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Category — United States

Grand Rapids Urban Growers and urban farming take root in Grand Rapids

From left, Ron Wheaton, Jenny Bongiorno, Levi Gardner and Wendal Kane, urban farmers.

“Food justice would demand that people who are marginalized within the current food system have a say in what kind of system they want, but that land use be more egalitarian and serve the needs of people who are most marginalized.”

Marla R. Miller
Rapid Growth
July 10, 2014


Grand Rapids Urban Growers is still evolving and attendees come with various perspectives, backgrounds and agendas – some grow as a business, others are fighting for food justice – but the overall goal is to facilitate communication, collaboration and accountability so the city can have a thriving local food economy that is accessible to all, says a founding member, Lance Kraai of New City Urban Farm.

Kraai works as farm director of New City Urban Farm, one of the city’s larger community supported agriculture (CSA) farms started in 2012 to employ teens during the summer in the Creston neighborhood. He and Levi Gardner, of the for-profit Urban Roots Farm, helped organize the group to provide a forum for growers to share ideas, problems and tips.

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July 21, 2014   No Comments

A View from Providence: Urban farmers plant their roots in the West End

Laura Brown-Lavoie, of the Sidewalk Ends Farm on Harrison Street in Providence, brings fresh soil to the large garden, which grows Bachelor’s buttons, red Russian kale, fuschia-stemmed Swiss chard. A tin-roofed, yellow and blue chicken coop, is home to five Rhode Island Reds. Photo by Bob Thayer/The Providence Journal.

The transformation of a vacant lot “has opened my eyes to see what can happen” with such spaces.

By Karen Lee Ziner
Providence Journal
July 5, 2014


Though the women recently started an adjunct farm in Seekonk, urban farming remains a critical mission that includes educating the public. They also sell at the Armory Farmers Market and to local restaurants.

“As someone who grew up in a city and never gardened as a kid, I just wish I’d been exposed to growing food from an earlier age,” says Laura Brown-Lavoie.

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July 18, 2014   No Comments

Columbia, South Carolina’s City Roots schools interns in urban farming

Clemson undergraduate student, Misty Shealy, helps out in the greenhouse harvesting, watering, planting and cleaning microgreens. Shealy is participating in a 10 week program for the summer. City Roots interns are getting a summer-long lesson in organic farming as they work in the fields, greenhouse and office at Columbia’s 5-year-old urban farm. Photo by Kim Foster.

Founded five years ago on the outskirts of downtown, the City Roots farm grows more than 100 crop varieties year-round using certified organic farming methods.

By Sarah Ellis
The State
July 4, 2014


In the greenhouses, there are seeds to be planted, plant beds to be watered, microgreens – young, leafy plants including broccoli, kale, mustard, radishes, sunflowers and snowpeas – to be harvested, soil and roots to be composted and then some. There’s always work to be done for the intern at Columbia’s 5-year-old urban, organic farm.

Her roots first began to grow in her family’s gardens in rural Irmo, where Shealy’s parents and grandparents cultivated her love for plants and working outdoors.

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July 14, 2014   No Comments

Urban farm takes root in patchwork of South Denver lawns

WWOOF worker Rachel Haveman cuts chard last season at the home of organizer Craig Broek for Denver Table. WWOOF is World Wide Opportunities on Organic
WWOOF worker. Photo by Cyrus McCrimmon, The Denver Post.

“Managing 23 sites is challenging.”

By Claire Martin
The Denver Post
June 20


they cultivate nearly two dozen plots in the University Park and Platt Park neighborhoods. With a couple of exceptions, all of that land used to be lawns. Under the Broeks’ hands, Swiss chard and heirloom tomatoes now thrive where Kentucky bluegrass and blue grama once grew.

“Managing 23 sites is challenging,” Craig Broek said, more or less cheerfully.

“Like with crop rotation,” he explained. “Last year we tried late cabbage but without success. When you move stuff, and the plant doesn’t do well, you don’t know why at first. But the broccoli we grew in one yard was the most beautiful broccoli I’ve ever seen.”

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June 29, 2014   Comments Off

Hantz Farms Detroit, Hantz Woodlands: The business of urban agriculture on the cutting edge

More than 1,000 volunteers converged on 20 acres in Detroit’s lower east side to plant oak trees as part of Hantz Woodlands’ community tree planting in Detroit’s lower east side, Saturday, May 17, 2014. The volunteers, many part of business teams, planted 15,000 hardwood saplings. Photo by Katie Bailey, Click on image for larger file.

It is being called one of the largest urban reforestation projects in America.

By James, Donald
Proquest LLC
June 20, 2014


Exceeding his expectations, on Saturday morning, May 17, close to 1,200 people convened at Belvidere and Goethe for Hantz Farms Planting Day to help plant 15,000 trees in the immediate area. On land once owned by the City of Detroit but now under the ownership of the for-profit Hantz Farms Detroit, volunteers fanned out to plant such trees as sugar maple, white birch, bur oaks, and flowering dogwoods.

“These trees are going to grow big and strong and straight,” said Hollier, who once served as a legislative liaison for Mayor Dave Bing’s administration. “There’s no doubt that the trees will have a positive environmental impact while giving the area a beautiful and clean look. Next year, we will plant another 15,000 trees.”

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June 21, 2014   Comments Off

Urban farms sprouting in western Pennsylvania

Mindy Schwartz operates her urban farm, Garden Dreams Urban Farm and Nursery, on land in Wilkinsburg, just outside Pittsburgh, that once held two dilapidated houses. Photo by Robin Rombach.

Gardens are being planted on vacant land where houses once stood.

By Ann Belser
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
May 26, 2014


After buying and moving into a three-unit apartment house in 1994, Schwartz, 49, built raised garden beds and began growing produce — more than she could eat. So she sold some of her vegetables to local restaurants.

In the spring, she set up a rack in her basement near the warm steam boiler, and hooked grow lights to shelving.
“Next thing you know, I have hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of seedlings,” she said.

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June 8, 2014   Comments Off

Vallejo urban farms will open gates to public in city-wide tour

Tom Ferguson and Rachel Hoff stand in their backyard, which is also a Vallejo urban farm, Dog Island Farm. The couple is co-organizing an Urban Farm Tour this year to feature five other urban farms in Vallejo. Irma Widjojo — Times-Herald.

San Francisco Bay Area – Organizers hope tour will educate, inspire

By Irma Widjojo
Times Herald
Sept 25, 2014


Hoff and Ferguson moved to their current Vallejo home about six years ago and use about a quarter acre of their land for farming, including growing fruit and vegetables and raising chickens, turkeys, rabbits and goats.

A few years ago, they even experimented not going to the grocery stores for a year to save money. Today, although the rules are a little looser, they are still mostly living off their land.

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June 3, 2014   Comments Off

Metro Denver Building Urban Farmers

Urban farmer Greg Hammerly plants tomatoes at Sweet Ridge Farms in Wheat Ridge. Photos by AAron Ontiveroz, The Denver Post.

Last year was her best to date: Granata estimates she cleared $15,000 in net income and earned between $7-$8 an hour.

The Metro Denver Building Urban Farmers Program focuses on developing the capacity of existing and start-up producers on urban farms. For this program, an urban farm is defined as a farm of less than 2 acres that grows or donates more than $1000 of vegetables/fruit/eggs/meat/dairy/flowers/herbs and/or value added products per year. While urban farm business models include indoor aquaponics and non-profit community farms, we will focus primarily on business planning principles for for-profit urban farms including multi-plot CSAs/NSAs.

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May 31, 2014   Comments Off

Urban farm blooms in Raleigh, North Carolina

“Right now … farmers aren’t really recognized as entrepreneurs in the urban environment.”

By Justin Quesinberry
May 12, 2014


Spitzer said one of the benefits of urban farming is the visibility that comes with being downtown. Adjacent the Raleigh City Farm is the newly revitalized Person Street Market, which is part of the North Person Street Business District that USA Today named one of the top up-and-coming neighborhoods in the United States.

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May 24, 2014   Comments Off

This Decrepit Lot in Washington D.C. is the Future Site of the World’s Largest Urban Greenhouse


The 100,000-square-foot greenhouse (close to 2.3 acres) will produce 1 million pounds of produce—including tomatoes on the vine, leafy-green mixes

Matt Vasilogambros
The Atlantic Cities
MAY 05, 2014


Two 20-foot-tall piles of razed rubble, twisted metal, and warped wood are the backdrops. A gnarled bicycle and dozens of unmatched shoes nearly hidden by overgrown prairie grass and weeds litter the ground between three large, white shipping containers that belong more on a freighter than in a city lot on the edge of Washington’s southeastern border.

But in a few months, this abandoned lot in the Anacostia neighborhood of the capital city will become home to the world’s largest urban greenhouse, eventually producing tons of produce, creating dozens of new jobs, and providing fresh food to areas in need.

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May 21, 2014   Comments Off

Field-To-Plate at Nobu at Four Seasons Resort Lanai at Manele Bay, Hawaii

Executive Chef Sean Mell in the garden.

More than 65 percent of what is used on the menu is from the garden.

By Lori Holland
Director of Public Relations
Four Seasons
Feb. 26, 2014

Nobu Lanai, located at Four Seasons Resort Lanai at Manele Bay, offers fresh flavours on its unique and innovative menu – fresh from the farm that is.

The half-acre Nobu Garden is home to a wide variety of herbs and vegetables, including baby lettuce, tomatoes, squash, scallions, watermelon radish, red beets, carrots, green beans, asparagus and cilantro. Ingredients particularly relevant to the menu at Nobu include daikon, Japanese eggplant, edamame, shishito peppers, cucumber flowers, and even sesame. Produce is harvested daily to ensure freshness.

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May 20, 2014   Comments Off

National Geographic: Urban Farming Yields Fresh Foods, Land Reuse


In backyards and on once-barren city lots, local growers produce crops and livestock.

By Martha M. Hamilton
for National Geographic
May 18, 2014


A new wave of urban agriculture is flourishing because it benefits consumers concerned about sustainably grown food as well as cities with land to spare. It started in 2008, fueled both by economic stress and concerns about nutrition, childhood obesity, and diabetes highlighted by First Lady Michelle Obama.

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May 19, 2014   Comments Off

Farm Alliance of Baltimore City – Summary 2012/13 Booklet

Jessie Scott harvests mustard greens at Civic Work’s Real Food Farm.

Since June 2012 they have generated $165,756 in sales


Harvested 38,902 pounds of product

Coordinated 10,983 volunteer hours

Generated $165,756 in sales (including over $61,475 at our shared farmers market stand and $11147 through our collective online restaurant sales)

Hosted 5,334 students on our farms

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May 17, 2014   Comments Off

Pittsburgh’s urban farms a growing business

Hannah Reiff, production manager at Garden Dreams, moves seedlings around in the basement of the apartment building where the plants begin their life. The heat from the pipes warms the basement for the plants. By Robin Rombach/Post-Gazette.

Empty lots that once held neglected homes are turned into fertile ground for planting

By Ann Belser
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
May 3, 2014


“I realized that with selling seedlings, I could make this enterprise viable,” she said. She started a business selling those seedlings in 2001.

This year, 45,000 to 50,000 seedlings are coming through Ms. Schwartz’s urban farm, called Garden Dreams Urban Farm and Nursery. The plants are sold on site, at the East End Food Co-op and at Whole Foods. The farm is staffed by two full-time farmers and a seasonal worker on land that once held two dilapidated houses. Ms. Schwartz owns a third, boarded-up brick building that is next door, and is considering turning it into a sort of urban barn, she said.

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May 9, 2014   Comments Off

10 Baltimore Urban Agriculture Projects You Should Know About

Baltimore Free Farms.

In 2013, the Baltimore Office of Sustainability formally adopted an urban agriculture plan

By Kathlee Freeman
May 1, 2014


Baltimore Free Farms: A “horizontally organized collective” where all decisions are a group effort, the Baltimore Free Farms operates the Ash Street Garden. Originally part of Baltimore’s “Adopt-A-Lot Lease Program,” the lot that Ash Street Garden sits on was cleared of debris and underwent soil testing in 2010. Deemed safe for gardening, the lot was transformed into an urban garden with plots available for public use.

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May 8, 2014   Comments Off