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Category — Policy

Debate about goat-keeping in Ferrysburg city limits still rages after 8 months

In this file photo, Children of the Montambo family in Ferrysburg, Mich. pose with the goats that they and their parents keep. Children, from the left, are Jack, Grace, Olivia and Miles. Goats, from the left, are “Thomas” Jefferson, “Benjamin” Franklin, Penelope, and Mamma.

“I got nothing against goats,” Scarpino said. He’s more opposed to the manner in which the ordinance was passed – with a 4-3 simple majority vote, and against the recommendation of the city planning commission.

By Stephen Kloosterman
May 14, 2015


FERRYSBURG, MI – For some Ferrysburg residents, it really gets their goat that neighbors are keeping theirs.

A debate about whether residents may keep goats, rabbits or chickens at cityside homesteads has raged for more than eight months. The city council recently approved a city ordinance that would allow keeping animals within certain limits — but now a there’s an effort to repeal that ordinance.

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May 22, 2015   No Comments

Is Public Policy Turning our Cities into Farms, or Letting Them Go Fallow?

A goat rests within eyeshot of downtown Los Angeles. | Photo: Ryan Vaarsi/Flickr/Creative Commons. Click on image for larger file.

Numerous state and local laws have cropped up in recent years to regulate — or deregulate — such urban agricultural practices. But this has resulted in a thicket of rules for home gardeners or agricultural entrepreneurs.

By Chase Scheinbaum
May 12, 2015


In Southern California’s endless sprawl of cities, suburbs, and exurbs, it’s easy to forget: This was once prime territory for agriculture. Leaving aside water (that would be a separate discussion) the region is ideal — Mediterranean climate, 12-month growing season, virtually endless space.

It’s also easy to forget: plenty of people want to take advantage of those factors to grow herbs, vegetables, and fruit, or keep chickens and goats to sustain their families, and maybe make a profit. Despite that, and despite the region’s history as an agricultural powerhouse — Orange County is not named for colorful sunsets, after all — piling up a fork with homegrown food is a challenge. Farming doesn’t exactly flourish in our cities, certainly not as it did during the days of victory gardens. And it surely doesn’t flourish to the extent that urban agriculture advocates and entrepreneurs would like.

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May 21, 2015   No Comments

Council gardener at centre of ‘urban agriculture’ debate in Melbourne, Australia’s inner north

Jane Miller says the City of Yarra needs to be more supportive of residents trying to establish laneway gardens and other “urban agriculture” spaces. (ABC Local: Clare Rawlinson)

Residents and local councillors are divided over an “urban agriculture” plan for Melbourne’s laneways and footpaths, including the position of a part-time gardener.

By Clare Rawlinson
774 ABC Melbourne
May 13, 2015


The gardener is employed by the City of Yarra as part of council’s $100,000 urban agriculture strategy – a plan to rejuvenate disused public spaces for community gardens.

Since the strategy’s inception four years ago, councillors have persistently tried to axe it and debate is flaring again ahead of the council’s annual budget being set next week.

The draft budget has cut funding for the “urban agriculture facilitator” – a gardener who helps residents navigate council bylaws when trying to establish their own patches of urban agriculture.

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May 21, 2015   No Comments

American Bar Association – Urban Agriculture: Policy, Law, Strategy, and Implementation


The book addresses the concerns and misconceptions that can occur when planning, developing and implementing an urban agricultural idea.

Martha H. Chumbler, Sorell E. Negro, and Lawrence E. Bechler, Editors
American Bar Association
2015 (Must See. Mike)

WASHINGTON, May 20, 2015 — The growing demand for urban farms and community gardens continues to sprout across the country. A new American Bar Association book “Urban Agriculture: Policy, Law, Strategy, and Implementation” provides an overview of information, perspectives and examples of urban agriculture to government officials, lawyers, planners and individuals, nonprofits and community organizations considering some aspect of farming within the city limits.

A current, practical resource on all aspects of agricultural activities within non-rural settings, ranging from neighborhood gardens to commercial farming operations, this book addresses many of the land use, environmental, and regulatory legal issues that confront local governments, property owners, businesses, nonprofit organizations, and neighborhood groups when addressing urban gardening or farming. Chapter authors also describe and analyze the experiences of specific urban areas, providing perspectives on their different approaches.

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May 20, 2015   No Comments

National League of Cities’s Sustainable Cities Institute recognizes local gardens and urban agriculture as valuable resources


Five Reasons Why You Should Be Promoting Urban Agriculture in Your City

By Allison Paisner
Cities Speak
May 9, 2015


Food deserts are geographic areas in which a substantial portion of the population experiences the dual problems of low income and limited food access. According to the USDA, “census tracts qualify as food deserts if they meet low-income and low-access thresholds:

1. They qualify as ‘low-income communities’, based on having: a) a poverty rate of 20 percent or greater, OR b) a median family income at or below 80 percent of the area median family income; AND

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May 17, 2015   No Comments

Coral Tree Farm in Encinitas resumes selling produce boxes, holding off on events until agriculture ordinance

Coral Tree Farm and Nursery owner Laurel Mehl holds a cherimoya that she grew on the 2-acre property. The farm recently began selling produce boxes again, but the future of events there is still up in the air. Photo by Jared Whitlock.

Under the most recent draft, urban farmers can host up to six “agri-connection” events a year, like art classes or group exercise sessions, without permits.

By Jared Whitlock
Encinitas Advocate
May 13, 2015


She stopped the boxes last spring, after neighbor complaints over traffic generated by the farm’s customers. That prompted the city to look into what’s allowed there “by right” and what needs a permit.

Ultimately, the Encinitas City Council last September reaffirmed the farm’s right to commercially sell produce without special permits, after hearing from upset neighbors and urban agriculture supporters.

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May 14, 2015   No Comments

Urban farming tax credit announced for Baltimore City

Watch the video above to hear Mayor Rawlings-Blake discuss the benefits the bill

WMAR Staff
May 12, 2015


As the abundance of food deserts remains a top concern in Baltimore City, a push to change that is now in the works.

Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake and City Councilman announced the Urban Agriculture Tax Credit Tuesday.

The bill will give a 90 percent property tax break for farmers who grow and sell at least $5,000 worth of fruits and vegetables on Baltimore City land in one year.

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May 13, 2015   No Comments

Sydney Mayor building a $1.65 million ‘city farm’ for inner-west hipsters — complete with stingless bees and a ‘bee hotel’

Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore wants to bring farming to the inner city. Picture: John Appleyard.

“The benefits reach well beyond the commercial value of the food itself to educational, cultural and social values for participants and the broader community.”

By Miles Godfrey
The Daily Telegraph
May 12, 2015


The farm, which should have a 100-tree fruit orchard, 1000 square metres of land for crops, chicken hutches, outdoor kitchens, farmers’ markets and animal husbandry classes, is expected to be running by July 2016 and could mirror a similar “urban farm” in lower Manhattan’s Battery Park.

The Sydney project has been on the cards since 2009 and will produce an estimated 4.5 tonnes of fruit and vegetables per year, host composting demonstrations and cooking classes.

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May 11, 2015   No Comments

Malaysia encourages city dwellers to farm in their homes to guarantee source of food for the nation by 2020


Universiti Putra Malaysia would become a food excellence centre in guaranteeing food and agriculture for the urban areas.

By Khairul Anuar Muhamad Noh
Photo by Marina Ismail


SERDANG, 10 April (UPM) – Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) has launched Urban Agriculture in its effort to encourage city dwellers to carry out modern farming
activities in the limited spaces of their homes as a guaranteed source of food for the nation by 2020.

UPM’s Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Datuk Dr. Mohd Fauzi Ramlan, in his message to about 1,000 staff and students of the university said in line with this, UPM would become a food excellence centre in guaranteeing food and agriculture for the urban areas.

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May 10, 2015   No Comments

Urban beekeeping gets nod from Edmonton council


‘Honeybees are interested in nectar, pollen and that’s about it’

CBC News
Apr 28, 2015


“The city, in the end, was very receptive to it,” Hamilton said. “They were ready for that conversation. Urban agriculture is a hot topic right now.”

The city, in fact, was running a project test piloting urban beekeeping and Hamilton and Crocker signed on.

Today the gave the go ahead to prospective beekeepers around the city.

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May 8, 2015   Comments Off on Urban beekeeping gets nod from Edmonton council

A little farm in your backyard in Lodi, California

Debbie Haesche coos over the chicks at Robinson’s Feed Supply in Lodi on Monday, March 30, 2015. Haesche was a long-time chicken owner until city of Lodi regulations passed last year no longer permitted them. She has been speaking up about bringing them back and is circulating a petition.

Increasingly, Lodi and Galt residents are raising tomatoes, chickens and more on their property

By Kyla Cathey
Lodi News-Sentinel
Apr 27, 2015


Backyard chickens aren’t currently allowed in Lodi or Galt, though Lodi’s Planning Commission has recommended the city allow residents to own up to five laying hens. That recommendation will go before the city council in May.

They are allowed in San Joaquin County, however, and local feed stores like Robinson’s take advantage of that.

The store offers several chicken classes throughout the year, including those offered by Cherie Sintes-Glover. She also travels to people’s homes to help them evaluate their set-up and go over proper chicken care.

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May 6, 2015   Comments Off on A little farm in your backyard in Lodi, California

Pakistan Agricultural Research Council needs help to kick-start urban agriculture

Farmers’ market in Layyah, Pakistan at twilight.

Dr Iftikhar says people need to help cities produce vegetables and fruits to cater to their own demands

Daily Times
April 28, 2015


ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Agricultural Research Council (PARC) Chairman Dr Iftikhar Ahmad on Monday sought help from academia and students to materialise the concept of urban agriculture, initially in the capital city.

“Pakistan’s progress and prosperity is linked with agriculture, so as much as we promote this sector it would help boost overall economy of the country,” Dr Iftikhar said while addressing at the prize distribution ceremony of Overseas Pakistanis Foundation (OPF) Girls College.

“Besides promoting the rural agriculture, there is need that we also work for urban agriculture to help cities produce vegetable and fruits to cater to their own consumption demands.”

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May 5, 2015   Comments Off on Pakistan Agricultural Research Council needs help to kick-start urban agriculture

Encinitas, California releases draft neighbourhood agricultural ordinance


Officials said they hope strikes a balance between encouraging agricultural while protecting the suburban value of neighbors.

By Aaron Burgin
The Coast News
Apr 26, 2015


The ordinance spells out a number of farming activities that property owners would be able to do by right, including:

Have farms smaller than an acre
Host farmers markets with 15 or fewer vendors at churches, schools and community centers,
Set up fruit stands of 120 square feet or smaller and operate them 12 hours a week
Host up to six “agriconnection” events a year, including farm-to-table events, farming tours and the like. Events that are not directly tied to agriculture, such as yoga and art events, would not be allowed by right.

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May 5, 2015   Comments Off on Encinitas, California releases draft neighbourhood agricultural ordinance

New documentary from Canada: ‘Une Révolution Agricole Urbaine!’

Une révolution agricole… urbaine! Bande-annonce from Arts et Images productions on Vimeo.

In French: Airs first May 7th, 2015 at 21h on Explora

Un film de Mario Desmarais
Produit par Anne Desmarais
52 minutes
May 2015
(Must See! Mike)
The complete film will be available online in July, 2015 once it has aired on TV.


Une nouvelle révolution agricole est en” marche.

Nous pouvons dès aujourd’hui produire des aliments en ville, et ce, à grande échelle, en! n’utilisant aucune terre arable, aucun pesticide, moins d’eau, moins d’énergie et pratiquement aucun transport. Une des solutions aux besoins alimentaires mondiaux qui ne cessent d’augmenter.

Tout ce que nous connaissons du point de vue agricole et alimentaire change. Déjà enviro 20% de la nourriture consommée dans le monde est produite en zone urbaine!et périurbaine et près de 50% des légumes frais se retrouvant dans notre assiette sont produits dans un environnement! urbain.

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May 4, 2015   Comments Off on New documentary from Canada: ‘Une Révolution Agricole Urbaine!’

British Journal Public Health: Urban agriculture: long-term strategy or impossible dream?

1922. Children at work in a community garden. Click on image for larger file.

Lessons from Prospect Farm in Brooklyn, New York

By T. Angotti
April issue of the British Journal Public Health
February 24, 2015



Proponents of urban agriculture have identified its potential to improve health and the environment but in New York City and other densely developed and populated urban areas, it faces huge challenges because of the shortage of space, cost of land, and the lack of contemporary local food production. However, large portions of the city and metropolitan region do have open land and a history of agricultural production in the not-too-distant past. Local food movements and concerns about food security have sparked a growing interest in urban farming.

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May 4, 2015   Comments Off on British Journal Public Health: Urban agriculture: long-term strategy or impossible dream?