Small growers and urban farms are springing up across the nation, but many cities lack the infrastructure, zoning laws and foresight to truly leverage this transition.
Over the past several years, however, city governments, often working with local stakeholder groups and food policy councils, are changing that. Urban agriculture ordinances help light the way for would-be urban farmers, providing guidance and a sense of legitimacy.
Here is Seedstock’s list of ten cities leading the way with innovative urban agriculture ordinances that provide a blueprint for a new economic future grounded in sustainable food production in urban centers.
via 10 American Cities Lead the Way With Urban Agriculture Ordinances.
In addition to their produce, The Lettuce People sell hydroponic systems and kits, growing
supplies, and equipment. They are also looking to educate the public about hydroponics and
urban agriculture by developing programs for school children and prospective hydroponic
farmers and through extensive social media outreach.
“I believe in the importance of sharing what I have learned so that it can become exponentially
better. This is why I’ve recorded and shared my experiments on YouTube and Blogger from the
beginning,” Phibbs says. “I teach classes on how to begin your own hydroponics garden or
business, so I’m an educator and consultant.”
via The Lettuce People Grows Greens in Youngstown, Ohio.
What is a green roof? “A waste-eliminating, resource-protecting, CO2-reducing, powerhouse of a concept that also produces delicious organically grown food!” explains John Stoddard, founding farmer of Higher Ground farm, Boston’s first rooftop farm, located atop the Boston Design Center in the Seaport district. By using a system of layers laid over an existing roof, green roofs benefit the building owner and their community by reducing energy usage (by insulating the property in the winter and cooling it in the summer), reducing waste by protecting and prolonging the roof’s life, and–in Higher Ground’s case–feeding the community! This isn’t to even mention how green roofs help manage stormwater overflow and heat island effects caused by the city’s changing climate.
via Greenovate Boston » Higher Ground Rooftop Farm’s John Stoddard and Courtney Hennessey.
Authored by Neil Hamilton, Director of the Agricultural Law Center at Drake University, the Second Edition of The Legal Guide for Direct Farm Marketing covers everything from licenses and inspections to zoning and buying clubs.
The original Guide was published in 1999 and supported by the U.S. Department of Agriculture through the Sustainable Agriculture and Education (SARE) Professional Development Program.
This online second edition provides updates and expands the scope of the Guide to match the growth in demand for local farm products and the increasing variety of methods for selling directly to consumers. It is supported by financial support from USDA Risk Management Agency.
via The Legal Guide for Direct Farm Marketing | Direct Farm Marketer’s Forum.
If Congress fails to pass a farm bill by the end of the year, farm programs will likely take a trip back to the days of the Truman Administration.
The 1949 farm bill, the last piece of permanent farm legislation passed by that Congress, represented a conglomeration of 1940s and 1930s farming practices, according to Mike Traxinger, legislative spokesperson for the South Dakota Farmers Union.
The commodity price supports and planting restrictions included in the 1949 farm bill are dated. The threat of reverting to those subsidies has always provided the nudge Congress has needed to enact a new farm bill, Traxinger said.
via Without a new farm bill, welcome back 1949.
Financial health and impacts on sustainable agriculture
In addition to examining what food hubs do and how they’re structured, the survey looked at their financial health and the impacts they are having on local communities, including ways food hubs influence producers in their production methods. Among the positive findings:
A majority of the food hubs surveyed were on solid financial footing, with operating costs matching revenue.
Most food hubs were able to operate independently of grants or other outside sources of funding. Two thirds of food hubs reported not receiving any funding from outside sources.
While most food hubs are small, with annual sales of $500,000 or less, they work with a broad range of producers. Most of the food hubs surveyed work with 30 or more different producers, providing local consumers with access to a broad range of products from local farms and ranches. Those producers were somewhat more likely to be women or people of color than the national averages for primary operators of farms.
On average, 60 percent of a food hub’s total gross sales came from small and mid-sized farms, while 76 percent of food hubs indicated that all or most of their producers fit this small to mid-sized farm category.
Most food hubs indicated that they have an impact on their producers, including influencing them to diversify their product offerings or adopt more sustainable production methods.
via New Survey Shows Food Hubs Poised for Further Growth – NSAC.
At this time of year if you’re a vegetable gardener, you’ve experienced it—zucchini runaways. One day you go out and see this cute little zuke and think I’ll give it one more day and the next day you go out and it grew into a baseball bat. It’s like overnight it got on some steroids and went ballistic. Now it’s too big so what do we do with them besides hide them under the bed in case an intruder comes in? Well you could use them as door stops or take them to the fair but here are 4 ideas to eat them!
via The runaway « giantveggiegardener.
Ah – the benefits of globalization and lack of good inspection of plants and produce entering US ports!
A pest that feeds on fresh fruit has been found in North Dakota for the first time, officials said. The spotted-wing drosophila was found in cherries from the Carrington Research Extension Center in Eastern North Dakota’s Foster County. The North Dakota State University Plant Diagnostic Laboratory in Fargo found larvae and one adult female in the fruit.
“This insect is capable of causing serious damage, and growers and gardeners should be on the lookout for the larvae in seemingly healthy fruits,” Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring said Thursday. “It can be confused with the common fruit fly, but it prefers fresh fruit while the fruit fly prefers rotting fruit.”
The spotted-wing drosophila is about 3 millimeters long, yellowish brown in color with prominent red eyes. Males have dark spots on their wing tips. The pest is native to Asia. It was first found in the US in 2008 in California, and has since spread to other parts of the country. It was first detected in Minnesota last Summer.
via US: Crop-damaging fruit pest found in North Dakota.
Two years ago, imported foods entering the U.S. for the first time exceeded 10 million import lines, and AFDO says that number is expected to continue to grow at a rapid rate. The group also says that while fewer than 1 percent are physically examined, all are electronically reviewed using a “risk-based targeted approach.”
“Once these FDA-regulated products enter the United States and are marketed domestically, they become the primary responsibility of state and local agencies to ensure the product’s safety,” notes the AFDO guidance document.
“Surveillance of imported foods by federal, state, and local food-protection agencies has resulted in many regulatory actions including food sampling and testing, food seizure and embargo, destruction of violative products, Class I, II, and III food recalls, and FDA import Alerts,” the guidance adds.
via New AFDO Document Reveals ‘Issues and Concerns With Imported Foods’ | Food Safety News.
“We started with five gardens in 2011.” said Chaney. “This year we have 20. We’re trying to replicate the whole food system and get young people involved.” The gardens, he said, offer kids an opportunity to learn skills that may lead to future jobs and to give them something to do that might keep them out of trouble. He also hopes that it can help pull North Minneapolis out of poverty.
“We can’t get a big company to come to North Minneapolis,” he said. “But what we can do is get empty lots and turn them into food production. This is getting the community involved in the free market system. There are 1,800 empty lots in North Minneapolis, some because of the tornado.”
via Project Sweetie Pie: Teens get fresh (food) in North Minneapolis | Twin Cities Daily Planet.