New Stories From 'Urban Agriculture Notes'

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Students across Canada use “space” tomato seeds to investigate the effects of outer space on seed germination

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The award-winning Tomatosphere™ program has engaged more than three million students since its inception in 2001.

From their website.

Excerpt:

In the spring, participating classrooms receive two packages of tomato seeds. One package contains seeds sent into space or treated in space-simulated conditions. The other contains untreated “control” seeds. Students plant the seeds and conduct experiments to explore the effects of the space environment on the germination of tomatoes. Through Tomatosphere™, students learn how to conduct a scientific experiment and compare the number of seeds that germinate for the two groups of seeds.

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June 18, 2017   No Comments

What makes urban food policy happen? Insights from five case studies

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Nairobi (Kenya): Enabling Urban Agriculture Thanks To Constitutional Change And Civil Society Activism.
and
Detroit (USA): Obtaining new powers to regulate and promote urban agriculture.

Lead authors: Corinna Hawkes and Jess Halliday
By the International Panel of Experts on Sustainable Food Systems (IPES-Food).
2017

Excerpts:

2. Nairobi (Kenya): Enabling Urban Agriculture Thanks To Constitutional Change And Civil Society Activism.

As in many East African cities, urban agriculture has been a fixture of life for many poor resi-dents of Nairobi since the late 1970s and 1980s. Yet for many years the city government was vigorously opposed to it, and farmers’ efforts to feed their families were regularly disrupted by law enforcers on public health and land ownership grounds.

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June 18, 2017   No Comments

China: Shanghai’s first urban farm at an open community

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Residents at Anshan No.4 Village place green plants in the community farm Baicaoyuan Garden. — Mao Xinhui

Children see the constant change of the fruits and vegetables everyday which is not available elsewhere,” Liu added.

By Huang Jianjian and Li Xinran
Shanghai Daily
June 13, 2017

Excerpt:

A small piece of farmland hiding on a rooftop, at a residential quarter or surrounded by tall buildings, is not only for urbanites to retain their nostalgia but also an organic way to open and comfort people’s minds.

It varies from time to time whether rice paddy, vegetables, fragrant herbs are the best choice to be planted in the soil of downtown. A mini farm featuring a pond, blue iris and a variety of aquatic plants was displayed in Yangpu, during a recent urban farm exhibition. A small herbal garden with chamomile, mint and basil was also exhibited during the event at the Knowledge & Innovation Community Garden.

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June 17, 2017   No Comments

One community garden at a time: how New Yorkers are fighting for food justice

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We didn’t call it food justice before – we called it survival.’ Photograph: Edward Helmore for the Guardian.

Tanya Fields’ Libertad Urban Farm joins a city-wide movement to redistribute resources to poor communities that are systemically deprived of healthy food

By Edward Helmore
The Guardian
12 June 2017

Excerpt:

For the past three summers, Tanya Fields produced a veritable cornucopia of fruits and vegetables at the Libertad Urban Farm in the South Bronx. But then disaster struck: “We got burglarized three times by a crackhead. He took everything. The pears, the grill – anything he thought had value. He knocked down the shed, destroyed the tomato vines and stole the eggplant.”

These difficulties are surely a setback, but they have not dulled Fields’ commitment to the issues of food justice and food equality, an emerging aim of community-focused activism across the US sometimes described as “communities exercising their right to grow, sell, and eat healthy food”.

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June 17, 2017   No Comments

Israel: Ultra-Orthodox kids grow a green thumb in ‘mitzvah’ gardens

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The gardens, like this one in Modiin Ilit on March 22, 2017, follow the commandment of kilayim, which requires that each species is planted a certain distance from the other. (Melanie Lidman/Times of Israel)

“We’re in a city, we’re not in a moshav or village where we’re exposed to the ideas of orchards and gardens,” Rivkie added.

By Melanie Lidman
The Times of Israel
June 11, 2017

Excerpt:

Families have also gotten into the spirit of the garden. As a year-end gift, Rivkie gave each student a mint plant to grow at home and use for the end-of-Shabbat Havdalah service, which makes use of a pleasant-smelling herb. Rivkie said one girl’s family grew so much mint they gave cuttings to their relatives, and now the whole extended family uses their own mint.

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June 16, 2017   No Comments

Urban farming reaches new heights at 49ers’ Levi’s Stadium, Santa Clara, California

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Emily Saeger, full-time gardener at Faithful Farms, harvests produce to send downstairs to the Levi’s Stadium kitchens. (Courtesy Isha Salian)

The Atlanta Falcons are following suit with a raised-bed garden of their own. Boston’s Fenwick Park set up a rooftop garden in 2015, and San Francisco’s AT&T Park boasts a vegetable garden behind center field.

By Isha Salian
The Mercury News
June 10, 2017

Excerpt:

Taken together, the unexpected confluence of professional sports and organic gardening signals just how far the sustainability conversation reaches — but also accentuates the role corporate patronage plays in enabling green urban design. Authentic local food production and energy savings aside, these gourmet, microgreen-rich enterprises are a far cry from the gritty, empty lot urban farms that defined the urban agriculture movement for the last two generations.

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June 16, 2017   No Comments

Musician ‘Prince’ Generously Supported Urban Agriculture

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Taja Sevelle is an advocate for urban farming in Detroit but that’s after her musical career was touched by Prince.

Taja Sevelle: “We would be down to $2 and get a call. He’s sending some money. He donated part of his perfume sales. He did a concert in New York. He just had a big heart, you know.”

Fox 2
Apr 21, 2016

Excerpt:

“He helped urban farming, you know. He saw the vision. We talked to Paisley, and he saw the big vision because he’s a big visionary and he really wanted the world to love each other and you know that’s what, that’s what I’m about. That’s what my music’s about. That’s what my work with urban farming is about. I saw all this unused land in the city and I had lived on a farm for three years and I thought why are people struggling to eat when we can plant food on this land

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June 15, 2017   No Comments

Singapore: Turf wars in community gardens

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The locked community garden at 552, Serangoon North Ave 3, has forced some residents to grow their own plants outside their flats and on other plots of land in the estate:ST Photo: Rachel Au-Yong.

The RC had asked Mr Tan Thean Teng, 73, to stop dispensing medical advice along with his herbs, as well as to involve more immediate neighbours in gardening.

By Rachel Au-Yong and Camillia Deborah Dass
The Straits Times
June 10, 2017

Excerpt:

Illegal for unregistered person to practise TCM

The Ministry of Health has made clear that only registered practitioners can carry out traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) practices, such as the prescription of herbal medicine for treatment.

It sent this statement in response to queries from The Straits Times, following a recent case of a veteran community gardener whom residents approached for herbs with medicinal properties. He would give them the herbs from the community garden in Jurong West, along with medical advice.

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June 15, 2017   No Comments

Nature’s Path 8th annual funding program – Three $15,000 grants available in 2017

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USA and Canada: Submit your application by June 23rd at 11:59 AM PST

2016 Winners

Occupy Madison Village Gardens: Providing safety, shelter and respect to people without stable housing, OM village consists of tiny (99 sq foot) homes, a community garden, and a shared lifestyle of practicing sustainability. The community garden not only provides nourishing organic food to residents, it is a tool to build community and education across socioeconomic divides.

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June 14, 2017   No Comments

UK: From Forgotten London WWII Tunnels To Urban Farm: Q&A With Growing Underground

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Micro greens up close. Photo from Growing Underground.

We’re using food as something to break down barriers and engage in your local community, rather than just being a producer in the middle of nowhere

By Brittany Lane
Unreasonable
Jan 26, 2017

Excerpt:

When you discovered the tunnels, do you remember realizing the potential opportunity here? What did that feel like?

S: I remember the phone call to the guy at Transport for London when I said we want to meet and rent your tunnels. He was like, “You can’t do a nightclub.” We said we don’t want to; we want to build a farm. And I think at that point he was like, what? He literally came out a couple of days later and met us. They were really forward thinking and supportive.

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June 14, 2017   No Comments

Canada: Burnaby Allotment Garden Founder – Remembering Frank Aiello

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Frank Aiello in June 2002. Aiello died on March 20 of this year. He was a founding member of the Burnaby and Regional Allotment Garden Association (BARAGA), a large community garden with 372 plots located in south Burnaby. Photograph contributed.

“I miss his quiet generosity,” Heidi Rose said. “I miss the fountain of knowledge, his gardening advice so softly given to this novice gardener.

By Monica Jones, a gardener at BARAGA
Burnaby Now
June 8, 2017

Excerpt:

Born in Amato, Italy in 1925, Frank immigrated to Canada to make a new life. During the last three decades of his life, chances are you would find him working on one of his family’s plots in the northwest corner of BARAGA.

“Frank was friendly and welcoming when Larry and I moved to the plot next to his in 1994,” recounted Joan Campana. “He would often come over to where I was weeding and we’d visit for a few moments – or longer, if I could get him to tell a story. He was always ready to answer gardening questions.”

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June 14, 2017   No Comments

The Woman Hobby Farmer

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Female Perspectives on Farming Challenges and Solutions

By Karen Lanier
CompanionHouse Press.
Forthcoming Sept 2017

Hobby farming is alive and thriving in urban, semi-rural, suburban, and rural areas across the country, and female farmers have been cited as the fastest growing sector within the farming community in recent years. With more than 1 million women in the United States and Canada describing farming as their primary source of income, and many more for whom hobby farming is just that—a hobby—the time is right for a publication dedicated to hobby farming from a female perspective.

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June 13, 2017   No Comments

Brazil: Urban and Peri-Urban Agriculture, and the Growth of Community Gardens in Rio de Janeiro

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In the case of Rio de Janeiro, even while living in a tropical country blessed with lush vegetation, few have the ability to enjoy the nature around them.

By Juliana Torres
Rioonwatch
June 8, 2017

Excerpt:

The project Hortas Cariocas, created by the City of Rio de Janeiro, invests in urban agriculture and already administers over 30 gardens implemented in public spaces (17 of which are located in schools) in various favelas across the city. The urban farms distribute half of their crops to neighborhood schools and to low-income families identified by the local Residents’ Association. The other half is sold and the profits divided amongst the workers, who are exclusively former prison inmates.

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June 13, 2017   No Comments

Refugee farmer puts down Halifax roots

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Data Ram Humagai is the first employee of Common Roots Urban Farm that emerged from the Deep Roots program.

“I learned how to grow in different seasons because it’s very cold compared to my home country,” said Humagai.

By Ben Cousins
Herald News
June 7, 2017

Excerpt:

Humagai is originally from Bhutan, a small country just west of Nepal, where he honed his craft as a farmer. From there, Humagai moved to a refugee camp in Nepal where he worked on a much smaller garden.

“My life was very difficult in the (refugee camp) compared to now in Canada,” he said through a translator.

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June 13, 2017   No Comments

Brooklyn ‘Square Roots’ startup aims to feed an urban world

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Peggs estimates that farmers take home between $30,000 and $40,000 total by the end of the year.

By Melissa Fares
Reuters
June 6, 2017

Excerpt:

Nabeela Lakhani, 23, said reading “Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All-American Meal” in high school inspired her to change the food system.

Three nights per week, Lakhani assumes the role of resident chef at a market-to-table restaurant in lower Manhattan.

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June 12, 2017   No Comments