New Stories From 'Urban Agriculture Notes'

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Cuba’s Urban Gardens: health risks stemming from urban or semi-urban agriculture

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The notorious case of Cuba’s largest dumpsite, located on 100 St, in Havana’s neighborhood of Marianao, is illustrative of this. Its residues have affected nearly all surrounding crops, both at urban vegetable gardens and traditional croplands.

By Isbel Diaz Torres
Havana Times
Oct 14, 2014
(Must read. Mike)

Excerpt:

Under these types of conditions, as in those in which crops are close to highways, contamination through the absorption of heavy metals found in soils, air or water, is a dangerous risk.

Only the community’s real involvement in the handling of such spaces could guarantee the efficient protection of crops against the many contaminating agents out there. Cuba, however, has merely created more State establishments, akin to rationed product points, where vegetables are simply sold, and, to top things off, in a manner subordinate to the inefficient Ministry of Agriculture.

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October 24, 2014   No Comments

Urban Agriculture and Urban Forestry in Africa Featured in FAO Publication

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Farmers holding freshly harvested cassava (Manihot esculenta). Murango, Kenya Photo credit: © Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation/Frederic Courbet.

Sustainable Natural Resources Management in Africa’s Urban Food and Nutrition Equation

Nature & Faune
Enhancing natural resources management for food security in Africa Volume 28, Issue 2, 2014
Editor: Foday Bojang
Deputy Editor: Ada Ndeso-Atanga
FAO Regional Office for Africa

Excerpt:

Message to Readers
By Bukar Tijani1

The special feature in this edition highlights the contribution of trees, shrubs and other woody plants to food and nutrition as acknowledged in the first ever ?State of the World‘s Forest Genetic Resources? report published by FAO in June 2014. Also under the Special Feature, Martin Nganje points to the fact that forests contribute directly towards food security and improved nutrition on the African continent through their non-timber forest products. Moreover, he examines how forests contribute towards food self-sufficiency in ways other than through their edible parts. Michela Conigliaro , Simone Borelli and Fabio Salbitano in turn provide some examples of how the efforts towards the protection and restoration of forests and tree cover in and around African cities can make a substantive contribution to alleviating poverty and reducing malnutrition and in ensuring a more environmentally and socio-economically sustainable urban development.

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October 23, 2014   No Comments

Enzo Pinga co-founds urban agriculture company in Philippines

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BK Organics specializes in aquaponic systems, which combine aquaculture – raising freshwater fish, with hydroponics – cultivating plants in water

By Frank Arbogast
News at Gettysburg
Oct 13, 2014

Excerpt:

Aquaponics is a relatively new technology, and BKO is on the forefront of implementing it. In order to create successful prototypes, Enzo conducted research with the Filipino Department of Agriculture and the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources. Enzo has taken this knowledge to work in the Metro Manila area educating communities on urban agriculture, and is actively presenting his work with urban agriculture at sustainability conventions.

“Our mission is to spread the technology as far and wide as we can, building farms in places that need it most, for people that do not have regular access to healthy food,” said Enzo.

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October 23, 2014   No Comments

Urban agriculture grows in Charleston, West Virginia backyards

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Sarah Saville, who lives on Lewis Street on Charleston’s East End, keeps chickens in her backyard. Photo by Bob Wojcieszak/Daily Mail.

Saville is one of a growing number of residents taking advantage of the city’s urban agriculture ordinance which allows for the raising of poultry, as well as bees.

By Matt Murphy
Charleston Daily Mail
Oct 12, 2014

Excerpt:

Charleston’s urban agriculture ordinance was likely the first in the state when it was passed in July 2013.

Among the highlights of the ordinance were gardens permitted in all zoning areas of the city, and that residents were allowed to keep hens and three beehives without city approval.

Charleston Neighborhood Planner Geoff Plagemann said almost immediately after the ordinance was passed, the planning department was flooded with calls of residents asking questions about the law — and how they could have their own chickens or bees.

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October 23, 2014   No Comments

Namibia’s Deputy Prime Minister: ‘Investing in urban agriculture is another area that needs serious consideration’

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Gardening in Namibia. By Mike Knight.

“Last years drought has taught us that … our duty is to plan and shape the urban agricultural system in ways that will alleviate hunger and poverty …”

By Mandisa Rasmeni
The Economist
17 October 2014

Excerpt:

Organisation in order to raise the profile of family farming and smallholder farming,” said Hausiku.
Hon. Hausiku added that the commemoration of the World Food Day is one of many actions that can be taken at a political and technical level in creating awareness among urban dwellers on the impact of food waste. He also added that it creates a platform to sensitize the nation on the importance of food banks and other initiatives which promote food security in the country.

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October 22, 2014   No Comments

Online questionnaire to be completed by Urban Agriculture Entrepreneurs

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MSc thesis student is exploring business models in urban agriculture

Shuang Liu (MSc student in Organic Agriculture, Wageningen University)
Han Wiskerke (Professor of Rural Sociology, Wageningen University)

Despite the growing attention and support for urban agriculture and the increase in urban farming businesses, little is known about the business aspects of UA. This is not only an omission in UA research, but it could also constrain the development of UA businesses in the future.

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October 22, 2014   No Comments

Temple Beth Israel in Pomona, California to start urban farm

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Temple Beth Israel, Pomona, CA

Temple Beth Israel in Pomona and the Claremont-based non-profit Uncommon Good have partnered to turn close to 10,000 square feet of the house of worship’s land into an urban farm

By Monica Rodriguez
Inland Valley Daily Bulletin
Oct 10, 2014

Excerpt:

“It’s an exciting proposition and I hope we will be a model for others,” said Rabbi Jonathan Kupetz of Temple Beth Israel.

A ground breaking ceremony for the project will begin at 11:30 a.m. today at the temple, 3033 N. Towne Ave.

For years temple leaders talked about using the land in a way that would benefit those struggling to provide food for their families but parts of the idea – such as who would take on the responsibility of caring for the land and the crops it produced – could never be fully worked out, Kupetz said.

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October 22, 2014   No Comments

Food policy searchable database contains over 100 policies

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Municipalities and counties got a big boost today with the unveiling of a searchable database with more than 100 newly adopted innovative, local government food system policies that can be shared and adapted across the country.

By Rachel Teaman
The Growing Food Connections Policy Database
October 20, 2014

The Growing Food Connections Policy Database, hosted by the School of Architecture and Planning at the University at Buffalo, will assist local governments as they work to broaden access to healthy food and help sustain local farms and food producers.

Growing Food Connections, a federally-funded research initiative to strengthen community food systems nationwide, has compiled over 100 policies governing issues as diverse as public investment in food systems, farmland protection, local food procurement and food policy council resolutions.
The Growing Food Connections Policy Database was launched today at the American Farmland Trust’s national conference, which includes sessions on food systems policy, in Lexington, Ky.

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October 21, 2014   No Comments

Top Ten Agriculture Projects in Dallas

Promise of Peace Community Garden Kickstarter program.

By Liz Essman
Food Tank
Oct 6, 2014

Excerpt:

Eat the Yard is a closed-loop urban farming operation in the Oak Cliff neighborhood. Food grows in one of several locations, including residential plots, urban rooftops, and in backyards. When ripe, crops are delivered daily to area markets and restaurants. Eat the Yard is proud to offer veggies picked the same day as sale, using biodiesel-run equipment. They also offer free compost services to restaurants using their products. In addition, they also grow soil and brew a concentrate called “Worm Shine” compost tea, a living cultural medium. Microbes in the tea help build a microclimate of soil diversity, improving the strength and nutrient content of the garden.

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October 21, 2014   No Comments

Science World staff visit City Farmer’s garden in Vancouver

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Head gardener Sharon Slack shows visitors the cold frame full of seedlings which will be harvested later this winter.

“We’re even more excited to have City Farmer here at the end of the month as part of our Around the Dome Science Festival”

By Lyndsay Fraser
Science World Blog
Oct 21, 2014

Excerpt:

First thing in the morning we jumped on our bikes and pedaled to our first stop of the day, City Farmer’s Compost Demonstration Garden. For 36 years, City Farmer has encouraged urban dwellers to develop their own green thumbs. It’s the perfect place to visit if you’re curious about composting at home or want to get inspired about growing your own food.

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October 21, 2014   No Comments

For students around the globe – Free MetroAg Online Course November 3-December 19, 2014

MSU
Michigan State University’s ‘Food Knowledge Cloud’. Open-access courses and resources to students around the globe.

In the Urban Agriculture course, there are items to read, videos, presentations and a weekly discussion question with a moderator

Instructor John Stone
Content Developers:
Dr. Henk C. van Latesteijn, Managing Director of Van Latentejin Consultancy and former CEO of TransForum
Dr. Chris Peterson, Michigan State University Professor and Director of the MSU Product Center- Food, Ag, Bio.
Sander Mager, Managing Director of Licence to Grow and former VP of TransForum
(Must see. Mike)

Excerpt:

This free, 6-week online course is designed to build awareness of metropolitan agriculture and how agriculture can play a vital role in cities around the world focusing on areas such as food production, recreation, waste management, and health care. The course is offered jointly through Michigan State University and MetroAg Innoversity. The course features archived webinars with experts around the world, resources for digging deeper and a facilitated discussion forum with weekly questions.

Led by Ph.D John Stone, Manager of Research & Engagement for the Global Innoversity Program in Metro Food at MSU http://globalinnoversity.org. This self-paced learning experience increases awareness of metropolitan agriculture and is designed to build a network of collaborators. The course is open to anyone.

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October 20, 2014   No Comments

Jones Valley Teaching Farm – Birmingham, Alabama

At Oliver Elementary School

Filmed on location in Birmingham, AL
Presented by 1504 in association with Dogtrot Studio
Produced by Tyler Jones
Music by Golden Youth

During her JVTF Fellowship, Lucy became the Farm Lab coordinator at Oliver Elementary School. Her experience had a profound impact on her career path and now she wants to work with young people. The Fellowship is what our Good School Food program is all about–providing transformative education through hands-on learning and access to fresh food.

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October 20, 2014   No Comments

The Poison Garden at England’s Alnwick Garden is filled with plants that can kill you

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The ornate black gates to the Poison Garden warn visitors of the deadly plants that grow within. Photo by Duncan Andison/Corbis.

Visitors to the Poison Garden are prohibited from smelling, touching or tasting any of them.

By Natasha Geiling
smithsonian.com
September 22, 2014

Excerpt:

“What’s extraordinary about the plants is that it’s the most common ones that people don’t know are killers,” the duchess says. Visitors are often surprised to learn that the laurel hedge, nearly ubiquitous in English gardens, can be highly toxic. But some visitors have had experience with laurel’s sinister side—the duchess has heard a few talk about how, after loading up their cars with pruned laurel leaves to take to the dump, drivers have fallen asleep behind the wheel of their car from the toxic fumes the branches emit.

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October 19, 2014   No Comments

Yard Too Small For A Garden? Grow Vegetables Vertically

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Paul Langdon, of Wethersfield, and his vertical portable hydroponic garden. Photo by Stephen Dunn / Hartford Courant.

Won first prize in the sustainability category last weekend at the Maker Faire

By Christopher Hoffman
Courant
Sept 26, 2014

Excerpt:

The 43-year-old software engineer turned to hydroponics, or gardening without soil. Langdon and his friend Curt Downing of Glastonbury designed and built a compact, vertical hydroponic garden that grows 160 plants and is controlled from a cell phone.

Langdon and Downing aren’t the only ones who think the garden — made of PVC pipe, downspouts and gutters — is cool. Earlier this month, their rig won first prize in the New York Maker Faire’s sustainability category.

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October 19, 2014   No Comments

Wenatchee, Washington, where pot is legal: Farming city makes room for a new crop

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Click on image for larger file. Gardener Dustin Hurst talks about his operation at Monkey Grass Farms, an indoor marijuana growing company operating in East Wenatchee, Washington. “Raising cannabis is my favorite thing, and I can’t think of anything else I’d want to do,” he said. Marc Lester / ADN. See complete slide show here.

City Mayor Frank Kuntz voted in favor of the initiative. Nationally, “I think that’s where we’re headed … whether you like it or don’t like it.”

By Laurel Andrews
Alaska Dispatch News
Oct. 16, 2014

Excerpt:

Drive through East Wenatchee, past rows of tidy apple orchards, and you’ll come across Gecko Growers marijuana farm. Visible from the road, a 12-foot wall rises around the marijuana plants, in striking contrast to neighboring farms that have no fences or visible security.

“Beautiful, isn’t it?” co-owner Kevin Dietz said on a sunny September afternoon, standing on the deck overlooking the outdoor grow. He watched with crossed arms as co-owner and master gardener Gary Bryant disappeared and reappeared among the farm’s 259 plants, some of which reached 13 feet into the sky.

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October 18, 2014   No Comments