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Ellen Woodsworth poses at the dog park at 1608 West Georgia St. in Vancouver on June 17. Woodsworth opposes a property-tax break for developers who keep community gardens on lots intended for development. RICHARD LAM / PNG

Reclassifying vacant land as community gardens “may unfairly shift the tax burden” to other property owners, said a motion passed by Vancouver council in 2009.

By Dan Fumano
Vancouver Sun
June 17, 2019

Excerpt:

In circles where people discuss the more arcane points of Vancouver property taxation, community gardens are something of a perennial issue.

A decade ago, critics were raising concerns about the fairness of the system allowing developers to significantly reduce their property taxes by installing plant beds on undeveloped sites, thereby converting them into temporary gardens or parks.

And new data show how those community gardens have proliferated through Vancouver in the intervening years, to the point where they now sit on land assessed at a combined total of $525 million.

In February 2009, then-COPE Coun. Ellen Woodsworth introduced a motion directing staff to investigate an emerging trend of developers installing gardens on undeveloped properties, to have them reclassified from commercial to “recreational or non-profit” properties.

That reclassification could mean a property tax reduction of more than 70 per cent, Woodsworth’s 2009 motion said, adding: “While gardens fit into an important sustainability mandate, this reclassification may unfairly shift the tax burden to other commercial property owners.”

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“Sustainability is something that’s built at the heart of our Enfield Brewery – with our solar panelled roof, energy storing heating equipment and recycled rain water system already in place, Rootlab’s vertical farm will be an exciting new addition to our brewery.”

By London-Post
June 11, 2019

Excerpt:

Summertime is upon us, and that calls for the return of our seasonal beer, Strawberry Hells Forever. Crisp, refreshing lager meets juicy British strawberries, ripe for the picking.

To celebrate the launch of our first Seasonal Hells of 2019, we’ve partnered with GrowUp Community Farms, a London social enterprise, who are championing sustainable urban farming to grow the freshest, natural ingredients right in our city.

GrowUp Community Farms is raising awareness of new urban farming technologies with workshops and education projects at their Bermondsey hub. Vertical farming has been created to transform spaces into socially and environmentally productive places. The method allows for year-round organic crop production with less exposure to chemicals, using 90% less water than traditional farming to grow fresh, sustainable produce within our city. A donation of 20p from every can of Strawberry Hells Forever, will go to supporting GrowUp Community Farms and their mission to spread the word about the huge benefits urban farming has to offer.

We’ve teamed up with their sister company Rootlabs, who build London’s urban farms, to launch the UK’s first brewery-based urban vertical farm to our Enfield brew house. Rootlab’s will be installing a vertical farm to help us grow our very own crop of urban strawberries for future brewing.

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Mr Jack Ng (right), founder of Sky Greens, showing Mr Masagos Zulkifli, Minister for the Environment and Water Resources, around the vertical farm facility.ST PHOTO: CHONG JUN LIANG

A few urban farms including Panasonic’s indoor vegetable farm have expressed interest in the SS 632 certification.

By Shabana Begum
The Straits Times
June 11, 2019

Excerpt:

Buyers of mini-vegetables from the first vertical farm here can now be assured they were grown without the use of artificial fertilisers or pesticides.

Sky Greens, an urban farm in Lim Chu Kang, has been awarded the world’s first national standard for organic vegetables grown in urban environments, developed in Singapore to address key challenges such as limited land, lack of soil and water and higher operating costs from energy consumption and manpower constraints.

Sky Greens received the Singapore Standard 632 (SS 632) for organic primary produce certification from certification body Control Union Certifications on Tuesday (June 11).

The certification was developed by the Singapore Standards Council’s Food Standards Committee with the support of Singapore Manufacturing Federation-Standards Development Organisation and Enterprise Singapore.

Urban farms worldwide, including importers, exporters and retailers can apply for the SS 632 certification.

Dr Allan Lim, chairman of the Food Standards Committee, said while the certification would increase consumers’ confidence in local produce, it would also give Singapore’s agri-food industry a certain level of recognition.

Read the complete article here.

Video story: Singapore farm recognised for growing organic produce in urban areas 

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Jeanene Miller, right, runs Abundant Greens Urban Farm from her Ballard driveway. All sales are paid through the honor system with a lock box. (Ken Lambert / The Seattle Times)

Miller’s Abundant Greens Urban Farms started with an obsession — in this case, tomatoes.

By Erica Browne Grivas
The Seattle Times

Excerpt:

We love to eat local in Seattle — and whether you raise chickens, bees, or dinosaur kale, you can’t grow more local than your own backyard. Many of us tend some fresh herbs or summer greens, but for extreme urban farming, visit Jeanene Miller. She runs two community-supported agriculture (CSA) farm shares and a seasonal nursery from her Ballard driveway.

A CSA or farm share is a subscription to a farmer’s season of fresh produce. Benefits include: getting nutritious, organically grown food at a price lower than the supermarket with a smaller carbon footprint, while supporting local farmers; cons include: risking crop failure or paying for food you don’t use.

Miller’s Craftsman house, wreathed in roses at the door, sits on Northwest 57th Street, just north of the Ballard Locks. In winter, you’d notice that instead of cars or a basketball hoop, three greenhouses cap the elbow of the long L-shaped driveway. The house is artfully painted in tones of basil, merlot and Parmesan — setting a perfect backdrop for the tomatoes to come.

From April through October, Miller’s driveway is brimming 24/7 with plant starts of over 100 rare varieties of tomatoes — likely the best selection in Seattle — as well as other veggies and herbs — and all sales are paid through the honor system with a lock box.

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Above: Infarm Auchan, Luxembourg

“Our farms are rooted across Europe in supermarket aisles, restaurant kitchens, and distribution warehouses.”

By Paul Sawers
Venture Beat
June 11, 2019

Excerpt:

Infarm, a Germany-based startup that distributes “modular farms” to grocery stores and other urban locations, has raised $100 million in a series B round of equity and debt funding led by Atomico, with participation from existing investors including Balderton Capital, Cherry Ventures, Astanor Ventures, and TriplePoint Capital.

The CO2 emissions produced by growing, farming, and transporting food around the world is significant, with some estimates pegging the food footprint (“foodprint”) at around one-quarter of the total global greenhouse gas emissions. By creating a system of vertical micro-farms in cities, which entails producing food indoors within a stack of glass cases in a controlled environment, Infarm is pushing to reduce the environmental burden that food production has on the planet.

Link.

Infarm.

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Farming doesn’t usually occur within a downtown core. But that’s just what’s happening thanks to a unique agriculture program in Richmond.

Thor Diakow
News 11:30
Jun 10, 2019

Excerpt:

The Garden City Lands are an extraordinary 55.2 hectares (136.5 acres) of open space located within the Agricultural Land Reserve, just east of KPU’s Richmond campus. KPU’s Department of Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems is working with the City of Richmond to develop a Teaching and Research Farm on eight hectares (20 acres) of the site.

The farm will highlight diversified, sustainable, regenerative, and organic production practices adjacent to the population centre of downtown Richmond. Students will study and practice at the Garden City Lands while working toward their Bachelor of Applied Science in Sustainable Agriculture.

More.

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“My kid loved coming to visit the garden and meet the animals. They would be heartbroken to know those lovely creatures are going to be sold for slaughter.”

By Michael Neilson
NZ Herald
June 11, 2019

Excerpt:

A trio of much-loved urban Auckland cows have been saved from the slaughter after a community garden backed down on its plans to offer meat packs to the public.

Kelmarna Organic Community Gardens & City Farm announced last week it had decided to kill the three Hereford steers, with their fine cuts to feature in meat packs which had already been fully pre-purchased.

The garden bordering Grey Lynn and Herne Bay promoted its first offering of beef as “from our free ranging, grass-fed cattle, as local as you can get”.

But that decision was met with outrage, with one person posting on social media in response: “There is no ethical justification for slaughtering sentient creatures when other forms of food are available. A moral one, yes, but not ethical.”

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Ice on Fire (2019): Official Trailer | HBO - YouTube

Ron Finley’s urban farm in Los Angeles, where members of the community grow food that takes carbon out of the air and is nutritious

Produced by Oscar-winner Leonardo DiCaprio
Director: Leila Conners
June 2019

ICE ON FIRE, an eye-opening documentary that focuses on many never-before-seen solutions designed to slow down our escalating environmental crisis, goes beyond the current climate change narrative and offers hope that we can actually stave off the worst effects of global warming.

The film visits places such as: the Usal Redwood Forrest Foundation in northern California, highlighting a carbon-storage project that focuses on reforestation and creates “biochar” to put CO2 back into the soil; Ron Finley’s urban farm in Los Angeles, where members of the community grow food that takes carbon out of the air and is nutritious; Climeworks’ nimble direct air capture machine in Zurich; and Thimble Island Ocean Farm off the coast of Connecticut, where owner Bren Smith grows shellfish and seaweed that soak up more carbon than land-based plants and can be used for food, animal feed and fertilizer.

Film Review

Ron Finley.

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Willy Blizzard Band Sing at Maple Community Garden June 2, 2019 - Vimeo

On June 2, 2019 at Maple Community Garden – a bench dedication to Margaret Haga given by neighbour gardener and friend, Kate Gole

Music and songs of ‘Willy Blizzard’

Thank you for coming to celebrate the memory of a friend and to dedicate this bench to her, our sister community Gardener, Margaret Haga. This event has been a few years in the making but we’ve kept Margaret’s memory alive in our hearts.

I’d like to recount a short tale to you of Margaret, Maple Community Garden and this Bench.

Once upon a time, it was in the year 1989, there was a great Imagining growing in this Land of Khatsahlano – a Land that from very ancient times had cradled and nourished Community.


This Imagining was to create a Garden along a city block of semi-wild, semi-abandoned railroad track. It would become Maple Community Garden.

Maple Community Garden would be a place along the Arbutus corridor to create beauty with Mother Earth, to harvest herbs and vegetables for nourishment and most of all to build and re-build our attachments to the Earth and to each other. Margaret joined into this great Imagining immediately and for the next twenty-five years was an active and steadfast Garden member – a constant presence along this green urban corridor.

Marg’s Bench created by Andrew Paul .

Some of you will remember that for those 25 years, barely a day went by that you didn’t see Marg’s smiling face and hear her hearty greeting cheerily reaching out to all who came by. Margaret loved the Garden. She rejoiced at the bouquets of beautiful flowers that she shared and at all the Earth’s offerings of fresh food – especially her beloved potatoes. But most of all, Margaret loved the Community that the Garden inspired. She was never too busy to share time and a story with other gardeners and with the many people and dog friends passing by.

Yes, for those twenty-five years, long before the tracks were removed, when this was a much wilder railroad corridor of yesteryear, it was very much enjoyed and travelled; cyclists and walkers on their way to and from work, many dog walkers and their dogs, young parents with small children, teenagers, grand-parents, neighbour cats – all out to enjoy fresh air and urban wilderness.

MARGARET’S PRESENCE at MAPLE COMMUNITY GARDEN was a tremendous building block of COMMUNITY SPIRIT and her legacy of fun, laughter and communication was a special contribution to building and re-building this Arbutus Corridor COMMUNITY.

It is, therefore, so very fitting that this inspired and beautifully crafted Bench, generously created by our garden member, Andrew, be dedicated to Margaret Haga. Like Margaret, this Bench has become a central PRESENCE at Maple Community Garden, offering time and space to rest or chat, to read, to eat lunch, to meditate or just to soak in the endless joys of Mother Earth: the glorious colours of blossoming beauty; the delicious fragrances wafting through the air; the trills, tweets or caws of Birdsong; the buzzing of Bees gathering nectar.

And now, before the musical duo, Willy Blizzard, offers a Song to Margaret, to the Garden and to you,
the Community, I would like to call on several Garden Friends to stand with me for this dedication.

Andrew Paul for the Inspiration, Imagination, Time and Skills given to create this Bench.

Carol Franklin and Pat Mitchell for the steadfast Friendship and Support given to both Margaret and the Garden.

And to Charlotte and Talulah, who represent the child’s Heart and Spirit of Community that so inspired Margaret, that enthusiasm for new Imagining and Learning that will carry us forward – working together, building and re-building COMMUNITY.

(following dedication read by Charlotte and Talulah)
On this 2nd day of June, in the year 2019, at Maple Community Garden
on the Arbutus Corridor, 6th and Maple,
in the City of Vancouver, British Columbia,
We, of Maple Community Garden, dedicate this Bench to Margaret Haga and Community.

Their website.

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“We are talking about the natural tendency of our species to seek our happiness through immersion in nature. Thanks to new technologies, it is now possible to achieve this goal even in the heart of the city — this is particularly relevant in a building that is devoted to scientific research.”

By Lucy Wang
Inhabitat
June 7, 2019

Excerpt:

International design and innovation firm Carlo Ratti Associati (CRA) has won first place in the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group’s international competition with VITAE, a new research center in Milan that will be covered in a 650-foot-long urban vineyard. The vegetation is remarkable not only for its sheer size, but also for its use in a publicly accessible footpath that will link the street level to the rooftop. The building was developed for real estate group Convivio and was created in a team with the consortium Habitech as environmental experts.

Once complete, VITAE will transform a formerly vacant, post-industrial lot in via Serio in the south of Milan into a mixed-use development that includes a farm-to-table restaurant, high-tech offices, facilities for the leading molecular and oncology research center ICOM, guest rooms for international researchers and more than 5,000 square meters of public space. Inspired by biophilic design, the architects created a vegetated pedestrian path with a vine-covered pergola that will ascend the side of the building and provide visitors the chance to see terraces and greenhouses for urban farming and hydroponic cultivation. This “green spiral” inspired the project’s name, VITAE, which means “life” in Latin and “vine” in Italian.

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