New Stories From 'Urban Agriculture Notes'
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Category — Water – Greywater

Innovation is blooming at water-wise urban farms in Long Beach, California

longbManuel Cisneros, agricultural project coordinator at the Growing Experience in Long Beach, harvests a handful of sweet basil. (Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times)

The system, known as aquaponics, uses less water than traditional soil planting because very little water is lost to evaporation and none is absorbed into the ground.

By Katie Shepherd
LA Times
Aug 9, 2015

Excerpt:

But for small farms nestled between city streets, saving water means recycling it — and finding new ways to keep plants alive without wasting the precious liquid.

Unlike the large industrial farms that give California its reputation as the salad bowl of the nation, urban farmers don’t have to let fields sit fallow to reduce water use. The small-scale operations leave room for more creative approaches to drought-friendly growing practices. For those producing and selling food in the city, the drought has provided opportunities as well as obstacles.

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August 19, 2015   No Comments

Could the trend for urban agriculture be putting a strain on city water supplies?

cropevap

If all the lawns in this particular neighbourhood were replaced with crops, Johnson and his colleagues estimated that around 37% of the local population would be provided with all their vegetable needs for the year, assuming a 150-day growing season and a density of around 5000 people per square kilometre.

Paper by Mark S Johnson, Michael J Lathuillière, Thoreau R Tooke and Nicholas C Coops
Environmental Research Letters
Vol 10 Number 6
June 9 2015
(Must see. Mike)

Excerpt:

“We estimated that the water demand could increase by more than 50% if urban agriculture were scaled to a significant degree,” said Johnson, who published the findings in Environmental Research Letters (ERL). “Water-smart agriculture – drip irrigation, rain-water harvesting and the like – would help manage the additional water demand and should be encouraged, particularly in regions experiencing water stress.”

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August 4, 2015   Comments Off on Could the trend for urban agriculture be putting a strain on city water supplies?

Milwaukee Neighbourhood Uses Rooftops And Cisterns To Water Crops

milwEnvironmental specialist Jeremy Davis (left) and Walnut Way co-founder Larry Adams are leading efforts to install green infrastructure to harvest and absorb rain in the Lindsay Heights neighborhood. Photo by Rick Wood.

One rooftop and one cistern at a time, Walnut Way is finding the water it needs for an expanding urban agriculture demonstration campus of gardens and orchards

By Don Behm
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
June 6, 2015

Excerpt:

Jesus Santillan agreed to contribute rainwater flowing off his home’s roof to the garden and fruit orchard next door in the 2100 block of N. 17th St.

A cistern will collect rain from downspouts until his neighbor, Walnut Way Conservation Corp., taps into it for the crops. Raspberry bushes line one edge of the garden where spinach, sugar snap peas and peppers are thriving in early June.

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June 15, 2015   Comments Off on Milwaukee Neighbourhood Uses Rooftops And Cisterns To Water Crops

Californians Paint Their Lawns Green

Video Story

The Wall Street Journal
June 3, 2015

June 10, 2015   Comments Off on Californians Paint Their Lawns Green

Documentary: Thirsty Land – Will There Be Enough Water To Survive?

Shrinking soil. Vanishing rivers. The global food supply at stake… Drought is silently strangling our country, and the battle is just beginning.

Producer Conrad Weaver
President and owner of Conjostudios, LLC
2015

The Project

Thirsty Land is a documentary film that tells the story about extreme drought, agriculture, & water rights in the United States and how these challenges impact farmers, local communities, and ultimately the global food supply. The depleted water resources in the American Southwest is one of the most urgent challenges of the 21st century facing agriculture and growing urban communities. The drought on this region has local, national, and global impacts not only for the present, but also for future generations.

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June 4, 2015   Comments Off on Documentary: Thirsty Land – Will There Be Enough Water To Survive?

Urban Agriculture Booms Amid Drought in Sacramento

boom
See video newscast here.

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

By Doug Johnson
Fox 40
May 11, 2015

Excerpt:

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.

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May 20, 2015   Comments Off on Urban Agriculture Booms Amid Drought in Sacramento

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

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May 11, 2015   Comments Off on Vancouver, British Columbia offers Rain Barrel Sale

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

drou

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

Excerpt:

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.”

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

Review Paper on ‘Garden Kits’ in Africa

gardenkit

Lessons Learned and the Potential of Improved Water Management

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

Excerpt:

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.

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

The end of the Los Angeles lawn

lawngo
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
CNN
April 2, 2015

Excerpt:

“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!”

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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

Excerpt:

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.”

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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.

waters

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

By Dilrukshi Handunnetti
AsianScientist
January 20, 2015

Excerpt:

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.”

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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

chin
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.

Excerpt:

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.

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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

Excerpt:

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.

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

Satellite images reveal shocking groundwater loss in California

caldry

“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

Excerpt:

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.

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