New Stories From 'Urban Agriculture Notes'

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Dreaded Viper bite for those working the land in India

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A Russell’s viper in Pune, India.

Letter describing a bite on the toe

By Venkat Iyer
City Farmers Yahoo Group in India
Aug. 30, 2014

Anyone who lives in a village or works the land will always have the dread of one event. There is always a silent prayer hoping that the dreaded event never happens in ones family or on ones field. Well, for the last ten years at the farm, in-spite of a few close encounters the event had not occurred. On the fateful day of 14th August destiny decided to test us. Yes the dreaded event of a snake bite finally happened at the farm.

Baban and me were cleaning the fence of creepers and other sundry stuff when we decided to take a break for a cup of tea. As we walked back to the house he went a little away to tie the bull to another chikoo tree. Just as I reached the back porch of the house, I heard a painful scream from Baban and the next minute he was running towards the house yelling that something had bitten him. He was sweating profusely and I calmed him down, gave him a glass of water and shooted off towards the chikoo tree to see what had bitten him.

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September 11, 2014   No Comments

Urban farming fuss: Dearborn, Michigan project exposes challenges of growing local

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Maureen McIlrath and Andrew Gertz both of Dearborn, tour the Crowley Park Sustainable Farm in their neighborhood on July 24, 2014. McIlrath runs the farm, which has endured funding and volunteer problems, and Gertz is one of her more respectful Facebook critics. Photo by Robert Allen/Detroit Free Press.

Because of problems setting up a reliable water source this season, she wasn’t able to rent out plots behind the fencing as she had previously.

By Robert Allen
Detroit Free Press
Sept 1, 2014

Excerpt:

“You really have to know what you’re doing or have a support network in order to be successful,” she said, adding that “you really have to have the support of the people around you, most importantly the neighbors.”

McIlrath said people have thrown dog feces over the fence. Some have cut the fence and sneaked in. She works as an insurance agent and said that the attacks have even stretched to e-mails deriding her to professional contacts — and she’s about to take legal action against a few of them.

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September 10, 2014   No Comments

100 Fruits and Vegetables Balanced on Dog’s Head in 100 Seconds

Took hundreds of biscuits and four months to film

Cute Dog Maymo balances 100 different fruits & vegetables on his head in 100 seconds. Taking hundreds of biscuits and four months to film (as well as some inspiration from Irish hat designer Philip Treacy), here is the finished video of Maymo the lemon beagle balancing 100 colorful fruits & vegetables on his head. Some of the items are styled to look like hats and others to look downright ridiculous on Maymo, who waits patiently for his biscuit which dangles just slightly off camera.

September 10, 2014   No Comments

Steel grate urban farming classroom by Colorado building workshop

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The orientation of the volume allows for views into the space by staff sitting in their office, while simultaneously offering privacy for those inside of the classroom.

Students: Shawn Adams, Brandon Bain, Kristin Bevis, Mike Blea, Joe Coleman, Amr Fayez, John Gibbons, James Hart, Jeremy Jones, Amy Keil, Maeve Kinsey, Dj Kornmeyer, Breton Lujan, Kendra Matrician, Paul Mitchell, Jack Tipton
Faculty: Rick Sommerfeld, Craig Cherry
Structural Engineer: Andy Paddock
Designboom
Sept 2014

In lakewood, colorado, an urban farming classroom has been completed by colorado building workshop – a design build program for graduate students entering their final year at CU-denver. located adjacent to the state’s newest lightrail line, the outdoor learning facility is intended to educate local residents on the topic of city-based agriculture.

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September 9, 2014   No Comments

10 Great Urban Agriculture Projects in San Antonio

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Local Sprout is an urban farm on the Eastside of San Antonio.

The San Antonio Housing Authority Gardens are located at 11 housing complexes around the city

By Nora Kako
Foodtank
Aug 30, 2014

Excerpt:

1. The Children’s Hospital of San Antonio is currently planting an urban farm around First Children’s Hospital as part of a new program designed to educate children and residents about nutrition. The gardens will be adjacent to the Hospital Teaching Kitchen, which will offer nutrition cooking courses taught by the Culinary Institute of America. The vegetables and herbs grown in the gardens will be used in the teaching kitchen and dining area of the hospital.

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September 9, 2014   No Comments

Two week course: From home gardens to agro-parks: working towards resilient agrifood systems serving densely populated areas

Woman with a basket of beans in vegetable garden Pieter de Hooch - 1651
Woman with a basket of beans in vegetable garden. By Pieter de Hooch – 1651. Click on image for larger file.

Food security in an urbanising society

Organised by Wageningen UR Centre for Development Innovation
Date Mon 9 March 2015 until Fri 20 March 2015

Excerpt:

Due to continuing rural-urban migration, over 50% of the world’s population now lives in densely populated urban areas. They rely heavily on all sorts of markets for their daily food needs. These are supplied through overstressed, complex agro-logistical networks often at risk of failure. This course focuses on how rural production and urban market systems can be integrated such that urban dwellers can be assured better access to adequate quantities of nutritious food while sustaining the viability of the production areas.

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September 9, 2014   No Comments

FAO publication – Manual ‘A vegetable garden for all’

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Graphical interface makes an easy read for all

2014 FAO 5th Edition
260 pages
(Must See. Mike)

A Vegetable Garden for All is a self-instruction manual in family horticultural production, prepared originally by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations Regional Office for Latin America and the Caribbean, in support of the Technical Cooperation Network for Food Production.

The objective of this manual is to present a technology suitable for family horticultural production and consumption. It is a manual for small-scale farmers, school teachers, children, and urban and peri-urban families with access to small plots of land. Better nutrition and better incomes can be achieved through families working in horticultural production.

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September 8, 2014   No Comments

A gardening effort in Camden, N.J., brings fresh food to New Jersey’s biggest food desert

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The Esperanza Community Garden in North Camden. Photo by Michael Morgan. Click on image for larger file.

We have about 130 gardens and yet there are about 12,000 abandoned lots in the city, including 4,000 city-owned abandoned lots that are there for the taking.

By Lynda McCullough
Food Tank
Aug. 29, 2014

Excerpt:

In 2008, when the economy melted down, people in Camden, which is one of the poorest cities per capita in the nation, faced tougher times than most. We’re the worst food desert in New Jersey and one of the nine worst in the country, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). A lot of people started to come to us about starting a community garden to help get fresh food and save on their grocery bills. We went from about 30 community gardens in 2008 to over 130 today; according to the University of Pennsylvania, which is partnering with us on the USDA’s Community Food Project grant, about 15 percent of the population of the city gets some of its fresh produce from our program.

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September 8, 2014   No Comments

Integrating Urban Farms into the Social Landscape of Cities

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Recommendations for Strengthening the Relationship Between Urban Farms and Local Communities

By Melissa N. Poulsen, MPH & Marie L. Spiker, MSPH, RD Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
With illustrations by Alex Winch July 2014
44 pages
(Must read. Mike)

Executive Summary:

In cities across the U.S., urban farming is gaining traction as a way of productively using degraded vacant land while increasing access to fresh produce within cities. As urban farming continues to be promoted by municipal governments and others, it is important to understand how to ensure these projects are viable. One consideration for urban farms located in populated areas of a city is the reaction of residents who live in neighborhoods surrounding farms. Urban farms differ from urban gardens in their emphasis on income-generating agricultural activity. As such, they can challenge traditional images residents might have for how land is used in city neighborhoods. Urban farming projects are most likely to survive and thrive if they have local support, but how can these projects gain community buy-in? Through interviews with urban farmers, neighborhood leaders, community residents, and other key stakeholders in Baltimore City, we sought to understand the processes that are most effective for gaining the acceptance of city residents for urban farming.

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September 7, 2014   No Comments

On The Pitfalls Of Urban Food Production

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The desire to make urban agricultural a viable commercial reality distracts from more serious issues such as international trade barriers and counterproductive domestic agricultural subsidies.

By Pierre Desrochers
New Geography
09/06/2014
Pierre Desrochers Associate Professor of Geography at the University of Toronto and co-author of The Locavore’s Dilemma. In Praise of the 10,000-mile Diet, PublicAffairs, 2012.
(Must read. Mike)

Excerpts:

Pitfall #1: Urban land is too valuable to be devoted profitably to food production

Pitfall #2: The productions costs of vertical farming are prohibitive

Pitfall #3: Undervaluing wholesalers and retailers

Pitfall #4: An urban location does not keep agricultural pests at bay

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September 7, 2014   No Comments

Director-general of UN Food and Agriculture Organisation visits Singapore – Sees vertical farms and discusses urban agriculture

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Minister for National Development Khaw Boon Wan met with Mr José Graziano da Silva, Director-General of the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations, uring his inaugural official visit to Singapore.

“Commercial indoor and rooftop vegetable farms are opening and other urban and peri-urban agricultural initiatives are taking shape.”

By L Jessica
AsiaOne
Sep 05, 2014

Excerpts:

Mr Graziano da Silva visited progressive local farms such as Sky Greens and Swee Chioh Fishery, which make use of technology to maximise productivity and land efficiency.

During the visit, Singapore affirmed intent to collaborate with FAO on joint projects to boost food security and food safety in Singapore and the region, such as vertical farming in a land-scarce urban environment, and the attachment of Singapore expertise to FAO.

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September 6, 2014   No Comments

Tabuk City farmers in the Philippines get 6,000 coconut seedlings

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Coconut Seedlings and City Plant Nursery in Toledo City.

Coconut has a ten year period from the time of planting before the return of investment is seen.

By Larry Lopez
Philippine Information Agency
28th of August 2014

TABUK CITY, Kalinga, Aug. 28 (PIA) – – Farmers of Tabuk City recently received 6,000 seedlings from the Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) in a bid to develop the looming coconut industry here.

City Agriculturist Gilbert Cawis reported the city expects another 11,000 seeds from PCA eyed to be distributed to potential coconut-producing barangays in Tabuk.

The City Agriculturist Office has intensified its campaign on coconut farming with the wide undeveloped farm lands in the 42 barangays of the city.

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September 6, 2014   No Comments

Chicago’s urban farms have yet to harvest sustainable jobs, better health

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Chicago City Farm. Photo by Mike/Flickr.

A handful of programs have flourished but several others have withered on the vine.

By Monica Eng
WBEZ
August 27, 2014

Excerpt:

Chicago’s urban farming movement has always held out the promise of sustainable employment. But more than a decade after it first took root, why aren’t there more well-paying jobs?

“Thats not realistic,” says Angela Mason the director of Botanic’s Windy City Harvest, which trains ex-offenders in agricultural skills as a path toward employment. “Our intention in launching the incubator program, and what most family farms do now, is [provide] supplemental income. It’s not their only income. A lot of people romanticize farming but that’s very challenging in this day and age. We don’t support local food in a way that makes it economically viable for a person to go out and only farm for a living.”

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September 5, 2014   Comments Off

Espaces et sociétés: ‘Agriculture et ville’

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n° 158, 2014/3, Pages: 232

“L’engouement actuel pour les jardins partagés, les fermes urbaines, les circuits-courts alimentaires, témoignent en Europe et aux États-Unis d’un lien agriculture et ville en renouvellement. Or ce dernier pose nombre de questions relatives à l’évolution des pratiques, à l’organisation productive, l’aménagement, etc. Ce dossier analyse la manière dont ce lien se manifeste et les enjeux qu’il soulève en Europe, avec une mise en perspective à partir de cas des pays du Sud.

L’objectif des textes réunis dans ce numéro d’Espaces et Sociétés est de rendre compte de la diversité des enjeux que porte l’articulation renouvelée entre ville et agriculture. Le dossier se compose de six articles scientifiques, et d’une interview croisée de chercheurs reconnus portant sur le thème du dossier.”

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September 5, 2014   Comments Off

Urban Farming Is ‘Not’ Making San Francisco’s Housing Crisis Worse

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Community agriculture can improve vacant lots—and it won’t stop anyone from building housing.

By Eli Zigas
City Lab
Sep 4, 2014

Excerpt:

The law does not discourage anyone who wants to build from building. Instead, San Francisco’s urban-agriculture incentive zone program targets land that is unlikely to be developed in the near future. This includes sites that are oddly shaped, not well-suited for development, or where the owner (for personal or business reasons) does not intend to put up a building anytime soon. If a property owner wants to build housing or an office building on their vacant lot, they’ll make far more money developing the land then they would from the property tax savings they would receive for committing it to urban agricultural use for five years.

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September 5, 2014   Comments Off