New Stories From 'Urban Agriculture Notes'

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The Growth of Allotment Gardens [Infographic]

fruitallot
See the complete Infographic here.

In 2013, there were 78,827 people in English local authorities on allotment waiting lists.

By Wes Maxwell
Daily InfoGraphic
Oct 15, 2014

Excerpt:

Today, allotment gardens exist mainly to provide European urban populations with a source organic food unharmed by pesticides and chemicals used by large-scale produce distributors. According to today’s infographic, when used efficiently, allotment plots can “provide enough land to feed a family of four for a year”. At an average rate between £25-£125 ($40 -$200) per year to rent, allotment gardens provide those seeking to live a healthier, more organic lifestyle with an affordable personal space to do so. Unfortunately, allotments have been decreasing in popularity and frequency.

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October 17, 2014   No Comments

Chicago Slams Urban Farmer for Rats, Weeds in Former Vacant Lot

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Moah’s Ark Slammed by City. Mo Cahill was issued 25 building code violations at her home and farm on Touhy Avenue. Photo credit: DNAinfo/Benjamin Woodard.

The city has collected more than $19.5 million in fines since 2009 from property owners who have violated the ordinance governing weed growth.

By Benjamin Woodard
DNA Info Chicago
October 8, 2014

Excerpt:

An urban farmer who bought and then transformed a vacant lot into an urban farm and garden has been hit by the city with 25 building code violations.

Now she worries the city could take her to court and force her to uproot the farm.

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October 17, 2014   No Comments

Toronto’s mayoral candidates offer food for thought on urban agriculture

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Toronto mayoral candidate Olivia Chow.

Our leading mayoral candidates say they would cultivate city funding for more projects to grow food on surplus city land, create gardens

Rob Ford’s brother Doug did not respond

By Jennifer Bill
Toronto Star
Oct 15 2014

Excerpt:

Do our mayoral candidates have an appetite for urban agriculture? Farmers’ markets, rooftop gardens, food cultivation in residential backyards and agriculture projects in city parks are examples of urban strategies that could revolutionize the city’s food production and reduce dependence on foreign-grown foods. We asked our leading mayoral candidates about where they stood on urban ag.

Question: Do you support devoting more city funding or surplus city land for urban agriculture projects?

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October 16, 2014   No Comments

Student Travel Award – Alice Claydon will head to Cuba to study urban agriculture

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The 28-year-old is currently completing a postgraduate diploma in Landscape Architecture at Birmingham City University

Landscape Institute
Sept 12, 2014

Excerpt:

Why is urban agriculture so important?

“I’m looking at it from the perspective of increasing urbanisation being quite an important factor that landscape architects have to consider in their designs in the future. Since 2010, for the first time in human history, more people around the world now live in a city rather than in the countryside. By 2050, this proportion will rise to 7 out of every 10 people, or the equivalent of 6.7 billion people, living in an urban environment. The highly imperative and pressing issue of how to sustainably support these growing urban populations is already being considered and explored by landscape architects around the world.

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October 16, 2014   No Comments

Congressman Tim Ryan (D-Ohio) – ‘Retool the system by funding and supporting urban agriculture’

realrev
See Ryan’s new book here. Hardcover – October 14, 2014

“There should be a garden in every schoolyard, a kitchen in every school and a salad bar in every cafeteria…”

By Nicole Goodkind
Yahoo Finance
Oct 15, 2014

Excerpt:

Rep. Ryan believes the way to retool the system is by funding and supporting urban agriculture, subsidizing farmers who produce fruits and vegetables and creating markets for local growers. Ryan also believes that schools need to make changes.

“There should be a garden in every schoolyard, a kitchen in every school and a salad bar in every cafeteria so we can begin to teach our young people how to eat,” he says.

Of course, changing the agricultural industry isn’t easy. Agribusiness lobbyists have spent over $63 million so far this year and have contributed quite a bit to the campaigns of house members, including $694,007 to Ohio representative John Boehner. Going against big agriculture seems a bit like David going up against Goliath.

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October 15, 2014   No Comments

Concern that Cuba’s Organic Urban Gardens Now Cater to Private Businesses

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Restaurante El Templete, Havana, Cuba.

A model that sought to increase the availability of farm products (particularly fresh produce) and aimed at benefitting the low-income population through improved nutrition and job creation, has become the chief supplier of Havana’s private restaurants.

By Isbel Diaz Torres
Havana Times
Sept 17, 2014
(Must read. Mike)

Excerpt:

Early in the morning, while most of us are heading to our places of work, the owners of private restaurants send out their buyers to load up on any green thing to be found around the city.

Three or four cars parked in front of an organic garden is an unequivocal sign that one won’t be able to buy anything there, as the trunks of those cars are likely to be filled up with products. Before noon, there no vegetables left on the stands.

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October 15, 2014   No Comments

Chestnut farmer on the outskirts of Portland, Oregon

A Low-Tech Organic Chestnut Farmer from Cooking Up a Story on Vimeo.

Chris Foster of Cascadia Chestnuts

By Rebecca Gerendasy
Cooking Up a Story
Oct 14, 2014

Excerpt:

I’ve had a curiosity about chestnuts for many years – since childhood, actually. We used to go Fall hunting for the ‘perfect’ chestnut as they fell to the ground. But those were horse chestnuts, not the edible type. There was the old classic song, Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire, kept alive most notably by the Nat King Cole version. But the edible kind weren’t available by the time I was growing up – most of the big American chestnut trees were wiped out by a fungus in the early 1900’s. For me, chestnuts were a mythical food.

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October 14, 2014   No Comments

Michigan Churches Were Planning Huge Urban Farm For The Poor, But Neighbors Complained

The neighbors were concerned about increased traffic, preserving the historic property, and worries that their property values could fall.

Inquisitr
Oct 4, 2014

Excerpt:

Several churches were planning to team up to offer the community a huge urban farm in Battle Creek that would help families put healthy, fresh food on the table. The pastors of eight Methodist churches in “Cereal City” noticed that a lot of people were going hungry every day. Beside Washington Heights United Methodist Church, acres of land sat vacant.

“I mentioned we had this land that we could start a garden,” said Marshall Murphy Jr., Pastor of Washington Heights United Methodist Church in an interview with News Channel 3. The pastors of the eight churches in Battle Creek, Michigan came up with a plan. Two of the pastors excitedly talked with News Channel 3 about their plans for the urban garden on Tuesday.

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October 14, 2014   No Comments

Angel City’s Limited Edition Rooftop Ale – Made with Rooftop Hops in LA


Meet Ray, Angel City’s resident farmer. Ray turns spent grain from the brewing process into compost, and grows hops on our rooftop garden in Downtown LA.

Roof-to-bottle – available in 22oz bottles and on draft

By Justin Bolois
Los Angeles Magazine
Oct 7, 2014

Excerpt:

Adjacent to the fruits and vegetables are blue 55-gallon drums used to grow Cascade, Chinook, and Columbus hops for the Rooftop Ale. Narkevicius devised his own drain-back irrigation system, and put coconut husks at the bottom of each drum to act as a filter. “The way he draws up schematics is amazing,” says Foerstner. “He’s like Da Vinci in that way.”

The Rooftop Ale is a light and citrusy pale ale—a great complement to the vegetal, grassy aroma that wafts from the garden. Narkevicius describes the whole thing as a grand “experiment.” They were able to harvest just under 14 pounds of hops, but he insists they have their sights set on a much larger yield for the next go-around. In the meantime, Narkevicius is busy toying with pH levels of the water and drawing up other ideas to expand his operation.

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October 13, 2014   No Comments

Dickson Despommier and Vincent Racaniello host urban agriculture radio show

Urban Agriculture 9: Green Spirit Farms

Oct 2, 2014

Dickson and Vincent speak with Milan and Daniel Kluko, owners of Green Spirit Farms, a sustainable vertical farm in New Buffalo, Michigan.

Link.

October 13, 2014   No Comments

Joel Salatin speaks about ‘nook and cranny farming’ in Langley Township, Greater Vancouver

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Joel Salatin will be sharing his knowledge about small lot and sustainable farming at a workshop in Langley on Nov. 8. Photograph by: Screengrab, Food Inc.

Langley Township is unique among the Metro Vancouver communities: It has more farmland than any of the Metro cities, with 75 per cent of its area in the Agricultural Land Reserve.

By Glenda Luymes
The Province
October 11, 2014

Excerpt:

The event follows on the heels of a successful workshop on small-lot agriculture and is aimed at generating production on some of Langley’s un-farmed land, said LSAF director Karen Taylor.

Langley Township is unique among the Metro Vancouver communities: It has more farmland than any of the Metro cities, with 75 per cent of its area in the Agricultural Land Reserve. But unlike ag-giants Abbotsford and Chilliwack, 73 per cent of Langley’s land is in parcels smaller than 10 acres. Only 55 per cent of the city’s ALR land is farmed.

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October 12, 2014   No Comments

Across the US, Cities Struggle to Figure Out How to Accommodate Urban Farming

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Sacramento has its share of farmer’s markets, but there are no urban farms within the city limits. Photo by Robert Couse-Bake.

Widespread interest in urban agriculture is forcing local authorities to re-examine rules that prohibit farming in cities

By Sena Christian
Earth Island Journal
October 2, 2014

Excerpt:

Sure, nearly 1.4 million acres of farmland exist around the city, which is located in California’s vast and fertile Central Valley region, and the climate is amenable to growing produce year-round (drought complications notwithstanding). But there are no urban farms in Sacramento. The closest and most prominent urban farm, the 55-acre Soil Born Farms, exists outside the city limits.

Sacramento is relatively progressive when it comes to gardening: The city already allows frontyard vegetable gardens, urban chickens, and community gardens on private land and runs 13 community gardens on public land. But farming – that is, growing crops to sell – has fallen behind.

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October 12, 2014   No Comments

United Kingdom farm park attracts 100,000 visitors a year, with city dwellers learning about agriculture

dClick on image for larger file.

The thing about opening up your farm to the public, is that sometimes raising livestock isn’t as picture perfect as city dwellers think.

By Laura Poole
ABC Australia
Oct 3, 2014

Excerpt:

Farmers know that sometimes new born lambs will die.

Despite the home truths, lambing time at Cotswold Farm Park in England, is one of its most popular times for visitors to come through the gates.

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October 11, 2014   No Comments

Urban Agriculture in and around Chicago

2 Hour Presentation By Local City Farmers

Oct 1, 2014

Local agriculturists discuss growing food in Chicago’s urban environment at this event hosted by Windy City Sustainability. This program was produced by Chicago Access Network Television (CAN TV).

October 11, 2014   No Comments

Mayor of Baltimore backs tax credits for urban farms

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Urban Farm. In the foreground are metal tubes for the first greenhouse. Photo by Perna, Algerina.

Mayor’s office opposed City Council bill in 2011; now supports Welch’s legislation

By Luke Broadwater
The Baltimore Sun
October 1, 2014

Excerpt:

In legislation pending in a City Council committee, Welch is seeking a 90 percent break on property taxes for urban farmers who grow and sell at least $5,000 of fruit and vegetables a year. The credits, which must be approved by the city’s Cffice of Sustainability, are good for five years, but can be renewed for a total of 10 years, according to the bill.

Welch has said he hopes the legislation will help eliminate the city’s so-called food deserts in which some neighborhoods have no access to healthy food nearby.

[Read more →]

October 10, 2014   No Comments