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Category — Policy

Philippines: Taguig aims for better environment, healthier lifestyle through urban farming

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Urban farming model at Tipas Elementary School /CREDIT: ilovetaguig.com / Manila Bulletin

To encourage residents to create their own “urban farms,” the City Agriculture Office held the first Gulayan Contest for Women on December 19, 2016.

Manila Bulletin
Jan 15, 2017

Excerpt:

Mayor Lani Cayetano said the city government intends to preserve at least 25 hectares of agricultural land. To achieve this goal, the city government is aggressively promoting urban farming and gardening. This goal is not prompted by nostalgia for an agricultural past, but for pragmatic reasons. The city government views urban farming not only as a source of income for its residents but as a way to promote a better environment and a healthier lifestyle.

The city’s urban gardening program favors organic farming where pesticides, fertilizers, genetically modified organisms, antibiotics, and growth hormones are not used on crops. Organically grown products are better for the environment and for a person’s health.

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January 21, 2017   No Comments

Book: Urban Agriculture for Growing City Regions – Connecting Urban-Rural Spheres in Casablanca

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The example of Casablanca, one of the fastest growing cities in North Africa

Edited by Undine Giseke, Maria Gerster-Bentaya, Frank Helten, Matthias Kraume, Dieter Scherer, Guido Spars, Fouad Amraoui, Abdelaziz Adidi, Said Berdouz, Mohemed Chlaida, Majid Mansour, Mohamed Mdafai
Routledge
2015

This book demonstrates how agriculture can play a determining role in sustainable, climate-optimised urban development. Agriculture within urban growth centres today is more than an economic or social left-over or a niche practice. It is instead a complex system that offers multiple potentials for tomorrow’s megacities. Urban open space and agriculture can be connected to productive urban landscapes – this forms new urban-rural linkages in the urban region and helps shape the city. But in order to do this, agriculture has to be seen as an integral part of the urban fabric and it has to be put on the local agenda.

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January 12, 2017   No Comments

When Urban Agriculture and Food Justice Are at Odds

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Antonio Roman-Alcalá and Erin Havens on AB 551

By Ari Eisenstadt
Food Tank
Jan 1, 2017

Excerpt:

FT: If the bill is implemented at the local level, what are the consequences for urban agriculture and local communities?

AE: The implementation of the bill offers varying consequences, depending on the character of implementation and those involved. In Oakland, with implementation having been pushed by the for-profit firm Farmscape, with the help of real estate lobbyists, the effect would likely be unhelpful for local poor communities, and would potentially contribute to the gentrification of their neighborhoods by allowing white-led and white/middle-class-serving urban farming projects to expand and elevate property values. In L.A., where community organizations have pushed for particular conditions on incentive zones permits (such as community consultation about each project, preference for projects led by grassroots people of color organizations, and resources made available for low-income community projects), the consequences could be more amenable to food justice outcomes.

FT: What other policies would you suggest instead of or in addition to AB 551?

AE: Urban farming just like other urban land use decisions is subject to the economic whims of investors and developers (and to a lesser degree, small property owners), and their political power within local governments. As such, no single policy could meaningfully address the challenges of low-income and working class communities seeking land access and stable land tenure (whether for urban agriculture or other uses such as affordable housing).

Read the complete article here.

January 9, 2017   Comments Off on When Urban Agriculture and Food Justice Are at Odds

City of Battle Creek, Michigan holds off talks on urban farm animals

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20 people work on the Patch of Heaven Community Garden behind Mt. Zion AME Church. (2011)

The city has since held several public meetings to gauge community support, and issued a survey to gather feedback. That survey, which received about 400 responses, showed support for community gardens and some farm animals.

By Jennifer Bowman
Battle Creek Enquirer
December 30, 2016

Excerpt:

Battle Creek city commissioners may change rules for urban agriculture within the city’s residential areas, but they’ll hold off until later this year to address whether to allow farm animals.

A proposal to regulate community gardens and urban farms in Battle Creek is on the agenda for the commission’s meeting Tuesday, which would allow gardening on vacant properties and set standards for property maintenance. It previously was approved by the Planning Commission at its December meeting.

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January 9, 2017   Comments Off on City of Battle Creek, Michigan holds off talks on urban farm animals

Venezuela: Urban Agriculture and the Production of Plenty for the Man

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Minister Lorena Freitez (fourth from the right) among dozens of others holding up pots with growing seedlings (Lorena Freitez). Click on image for larger file.

We have won the world’s first Ministry of Urban Agriculture, which not only holds a new possibility for a healthier, humane and economic agriculture, but also a niche from which to build the foundations for new forms of production that guarantee greater sovereignty.

By Lorena Freitez
Minister Of Popular Power For Urban Agriculture
Venezuela Analysis
January 6th 2017
(Must see. Mike)

Excerpt:

The first major mission of the Ministry of Popular Power for Urban Agriculture (MINPPAU) was precisely this: 29,426 productive units were registered throughout the country, bringing together 100,000 people motivated to produce, through activating the Urban Agriculture National Registry. We prioritized 10 of the largest and most populated cities from across the country in order not to distract us from urban areas and we proposed 13 short cycle vegetables with the clear intention of having the first harvest sown in these cities between 90 and 100 days and with a minimum output (50 kg of seeds and 104,000 tomato seedlings), the production of 377 tonnes of vegetables (tomatoes, eggplants, paprika, peppers, radishes, lettuce, among others) and that the produce could all be eaten at the close of the 100 day agro-urban production campaign.

This first campaign “100 Days for Urban Agriculture” was nothing more than a strategy to visualize and accompany a new political-productive “agro-urban” Venezuelan subject who, synthesizing the best of the countryside and the city, entered into economic democratization disputes. In 100 days: 1) we knew the potential of urban agriculture in Venezuela, mapping those committed to agriculture and militant in those cities; 2) we visualized the people’s capacity to solve problems; 3) we awakened restlessness and enthusiasm in those indifferent or skeptical about these new forms, subjects and productive spaces; 4) we identified the main challenges of sustainable and humane agriculture in cities.

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January 7, 2017   Comments Off on Venezuela: Urban Agriculture and the Production of Plenty for the Man

Ventura County Editorial: Improving our community one lot at a time

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George Laubender (left) and Don Helm inspect stalks of corn at the Dr. Manuel M. Lopez Community Garden in Oxnard.
(Photo: Jeremy Foster/Special To The Star)

New York University researchers studied 636 community gardens in New York City and found they boosted sale prices of homes within a 1,000-foot radius

Ventura County Star
Dec 28, 2016

Excerpt:

The Oxnard lot had been vacant for more than 30 years before former mayor Manuel Lopez donated the site. Lopez had bought the lot to build an office for his optometry practice, but that never came about. “I want to give people pride in the neighborhood, pride in the city,” he said at the garden’s January 2012 groundbreaking. But as often happens with volunteer efforts, people move away, get busy with other things or just lose interest, and a project moves slowly or stalls.

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January 6, 2017   Comments Off on Ventura County Editorial: Improving our community one lot at a time

The US government is loaning millions of dollars to jumpstart urban farming

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Electra Jarvis, a 27-year-old urban farming entrepreneur who is part of the Square Roots program in Brooklyn, New York. Photo by Mary Weatherill.

In 2017, he expects the USDA to funnel even more money toward farms on rooftops, in greenhouses, and in warehouses.

By Leanna Garfield
Business Insider
Dec 26, 2016

Excerpts:

USDA Microloans, a program that offers funding up to $50,000, is specifically geared toward urban farmers. Established in 2013, the program has awarded 23,000 loans worth $518 million to farms in California, Connecticut, and Massachusetts. Though it is open to all farmers, urban farmers often apply for it because it offers the money on a smaller scale than other programs. Seventy percent (or about 16,100 of those loans) have gone to new farmers, many of them in cities.

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January 3, 2017   Comments Off on The US government is loaning millions of dollars to jumpstart urban farming

Why doesn’t Nebraska have more community gardens?

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The report by a legislative task force identified 184 community gardens, nearly half of which are in Omaha.

By Grant Schulte
Associated Press
Dec 26, 2016

Excerpt:

Despite the growth, the task force says people likely would have planted even more gardens if policymakers had adopted programs similar to those enacted in California, Kansas, Maryland, Texas and several major U.S. cities.

“I think we’re definitely catching up, but there’s been a lot more happening in other states,” said Ingrid Kirst of Lincoln, the task force chairwoman.

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January 3, 2017   Comments Off on Why doesn’t Nebraska have more community gardens?

80 plots in HortPark all taken up by urban farmers in Singapore

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Ms Faith Foo, who has planted corn, eggplants and melons in her HortPark plot since August, says the NParks’ scheme has taken root because the plot renter can control what he wants to grow. In community gardening schemes, everyone chips in but the head gardener retains the final say.ST PHOTO: CHEW SENG KIM

The picture is similar for those who rent out much larger plots of land, such as those in Lim Chu Kang’s D’Kranji which range from 5,000 to 100,000 sq ft.

By Jose Hong
Straits Times
Dec 27, 2016

Excerpt:

The plots – each about 2.5 sq m – have all been snapped up and there is now a waiting list.

One of the proud farmers, Ms Faith Foo, 40, has harvested farm edibles such as corn, eggplants and melons since starting out in August.

Ms Foo, founder of The Living Centre which trains and equips urban farmers and promotes holistic living, said she has seen an increased interest in urban farming in recent years, especially among those in their 20s and 30s.

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January 2, 2017   Comments Off on 80 plots in HortPark all taken up by urban farmers in Singapore

Sacramento County is poised to expand urban farming. Here’s a look at what could come.

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Katie Valenzuela Garcia with the Sacramento Urban Agriculture Coalition walks with Oak Park Sol board member Rebecca Campbell at the Oak Park Sol Community Garden.

“Urban agriculture is an important part of making sure the elders of our communities are healthy.”

By Ellen Garrison
Sacramento Bee
Dec 24, 2016

Excerpt:

Valenzuela Garcia said the community garden in the middle of Oak Park is a traditional example of urban farming. Twelve families or individuals from the surrounding neighborhood pay an annual fee to farm the plots in the long, narrow lot. They grow lettuce, tomatoes, winter greens and a myriad of other vegetables.

Walking between rows of frosty greenery and carrying her baby against her chest, board member Rebecca Campbell said Oak Park Sol leases the quarter-acre plot from a property owner who enthusiastically agreed to help out when residents approached him about using his vacant lot.

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January 2, 2017   Comments Off on Sacramento County is poised to expand urban farming. Here’s a look at what could come.

Five urban farming projects in Chicago to watch in 2017

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Laura Erickson, market coordinator for Windy City Harvest, takes beds of lettuce out of the water to be cleaned and sent to market on Dec. 7, 2016. Windy City Harvest, now working out of the Arturo Velasquez Institute, grows more than 100,000 pounds of produce a year.

Like a tomato plant bursting from a pothole, Chicago’s urban farming scene is a tiny hope-filled industry in a tough city, steadily growing as a source of jobs, economic development and food in some of the poorest neighborhoods on the South and West sides.

Greg Trotter
Chicago Tribune
Dec 21, 2016

Excerpt:

The city is jumping into the urban farming game, aided by a $1 million federal grant, one of 45 projects awarded a total of $26.6 million this year through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s annual Conservation Innovation Grants.

Through its “Growing for Chicago” initiative, the city plans to promote and coordinate urban farming efforts, provide microgrants and training through partnerships with existing nonprofits, and prepare vacant land in the Englewood neighborhood for farming, said Chris Wheat, chief sustainability officer for Chicago.

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December 30, 2016   Comments Off on Five urban farming projects in Chicago to watch in 2017

Editorial: Persecuting an idealist – Thomas Jackson is an urban farmer

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A landscaper by the name of Thomas Jackson faces 30 violations from the City of Toledo for attempting to beautify his neighborhood, but he has the support of his neighbors, Green Party, key figures, the Lucas County, and the state of Ohio. (Must see. Mike)

Toledo, Ohio – The city should make him citizen of the year. Instead, the city is persecuting him.

Toledo Blade
Dec 26, 2016

Excerpt:

Thomas Jackson is an urban farmer. Thomas Jackson is a man who is beautifying his neighborhood. Thomas Jackson, who had a record as a young man, turned his life around and went to school to learn how to be a master gardener and harvester of food and trees.

Thomas Jackson is the kind of person the city should lift up and celebrate. Everyone who has met him or been to his neighborhood — Milburn Court, Auburn Avenue, and Macomber Street and their environs — and seen his work, from Congressman Marcy Kaptur, to the Green Party, to University of Toledo professors and students, to representatives of the Ohio EPA, says what he is doing is fantastic.

What he is doing is turning vacant lots of dirt and weeds into green, growing space.

The city should make him citizen of the year. Instead, the city is persecuting him. In the absence of leadership by the mayor’s office, District Councilman Tyrone Riley seems to be driving city policy and enforcement. And it has been a witch hunt aimed at Mr. Jackson.

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December 30, 2016   Comments Off on Editorial: Persecuting an idealist – Thomas Jackson is an urban farmer

Transforming city backyards into veggie farms in Quezon City, Philippines

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Its metro-wide urban agriculture project with the Agricultural Training Institute (ATI) dubbed as the “ATIng Gulayan ng DA”.

GOVOH – The Official Gazette is the official journal of the Republic of the Philippines
Dec 24, 2016

In the face of today’s growing population, the Department of Agriculture (DA) sharpens its focus on food security and poverty alleviation through its metro-wide urban agriculture project with the Agricultural Training Institute (ATI) dubbed as the “ATIng Gulayan ng DA”.

To officially set this project in motion, the ATI spearheaded a series of roadshows in different barangays in Metro Manila to encourage local families to transform their backyards into vegetable gardens, starting with Barangay Old Balara in Quezon City.

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December 29, 2016   Comments Off on Transforming city backyards into veggie farms in Quezon City, Philippines

Growing mega-cities will displace vast tracts of farmland by 2030, study says

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New Delhi, India. Between 1991 and 2016 the population of India’s capital and its suburbs ballooned from 9.4 million to 25 million. The United Nations Report on World Urbanisation projects that Delhi will have 37 million residents by 2030. Photograph: OLI/Landsat 8/USGS/NASA

Our results show that urban expansion will result in a 1.8–2.4% loss of global croplands by 2030, with substantial regional disparities. About 80% of global cropland loss from urban expansion will take place in Asia and Africa.

Globally, the croplands that are likely to be lost were responsible for 3–4% of worldwide crop production in 2000. Urban expansion is expected to take place on cropland that is 1.77 times more productive than the global average.

Governance of urban area expansion thus emerges as a key area for securing livelihoods in the agrarian economies of the Global South.

By Emma Bryce
The Guardian
Dec 27, 2016
(Must see. Mike)
Excrpt:

Our future crops will face threats not only from climate change, but also from the massive expansion of cities, a new study warns. By 2030, it’s estimated that urban areas will triple in size, expanding into cropland and undermining the productivity of agricultural systems that are already stressed by rising populations and climate change.

Roughly 60% of the world’s cropland lies on the outskirts of cities—and that’s particularly worrying, the report authors say, because this peripheral habitat is, on average, also twice as productive as land elsewhere on the globe.

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December 28, 2016   Comments Off on Growing mega-cities will displace vast tracts of farmland by 2030, study says

Tear Down That Fence: A Tale Of Urban Farms & The Barriers In Their Way

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East Capitol Urban Farm is now embraced, supported, and operated by its community. Removing barriers has afforded Ward 7 residents the opportunity to: plant over 3,600 produce plants; operate 70 garden spaces; engage over 300 D.C. Public School Students

By Dr. Dwane Jones
Special to the AFRO
December 19, 2016
Dwane Jones, PH.D. is the Director of the Center for Sustainable Development and Resilience, a division of the University of the District of Columbia College of Agriculture, Urban Sustainability, and Environmental Sciences.

Excerpt:

Given the large amount of vacant properties and unused space in many underserved urban areas (cities like Baltimore and Detroit come to mind), it may sound easy. But it’s not. Case in point: In 2015, CAUSES leased three acres of vacant property directly across the street from a Metro stop in D.C.’s struggling Ward 7 to construct the East Capitol Urban Farm. A partnership between several agencies and organizations, East Capitol Urban Farm is the District’s largest-scale urban agriculture and aquaponics facility. It’s an ambitious effort to bring healthy produce to an underserved area of the District.

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December 28, 2016   Comments Off on Tear Down That Fence: A Tale Of Urban Farms & The Barriers In Their Way