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Ikea’s Clever Kit Makes Indoor Farming as Easy as It’ll Get

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ikeas
The Krydda/Växer line are the result of some dovetailing trends: (1) More people live in urban areas in small apartments and (2) more and more, people like to know where their food comes from.

60 percent of survey participants grew plants indoors, be they vegetables or flowers. Gardening was more common in Shanghai, where the number is 75 percent.

By Margaret Rhodes
Wired
05.20.16

Excerpt:

It’s no surprise, then, that Shanghai is where Ronnie Runesson, a senior product developer at Ikea, came up with the company’s new line of indoor gardening kits. Runesson, who is Swedish and has worked at Ikea for 33 years, recently spent three years in the company’s Shanghai office. While in Shanghai he visited with other product suppliers, and saw several small, indoor units where office workers grew their own lettuces and herbs.

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May 25, 2016   No Comments

Virginia State University Harding Street Urban Agriculture Center uses cutting-edge technology to grow fish, vegetables

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vsu

Urban Agriculture Center received a $1.5 million federal grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

By Malik Russell
Virginia Free Press
5/20/2016

Excerpt:

According to Duron Chavis, the center’s project director and a VSU graduate, the center combines hydroponics, where vegetables are grown in water rather than soil, and aquaponics, where fish are grown in small tanks, in a way that allows the fish waste to work as fertilizer for the plants, which in turn, filter the water.

“Basically, we’re trying to multiply how much food you can grow (in a small space) by two, three, four or five times, while at the same time conserving water and energy,” Mr. Chavis told the Free Press.

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May 25, 2016   No Comments

Newsweek: City Bees Feed On Flowers, Not Junk Food

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bbeUrban bees feed entirely on flowers when given the chance and eschew human food. Photo Lauren Nichols.

“There’s no evidence that bee colonies were feeding on human food at all,” Penick says.

By Douglas Main
Newsweek
5/19/16

Excerpt:

In the paper, published May 17 in the Journal of Urban Ecology, the scientists looked at the molecular structure of honey produced by the bees. Honey produced from flowering plants has a specific isotope, or form, of carbon. Honey made from sugary human food, ultimately derived from grasses like sugarcane and corn, however, has a different isotope. Using this distinguishing feature, the researchers were able to confirm that honey produced by rural and urban feral bees came from natural flowering plants and not human-obtained sugars.

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May 25, 2016   No Comments

San Francisco Job: Urban Agriculture Program Coordinator

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shedThe Garden Shed by George Thomson 1984.

The Recreation and Park Department is accepting applications to fill a permanent exempt position as 3374 Volunteer/Outreach Coordinator (Urban Agriculture Program Coordinator) effective approximately July 5 (or sooner if possible).

Excerpt from Posting:

Position Description – The Board of Supervisors established an Urban Agriculture Program to oversee and coordinate all of the city’s urban agriculture activities and adopt goals for the city related to urban agriculture. On July 16, 2013 the Board of Supervisors approved the plan to dedicate one full-time staff person to coordinate the Urban Agriculture Program assigned to the Recreation and Park Department. Urban agriculture provides multiple benefits to San Franciscans including connecting city residents to the broader food system, providing green space and recreation, saving public agencies money, providing ecological benefits and green infrastructure, building community, and offering food access, public health, and economic development potential.

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May 24, 2016   No Comments

Malaysia: Urban farming has helped cut living costs says Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Minister

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malaysDatuk Seri Ahmad Shabby Cheek.

Since its inception in 2014, the programme has amassed 38,506 participants who grow vegetables, herbs and ulam at 1,634 locations nationwide.

By Nurbaiti Hamdan
The Star
May 19, 2016

PETALING JAYA: The Government-initiated agriculture programme in urban areas is turning into a movement that helps to reduce the cost of living, said Datuk Seri Ahmad Shabery Cheek.

Since its inception in 2014, the programme has amassed 38,506 participants who grow vegetables, herbs and ulam at 1,634 locations nationwide.

“This was something unthinkable because previously, urban people were thought to only work in factories, offices and hotels,” he said in his speech during a working visit to the Petaling Jaya urban farming site in Kampung Lindungan here Thursday.

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May 24, 2016   No Comments

Expedition agroparks

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Research by design into sustainable development and agriculture in the network society

By Peter J.A.M. Smeets
Wageningen Academic Pubishers
2011 Pages: 320

This book is the result of several years of expedition into the development of metropolitan FoodClusters. The author’s fascination for the agricultural landscapes in and around metropolises led him to the conclusion that improving the efficiency of agriculture is the most effective way to safeguard the quality of such landscapes. The wasteful modes of production developed in the past 150 years have led to a serious decline in both the surface area and the quality of the highly valued landscapes.

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May 24, 2016   No Comments

This Indonesian Startup Lets City Dwellers Play FarmVille In Real Life

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infro

Help a local farmer invest in seeds and watch your investment bear fruit.

By Adele Peters
Co-Exist
05.18.16

Excerpt:

Someone living in a high-rise in Jakarta may not have a balcony, let alone a garden plot for growing food. But an Indonesian startup is working to turn city dwellers into virtual farmers: Through the platform, called iGrow, someone can invest in seeds for an underemployed farmer in a rural area, and then get regular updates as the food grows. When the crop is sold, seed investors share in the profits.

“The main thing is [to] create food security for all people,” says founder Iqbal Muhaimin. “We want people to participate in food security by making them say, ‘I grew my own food.'”

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May 23, 2016   No Comments

Colorado Springs: New ‘TinyFarm’ in town wants zoning change to sell veggies from home

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yourmyYour neighbourhood is my neighbourhood – Tanja Esch | Urban Art Now

Pikes Peak Small Farms PBC estimates the city has more than 18,000 acres of farmable infill. And if, as the group’s prospectus claims, a half-acre can eventually feed 60 people, the tiny farm model is ripe to do big things.

By Nat Stein
Colorado Springs Independent
May 18, 2016

Excerpt:

As it stands, that would be considered a garage sale under current land-use definitions. Per zoning regulations, citizens can have two garage sales a year with combined sales over $300 subject to tax.

Lonna Thelen in the city’s land use division told the Indy that urban agriculture has different designations for those that have a retail component and those that don’t. Community gardens without on-site sales are permitted in residential zones, but adding that sales component makes it crop production, zoned only for agricultural districts. Certain home occupations are permitted by the land use division as long as hours of operation, number of employees, volume of customers, exterior signage and off-street parking fit the city’s parameters.

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May 23, 2016   No Comments

Agrihoods take root: a housing trend rooted in agriculture

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agrihood Click on image for larger file.

The Cannery, a community designed around a small farm in Davis, about 20 miles west of California’s capital, Sacramento.

By Michelle Locke
The Associated Press
May 17, 2016

Excerpt:

Master developer The New Home Co. was looking to build a neighborhood, not just homes, and market research showed that people wanted to connect to community. So “it made lots of sense to take this 7.5-acre piece of property and turn it into an urban farm, have that be the focus point,” says Kevin Carson, New Home president.

Residents can sign up for a weekly box of produce from the farm, and no matter what their level of participation they get to feel part of something, says Carson. “They can see the pumpkins being harvested or the tomatoes being planted or the different seasons that happen on a farm.”

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May 22, 2016   No Comments

Budepest: Community gardens provide a piece of nature in the big city

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budp Click on image for larger file.

There are already 38 community gardens in Budapest, and Grundk3rt is one of them.

By Lilith Grull
Budapest Times
21. May 2016

Excerpt:

The members of Grundk3rt are a colourful bunch. The oldest member is 80 years old and regularly brings along her small grandchildren. Many different jobs are represented ranging from zookeepers to engineers – even a few non-governmental organisations joined the community.
Népi ?sgyógyászat (pictured), Menedék Migránsokat Segít? Egyesület and Messzelátó Egyesület have a parcel in the garden. The NGO Menedék Migránsokat Segít? Egyesület deals with helping migrants, and they regularly bring along some of them to do gardening work. Messzelátó Egyesület on the other hand deals with naturopathy. They plant only herbs and they give tours through their medical forest in Grundk3rt.

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May 22, 2016   No Comments

The real value of urban farming. (Hint: It’s not always the food.)

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citry(Artisticco/Shutterstock)

The environmental benefits of urban farming get even more complicated when we consider indoor “vertical farms,” which are often touted as a sustainable option that use less soil and water. Although designs differ, some of these set-ups can use an enormous amount of energy, especially if they require artificial lighting.

By Brad Plumer
VOX
May 16, 2016

Excerpt:

“It’s hard to make sweeping generalizations here,” Santo told me. When designed right, urban farms can make some modest but valuable improvements to the sustainability of our food system. But when designed poorly, they can end up being even worse for the environment — say, if they’re using fertilizer inefficiently and polluting nearby waters with nitrogen run-off.

In our conversation, Santo mentioned one feature of urban farms that often gets shortchanged in dry policy discussions: “They can reconnect people with how to grow food.”

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May 22, 2016   No Comments

Urban farming: From floating food forests to vacant lot crops

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More than 1,500 community gardens have been started on vacant land in Detroit alone in recent years. From Greening of Detroit.

A growing movement is spreading throughout U.S. cities that is feeding people, providing jobs, and helping the environment—urban farming.

By Sher Watts Spooner
Daily Kos
May 15, 2016

Excerpt:

One estimate is that there are as many as 100 full-fledged food forests, with a mix of trees and smaller plants in a succession of layers, in the United States. One Detroit group reports that there are 70 urban farms in that city alone that sell fruits and vegetables to local market outlets. The Chicago Urban Agriculture Mapping Project is trying to locate small produce gardens throughout the Windy City—a 2015 count found 830. There’s even a worldwide organization called Urban Farming that claims more than 63,000 small community gardens based in cities, and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations estimates that up to 20 percent of the world’s food supply is grown in cities.

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May 21, 2016   No Comments

Toronto laneway to be turned into community garden

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Milky Way Garden – An Urban Agriculture Space for Parkdale. (Must see. Mike)

We believe that through community ownership we can assure that this land is used to meet local needs in the present and future!

Excerpt from their FundRazor site:

The Parkdale Neighbourhood Land Trust (PNLT) has partnered with Greenest City to acquire its first piece of community owned land! The Milky Way Garden is a privately owned vacant lot that hosts a community garden cared for by mostly tibetan seniors. With your help we will buy this property to secure this green space from development and create a dedicated urban agriculture space for Parkdale.

OUR VISION

We envision that the Milky Way Garden will be a shared urban agriculture space for Parkdale. Operated by Greenest City, it will host urban agriculture and environmental projects that increase access to healthy fresh food, while creating opportunities for environmental learning and community connections.

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May 21, 2016   No Comments

Vancouver Trending: Urban farming on the grow

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whel A wheelbarrow in the fields at UBC Farm. Amy Logan/For Metro

Vancouver is experiencing an urban farming renaissance of sorts and the city has even launched a two-year pilot project to help legitimize farming in the city.

By Amy Logan
For Metro
May 20 2016

Excerpt:

“There’s an enthusiasm, a sense of resilience and civic engagement,” said Marcela Crowe, Executive Director of the Vancouver Urban Farming Society (VUFS).

The city recently adopted a two-year urban farming pilot. The goal of the project is to “help legitimize urban farming from a land use perspective, and create a consistent approach to urban farming inquiries,” according to the City’s Urban Farming Policy Report.

Besides Vancouver’s long growing season and focus on sustainability, the city’s efforts to promote local agriculture may account for a boom in urban farming. Vancouver aims to increase citywide and neighbourhood food assets by 50 per cent above 2010 levels.

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May 21, 2016   No Comments

Urban gardeners plotting on the roof, in the streets of Portland

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“Urban gardening is very hot right now. It comes and goes. The farm-to-table movement that says food should be fresh and food should be local” drives the trend, she said.

By Kathleen Pierce
Bangor Daily News
May 14, 2016

Excerpt:

For rooftop gardens, where full sun can beat down all summer long, an irrigation system helps.

“The soil gets really dried out. It’s important to have a cover on the soil. We mulch with a thick layer of hay, which retains the moisture and absorbs the heat,” said Mailander. “If you don’t have an irrigation system, you’ll have to water and mulch often.”

To get the soil up five stories, Avesta used a crane. But Mailander recommends independent homeowners use what’s handy. “Compost, leaves, manure … garden in place,” is her motto.

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May 20, 2016   No Comments