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Washington D.C. Urban Gardens Bring Low-Cost, Fresh Produce To City’s Food Deserts

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Jacquana McIntyre started as a volunteer and now manages one of DC UrbanGreen’s farms at Fort Stanton in Southeast Washington, D.C. Photo by Larisa Epatko/PBS NewsHour

“I always wanted to work outside,” she said. The former children’s day care worker noted that kids enjoy digging in the earth and learning how plants grow. But if they’re scolded for getting dirty, they tend to lose that curiosity.

By Larisa Epatko
PBS and NPR
November 24, 2016

Excerpt:

Lelia Parker grew up on a farm in rural Virginia and moved to the U.S. capital 30 years ago, seeking a more urban environment. But she still gets the gardening itch.

Down the street from her Southeast D.C. home is a community garden, where tidy beds of succulent zucchini, peppers and squash grow.

The garden is operated by the nonprofit group DC UrbanGreens. Not long ago, Parker discovered the site and began telling her neighbors about it and about how to cook with fresh vegetables instead of canned. Now she’s a board member and the group’s outreach coordinator.

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December 3, 2016   No Comments

Unsung hero uses gardening knowledge to serve Springfield, Ohio

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Terry Frederick looks over a row of kale at the end of its life cycle in the Jefferson Street Garden Monday. Bill Lackey/Staff

The 1.25-acre garden served about 30 families last year, Frederick said.

By Michael Cooper
Springfield New Sun
Nov 24, 2016

Excerpt:

For his efforts at two local community gardens, Frederick has been named an Unsung Hero in the Springfield community.

Frederick, who owns Habitat Creations, a local landscaping business, began a production-oriented community garden at Grace Lutheran Church in 2006. With the help of volunteers from the church, the garden produced more than 8,000 pounds of produce — a majority of which was donated to charity.

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December 3, 2016   No Comments

Australia: Harmony Garden in Newcastle brings people of different cultures together for support and stories

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Hari Singh moved to Australia from India. (1233 ABC Newcastle: Robert Virtue)

Each week a group of people from countries such as India, Poland, Spain, Germany and England gather at a suburban block in the New South Wales city to tend the garden beds.

By Robert Virtue
ABC Newcastle
Nov 24, 2016

Excerpt:

Stefinia Stisiikowski came to Australia from Poland 54 years ago, and now volunteers around the garden.

“When I came here I couldn’t speak English, but then after a few days I could read English,” Ms Stisiikowski said.

“God created me with many talents. I don’t have high education, but believe me, I can do whatever [you] ask me.

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December 2, 2016   No Comments

Delaware: Applications now accepted for second round of urban agriculture and community garden micro-grants

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Feb. 17, 2017 is deadline for groups statewide

Delaware Government
November 23rd, 2016

DOVER — Organizations wanting to launch or expand an urban agriculture or community garden project to benefit their neighborhood can apply for micro-grants from the Delaware Department of Agriculture, Secretary of Agriculture Ed Kee announced today.

“Neighborhood-driven urban farm projects can help strengthen a community, bringing people together from all backgrounds,” Kee said. “These micro-grants can help new gardens sprout and current projects grow. We want to help our friends and families develop a connection to the land and provide nutritious, locally grown foods.”

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December 2, 2016   No Comments

Michigan Urban Farming Initiative will transform a vacant apartment building into a community center and cafe

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A rendering of what the future community resource center and food cafe will look like on Brush Street in Detroit’s North End. Photo by Dave Darovitz/Global Product Development Communications. Click on image for larger file.

“This is part of a larger trend occurring across the country in which people are redefining what life in the urban environment looks like.”

By Chris Ehrmann
Crains Detroit
Nov 31, 2016

Excerpt:

The nonprofit on Wednesday announced the support of BASF SE and Sustainable Brands, a global community of business innovators, which will help renovate the 3,200-square-foot three-story apartment building at 7432 Brush St. and across from MUFI’s 2-acre urban garden. It will house commercial kitchens that will service the planned cafe and allow for future production and packaging of goods for the organization. Other new amenities being developed include a children’s learning sensory garden.

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December 1, 2016   No Comments

1860: Brooklyn City Farmer involved in ‘A Bad Trade’

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eagle Click on image for larger file. Old Brooklyn Farm Lands.

Apples taken

New York Times
Oct 25, 1860

Brooklyn News

A Bad Trade – A New York merchant, who does a little farming in a small way, in the eighteenth Ward, had a few barrels of very choice apples on his trees this Fall. Last week a man who was passing by made him a tempting offer for the apples, which was accepted, and the purchaser agreed to gather them the next morning. Our City farmer waited some time for his customer the following morning, and finally proceeded to his business without seeing him. Upon returning home in the evening, he found the purchaser had been there and gathered the apples, but left without paying for them. The City farmer has not seen him since.

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December 1, 2016   No Comments

Sicily: A community garden in Librino, Catania

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Close up of gardens in 2013. Click on image for larger file.

There are about 40 gardens presently

By Roberto
Volunteer with the project
Nov 30, 2016

We started our work about 20 years ago as a non profit association working with the children in a suburban district of Catania (Sicily), Librino, where there was a high crime rate.

As volunteers we focused on after-school activities. After ten years, someone had the idea to start a rugby team to help children. We chose rugby, because it is a contact sport and can help children to unload their daily stress because they see so much brutality in their district. It also teaches them many positive attitudes such as respect for rules, and respect for rivals, etc.

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November 30, 2016   No Comments

Largest community garden in USA at Doris Duke’s former New Jersey estate donates tons of organic produce

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Duke Farms, the 2,700-acre former estate of globe-trotting philanthropist Doris Duke, is one of the largest preserved properties in the state of New Jersey. Photo credit: Jeff Weiser Click on image for larger file.

The Community Garden is segmented into seven “neighborhoods” with names like Rutabaga Ridge and Brocoli Boro. Each neighborhood has one plot designated as a Giving Garden, where gardeners pitch in.

By Patrick Lavery
New Jersey 101.5
Nov 21, 2016

Excerpt:

Last year, gardeners donated 1,600 pounds of produce. That included some 30 different vegetables, chief among them lettuce, kale, tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini and herbs.

Duke Farms set a goal of 2,000 pounds for 2016, but has well surpassed that with 3,190 pounds donated.

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November 30, 2016   No Comments

‘Munch’ project enlivens city street life in Coquitlam, BC

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Erin Davidson of the Austin Heights Business Improvement Association and Peter Meegan of Mary Ann Meegan Insurance Ltd. with one of 38 planters filled with edible produce and herbs that was installed earlier this year for Coquitlam Munch, a city of Coquitlam Community in Bloom project.

38 self-watering planters, created by a garden designer Rachel Elves, are planted with food by the adopting businesses.

By Diane Strandberg
Tri City News
June 23, 2016

Excerpt:

“I thought it was a good community thing,” said Meegan, who had to plant the herbs and veggies as part of the planter “adoption” process, and was surprised at how fun it was.

“It’s in the blood,” he joked, noting that members of his Irish family are good gardeners.

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November 30, 2016   No Comments

Green acres are flourishing on campus rooftops across Canada

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Elevator pitch: Arlene Throness of Ryerson’s farm, originally proposed by architect students (Mark Blinch/Ryerson University) Click on image for larger file.

Sustainability-minded green roof projects are appearing from Montreal’s Concordia to the University of Saskatchewan

By Leanne Delap
Macleans
November 28, 2016

Excerpt:

And at the University of Saskatchewan, an opportunity arose on top of the phytotron (a research greenhouse). The condensers were moved, leaving a bare expanse visible from an open walkway.

“Aha,” said Grant Wood, a professor of urban agriculture, who worked with the university’s office of sustainability to come up with “the rooftop.” After getting the engineering students to check on load-bearing weights, and “a lot of paperwork,” says Wood, pallets and recycled containers were moved onto the roof. The team started with 500 sq. feet of planting, for a yield of about a thousand pounds of produce this past year; the goal is to double that next year.

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November 29, 2016   No Comments

Councils versus Chicken Owners in West Virginia

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chiwarsEmilee Ryan’s chicken saga made front page news in her home town.

“I don’t want to get rid of my pets,” she said. “Everyone with a pet understands they’re part of the family. I know it sounds absurd to get that attached to a chicken. But what can I say? They’re my babies.”

By Brad McElhinny
Metro News West Virginia
November 25, 2016 at

Excerpt:

Emilee, 18, found herself called before her town council earlier this fall.

“The town is trying to take them away from me. It hurts that the town is trying to take away my pets,” Emilee said as the news hit the local Mineral Daily News Tribune. “I want to love them. They’re my babies.”

But she had broken the law in Ridgeley, a town of about 675 people — specifically, Ordinance No. 530 “Animals and Fowl Generally,” and its subsection “530-1. Keeping Livestock.”

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November 29, 2016   No Comments

Why Two California Indian Tribes are Growing Their Own Food, and Why It Isn’t Easy

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Watch Tending the Wild: Decolonizing the Diet.

Big Pine Reservation’s Sustainable Foods Program and Bishop Paiute Tribe’s Food Sovereignty Program

By Clarissa Wei
KCET
Nov 21, 2016

Excerpt:

Big Pine Paiute-Shoshone tribe member Joseph Miller shows me around his town’s garden. There are two hoop houses with herbs and fresh heads of lettuce just popping out of the ground. Tomatoes are in abundance, with so many hybrid varieties that it’s hard to keep track.

“What we’re working towards is being able to not only create a sustainable food source, but to create food security,” Miller says. “We want to give our people the right to know without being in the dark and wary about where their food is coming from, or how long it’s been on a truck.”

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November 28, 2016   No Comments

Mycorrhizal Planet

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chmyForthcoming February, 2017.

How Symbiotic Fungi Work with Roots to Support Plant Health and Build Soil Fertility

By Michael Phillips
Chelsea Green Publishing
Feb. 2017

Mycorrhizal fungi have been waiting a long time for people to recognize just how important they are to the making of dynamic soils. These microscopic organisms partner with the root systems of approximately 95 percent of the plants on Earth, and they sequester carbon in much more meaningful ways than human “carbon offsets” will ever achieve. Pick up a handful of old-growth forest soil and you are holding 26 miles of threadlike fungal mycelia, if it could be stretched it out in a straight line. Most of these soil fungi are mycorrhizal, supporting plant health in elegant and sophisticated ways. The boost to green immune function in plants and community-wide networking turns out to be the true basis of ecosystem resiliency. A profound intelligence exists in the underground nutrient exchange between fungi and plant roots, which in turn determines the nutrient density of the foods we grow and eat.

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November 28, 2016   No Comments

South Africa: Joburg’s space-saving rooftop gardens offer relief from the drought

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joburgJozi Food Farmer’s Braamfontein rooftop garden.

Here, they grow a variety of things including mint, rocket, lettuce and basil.

By Dana Da Silva
The Daily Vox
November 21, 2016

Excerpt:

There are many benefits to having rooftop food gardens in Joburg. Ashleigh Machete is the co-founder of Jozi Food Farmer, a company that focuses on the urban cultivation of unused spaces such as rooftops, alleyways and open areas. They also provide a service to private homeowners and businesses, such as restaurants, to set up and maintain their own food gardens. Machete says that rooftop gardens can help to increase the value of city spaces.

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November 27, 2016   No Comments

Indiana: Creating The Largest Urban Farm In The State

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Mat Davis, right, food justice coordinator at the Flanner House, speaks with Jonathan Lawler, owner and operator of Brandywine Creek Farms, about testing the soil near the Flanner House in preparation to develop a farm on 2 1/2 acres in the heart of the largest food desert in the city on Nov. 11, 2016. (Photo: Mykal McEldowney/IndyStar)

Indianapolis – Flanner Farms will sprout next year on the 2½-acre campus of Flanner House, 2424 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. St. It’s not a community garden, but rather a 1.3-acre working farm. And it won’t just feed people; it will teach them how to grow their own food.

By Maureen C. Gilmer
Indy Star
Nov 19, 2016

Excerpt:

Over the summer, Lawler learned about Flanner House and its work to feed surrounding neighborhoods. He and his three sons delivered a truckload of produce to the center, and there he met Brandon Cosby, executive director. It didn’t take long for Cosby to see that Lawler would be an ally in his quest to take the 118-year-old center back to its agrarian roots.

“We are getting back to the historic legacy of Flanner House,” said Cosby, who took over as executive director earlier this year.

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November 27, 2016   No Comments