the irresistible fleet of bicycles

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factories into farms

In Japan, Idled Electronics Factories Find New Life in Farming
Struggling to Compete with Rivals in South Korea or China, Fujitsu, Toshiba and Others Try Selling Vegetables, Too
By Eric Pfanner and Kana Inagaki, July 6, 2014

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AIZU-WAKAMATSU, Japan—Haruyasu Miyabe used to oversee a computer-chip production line at a Fujitsu Ltd. plant here. One day last year, the plant manager told Mr. Miyabe to prepare for a career change.

“Starting tomorrow, you are going to make lettuce,” he recalls being told.

Amid troubled times in the Japanese electronics industry, Fujitsu shut one of the three chip-making lines at the plant in 2009. Now, in a sterile, dust-free clean room that once built the brains of high-tech gadgets, Mr. Miyabe and a staff of about 30 tend heads of lettuce.

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growing green in the bronx

A whirlwind of energy and ideas, Stephen Ritz is a teacher in New York’s tough South Bronx, where he and his kids grow lush gardens for food, greenery — and jobs. Just try to keep up with this New York treasure as he spins through the many, many ways there are to grow hope in a neighborhood many have written off, or in your own.

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pay-what-you-can veggie stand

An interesting model in Vancouver.  They’ve raised 30% of their goal so far.  Check it out! And pitch in if you can.

Soul Food has a plan to double Vancouver’s local food production.
If you would like to see more beautiful, delicious and healthy food grown right in your neighbourhood, help us set up two new retail locations.
With retail outlets in place, we will create the capacity to significantly expand our farming operations in the next few years – growing into one of, if not the largest, urban farm in North America. That is to say, your one-time cash injection will help Sole Food significantly scale-up the urban farming movement.
But wait, there’s more: One of these locations is set in the Downtown Eastside, which will offer “pay-what-you-can” organic produce in order to bridge the gap between those who can afford our food and those who cannot.
In order to do this, we need to raise $100,000. Our start-up costs include renovation, marketing and merchandising materials, inventory, staffing, and cooling and storage infrastructure. If we make our goal we will immediately begin work to open the farm stands for the summer of 2014.

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urban ag in baltimore

by Alia Malek


BALTIMORE, Md. — In Sandtown, Douglas Wheeler looks out with satisfaction over the abandoned city-block-turned-farm where he works growing all sorts of greens and lettuce — “but never iceberg” — and remembers how it used to be.

“This lot was a garden of trash,” he says. “With rats all over the place.”

Before they were demolished in 2005, the block had 27 row houses, most of them long boarded up and abandoned, transformed from icons of Baltimore pride to casualties of the blight brought on the city by deindustrialization, unemployment, addiction and the war on drugs.

Until the 1960s, Sandtown was part of the vibrant 72 square blocks that made up a family-based, African-American community where laborers, professionals and artists all lived together across socioeconomic lines. The quarter took its name from the horse-drawn wagons that would trail sand through its streets after filling up at the local sand and gravel quarry. Thurgood Marshall graduated from Sandtown’s Frederick Douglass High School, locals Cab Calloway and Billie Holiday sang in the legendary jazz clubs on Pennsylvania Avenue, and any kid could get some wood, build a box and make a few bucks on that main drag shining shoes.

continue reading

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596 acres

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This map shows sites of potential community projects. We have taken several different sources of information about vacant publicly owned land, chosen the most accurate information from each and shared them here. This is our commons. We also add few private lots whose owners have volunteered their land for community use.

Tools for Land Access Advocacy +Local Community Land Access Campaign Support in NYC
Tools for Community Land Access Advocates

We’re creating a practice of building online tools neighbors can use to clear hurdles to community land access. The tools turn city data into information about particular pieces of land and connect people to one another through simple social networking functions. Continue reading

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beautiful piece

Greening the Ghetto

With 7 billion people on earth and the rapid urbanization of our societies, any piece of land becomes strategic in the race to feed the world. Nina Berman, a photographer from photo agency NOOR, started to document the movement of urban gardening in the Bronx, New York in 2010. In “Greening the Ghetto”, she goes back to Taqwa Garden, and Bobby Watson, the gardener, tells her how he and his father build up their “little piece of heaven” in Bronx.

Video and photography: Nina Berman | NOOR for Thomson Reuter Foundation

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kickstart city growers

looks like these good folks are getting funded!


City Growers – Converting Urban Lots into Sustainable Farms

City Growers is a new kind of community-centered urban farm that provides jobs for underemployed residents and fresh locally-grown produce for Boston businesses and residents. Founded in 2010, City Growers has successfully established itself as a Boston urban farm that is here to stay!

In 2012, we proved that our innovative urban farming model is sustainable. Intensively growing nutritious greens on just one quarter acre of land can support a farmer! Your contribution will allow us to acquire and prepare a quarter-acre lot in Roxbury, Massachusetts cultivating lettuce and greens for market.

Supporting this Kickstarter Helps City Growers:

  • Provide jobs in Boston communities that have the highest rates of unemployment.
  • Improve the nutritional health of city residents.
  • Reduce Boston’s carbon footprint.

Our goal is to transform Boston, the largest city in a state with the fastest-growing food-stamp program, into a hotspot of nutritionally- dense food production. Each season, we are converting more vacant city plots into productive urban farmland.

more information on their kickstarter page

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lovely ladies seeking to buy their urban farm

Check ‘em out.
We are writing to ask for your support at a critical moment for Sidewalk Ends Farm. As you know, for three years now, we’ve worked hard to turn the vacant lot at 47 Harrison Street in Providence into the productive and fertile agricultural space it is today. 
Agriculture is slow work and, three years in, Sidewalk Ends still has so much unrealized potential. Owning the lot will enable us to build on our work and invest in it further. This is a dream we hold dear and we need your help to realize it.  If we don’t buy it, there is a good chance someone else will and this could mean the end of our farm.
Thank you for all of the support that you have given us as we’ve built Sidewalk Ends from the ground up.  Visit our campaign here:
Yours in veggies,
Tess, Laura and Fay

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chicago urban farmers

making it happen!  Check out their kickstarter campaign


Chicago ‘Cooperation Operation’ to Transform South Side Lot into Creative Farm-scape
by Whitney Richardson

The Cooperation Operation (Coop Op) is a diverse group of young social & food justice activists working to create a cooperatively run urban community garden in Chicago’s South Side Pullman neighborhood. A quarter of the homes in Pullman lay vacant. The abandonment is a result of riots in the 1960s and the spoils of an industrialized neighborhood. Additional indicators of neglect include disparate access to food, high rates of substance abuse and obesity and racial divide. The Coop Op, like many young farmers across America, woke up with the hope of urban agriculture, igniting change in pursuit of a better present and future, to restore the land and make peace. Continue reading

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urban ag land access

via Little City Gardens.  A public hearing is scheduled for tomorrow.  CA greenhorns, take action!

Access to land is a crucial issue for small scale farming, both urban and rural, and as we’ve previously talked about here, insecure land tenure has been one of the biggest obstacles we’ve come across in our three years of operating this farm. Running a successful, financially sound business has been particularly challenging without a reliable long term lease, as it has greatly limited the kind of investment we can safely make, both physically (in the form of long term perennial crops, thorough irrigation setup, and necessary infrastructure like hoop houses and cold storage) as well as personally (how we are able to commit to and shape our lives around this project). Because the land we farm is currently owned by a developer, we never quite know when our month-to-month lease will be terminated, or when our rent will suddenly spike in order to more adequately cover the owner’s rising costs. Also, in our particular case, the property we’re using is ill-suited for development due to it’s irregular orientation (a long, narrow lot surrounded on three sides by backyards) and a very high water table. Unfortunately, these factors are negligible when it comes to the property’s market value, and the property taxes are exorbitant. It’s hard to imagine commercial farms thriving in cities, providing food at prices comparable to their rural counterparts, when urban land is exclusively and without exception valued in terms of its potential real estate.

Full story, including how to take action, here:

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youth farm urban farm training program

An apprentice opportunity in Brooklyn, NY.
Through a season on the Youth Farm, you will become intimately familiar with the tasks, challenges, and rewards of growing many varieties of vegetables and AFTP image 4 squareflowers appropriate to our region and diverse NYC community. Through this 20-hour per week commitment, you will gain a sense for the physical, mental and spiritual energy required to produce nutritious and delicious food, beautiful flowers, and a rich and harmonious community space.

Hand-on work, formal instruction, field trips and independent projects will all form part of your learning environment. You can expect to walk away with an array of technical, organizational and critical thinking skills needed to produce nutritious food, and a clearer picture of how you see yourself pursuing a career related to sustainable agriculture. Our Certificate in Urban Farming provides an excellent foundation for any future food systems development work.

Find more information on the website
Download the flier HERE

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national brownfields conference

This year the conference takes place in Atlanta, GA, and once again, Urban Ag is on the agenda.


The National Brownfields Conference is the largest event in the nation that focuses on environmental revitalization and economic redevelopment.  As defined by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, a brownfield is a property that has a presence, or potential presence, of hazardous substances, pollutants, or contaminants, thus creating complications during its expansion, redevelopment, or reuse. EPA’s Brownfields Program is designed to empower states, communities, and other stakeholders in economic redevelopment to work together in a timely manner to prevent, assess, safely clean up, and sustainably reuse these properties.

Every 18 months the National Brownfields Conference convenes, attracting over 6,000 stakeholders in brownfields redevelopment and cleanup to share knowledge about sustainable reuse and celebrate the program’s success. Whether you’re a newcomer or a seasoned professional, Brownfields 2013 offers something for you!


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