New Stories From 'Urban Agriculture Notes'
Random header image... Refresh for more!

Category — Water – Greywater

Urban Agriculture Booms Amid Drought in Sacramento

See video newscast here.

Edible plants are flying off the shelves at Pietro Talini’s Nursery

By Doug Johnson
Fox 40
May 11, 2015


As water is more limited than ever and food prices increase, many have gone to their backyards to plant vegetables in their gardens.

Many edible plants are flying off the shelves at Pietro Talini’s Nursery on Folsom Boulevard in Sacramento.

[

May 20, 2015   No Comments

Vancouver, British Columbia offers Rain Barrel Sale

rainbClick on image for larger file.

Quench the thirst of your plants with free water from a rain barrel.

Water collected in rain barrels provides a source of chlorine-free, ambient temperature water which is a great drink for a happy garden.

Wondering if the rain barrel will fit in your yard?
• Rain barrel dimensions and features:
• 208 L
• 34”h x 24”w x 24”d

[

May 11, 2015   No Comments

Farmers to city dwellers: We’re in this drought together


The great Central Valley sells far more than $40 billion in crops yearly, making California the biggest ag state in the nation. It provides more than a third of the country’s vegetables and two-thirds of its fruits and nuts.

By Cathleen Decker
Los Angeles Times
Apr 13, 2015


But the more altruistic — and accurate — part of the ad, aired by the California Farm Water Coalition, was its effort to educate those who shower and water their lawns with abandon about the toll the drought already has taken on the vast and now stunningly dry Central Valley.

“In farm country, where hundreds of thousands of acres have already been shut down because of the drought, thousands have lost their jobs,” the narrator said. “For those who can’t afford to feed their families anymore, the local food banks are struggling to keep up with demand.”

[

April 14, 2015   Comments Off on Farmers to city dwellers: We’re in this drought together

Review Paper on ‘Garden Kits’ in Africa


Lessons Learned and the Potential of Improved Water Management

By Douglas J. Merrey and Simon Langan
International Water Management Institute
2014. 60 pages


The purpose of this paper is to synthesize available knowledge and lessons learned from past experiences in promoting kitchen or home gardens, with a special emphasis on water management. The paper has been prepared based on an extensive desk study. It focuses on gardens whose primary purpose is production of food and, at times, growing herbs and spices for home consumption.

[

April 10, 2015   Comments Off on Review Paper on ‘Garden Kits’ in Africa

The end of the Los Angeles lawn

A worker installs an artificial lawn in front of an apartment building in San Jose, California.

Next, the state should direct its focus to farms, which consume 80% of all human-used water in California and generate only 2% of the state’s gross domestic product.

By John D. Sutter
April 2, 2015


“We’re so used to Southern California having these beautiful, lush lawns and palm trees and seasonal flowers,” she told me by phone from Culver City, a suburb of Los Angeles, where she is general manager at a landscaping business called A Greener Tomorrow. But now, because of the drought and new water regulations, “I’m telling you, all I see is Arizona and Las Vegas.”

“Who’s going to be willing to pay?” she said. “You can’t maintain a lawn!”

[

April 2, 2015   Comments Off on The end of the Los Angeles lawn

California mandatory water restrictions include replacing 50 million square feet of lawns with drought-tolerant landscaping

Arthur White 1912 LawnsPhoto by Arthur White, 1912.

‘This historic drought demands unprecedented action’

By Arielle Duhaime-Ross
The Verge
April 1, 2015


California’s ongoing drought isn’t letting up. As a result, Governor Edmund Brown announced today that California will enforce statewide water restrictions for the first time in the state’s history. The actions are meant to reduce the state’s water usage by 25 percent, the governor said in a statement.

“Today we are standing on dry grass where there should be five feet of snow,” Governor Brown said. “Therefore, I’m issuing an executive order mandating substantial water reductions across our state.”

[

April 1, 2015   Comments Off on California mandatory water restrictions include replacing 50 million square feet of lawns with drought-tolerant landscaping

Urban farming could improve food security but also increases the competition between urban and rural water needs.


Feeding the cities with food and water is changing the Indian agricultural landscape.

By Dilrukshi Handunnetti
January 20, 2015


South and East Asia comprise 49 percent of urban irrigated croplands and 56 percent of the non-urban irrigated areas globally. These two regions account for 26 percent of urban rain-fed croplands and 22 percent of non-urban rain-fed croplands.

Drechsel says, “The study documents that 70 percent of households in developing countries are engaged in some kind of farming and food production and challenges the notion that food production, far from being a rural phenomenon, is commonly occurring within cities.”

[

January 30, 2015   Comments Off on Urban farming could improve food security but also increases the competition between urban and rural water needs.

Securing Water for Urban Farms

A farm grows kale in view of the Chicago skyline. Globally, farms in and around cities span an area the size of the European Union. Photo credit: Linda N/CC

Linking urban water management more closely to urban farming has the potential to increase food security, water productivity, and community health, while reducing chemical fertilizer use, long-distance food and water imports, and related greenhouse gas emissions at the same time.

By Sandra Postel
National Geographic
January 8, 2015
Sandra Postel is director of the Global Water Policy Project, Freshwater Fellow of the National Geographic Society, and author of several books and numerous articles on global water issues. She is co-creator of Change the Course, the national freshwater conservation and restoration campaign being piloted in the Colorado River Basin.


Yet a surprisingly large share of the world’s cropland is found not in rural areas, but within cities and their immediate surroundings. Some 456 million hectares (1.13 billion acres) of land is cultivated directly in cities or within 20 kilometers (12.4 miles) of an urban perimeter, according to a recent study conducted by researchers at the International Water Management Institute in Colombo, Sri Lanka, the University of California-Berkeley and Stanford University, and published in the journal Environmental Research Letters.

[

January 20, 2015   Comments Off on Securing Water for Urban Farms

Desert School’s Community Garden in Nevada project Needs Water

Gerlach, Nevada is a small village situated next to the Black Rock desert (well known because of the Burning Man festival).

Jan. 2014
Kickstarter campaign


Gerlach, Nevada is a small village. At the turn of the century the town still inhabited up to 900 people, but when the nearby gypsum plant closed down in 2011 and economy went down in the region and people started to move away and presently the town inhabits 100 people. Eight years ago schoolteacher Elizabeth Jackson and her colleagues started an educational community school garden and greenhouse project in this barren environment.

[

January 6, 2015   Comments Off on Desert School’s Community Garden in Nevada project Needs Water

Satellite images reveal shocking groundwater loss in California


“Most climate models indicate that by the end of this century, the dry regions of the world will become drier.”

By Karen Kaplan
Los Angeles Times
Oct 2, 2014


The severity of California’s drought continues to shock, with the latest example coming courtesy of NASA.

The space agency’s two Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment, or GRACE, satellites have been been in orbit since 2002, making highly sensitive measurements of Earth’s gravity field. Variations in the gravity field can be caused by a number of factors, including the amount of water stored underground in soil and rocks.

[

October 8, 2014   Comments Off on Satellite images reveal shocking groundwater loss in California

Irrigated Urban Vegetable Production In Ghana:


Characteristics, Benefits And Risk Mitigation

Edited by Pay Drechsel and Bernard Keraita
Second Edition
September 2014

The second edition of this book presents updated research findings on urban and peri-urban agriculture and vegetable farming in Ghana’s major cities with a special focus on the risks and risk mitigation related to the use of polluted water sources as it is common across Sub-Saharan Africa.

Foreword to the Second Edition

Over the last 10 years, the International Water Management Institute’s research in Ghana has had a major thrust in urban agriculture in general and (wastewater) irrigated vegetable farming in particular. The first edition of this book was published in 2006 under the title Irrigated Urban Vegetable Production in Ghana: Characteristics, Benefits and Risks –demand was high and it eventually ran out of print but the research resulted in many new studies that have improved our knowledge of the subject.

[

September 19, 2014   Comments Off on Irrigated Urban Vegetable Production In Ghana:

Pacific Institute says California drought one of the most severe on record

calwaterUntapped Savings. Click on image for larger file.

Affecting urban areas, ecosystems, and agriculture.

By Pacific Institute
August 2014

60% of the state is experiencing exceptional drought – the most severe drought category. – and it is only getting worse since it will be another 2-3 months before the rainy season.

Since January 2014, 3800 wildfires have burned 44,000 acres in California, compared to an average of 2,800 wildfires burning 35,200 acres on average.

Currently, more than 58% of the state is now considered to be in exceptional drought, up from 37% last week.

[

August 11, 2014   Comments Off on Pacific Institute says California drought one of the most severe on record

‘Lawn Dude’ Prods Californians to Battle Drought by Conserving Water


Gov. Jerry Brown, meanwhile, has asked residents across the state to cut water use by 20%, a goal that has proved slippery so far. In some areas of the state, landscaping accounts for half of daily water use …

By Tamara Audi
Wall Street Journal
Aug. 1, 2014


The new mascot will be popping up on billboards donated by Clear Channel Outdoor across the parched region, spouting catchphrases like “Don’t hose me man!” as reminders to refrain from overwatering lawns. On another billboard, Lawn Dude carries a martini glass holding a daisy and says, “I only drink 2 days a week”—a nod to limits on outdoor irrigation to twice a week in some communities.

[

August 9, 2014   Comments Off on ‘Lawn Dude’ Prods Californians to Battle Drought by Conserving Water

A Smart Sensor That Quantifies the Soil in Your Garden


Edyn is a smart garden system that consists of a Wi-Fi-connected sensor and water valve. Both are solar powered and have a rechargeable lithium-polymer battery when not in full sun.

By Liz Stinson


Over time, this (anonymized) data is stored and aggregated with other Edyn users around you to form a more holistic picture of your area’s growing climate. “We’ll be able to say, ‘well, Katie is having success growing basil in Potrero Hill in San Francisco. That’s very close to you, so you might have luck growing it as well,” Aramburu explains. It’s easy to compare the Edyn system to the quantified self movement, but Edyn has the opportunity to actually build a robust, actionable set of data that personal health information could be used for because of its sensitive nature.

[

June 15, 2014   Comments Off on A Smart Sensor That Quantifies the Soil in Your Garden

Urban Agriculture – Innovative water recirculation systems

Fresh City workers trim sprouts. Credit: Fresh City.

How urban agriculture set-ups cultivate local produce with the help of innovative water recirculation systems.

By Saul Chernos
Water Canada
May 12, 2014


“We’re trying to reduce our footprint on the environment as much as we possibly can,” explains Lauren Rathmell, a founding member who oversees Lufa’s greenhouse operations. She says Lufa’s hydroponic greenhouses use up to 90 per cent less water than comparable ones that don’t recirculate. “It’s all automated. We irrigate most of our plants using drip lines set up where we water the plants from above. Water that’s not taken up by the plants and doesn’t evaporate is captured, sent down to our collection tank, filtered, and reused.” Some plants, mostly the lettuces, grow with their roots submerged entirely in gently flowing water, continuously irrigated. Others sit in soilless coconut husk grow sacs.

[

May 26, 2014   Comments Off on Urban Agriculture – Innovative water recirculation systems