Growing Cities Blog
What follows is an excerpt from a short blog post from Base Landscape that I found to be motivating and inspiring. Take a look!
Two years ago I had surgery. That surgery was in many ways a wake up call, a call to action to live a different, healthier life, a life that would make me proud when I look back. Part of that process led me to leave my corporate job in a large design firm and start BASE. I wanted to have the freedom and the flexibility to focus on the work that really sparked my passion. Projects that made me excited and that I felt like my contribution was making a difference to my surroundings and hopefully the world.
Urban agriculture has been a passion of mine for a long time. As I learn more, that passion is taking me to focus on the industrial production of food, the importance of pollinators to produce the food, and the unfortunate prevalence of pesticides in our food and the negative healths effects that pesticides cause not just to humans but to the entire environment and particularly to pollinators, especially bees.
Read more HERE!
Thanks to The Green Horns blog, for presenting this Ted talk. Take a look!
They ask that you…
Join us for this two-day conference in beautiful Chico, CA. We have an amazing line-up of speakers. Super-star Robb Wolf, New York Times best-selling author of The Paleo Solution, will be talking about eating the way humans were designed to. Our very own Allan Savory will be talking about how properly managing livestock can reverse desertification, restore grassland ecosystems and stop climate change. We’ll also have world-famous blogger and author Jenny Mcgruther who is the amazing woman behind one of the most popular food blogs in the world, Nourished Kitchen. Jenny will be talking about bringing these concepts home and how to implement them in our daily meals. We’ll have Dr. Cindy Daley, of Chico State, who has done incredible research, that’s being touted all over the globe, on the nutritional benefits of grass-fed meat and milk. We’ll also have a panel comprised of grass-fed livestock ranchers from around the north-state sharing a bit of their lifestyle and talking about how to make grass-fed meats more available to the masses.
Read more HERE!
Check out the excerpt below, from Sustainable Eats for more information on how to hone skills that have been lost with technology and industrialization.
Sometimes ideas are too good to let them die. Two years ago when I dreamed up the urban farm challenge it was a way to ease people into what might seem an overwhelming task: to completely change the way they approach feeding themselves and their loved ones. It was a great idea but the schedule of coming up with prizes and hosts and challenges while trying to start up my own farm nearly killed me. My own farm is clipping along still but I miss sharing that knowledge with people and I really enjoy physical interaction. Last winter I taught a few cheese classes out of my home and I loved every minute of it.
So this year I am partnering with one of my best friends, Patti Pitcher, to offer a nine month course covering much of the same material as the urban farm challenge in an intimate setting, in person and in more depth. We are both incredibly excited about the class, and both bring different skillsets and experiences to teaching it. The classes run from October to June, the second Sunday of each month and I will also be offering classes on the Saturday before separate from this program. These Saturday classes will complement the year-long course, although a few of the cheese classes may duplicate material. I’ll be offering a Saturday stay at my house for one or two people interested each month so you can really get the hands-on and individual attention you may need, or look at it like a mini vacation on a farm with an old friend. Check it out!
THE FARM WIFE MYSTERY SCHOOL
Put yourself on the path to independent, conscious living by reclaiming the lost skills and healing arts of the traditional farm wife. In the old days, the farm wife knew how to grow, preserve, cook, nourish and heal her family. She could take a small leaf from the garden and turn it into a healing salve, or preserve it for a winter’s meal. Wouldn’t it be great if there was one fun series of classes that could teach you all this and more?
Read more HERE!
Our friends at the National Young Farmers Coalition are celebrating #farmerheroes this month!
Sarah Chase, a third generation dairy farmer in Pine Plains, NY, is transitioning her family’s conventional dairy to a grass-based operation.
Let’s make sure to celebrate what these young farmers are doing!
Check out our brand new infographic co-created by Sustainable America. You can always grow something somewhere, Grow Where You Are! Here are some ways you can get involved in growing in your community!
Oftentimes, the full-scale of urban farming is not understood, but this post does a great job of breaking down the many obstacles and pointing out how we work around them. Check it out!
Story and photo written by Stephanie Hiller
An idyllic vision of community, farming, feasting, and creating art has collided with a wall of local ordinances and at least one neighbor who feels her personal and property rights have been infringed upon.
Gaia Gardens, an urban farm created by “Poki” (Hugo) Piottin and Dominique Pozo according to biodynamic agriculture practices, is the realization of his vision of “regenerative culture, a response to the crisis in environmental destruction and abuse that threatens to overwhelm and even destroy civilization as we know it,” as he frames it.
It is a vision that has its roots in the communal farms of the Sixties and differs from the current permaculture movement in only a few details; but like permaculture, a highly effective approach to sustainable land use, Piottin’s “regenerative culture” is a more mature effort to create a healthy, environmentally sound alternative to the corporate agriculture that now dominates the market for food.
Corporate agriculture features sophisticated machinery, highly toxic pesticides and soil amendments, monoculture, high water usage, and most recently, genetically modified foods, technologies justified as the best means for feeding the burgeoning population of the planet.
But the industrial production of foods has unpleasant consequences, as the popular documentary, The Future of Food, amply reveals; and the public has become increasingly aware that it has little control over its food supply. But where is one to get fresh healthy food? Here in Santa Fe, we have access to many farmers and organic stores, but across the country from truck stops to Safeway most of the food supply is processed, and the rest has been sprayed and otherwise adulterated.
America was once a country of small farmers, extolled by Thomas Jefferson as the very heartbeat of a democracy. Now the family farm has gone the way of the bison. Places like Gaia Gardens attempting to regenerate abused land for organic farming thus strike a chord in the hearts of many Americans who want clean food and may not be able to grow their own. The Urban Farm movement that is now taking hold in desperate cities like Detroit as well as on rooftops in Manhattan, trashed lots in Chicago, in St. Louis and elsewhere, was also inspired by the memory of the “Victory Gardens” that sprang up in response to food shortages during World War II. Where there has been nothing but junk and garbage – rocks, beer bottles, crushed cigarettes, the occasional hypodermic needle, and condoms – there is now swiss chard, tomatoes, and peas.
Urban farming is not the same thing as organic industrial farming. Based more on sharing than on profit, it often has the goal of providing fresh food to poor people without access to it. The labor, which is intensive, is supplied by neighbors augmented by visiting volunteers called “woofers” – interns or apprentices who travel to small farms to share in the work and the harvest, usually accommodated on the land in some form of housing. Woofers owe their name to a networking organization called WWOOF, Worldwide Opportunities on Organic Farms, USA (WWOOF-USA®), whose mission “is part of a worldwide effort to link visitors with organic farmers, promote an educational exchange, and build a global community conscious of ecological farming practices.”
At Gaia Gardens, a number of woofers helped with the work while living in trailers and tents. With their volunteer help, the farm produced bushels of colorful vegetables without machines or chemicals, demonstrating ecological techniques of recycling, composting, and pest control, and bringing school children out to see where real food comes from. It also holds monthly potlucks where neighbors share the food they grow, creating a convivial atmosphere of community and sense of shared purpose, and beautifying the grounds in view of the public hiking trail.
But not everyone in the neighborhood was enchanted; in particular, one woman, a retired lawyer whose house directly abuts a corner of the property, became increasingly irritated despite what Piottin sees as his best efforts to mollify her. Finally, she filed a detailed complaint that brought city investigators crashing down on the beaming faces of blooming sunflowers and threatened to bring to a close Gaia’s two year sojourn. Gaia Gardens is located in a residential neighborhood that is zoned R-5. Properties in this type of zone are not allowed to engage in commercial activity. Their activities are governed by the Home Occupation Ordinance, which restricts the number of nonresident employees or volunteers to two. Having workers live in tents is also not allowed.
Read more HERE!
Here’s a site that maps organizations that deal with food justice. Check it out to find out what is going on in your area!
“Natasha Bowens describes herself as a “young, brown female who likes to farm.” And while she didn’t grow up doing it, she’s now dedicated her career to creating a network of other people of color in farming and food justice.
In 2010 she began a blog titled Brown.Girl.Farming, and soon after started working on The Color of Food, a multimedia project that gathers stories of people of color leading farming and food justice initiatives in their hometowns. Bowens traveled across the country, doing interviews and taking photographs, and is set to publish a book in the spring. Based on what she learned in her travels she also developed the Color of Food map—which charts farms and food justice initiatives owned or operated by people of color. Anyone in the world can add to the map. There are already 272 organizations featured on this list.”
via Color Lines
This post is presented by Civil Eats and written by Kate Klein. This post comments on the journey of students reaching out, trying to make changes for a more sustainable food economy.
Cutting Food Stamps? No GMO labeling? More ethanol subsidies? Last Farm Bill 5 years ago?
Congress can’t get their act together, but young people can. Real food policies must start from the ground up — and today on Food Day, students are making that happen.
In the fall of 2010, students at Johns Hopkins University came together under a common vision: What if they could get their university to invest its purchasing power, much larger than any of theirs individually, in building a sustainable and just food economy? It was a powerful idea, one thousands of other students across the country united by Real Food Challenge were imagining as well. So in the spring of 2011, they dug in and began auditing their university’s food purchases for products that qualified as ‘real’: sourced from farms and food producers with fair labor practices, grown within 250 miles, raised in an ecologically sound manner, and humanely raised. The result? Only 7 percent real. Determined to increase this percentage, in the fall of 2011, they gathered over 500 petition signatures in support of a real food policy and engaged in conversations with university administrators about how to make their vision a reality. After 3 years of building their case, their university president has agreed to officially commit Johns Hopkins to purchasing 20 percent real food by 2020.
This is Real Food Hopkins’ story. And they’re not alone.
These three universities are all formally signing on to Real Food Challenge’s Real Food Campus Commitment, pledging to source 20 percent of their food from local, fair, sustainable and humane farms and food businesses. Together, these institutions bring the number of signatories to 22, representing over $55 million in annual purchases devoted to ‘real food.’ Each school will also inaugurate a new food policy committee on campus that will adopt rigorous new transparency standards regarding product origin and vendor social responsibility.
Read more HERE!
Get excited for all of the Food Day events happening on the 24th of October! Find out how to get involved here!
If you are in New York City, participate in the BIG APPLE CRUNCH!
“The Big Apple Crunch is an attempt to set the world record for the “Most Participants in an Apple-Crunching Event.” This event will take place on FOOD DAY – October 24, 2013. New Yorkers can participate by finding a crunch near you: at any of GrowNYC’s Greenmarket Farmers’ Markets or another location near you or by hosting a crunch yourself! We want it to be the crunch heard ’round the world! Please pledge to take a bite with us at 12pm or at any time during the day that works for you.”
Of course, this isn’t just going on in New York! Find out more about events near you or learn how to host your own event at http://www.foodday.org/