New Stories From 'Urban Agriculture Notes'

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Inside Lost Boys Acre, New Brighton’s ‘Experimental Urban Farm’ – Minnesota

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Courtney Morton gets some cherrie tomatoes from Kristie Kellis.

The farm is reinventing an old barter-based model – and ruffling a few feathers along the way.

By Kim Palmer
Vita-Mn
9/17/2014

Excerpt:

The Lost Boys farmers hope to do more than fill fridges and stock pantries: They’re on a mission to sow change, by teaching and encouraging others to forge a closer connection to the food they eat.

They visit schools, host interns and march in parades, wearing their Lost Boys T-shirts. Many urban dwellers don’t have a clue how to produce their own food, Kristie Kellis said. “It’s not that they aren’t interested or are lazy. They don’t know how. We went from growing our own food to wanting to inspire.”

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September 25, 2014   No Comments

Milwaukee Urban Discovery Farm

In the 2014 season, (14) farmers are participating in the Urban Discovery Farm

The Milwaukee Urban Discovery Farm (MUDF) researches the economic viability and social capital of urban agriculture while empowering small-scale farmers in the region. We do so by facilitating land access and providing technical and educational resources for selling local food. Participants – or “micro-farmers” – learn sustainable methods to increase their food production while cultivating buyer relationships with partnered Milwaukee restaurants, markets, and food co-ops.

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September 25, 2014   No Comments

1889 – My Handkerchief Garden. Size 25 x 60 feet

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Results: a garden, fresh vegetables, exercise, health, and $20.49

Author: Barnard, Charles, 1838-1920
Publisher: New York, Garden Publishing co.
1889

Excerpt:

At last it was found; a six-room house with a mere handkerchief of a garden, measuring about one-thirtieth of an acre, or about as big a city back yard. The soil was a wet, heavy clay, full of stones, and shaded by a number of tall trees growing on the next lot. In March, 1887, we moved to the place, and on the twenty first we paid twenty-five cents for one ounce of Tennis Ball Lettuce seed. So it was the scrap of a garden began, and thereon does hang the more or less learned remarks that make this book.

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September 24, 2014   No Comments

Randall’s Island Urban Farm in New York City

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The farm features 72 raised vegetable Beds, four rice paddies

Randall’s Island Urban Farm, created as a result of the combined efforts of GrowNYC and the Randall’s Island Park Alliance, is a one acre urban farm that aims to provide schools and groups who lack on-site or proximal open space with the experience of environmental education and nutritional learning by growing, harvesting, and eating farm-fresh produce.

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September 24, 2014   No Comments

Dutch agri-preneurs turn abandoned water park into bustling mushroom farm

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Urban agriculture meets adaptive reuse at a busy little mushroom-farming initiative named RotterZwam.

By Matt Hickman
MNN
Sept 11, 2014

Excerpt:

Now just a little over a year old, the venture, dubbed RotterZwam (“zwam” being the Dutch word for fungus), takes advantage of Tropicana’s abundant raw space and decidedly dank climate. Using spent coffee grounds collected from nearby cafes as a growing medium, oyster mushrooms are cultivated in the basement of the complex while other varieties of edible macrofungi are grown in what were once the changing rooms.

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September 23, 2014   No Comments

Battery Park Urban Farm donates harvested food to school cafeterias and food pantries in Manhattan.

Empowers New York City children and community to make healthier eating choices through garden education.

Battery Urban Farm is a one acre educational farm, located in the historic Battery, the 25 acre park at the tip of Manhattan. Our turkey-shaped farm is home to over 100 varieties of organically-grown vegetables, fruits, flowers, grains, and companion plants, as well as thousands of student farmers; millions of visitors from all over the world; and one very city-savvy wild turkey.

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September 23, 2014   No Comments

How One Of Washington D.C.’s Worst Heroin Markets Became A Sustainable Food Source

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A 100-square-meter plot in a 130-day temperate growing season “can provide most of a four-person household’s total yearly vegetable needs, including much of the household’s nutritional requirements for vitamins A, C, and B complex and iron.”

By Jeff Spross
Think Progress
September 18, 2014

Excerpt:

Thirteen years ago, Marvin Gaye Park was a mess.
The park sits in Lincoln Heights, a neighborhood in Washington, D.C.’s Ward 7, just east of the Anacostia River. The community is overwhelmingly poor and non-white, and suffers some of the worst rates of crime, unemployment and social breakdown in the city. The park itself had succumbed to disuse. One of the worst PCP and heroin markets in the city had cropped up nearby.

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September 22, 2014   No Comments

1876 – Vick’s flower and vegetable garden

1876 Vick's Flower and Vegetable Garden Book

Excerpt:

The Vegetable Department is, to many of our readers, exceedingly interesting, and should be to all; for while we have no sympathy with those who say they “see more beauty in a Cabbage or hill of Potatoes than in the finest flower that ever grew,” we do most heartily agree with those who take pride and pleasure in culture of choice vegetables, and their improvement, and who are ready to say, with Diocletian, “Were you to come to my garden, and see the vegetables I raise with my own hands, you would no longer talk to me of empire.”

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September 22, 2014   No Comments

Making farming work in the big city, Manila, Philippines

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The main demo farm of Quezon City’s “Joy of Urban Farming” program. All photos by Fritzie Rodriguez/Rappler.com.

“The main goal is to improve nutrition, while also trying to reduce poverty,”

By Fritzie Rodriguez
Rappler
09/09/2014

Excerpt:

Unknown to many, right smack in the middle of the Quezon Memorial Circle, rows of vegetables line the 1,500-square-meter space.

This main demo farm is just one of the many sites under Quezon City’s “Joy of Urban Farming” program launched in 2010 by Vice Mayor Joy Belmonte. Until today, the program tries to spread green thumbs among city-dwellers.

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September 22, 2014   No Comments

Urban Farming’s Grande Dame: Karen Washington

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During the growing seasonn, Karen Washington works nearly every day in the Garden of Happiness, the community garden that she helped found in 1988 across the street from her home in the Bronx. Photo by Chester Higgins Jr.

A Believer in Vacant Lots

By Dan Shaw
New York Times
Sept 19, 2014

Excerpt:

Karen Washington, a community activist who has been called “urban farming’s de facto godmother,” found her bliss when she moved to the Bronx nearly 30 years ago and began growing vegetables in her backyard. Gardening was not part of her heritage.

“My parents and grandparents were not farmers,” said Ms. Washington, who recently retired after 37 years from her day job as a physical therapist. “I took out books from the library and learned what to do.”

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September 21, 2014   No Comments

Help Feed Yourself. Make back yards and vacant lots productive. ca. 1917 – ca. 1919

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Work a garden – Raise children… Somebody has to raise or pack everything you eat. Do Your Share! Make every jar help feed your family

By U.S. Food Administration. Educational Division. Advertising Section. 1917 -1919

Excerpt:

Grow Vegetables and Fruit
If Your Soil is Fertile and Sunny

Don’t let your land loaf. Keep it working all seasons.
Don’t assume that the season is too far advanced to begin garden operations. Some vegetables may be planted at practically any time until past the middle of summer.

Start new crops between the rows of others that are soon to be removed.

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September 21, 2014   No Comments

NPR – Tax Breaks May Turn San Francisco’s Vacant Lots Into Urban Farms

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Urban farmers turning a vacant lot into a garden plot in San Francisco’s Hayes Valley. Photo by Chris Martin/Flickr.

Thanks to the new tax break, Roland will begin saving about $6,000 per year.

By Alastair Bland
NPR
September 09, 2014

Excerpt:

Here’s how the tax break works: Property owners who are willing to turn uninhabited land into farms would get that land assessed at the going tax rate for the state’s irrigated farmland. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, that was about $12,500 per acre in 2013.

If accepted into the program, the property owner’s annual dues to the city would drop from $10,000 or more to roughly $100. But the landowner would have to keep the land as an agricultural operation for at least five years or pay back the balance of the tax reduction, plus interest.

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September 21, 2014   No Comments

Should Tokyo Build Methane-Powered Cow Farms in the Sky?

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Mushin thinks urban farming in future Tokyo … will be “corporations that set up high-tech, dense, multi-story production systems on the edges of towns.”

By Cameron Allan Mckean
Resilient Cities – Next City
September 17, 2014

Excerpt:

Farms in Tokyo produce enough food to feed less than one million of the city’s residents, according to a 2010 survey by the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries. Data suggest, however, that 85 percent of the city’s residents want urban farmland to give them access to fresh foods and green space. Cowships might be a fantastical solution, but Mushin says that’s beside the point. “There’s nothing wrong with these ideas. The only problem is that there is a huge lack of imagination and interest,” he says. “Humans can change, it’s just that we’re not inspired to change. No one cares about (energy) efficient lightbulbs – it’s got to be something you can be delighted by.”

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September 20, 2014   No Comments

Bristol, England to provide urban farming inspiration as EU Green Capital

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Steve Glover, pioneer of Bristol’s urban agriculture. Photograph by Elisabeth Braw.

Gearing up for its role as EU Green Capital 2015, Bristol’s agricultural scene is growing

By Elisabeth Braw
The Guardian
9 September 2014

Excerpt:

Steve Glover doesn’t mind being called an unlikely pioneer of sustainable urban agriculture. A few years ago he didn’t even know how to grow organic vegetables, let alone on a deserted piece of land next to Bristol’s train station.

Today, Glover is supplying high-end local restaurants with vegetables and salads from his farm, the Severn Project. His staff, those that grow and pick the produce are recovering drug addicts.

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September 20, 2014   No Comments

Santa Fe Urban farm creates Land Trust to preserve land and affordable housing for future generations

This 3.5-acre rental property is now threatened with foreclosure

Excerpt from Indiegogo site:

Since 2012 we have been operating Gaia Gardens, a nonprofit certified organic farm, on a leased parcel of land in Santa Fe. With the support of a large group of friends and neighbors, we have turned a parched and neglected landscape into a colorful urban oasis, cultivating an acre of land in the middle of town and galvanizing a powerful community around it. This 3.5-acre rental property is now threatened with foreclosure. To preserve this unique piece of land, continue our educational mission and provide affordable housing for future generations, we intend to buy the farm property and hold it clear of real estate speculation. To do so, we have created the Mil Abrazos (One Thousand Hugs) Community Land Trust, a nonprofit, to purchase the property.

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September 20, 2014   No Comments