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Baltimore Combats Food Deserts With Urban Farming Tax Break

welc
Councilman William “Pete” Welch drafted the bill.

The tax break’s greatest benefit is its potential to clean, fill, and beautify the city, which she expects will restore the economic health and confidence both of Baltimore and of its residents.

By Julianne Tveten
Seedstock
15 June 2015

Excerpt:

Urban farmers in the city of Baltimore will soon qualify for a 90 percent property tax break under a bill recently approved by Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake. The move, which is the latest in a series of tax-break initiatives for city growers seen in areas like San Francisco and Washington, D.C., is intended to bolster local production of healthy food.

Drafted by Councilman William “Pete” Welch, the bill, which will likely go into effect next month, gives a tax credit to farmers who make at least $5,000 per year selling crops and raise no more than five acres of land.

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June 27, 2015   No Comments

Oslo creates world’s first ‘highway’ to protect endangered bees

oslo

Norway’s capital is creating a route filled with flowers and ‘green roofs’ to protect endangered pollinators essential to food production

Agence France-Presse
via The Guardian
25 June 2015

Excerpt:

From flower-emblazoned cemeteries to rooftop gardens and balconies, Norway’s capital Oslo is creating a “bee highway” to protect endangered pollinators essential to food production.

“We are constantly reshaping our environment to meet our needs, forgetting that other species also live in it,” Agnes Lyche Melvaer, head of the Bybi, an environmental group supporting urban bees, which is leading the project.

“To correct that we need to return places to them to live and feed,” she explained, sitting on a bench in a lush city centre square bursting with early Nordic summer growth.

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June 27, 2015   No Comments

Here’s what better relations with the US mean for city farms in Cuba

ubausCuba has a unique and highly productive agricultural system in the cities and on the fringes of suburbia. Javier Ignacio Acuña Ditzel/Flickr

Both farmers and the Cuban government will need to work out how to resist international market pressures. Otherwise the unique, productive model of Cuban urban and peri-urban agriculture may disappear.

By Julia Wright
Senior Research Fellow, Agroecological Futures at Coventry University
By Emily Morris
Research Associate, Institute of the Americas, UCL at UCL
The Conversation
June 18, 2015

Excerpt:

However, two factors protect the Cuban urban agriculture model.

The first is that it has become well-established. Farmers understand and have committed to agroecological principles, at least in urban and peri-urban zones. On the government side, the model has proven it can achieve development priorities and is enshrined in policy.

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June 26, 2015   No Comments

Beecher, Michigan urban farmer bringing dream of organic market to life

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Plans to open an organic market, after acquiring the vacant property at 5362 N. Saginaw Street, near the intersection of Princeton Avenue. King said some outdoor vending will be open in a few weeks. Jake May | MLive.com

King purchased the building for about $3,000

By Sarah Schuch
Mlive
June 17, 2015

Excerpt:

King started Harvesting Earth eight years ago in vacant lots on Princeton Avenue. He now has multiple properties next to each other with three hoop houses growing produce, like tomatoes, kale, peppers and strawberries.

In 2013, it became the first urban farm in Genesee County to be certified organic.

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June 26, 2015   No Comments

Urban Bee Farming Becoming Popular in Seoul

beekorUrban bee farming is a mark of an improved city environment, as bees can only survive in habitats abundant with trees and flowers. (image: Urban Bees Seoul)

Researchers can also learn more about a city’s air quality by examining the number of bees in the city.

Korea Bizwire
June 17, 2015

Excerpt:

Seoul is housing more beehives as citizens are increasingly interested in the unique experience of bee farming.

A citizen school for bee farming has seen its second term students this year, and apiaries can now be found on the roofs of Seoul’s UNESCO building, a building around Yangjae Station, a Seoul University building and a building on Nodeul Island.

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June 25, 2015   No Comments

Elementary kids dig weeklong camp about urban farming, food in Cedar Rapids

kidsfKenyon Sales (from left), 10; Chaley Brinkman, 10; Aiden Christiansen, 9; and Eli Jennings, 11, pull weeds in a future salsa garden during day camp in the Matthew 25 Urban Farm.

Other activities include learning about growing food, creating healthy soil, composting, and creating outdoor art.

By Katy Stites
KCRG-TV9
June 16, 2015

Excerpt:

Elementary aged kids are learning about local foods this week. As a part of a weeklong summer camp hosted by Matthew 25, a local non-profit, the kids are getting their hands dirty with planting and picking. They spend most of the week on an urban farm near downtown Cedar Rapids.

“There’s different kinds, bigger and smaller, and it’s just fun to try different foods,” fourth-grader Logan Liddiard said.

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June 25, 2015   No Comments

Baltimore’s Urban Pastoral plans hydroponic rooftop ‘vertical farming’ facility

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The Urban Pastoral team showcased their vertical growing system on the Johns Hopkins campus over alumni weekend.

The first visible step of progress will be a greenhouse designed from a shipping container, intended to supply food to local restauranteurs as well as Bon Appétit.

By Katie Pearce
HUB
June 16, 2015

Excerpt:

Ultimately, Reidy intends to fulfill his original vision for a commercial-scale urban farming facility that he says could produce more than 300,000 pounds of greens and herbs in Baltimore each year—”enough to feed an entire school system, or an entire hospital.”

To do this, the team will need a rooftop with more than 20,000 square feet to build upon. Urban Pastoral is currently exploring two options: the old Hoen Lithograph factory in East Baltimore, and the former Gwynns Falls Park Junior High School building in West Baltimore, which the Green Street Academy charter school is expected to move into this fall.

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June 24, 2015   No Comments

There are at least 13 rooftop farms in Chicago

The Chicago Botanic Garden has planted a 20,000 square-foot vegetable and herb garden, the largest in the Midwest, at McCormick Place West.

By Paulina Firozi
Chicago Tribune
June 15, 2015

Excerpt:

After a trip to Germany, former Mayor Richard M. Daley returned with a mission to turn Chicago into a green-movement leader and installed the city’s first green roof atop City Hall in 2000.

In the years since, green roofs have gotten a lot of attention, and Chicago has been recognized as one of the leaders in North America. The city has more than 5.5 million square feet on more than 500 rooftops, Strazzabosco said.

But even that is still a small number. Those 500 green roofs represent a little less than one-tenth of 1 percent of Chicago’s more than half a million buildings. In Germany, experts said in 2010 that 15 to 20 percent of the flat roofs in the country were green.

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June 24, 2015   No Comments

San Francisco’s Groundbreaking Urban Agriculture Program Turns One

safr

There’s a common misconception that you can’t grow food in San Francisco—that it’s too urban, or this or that. That’s absolutely not true.

By Brie Mazurek, CUESA
KQED
June 13, 2015

Excerpt:

CUESA: Tell us about the Urban Agriculture Program and how it’s developed over the last year.

Hannah Shulman: In 2012, people in San Francisco wanted there to be one place where they could get all the information they needed on urban agriculture, everything from where to get materials to build your garden to how to get a permit to build a garden on your property. We are now in 2015, our one-year anniversary.

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June 23, 2015   No Comments

Urban gardening in Cuba: Vivero Alamar – Havana’s largest City Garden

I shot the video in one day during a press trip to Cuba organized by the German NGO Welthungerhilfe. The NGO has supported the City Garden featured in the video for more than ten years.

Video and text by Roland Brockmann
2015

I visited the city garden of Alamar in Havana a short time after the handshake between Barack Obama and Raul Castro. Therefore one of the goals of my visit was to find out how Cubans farmers see the new political climate between the US and Cuba. What are their hopes and worries?

Miguel Lopez, the president of the cooperative, was very positive about the political convergence. “This process of opening up is important for Cuba.” he said. “There’s a global community and we’re going to be joining it now.”

Because the garden produce is strictly organic, Lopez was especially excited about the opportunity of exporting organic food to nearby Florida. He wasn’t worried about the risk of cheap produce destroying the domestic market.

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June 23, 2015   No Comments

Grow: Stories from the Urban Food Movement

stori

This book is dedicated to everyone who is strengthening the soil and rebuilding the world one meal at a time.

By Stephen Grace
Bangtail Press
June 1, 2015

What do a rapper, a returned soldier, a reformed gangster, a grandmother, a petroleum geologist, a bestselling author, and a microchip engineer have in common? They are all wresting control of food from an industrial system responsible for a plague of poor personal and planetary health. Stephen Grace embarks on a journey of discovery to understand what motivates these urbanites working to reinvent the way we feed ourselves.

From the driver of a repurposed garbage truck healing the soil to a guerrilla gardener bombing the city with seeds, a cast of extraordinary characters emerges as Grace makes his way into the heart of a revolution. He discovers that food can be a means to tackle some of our most pressing problems, from youth crime to the healthcare crisis, from resource depletion to climate change.

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June 22, 2015   No Comments

North Richmond Farm in Richmond, California

Draft Conceptual Design Animation for Urban Tilth

By Urban Tilth
31 Maine Ave
Richmond, CA 94804

Excerpt:

Roots and Restoration Farm will feature North Richmond’s only fresh fruit & vegetable produce market stand, community kitchen, an amphitheater, outdoor garden and creek classrooms, egg farm, working urban farm providing fresh fruits and vegetables through a youth run Farm Stand and CSA (community Supported Agriculture) project, a Watershed Restoration Technician training program creating meaningful employment opportunities for North Richmond residents.

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June 22, 2015   No Comments

Roseville, California urban farmer takes plight to the city

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Roseville urban farmer Tyler Stowers works the crops on his property.

Roseville’s current zoning ordinances allow for “a non-residential business activity carried on within a dwelling by its inhabitants … that does not change the character of the surrounding residential area by generating more traffic or storage of materials than would normally be expected in a residential zone.”…

By Jorden P. Hales
Press Tribune
June 13, 2015

Excerpt:

“I never expected to be talking to city councils,” said Stowers, a UC Berkley graduate who recently appeared at Roseville City Hall to give statements on how the city’s ordinances pertain to urban farming — not to mention the sale of crops produced by it.

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June 21, 2015   No Comments

Greenhouse Project Classrooms in New York Give Students Hands On Experience With Conservation

Students are growing more than 9,000 lbs of vegetables a year

By Cindy Hsu
CBS2
June 12, 2015

Excerpt:

At the hydroponic greenhouse at Manhattan School for Children on the Upper West Side, students are growing more than 9,000 lbs of vegetables a year, using no soil, no pesticides, and only rainwater.

“It’s called VIG, vertically integrated growing,” 7th grader Equem Roel said.

It’s a way to grow plants using less water, space, and energy.

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June 21, 2015   No Comments

Urban Farming Is Booming, But What Does It Really Yield?

edible

The benefits of city-based agriculture go far beyond nutrition.

By Elizabeth Royte
Ensia and the Food & Environment Reporting Network
Apr 27, 2015
Elizabeth Royte is the author of three critically acclaimed books; her writing on science and the environment has appeared in Harper’s, National Geographic, Outside, The New York Times Magazine and other national publications.

Excerpt:

FarmedHere, the nation’s largest player in controlled environment agriculture (CEA) pumps out roughly a million pounds (500,000 kg) per year of baby salad greens, basil and mint in its 90,000-square-foot (8,000-square-meter) warehouse on the industrial outskirts of Chicago. Like many hydroponic or aquaponic operations (in which water from fish tanks nourishes plants, which filter the water before it’s returned to the fish), the farm has a futuristic feel — all glowing lights and stainless steel. Employees wear hairnets and nitrile gloves. But without interference from weather, insects or even too many people, the farm quickly and reliably fulfills year-round contracts with local supermarkets, including nearly 50 Whole Foods Markets.

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June 20, 2015   No Comments