New Stories From 'Urban Agriculture Notes'

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California: Returning Stolen Land to Native Tribes, One Lot at a Time

A quarter-acre of land in East Oakland is about to return to the Muwekma Ohlone, bringing a sense of place and healing to people whose connection to indigenous lands were taken from them.

By Emily Wilson
Civil Eats
02.08.18

Excerpt:

It’s the winter solstice, but the sun is shining in East Oakland, California. Within view of the freeway, amidst a gritty stretch of neighborhood with more concrete than trees, Rolling River Nursery and urban farm stands out. The two-acre lot, run by nonprofit Planting Justice, is filled with about 30,000 fruit trees and is staffed by former inmates and other area residents with few employment options.

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February 14, 2018   No Comments

Resilience with Mixed Agricultural and Urban Land Uses in Tokyo, Japan

In the present case study, UA practices were found to have a profound impact on the self-sufficiency of communities in each grid cell.

By Giles Bruno Sioen, OrcID, Toru Terada, Makiko Sekiyama, and Makoto Yokohari
Sustainability
Vol 10, Issue 2

Abstract:

Urban agriculture can enhance the resilience of neighborhoods by providing fresh food in times of natural disasters; however, there is little empirical evidence to support this. Therefore, this study proposes a methodology to identify patterns of agricultural production in urban areas by quantifying self-sufficiency rates in vegetable weight and key nutrients. A spatial grid cell analysis using a geographic information system (GIS) identifies the current and potential self-sufficiency of each land use pattern in Tokyo.

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February 14, 2018   No Comments

Suburban farming: The Australians with country lifestyles, but city lives

Potter, Edwin Wise enjoys farm life just 14km from Melbourne’s CBD. Photo: Anthony Rodrigeuz

The family have never felt tempted to shift to the country. “We don’t want to be socially isolated,” says Wise.

By Melissa Howard
Domain
2018

Excerpt:

Edwin Wise (35) and his family live on a thriving suburban farm in Heidelberg West, just 14km from Melbourne’s CBD.

On their 700-square-metre block they have chooks, honey bees and sprawling vegetable gardens – overflowing with celery, parsley and lettuces. “We’re good for leafy greens,” says Wise. The family also grow their own fruit. “This winter we’ve had all the citrus we need. We’ve got limes, we’ve got lemons and we’ve got mandarins.”

They’ve also kept goats for six years. “People have dogs in the suburbs,” Wise says. “Why couldn’t we have something, like a dog, that was productive?”

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February 14, 2018   No Comments

The Promise of Indoor, Hurricane-Proof ‘Vertical’ Farms

A worker rides a lift past stacks of vertical farming beds with LED lights in Newark, New Jersey.

They might be an efficient way to produce food in a world with more-extreme weather—but only if growers can figure out a successful business model.

By Meagan Flynn
Atlantic
Feb 12, 2018
(Must see. Mike)

Excerpt:

“We are kind of at the beginning of a revolution,” Per Pinstrup-Andersen, a graduate-school professor at Cornell University’s College of Human Ecology, told me. “We’re at the beginning of a very rapid development in the use of indoor controlled facilities for producing vegetables and some fruits,” he said. “No matter what happens with climate change, you still have your controlled environment.”

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February 13, 2018   No Comments

Why eating insects won’t end world hunger

A bowl of frozen crickets. Many large companies are investigating whether they can be a sustainable and profitable protein alternative. Lisa Rathke/Associated Press

Novak likens crickets to the Tesla electric car, believing that the price will come down as production scales up. “Any movement like this requires early adopters, passionate about the long-term potential, to kickstart the industry.”

By Corey Mintz
Special To The Globe And Mail
Published February 4, 2018

Excerpt:

For field research in 2013/2014, Evans and chef Ben Reade travelled the world, eating honey ants, palm weevil larvae, termite queens (“like God’s handmade sausage”), bush coconuts, larvae-ripened Sardinian cheese and Japanese wasps, learning about traditional harvesting methods from locals, their experience documented by filmmaker Andreas Johnsen in Bugs (2016).

While studying the ecological, economical and cultural aspect of eating insects, the pair is keen on the taste factor. But part way through the project, they grow wary that their research is merely setting up international food conglomerates to swoop in, monetize and dominate the market.

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February 13, 2018   No Comments

Canada: Quails – Big hopes for a small bird

Ben Glassen with one of the quail chicks he’s raising in an aquarium in his Port Moody home. He says the little birds have great potential for sustainable small-scale cooperative backyard urban farming to provide eggs and protein. Photograph By Mario Bartel/The Tri-City News

Glassen said the quail’s small size, quiet demeanour, low-cost care and maintenance, and short lifespan make them ideal for small-scale urban farming, avoiding many of the problems that can come with backyard chicken coops.

By Mario Bartel
Tri-City News
February 6, 2018

Excerpt:

The Port Moody resident envisions friends and neighbours in his historic Moody Centre neighbourhood turning over a small part of their backyards to raise the tiny birds for their eggs and meat.

Here’s his plan: Glassen would move his small, portable coops around the yards every day, and from yard to yard every week or so, caring for the birds himself by providing them with food and water. The homeowners would benefit from the natural pest control as the quail hunt and peck for grubs and insects while fertilizing the grass with their droppings, and they would have ready access to a supply of eggs as well as, when the males mature after two months, meat.

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February 12, 2018   No Comments

Canada: The Hayes Urban Teaching Farm project is planning to use the Hayes farm to teach new farmers

Claire May, the outreach co-ordinator for the Hayes Urban Teaching Farm project, is one of several people working to get the farm ready for the summer. (Shane Fowler/CBC)

“There’s so much potential for New Brunswick to be more self-sufficient in its food stuffs,” said Robertson.

By Shane Fowler
CBC News
Feb 06, 2018

Excerpt:

A nearly 200-year-old dormant farm in Fredericton will be brought back to life this summer as a training ground for future farmers.

The historic Hayes farm in the community of Devon will be the site of the Hayes Urban Teaching Farm, a project dedicated to teaching new farmers how to make a living off small harvests.

“Essentially the goal is to create a full-season, full-time farmer training program,” said Claire May, the outreach coordinator for the project.

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February 12, 2018   No Comments

Africa: Nigeria’s soil-free salad farm

How one young entrepreneur is growing greens in shipping containers – no soil needed.

A film by Amelia Martyn-Hemphill and Sam Judah
for BBC World Hacks.
11 Feb 2018

Link.

February 11, 2018   No Comments

Chickens and Goats in the Backyard: Raising Livestock in Chicago

The publication Modern Farmer called Chicago “the only large urban area in the country that never explicitly outlawed the rearing of farm animals.”

By Evan Garcia
Chicago Tonight
February 5, 2018

Excerpt:

Some Chicagoans are stocking their kitchens with milk, eggs and honey from local sources—in some cases, as local as their own backyards.

Raising animals like chickens, rabbits, ducks, bees and even goats is perfectly legal in Chicago.

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February 11, 2018   No Comments

Hong Kong: Kitchen gardening know-how in palm of your hand

New mobile phone technologies mean even grow-your-own-food enthusiasts stuck indoors can show off their green-fingered talents

By Peta Tomlinson
South China Morning Post
Feb 5, 2018

Excerpt:

Agriculture is a cultural tradition in Hong Kong, currently enjoying a revival among the many urban farmers who are greening the city’s rooftops to grow their own produce and live more sustainably.

Already on sale, and shipping to Hong Kong, is the Plantui 6 smart garden, a Finnish innovation. Just add water and plant capsules (no soil) and the built-in computer takes care of the rest.

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February 10, 2018   No Comments

Canada: Edmonton pilot project will rent garden plots on city lands

One of the vacant lots offered by the city of Edmonton for garden use in the new pilot project. (Travis McEwan/CBC)

‘We could potentially change the landscape of the city and integrate edibles and flowers more widely’

By Travis McEwan
CBC News
Feb 03, 2018

Excerpt:

A City of Edmonton pilot program will rent out vacant city lands to gardeners for the 2018 growing season.

For a $100 rental fee, gardeners who are approved can grow food or or flowers on municipal land starting April 1. The licence expires after seven months.

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February 10, 2018   No Comments

Urban And Peri-Urban Agriculture Best Practice Catalogue

6 MADRE metropolises: Barcelona Metropolitan Area, Montpellier Méditerranée Métropole, Aix-Marseille Provence Métropole, Metropolitan City of Bologna, Tirana Metropolitan Area, and Thessaloniki Metropolitan Area

MADRE
Press Release
Feb 2, 2018

Excerpt:

Marseille, 2 February 2018 – After almost a year of implementation, MADRE releases its Best Practice Catalogue on urban and peri-urban agriculture. Developed by ANIMA Investment Network, it highlights the best practices identified in the 6 metropolises associated with the project, in terms of farmers’ innovation, social innovation, consumer innovation, academic research, territorial innovation and transnational innovation.

6.3 billion people will live in urban areas by 2050. Although recognised as a major lever for the sustainability and competitiveness of metropolises, urban and peri-urban agriculture still suffers from a lack of consideration in public policies, preventing it from reaching a wider audience.

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February 10, 2018   No Comments

Singapore: Tools and tips on growing a garden plot

Passion fruit (above) growing on a handmade trellis and a banana plant in bloom at retiree Emily Fong’s plot in HortPark, which she has been leasing for more than a year. As she visits her plot only once a week, Mrs Fong has invested in a battery-operated irrigation system and set the timer to water her crops for one minute every 12 hours. Photo: Emily Fong

And edible gardens are all the rage: Out of 1,300 community garden groups islandwide last year, 80 per cent grew edibles, said the National Parks Board (NParks).

Raffaella Nathan Charles
Straits Times
Feb 3, 2018

Excerpt:

Mrs Emily Fong, a retiree in her 60s, leases a plot at HortPark.

“The best part isn’t the harvest – it’s meeting new friends and sharing tips with these like-minded folk,” she told The Straits Times.

She grows passion fruit, bananas, watercress, pandan, chilli and an oyster plant. After 11/2 years of owning the plot, Mrs Fong has picked up many tips and tricks.

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February 9, 2018   No Comments

Canada: Plans for Vancouver’s Arbutus Greenway include community gardening

“As we know, our community gardens are an important aspect in this greenway and will continue to be in the future how we integrate food production in our design, integrate that into the landscape,” Buttle said.

Naoibh O’Connor
Vancouver Courier
February 2, 2018

Excerpts:

During the design jam, more than 100 people, aged 18 and over, selected from 22 neighbourhoods across Vancouver, worked with city staff and technical experts to dream up design possibilities for the nine-kilometre route.

Participants also stressed the importance of nature, biodiversity, setting aside space for urban agriculture and the restoration of habitat along the greenway. Examples include scented plantings, butterfly bush, bird-nesting boxes and a variety of trees for different species of birds.

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February 9, 2018   No Comments

Malaysia: Living In The City, Have You Ever Dreamed Of Growing Your Own Food?

“I highly encourage Malaysians to start jumping on the green bandwagon, talk and meet up with people who have ventured in urban farming and aquaponics,”

Written by Hana Maher
Malaysian Digest
Feb 2, 2018

Excerpt:

Nafisah Ahmad relayed that gardening is more of a way of life rather than a hobby, especially for those who grew up outside the city.

“Urban gardening is not a new trend as those who reside and grew up outside the city have always grown their own vegetables and fruits,” she opined.

“Because I grew up seeing my parents planting their own vegetables and plants, I picked up the habit and followed their footsteps when I moved to Kuala Lumpur in the 1970s.”

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February 9, 2018   No Comments