture Department is also successfully promoting kitchen gardening in urban areas. Kavitha A S, senior assistant director at the Horticulture Department, Dharwad (ZP), has been actively initiating the urban population in her jurisdiction towards having a green space of their own. She explains that the government conducts demonstration on the subject in public places like parks, hostels and open grounds. Sometimes, they also arrange guest lectures by local people who have been successful in this venture.

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February 1, 2016   No Comments

Gary, Indiana one of 27 cities nationwide chosen for a federal initiative to eliminate food deserts

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Levi Gildon and William Young tend to the Brother’s Keeper garden recently in Gary. Gary was one of just 27 cities nationwide chosen for a federal urban agriculture program. Photo by Dan Shelton.

The federal government will give Gary technical assistance on how to turn vacant land into gardens, and identify how food hubs could revitalize downtown.

By Joseph S. Pete
The Times
Jan 25, 2016

Excerpt:

“I am excited about the city’s participation in this initiative,” Gary Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson said. “The opportunity aligns with our vision for revitalizing the city’s downtown; the connectivity to our local development and existing neighborhood planning initiatives: livable centers of Downtown, Emerson, Horace Mann, the Broadway Corridor and more recently, Main Street Refresh.”

“I am particularly excited about the job creation and entrepreneurship opportunities the initiative presents for local residents,” the mayor added.

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January 31, 2016   No Comments

Venezuela launchs a national conference on urban agriculture

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Under President Nicolas Maduro’s predecessor Hugo Chavez, the Venezuelan government began promoting urban agriculture as a way to improve food sovereignty. | Photo: Minci

If we want a society that is viable, progressive, socialist and humanist, then we need … productive cities,” Maduro stated.

Telesur
Jan 30, 2016

The Venezuelan government is meeting with grassroots groups to discuss expanding the country’s urban agriculture.
Venezuela launched Saturday a national conference on urban agriculture, aimed to boost the productivity of small scale crops in major cities like Caracas.

The conference is the first of its kind in Venezuela, and will include government officials and representatives of grassroots organizations. President Nicolas Maduro is also expected to attend.

The president has said improving urban agriculture will support his government’s aim to bolster the broader economy.

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January 31, 2016   No Comments

New Chicago Composting Ordinance Helps Urban Farmers

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Chicago Lights is able to run an entire urban farm on top of a concrete pad thanks to compost. Lots and lots of compost. Photo via Modern Farmer (Jacqui Cheng).

Smaller producers like community gardens, as well as those in the urban farm category, will now be able to seek out ingredients to cultivate good compost.

By Anna Boisseau
Medial Reports
Jan 27, 2016

Excerpt:

The ordinance creates two new categories of composters: larger scale urban farms, and tier two facilities, like community gardens. After registering with the city, these agricultural organizations can increase the size of their operation and include offsite materials. Though they cannot accept money for taking organic waste, urban farms will be able to sell their compost.

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January 29, 2016   No Comments

Community Gardens Imperilled by New York’s Affordable Housing Plans

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Alex Bettig, 28, walks his dogs Zuko and Katara near the Roger That community garden in Crown Heights, Brooklyn. Credit Nicole Craine for The New York Times.

The city lists more than 600 community gardens that are part of the GreenThumb program, which is administered by the Department of Parks and Recreation. About 1,200 lots in the city are used as community gardens, according to information compiled by 596 Acres, an advocacy group for community land access.

By Sarah Maslin Nirjan
New York Times
22, 2016

Excerpt:

Mandela and Roger That are part of a growing list of community gardens whose futures have been imperiled by New York City’s booming real estate market, where every square foot of land could potentially be developed.

As the amount of available land decreases and real estate prices continue to climb, some gardens have been targeted by the city, while others are being eyed by developers. Urban enclaves filled with plants like leafy callaloo, calabash and maize, community gardens are often deceptively bucolic: The green patches, frequently the sites of barbecues, chicken coops and compost piles, have become a new front in the real estate wars.

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January 27, 2016   No Comments

Why Did Venezuela’s Urban Agriculture Minister Vacate Her Post After Just Two Weeks?

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Emma Ortega was a well respected campesina activist and agronomist (AVN).

The reply is that we believe that she did what she promised to do. Going over the heads of bureaucracy, paperwork, seats, desks, offices, posturing and fawning media types, and she dared to get to work straight away,” reads the piece.

By Rachael Boothroyd Rojas
Venezuela Analysis
Jan 25, 2016

Excerpt:

Grassroots Chavistas have taken to social media to express their discontent after the Urban Agriculture Minister, Emma Ortega, inexplicably left her cabinet position just two weeks after being nominated by Venezuelan President Nicholas Maduro.

Last Thursday Maduro revealed on Twitter that he had replaced Ortega – a 62 year old outspoken grassroots activist brought into the president’s inner team in a cabinet shake-up on January 6th.

“I have designated comrade @lorenafreitez as Minister of Urban Agriculture to propel the productive revolution from communities,” he Tweeted.

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January 26, 2016   No Comments

President of Venezuela: To Avoid Supermarket Lines, Grow Your Own Food

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President Nicolás Maduro of Venezuela has replaced his Minister of Urban Agriculture – a position created two weeks ago – as part of renewed efforts to convince Venezuelans to grow their own food, because import shortages are not going away anytime soon.

By Frances Martel
Breibart
22 Jan 2016

Excerpt:

Lorena Freitez will replace Emma Ortega at the head of the urban farming agency, a sociologist who appears not to have any background in agricultural development. Maduro announced on his Twitter account that Ortega would continue “working from Aragua in the trenches of permanent struggle,” suggesting she was transferred, but not necessarily demoted.

Ortega, a close confidante of President Maduro’s with years of experience in farming, made her name, Fox News Latino notes, as a “colorful” anti-American demagogue, who urged violence against Americans following President Barack Obama’s declaration of Venezuela as a national security threat last year. “If a gringo comes here, we have to beat him with a stick. If we just have a pencil, we have to poke him in the eyes,” Ortega said in March.

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January 23, 2016   Comments Off on President of Venezuela: To Avoid Supermarket Lines, Grow Your Own Food

San Diego Urban Agriculture Program Gets Initial Approval

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Gardeners Bid Farewell To Pacific Beach Community Garden

The program wouldn’t take effect until the Board of Supervisors passes a resolution adopting the incentive zone, since property taxes are processed by the county. According to staff, the item is set to come before the supervisors next month.

By City News Service
KPBS
January 20, 2016

Excerpt:

Under the Urban Agriculture Incentive Zone program, property owners would be allowed to enter into contracts at least five years long with the city and county of San Diego to allow their vacant, unimproved or blighted land to be used for agricultural uses, like community gardens.

A landowner would benefit, in return, when a piece of property is assessed using the per-acre value of irrigated cropland in California, which would be lower than a normal assessment. No zoning changes would be required.

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January 21, 2016   Comments Off on San Diego Urban Agriculture Program Gets Initial Approval

U.S. Trade Representative chief agricultural negotiator visits Urban Agriculture and Natural Resources Career Academy

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Ambassador Darci Vetter, front right, Office of U.S. Trade Representative chief agricultural negotiator, visits Bryan High School Monday to learn more about the school’s Urban Agriculture and Natural Resources Career Academy. Students Marissa Morales and Luis Alcaraz, seated in the front row, and others gave presentations about the nation’s one-of-a-kind program. Photos by Kristan Gray.

“It was a delight to be able to spend time with these students,” Vetter said. “International agriculture, as well as food production, is such an exciting field.”

By Kristan Gray
Bellevue Leader
Jan 14, 2016

Excerpt:

Students impressed Vetter, she said, with their broad knowledge, which included knowing how to write a sample bill of what they think agriculture legislation should looki like.

“To see how these students are prepared in everything from public policy to different production techniques to have valuable careers in agriculture is really exciting,” she said. “It’s just incredibly impressive to see their comprehensive approach.”

Vetter believes such knowledge is important, both from an environmental and consumer perspective, she said.

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January 19, 2016   Comments Off on U.S. Trade Representative chief agricultural negotiator visits Urban Agriculture and Natural Resources Career Academy

Union of Concerned Scientists’ Report: “Fixing Food”

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In California, the Oakland Food Policy Council launched the Right to Grow campaign to promote food as a human right. In 2014, the group successfully removed permitting requirements for farming on vacant lots and selling the food to the community.

Fresh Solutions from Five Cities: More than 800 acres of publicly owned land in Oakland could be used for food production and farming. Just 500 of these acres could produce as much as 48 percent of the vegetables consumed in the city.

Union of Concerned Scientists Report
Fixing Food: Fresh Solutions from Five U.S. Cities (2016)

Excerpt:

Research on the impacts of urban agriculture in Oakland and other cities reveals the potential for urban residents farming publicly owned and formerly vacant land to produce large quantities of the foods—including high-value products such as vegetables and eggs (Rogus and Dimitri 2014)—needed to address dietary deficiencies in many urban populations. One study in Detroit estimated that with commercial yields, urban farmers using just 74 percent of the city’s publicly owned vacant land could produce three-quarters of the fresh vegetables and nearly half the fresh fruit currently consumed in Detroit (Colasanti, Litjens, and Hamm 2010).

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January 18, 2016   Comments Off on Union of Concerned Scientists’ Report: “Fixing Food”

Indigenous Food Leader supports strengthening urban-rural bond through urban agriculture

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If we can strengthen the food bonds between urban Indian communities and reservation, rural and remote Indian communities and families, we can also improve the nutrition and health of both.

UC Food Observer
Jan 7, 2016

Excerpt:

Interview with Janie Simms Hipp, J.D., LL.M. is the founding director of the Indigenous Food and Agriculture Initiative at the University of Arkansas School of Law, the nation’s first law school-based initiative focusing on tribal governance, strategic technical policy assistance and Native youth and professional education supporting Native food systems.

Q: What about urban agriculture and Tribal Nations?

Janie: Many American Indians live in urban settings due to federal relocation policies. These families are many times strongly linked to “home” and often go back to their home communities for ceremonies and maintaining connections with the traditions and cultures of their tribes. If we can strengthen the food bonds between urban Indian communities and reservation, rural and remote Indian communities and families, we can also improve the nutrition and health of both.

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January 11, 2016   Comments Off on Indigenous Food Leader supports strengthening urban-rural bond through urban agriculture

Urban farming in San Antonio gets the official OK

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The amendments, offered by the nonprofit Food Policy Council of San Antonio, basically ensure the legality of growing and selling food almost anywhere in the city.

By Richard A. Marini
San Antonio Express
January 7, 2016

Excerpt:

“We want to set up urban farming operations all over the city so people can create their own businesses, supplement their food budgets and eat more produce,” said Provence.

District 2 Councilman Alan Warrick said he supported the amendments because a survey of part his district bounded by U.S. 281, W.W. White Road, Interstate 35 and U.S. 90 found between 2,200 and 2,300 empty lots that could, in theory, be converted to urban farms.

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January 11, 2016   Comments Off on Urban farming in San Antonio gets the official OK

Detroit may re-examine urban farming ordinances

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Credit Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio.

Tate also points out that until the passage of a 2013 agriculture ordinance he sponsored, the many urban farms in Detroit were also technically illegal.

By Stateside Staff
Michigan Radio
Jan 5, 2016

Excerpt:

For years, some Detroiters have raised animals that are usually associated with rural farms: chickens, goats, rabbits, and more.

Although it is technically illegal to keep livestock, residents of Detroit have been able to do so because of bureaucratic dysfunction.

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January 8, 2016   Comments Off on Detroit may re-examine urban farming ordinances