New Stories From 'Urban Agriculture Notes'

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A Former Corporate Banker Plants New Roots in Urban Farming in Austin, Texas

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Rodriguez Boughton pours a layer of topsoil to prepare a new area for seedlings. Lynda Gonzalez/Reporting Texas

On a half-acre, she’s managed to grow 195 types of herbs, edible flowers and vegetables, whose seeds originated from across the globe.

By Molly Smith
Photography By Lynda Gonzalez
Reporting Texas
Apr 11, 2017

Excerpt:

Her business background, paired with Texas’ year-round growing season, attracted Carroll, 25, to the position. “Farms fail because farmers have no business experience,” he said. “Farmers need to think like bankers.”

La Flaca sources produce, including chilhuacles, to seven Austin restaurants, including Olamaie, L’Oca D’Oro and Mattie’s at Green Pastures. It also sells produces to its neighbors in the cul-de-sac.

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April 19, 2017   No Comments

Canada’s New Cannabis Laws Will Allow Personal Cultivation

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A limit of four plants per residence. A maximum height limit of 100 cm on the plants

A Framework for the Legalization and Regulation of Cannabis in Canada
Government of Canada
Nov 30, 2016
Ch 3, Section 5

Excerpt:

It is currently legal to grow and produce tobacco for personal use in Canada (up to 15 kg of tobacco or cigars), just as it is legal to produce wine or beer at a residence for personal use. Wine-making, home brewing of beer and curing personally grown tobacco is undertaken primarily by advocates and connoisseurs in the post-Prohibition era. It is assumed that, over time, personally cultivated cannabis will follow the same course.

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April 18, 2017   No Comments

India: Startups That Want You to Grow Your Own Food

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“We have an estimated 16,000 square kilometres of unused rooftop space in India. If we can turn 10 percent into farms, there’s a big opportunity.”

By Pranay Parab
Gadgets 360
10 April 2017

Excerpt:

he biggest challenge for terrace and balcony gardens is seepage. Over time, water stagnation tends to weaken building structures and by the time this visible through signs such as dripping ceilings, the damage is already done. Khetify says its “khet” (farm) boxes use drip irrigation to avoid this problem. Similarly, the other startups also say they take precautions to ensure that water doesn’t stagnate on roofs or balconies.

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April 18, 2017   No Comments

Indianapolis: Urban Patch Is A Family Affair

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Video: Urban Patch honored as one of ioby’s 2012 Heroes in Our Backyards: Reimagining Vacant Space (Must see. Mike)

Moore’s grandfather Albert ran a large urban agriculture project in the 1940s, which served as the inspiration for Urban Patch.

By Kate Franzman
Indianapolis Monthly
April 2017

Excerpt:

Urban Patch aims to improve Indy’s inner city by means other than gentrification. Cofounder Justin Moore, an urban designer for the New York City Department of Planning, grew up in the historically black Mapleton–Fall Creek neighborhood, where he, his parents, and two brothers started Urban Patch by purchasing an abandoned house with a credit card. They fixed up the home—and have done so with dozens of buildings since—and rented it at-cost to black residents.

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April 17, 2017   No Comments

Canada: Community group plans urban farm school in Fredericton, New Brunswick

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A farming school in Fredericton’s north side. (N.B. Community Harvest Gardens)

The location makes it convenient for people living in the city to walk, bike or take a bus to school and learn how to farm.

By Terrence McEachern
CBC News
Apr 09, 2017

Excerpt:

Edee Klee wants to bring farming back as a viable career option in the New Brunswick.

A passionate gardener, Klee is part of a group that is planning to set up a teaching farm — but not one in the middle of the country. Rather, this farm school would occupy eight acres of land in Fredericton

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April 17, 2017   No Comments

From Moscow: A ‘City Farm’ home appliance

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The city farms are equipped with fine sensors sending all the farm performance and plant growth indicators to the application.

Fibonacci
Krasny Oktyabr, 119072 Moscow

From their website:

The body is completely leak-tight, made of sound eight-layered composite aluminum. You can select out of 9 coloring options.

Regulated «smart» tinting coating of a farm’s glass door enables to turn down the glaring light RainbowSpectrum ™. Tinting coating is controlled with the use of the INTELLIGENT EXPERT application.

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April 16, 2017   No Comments

Speaker promotes urban agriculture at Philippines’ 2017 Science Awards Ceremonies

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Gardening in schools is the most viable approach to urban agriculture to produce larger quantities of crops since many schools (at least in Metro Manila) still have a lots of green spaces

By Dr. William Dar
The Manila Times
Apr 7, 2017

Excerpt:

So far, urban agriculture has yet to take root, literally, in many urban areas in the Philippines – just look at the many vacant spaces in Metro Manila and elsewhere where urban agriculture is very feasible. The empty rooftops of many high-rise or even low-rise buildings can also be utilized for urban agriculture.

Urban agriculture is not only limited to growing crops, primarily vegetables: it also includes the growing of trees, and raising of animals and fish. It could also be integrated into the urban economic and ecological system of an urban area.

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April 16, 2017   No Comments

The potential for urban household vegetable gardens to reduce greenhouse gas emissions

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David Cleveland in his home garden. Photo Credit: Daniela Soleri

UCSB research professor David Cleveland and his students model the effect of household gardens on greenhouse gas emissions

By Julie Cohen
The UC Santa Barbara Current
September 6, 2016
(Must see. Mike)

Excerpt:

Want to help mitigate global climate change? Grow some veggies.

Turning lawn into a vegetable garden can reduce greenhouse gas emissions, according to a new study by UC Santa Barbara research professor David Cleveland.

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April 15, 2017   No Comments

Vancouver, BC, community gardens – a gift from developers who get tax break

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Chris Reid is the executive director at Shifting Growth, which sets up community gardens in undeveloped properties throughout the Lower Mainland. Reid is pictured Saturday, April 8, 2017 at the Alma community garden in Vancouver, B.C. Jason Payne / PNG

An unexpected offshoot of the initiative is the success of their pre-fab raised garden boxes, which are set on pallets for drainage

By Denise Ryan
Vancouver Sun
Apr 14, 2017

Excerpt:

“The site has been empty for many years and we thought this would be a great way to give back to the community and do something useful while we go through the development process,” said Kevin Cheung, Landa’s CEO in a statement.

Shifting Growth doesn’t solicit developers because there are enough developers willing to assume the risk and responsibility for the garden projects in exchange for a tax break from the B.C. Assessment Authority. If a vacant lot houses a temporary community garden it will be taxed at a lower rate than on a business site.

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April 15, 2017   No Comments

Erie, Pennsylvania looks as urban farming plan

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Charles Buki, whose firm authored the city’s comprehensive development plan, says urban agriculture could be a good fit for Erie with planning and citizen input.

The Erie Planning Commission’s recommendations regarding zoning changes that would permit or clarify the rules for small crop farming in the city on residential properties and vacant lots, particularly in targeted areas.

By Kevin Flowers
Go Eire
Apr 9, 2017

Excerpt:

The Planning Commission’s recommendations include:

•Defining “urban garden, ” “market garden” and “farm stand” in city zoning ordinances, and making them permitted uses within areas of the city now zoned medium density residential, high density residential and residential/limited business.

•Creating a specific zoning ordinance section that permits urban gardens on vacant lots in medium density residential, high density residential and residential/limited business areas, and making market gardens a “special exception” on vacant lots on those same districts.

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April 14, 2017   No Comments

An Innovative Micro Farm at Restaurant in Brooklyn

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Olmsted restaurant mini-farm. Click on image for larger file.

A pair of quails, mascots of sorts for Olmsted, watch over the garden and provide eggs.

By Annie Quigley
Gardenista
September 15, 2016
(Must see. Mike)

Excerpt:

A buzzy new restaurant in Brooklyn is condensing today’s biggest food trends (farm-to-table, sustainability, no-waste) into a tiny backyard garden. At Olmsted, named for the famous landscape architect who designed nearby Prospect Park, chef Greg Baxtrom (formerly at Per Se and Blue Hill at Stone Barns) and farmer Ian Rothman (the former horticulturist at New York’s Atera restaurant) have cultivated a self-sustaining micro-farm—complete with an aquaponics system in a clawfoot bathtub. Plus: The space transforms into an oasis in which to sip garden-fresh cocktails, every dish on the menu is under $24, and a donation is made to nonprofit GrowNYC for every meal eaten. Here, a look inside this clever kitchen garden.

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April 14, 2017   No Comments

Growing produce in space is closer than we think

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Chuck Spern, a project engineer with Vencore on the Engineering Services Contract, removes a base tray containing zinnias from a controlled environment chamber in the Space Station Processing Facility at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Flowering plants will help scientists learn more about growing crops for deep-space missions and NASA’s journey to Mars. (NASA/Bill White)

“The patent for using LEDs to grow plants was developed through NASA-funded research, and this was in 1990”

By Torah Kachur,
CBC News
Apr 06, 2017

Excerpt:

Generally pretty small at this point. The ISS has a 0.15-square-metre growth chamber. Clearly not enough to feed them, but enough to look at the feasibility of upscaling it.

The reality is the growth chambers that may one day exist on the moon or on Mars aren’t that much different from what we already see on Earth. In particular, hydroponics have been a huge focus of space-farmers.

[Read more →]

April 13, 2017   No Comments

Urban farm in Victoria, BC, expands, hopes to grow 10,000 lbs of produce

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Click on image for larger file.

Topsoil’s new space includes 15,000 square feet to grow fresh produce and offers more sun exposure.

CTV Vancouver Island
April 7, 2017

Excerpt:

The local food producer works with chefs in Victoria at the beginning of the season and customizes what it grows based on what the chefs need.

The founder of the business says the open site allows them to operate in full transparency.

[Read more →]

April 13, 2017   Comments Off on Urban farm in Victoria, BC, expands, hopes to grow 10,000 lbs of produce

A Brooklyn Rooftop, condo owners will be able to sign up for plots to harvest edible crops

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Under construction.

Rooftop view of 550 Vanderbilt in Brooklyn, where tenants will be able to grow crops. Photo: Peter J. Smith For The Wall Street Journal

Do-it-yourself farmers who can afford condos priced at an average of $1,500 a square foot, with one-bedroom units starting at $890,000 and two-bedrooms at $1.495 million.

By Josh Barbanel
Wall St Journal
April 5, 2017

Excerpts:

On a large south-facing terrace on the eighth floor of 550 Vanderbilt Ave., an 18-story brick and concrete building near the Barclays Center in downtown Brooklyn, crews are erecting three large metal boxes and filling them with soil suitable for high-altitude farming.

Condo owners will be able to sign up for a small plot to grow their own vegetables there, alongside Ian Rothman, a farmer and co-owner of Olmsted, a trendy farm-to-table restaurant a few blocks away.

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April 12, 2017   Comments Off on A Brooklyn Rooftop, condo owners will be able to sign up for plots to harvest edible crops

New York’s New School students research rooftop urban gardens

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Green Roof Ecology is an undergraduate course at The New School that partners with Brooklyn Grange and Vice Media.

New School News
Apr 5, 2017

Excerpt:

In 2014, Vice Media, having just moved into its their new offices in Williamsburg, worked with Brooklyn Grange to turn their expansive rooftop into a vegetable garden for their employees to enjoy.

From the beautiful scenery to the delicious vegetables, the perks of Vice’s rooftop urban farm seem fairly obviously. But what benefits might this green infrastructure have to the broader environment?

[Read more →]

April 12, 2017   Comments Off on New York’s New School students research rooftop urban gardens