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U of M Students Showcase Design Ideas for Ford’s Assembly Plant

12.15.07 | Optimus | In Uncategorized
Graduate students at the University of Minnesota’s School of Architecture will showcase design ideas for the future of Ford Motor Companies’ Twin Cities Assembly Plant this week. Mayor Chris Coleman and members of a task force investigating the St. Paul plant will be in attendance to examine the proposals. The designs will be on display from 1:30 to 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 12 for academic review and from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m for public review. Both will occur in the courtyard of Rapson Hall, 89 Church St. S.E., Minneapolis. Coleman and the task force will attend the latter review; reporters are welcome at either review.

The final-year students, from professor Lance Neckar’s Landscape Architecture studio and professor John Comazzi’s architecture studio, have spent the semester creating research and design proposals for the plant. With a focus on remediation of the site, the students have considered in-situ processes such as phyto-remediation, bio-remediation, engineered solutions and ground and surface water cleaning. The resulting designs for the future of the site propose alternative programs such as alternative energy and fuels research and development, environmental education facilities, transit infrastructure, urban farming and cultural and leisure landscapes.

[via UMN News]

Urban Farming on Treasure Island

12.15.07 | Optimus | In Uncategorized

Treasure Island Plan: Most sustainable city on the planet

Treasure Island, the man-made lump made up of 20 million cubic yards of sea floor soil sandwiched between 287,000 tons of rock and finally glazed over with 50,000 yards of loam.
The island was created for the 1939 Golden Gate International Exposition and then claimed as a Naval base until it was decommissioned 11 years ago. Since that time the city of San Francisco has been mulling over a re-facing and studying how to redevelop the bleak landscape on the horizon.

A 20 acre city-operated urban farm will be placed just one mile from the city center greatly reducing the transportation costs for Treasure Island residents. For comparison, food in the U.S. travels an average of 1500 miles from the farm to the market place which is currently a significant burden to the agriculture industry nationwide. Manmade wetlands on the north end of the island will house and filter the bulk of the storm water runoff. Bio-swales will litter the landscape, these are channels filled with compost or vegetation that will assist in the natural removal of silt and pollution. Some 25% of the wastewater from homes and businesses will be treated and recycled for irrigation and for use in the commercial buildings.

[via Triple Pundit]

Urban Farmer Report Boston

12.15.07 | Optimus | In Uncategorized

Victory Programs’ revision Urban Farm Chosen as 2008 Boston Social …

Non-profit business venture to receive support from network of Boston-area venture philanthropists BOSTON, Dec. 14 /PRNewswire/ — Victory Programs’ ReVision Urban Farm, a farm serving families facing homelessness in Dorchester, is among six area nonprofits selected as a 2008 Social Innovator by the Cambridge-based Social Innovation Forum to receive more than $80,000 in cash and services. The Forum was launched by Root Cause to help organizations like ReVision Urban Farm who have the field expertise, innovation and an entrepreneurial spirit develop the business frameworks and skills required to make a lasting social impact and grow to capacity. “We believe that ReVision Urban Farm is demonstrating an innovative and highly effective solution to homelessness and wellness,” said Susan Musinsky, co-director of the Social Innovation Forum.

[via PR Newswire (press release)]

Sky Farming in Calgary

12.05.07 | Optimus | In Uncategorized

This city’s ready for own wonder

Like Babylon, the Calgary Chamber of Commerce believes this city needs an architectural wonder of the world.

The hottest and most dazzling new phenomenon is an urban farm scheme, called skyfarming, invented at New York’s Columbia University.

Dickson Despommier, a visionary professor of environmental science and microbiology, wants to transform urban skyscrapers into modern-day hanging gardens.

“Just 150 of these futuristic greenhouse complexes would suffice to feed all eight-million New Yorkers,” he says. “It would produce the freshest, most wholesome organic fare imaginable.”

Many Calgarians come from lush, forested areas of Canada and the world. They long for dense foliage and flowerbeds and yearn to grow vegetables.

Imagine if the skyscrapers in Calgary’s downtown core were all topped with high-tech, rotating solar collectors and gardens yielding a cornucopia of fruits, vegetables, and grains.

The Chamber challenges the architectural and environmental community to work with agricultural economists, structural engineers, agronomists and urban planners to figure out how to wed high-tech agricultural practices with sustainable building technologies.

Although these high-rise gardens are still fantasy, they are based on well-tested methods of growing crops such as hydroponics, filtering storm water and production of fuel from crop byproducts. Thus, the skyfarms would be self-sustaining, energy efficient, able to recycle water and even cool the office workers below.

Once the technical challenges are solved, the next issue is to write a business plan that calculates the risks and reward from such a project. A co-operative venture and agricultural start-ups could hire and train urban farmers to plant, nurture and harvest these crops.

Produce could be donated to the city’s poor and the rest sold to Calgarians hungry for fresh produce.

[via Canoe.ca (subscription)]

A Vietnamese urban farm in New Orleans

12.05.07 | Optimus | In Uncategorized


Veggie patch recovery planned

NEW ORLEANS — After months of intense community planning, parishioners at Mary Queen of Vietnam Catholic Church have begun laying the groundwork for an urban farm, with the hope of rebuilding the rich communal vegetable gardens that once mimicked rural Vietnam in suburban New Orleans.

The working farm will be on a 20-acre parcel next to the church and likely will include a mix of smaller family and larger commercial lots, one or more fish-raising ponds, space for raising chickens or goats, and an open-air market.

The project is being designed for free by the Tulane University architecture schoolÂ’s City Center and Louisiana State UniversityÂ’s Robert Reich School of Landscape Architecture.

[via National Catholic Reporter]

Vietnamese church resowing tradition-The Times-Picayune

In one of the more unusual recovery projects to be born out of months of intense community planning, parishioners at Mary Queen of Vietnam Catholic Church in eastern New Orleans have begun laying the groundwork for an urban farm, with the hope of rebuilding the rich communal vegetable gardens that once mimicked rural Vietnam in suburban New Orleans.

The working farm will be on a 20-acre parcel next to the church on Dwyer Boulevard and likely will include a mix of smaller family and larger commercial lots, one or more fish-raising ponds and space for raising chickens or goats.

[via NOLA.com]

Urban Farming In New Haven

11.20.07 | Optimus | In Uncategorized

Small “Urban Farm” On Its Way

The proposal came at Wednesday evening’s Parks Commission meeting (pictured) on Edgewood Avenue.

Grace Burson, Liberty’s community gardener, said that the garden will function mainly as a job- training program for homeless and formerly homeless people. Burson said the garden will also serve a source of fresh local food and provide another outdoor attraction for the citizens of New Haven.

[via New Haven Independent]

Urban Farming In Bay Area

11.20.07 | Optimus | In Uncategorized

‘Urban Farms’ Gain Popularity In Bay Area

OAKLAND, Calif. — At least one local group is helping Bay Area residents learn how to start a farm in their own back yards, NBC11’s Vicky Nguyen reported Wednesday.

With the help of “City Slickers Farms,” Oakland residents are eating food that comes from land in the middle of the city, Nguyen said.

Willow Rosenthal started the nonprofit program in 2001, to help the concept of “urban farming” take root.

Rosenthal said the birds help her deliver fresh, nutritious food to low-income families.

[via NBC11.com]

Award winning Urban Farming in the Philippines

11.20.07 | Optimus | In Uncategorized

Philippines: ‘Gawad Kalinga Awards’-The Philippines best …

The awarding ceremonies led by Philippine President Gloria
Macapagal-Arroyo were held at Asia’s largest shopping, the SM Mall of Asia, in Pasay City.

Judged as the 2007 Most Inspiring Entrepreneurial
Communities were the following:
GK Selecta Village for its integrated urban farm project that proved urban communities can grow popular vegetables and other fruits and spices, even in small open spaces in populated areas.

[via Pacific News Center]

Urban Farming in Uganda Saves Millions

11.20.07 | Optimus | In Uncategorized

Uganda: Save Millions Through Urban Farming

Every week, Susan Nantongo spends sh10,000 on buying vegetables, yet the family has a strip of land along the perimeter fence. Nantogo would easily save this money if she practiced urban agriculture.

Kampala City Council recently said they were discussing a policy on urban agriculture. Urban agriculture is practised on an organised basis in many cities around the world. For instance, in Canada, 54% of urban-dwellers grow vegetables and 72% in Russia. In Kampala, city authorities estimate that only 35% of the people are engaged in agriculture.

[via AllAfrica.com]

Urban Farming in West Englewood, Chicago

11.20.07 | Optimus | In Uncategorized

West Englewood greenhouse program opens door to ex-cons, homeless

On a lonely stretch of cracked concrete and weeds in West Englewood stand three incongruous greenhouses, filled with tidy rows of dinosaur kale, baby spinach and beets.

In a part of the city where it is hard to get fresh groceries, [”There’s a lack of groceries in general,” said Kathy Dickhut, deputy commissioner of the city’s Department of Planning and Development, speaking of some low-income areas such as West Englewood. “It’s a food desert.”] the bounty of organic produce is still more of a surprise.

Growing Home, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping ex-convicts and homeless people rebuild their lives through urban farming, Wednesday formally launched the new mini-farm on two-thirds of an acre in the 5800 block [5814 S. Wood St.] of South Wood Street.

[via Chicago Tribune]

Ground broken on new buildings for urban farm

The organic farm has been functioning for several months. It grows 50 crops, which are sold at a local farm stand. There are also plans to open a farmer’s market in the community.

The farm also sells produce to several Chicago restaurants. Construction on the new buildings is expected to be finished next spring.

The project will also provide jobs for those who might be formerly homeless or incarcerated.

[via ABC7Chicago.com]

Chicago’s First Permanent, Year-Round Urban Farm Opens on South Side

CHICAGO, Nov. 13 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — The following event announcement was released today by Growing Home, Inc.: What: Groundbreaking for Chicago’s First Permanent, Year-Round Urban Farm Who: Growing Home, Alderman Toni Foulkes, and Teamwork Englewood Where: Wood St. Urban Farm, 5814 S. Wood St. Chicago When: Wednesday, November 14 at 9:00 a.m. Visuals: Hoop houses are erected on the site and collards, kale, mustard greens, salad mix and spinach are a good example of the crops that will be grown year round. Graduates from the job training program are working on site. Growing Home is a six-year old certified organic agricultural business with a social mission of providing transitional employment for homeless and low-income adults. Program participants are difficult-to-employ people, most of whom have criminal backgrounds. Growing Home also operates a 10-acre farm 75 miles southwest of Chicago at Marseilles, Illinois and a half-acre urban farm on the south side. In 2007, Growing Home harvested fifty crops (130 varieties) and four animal products — honey, worms, worm castings, and eggs and had sales of over $70,000. Growing Home’s current customers include some of Chicago’s most well-known restaurants: Bistro Campagne, Lula Cafe, Blackbird, First Slice Cafe, Green Zebra, North Pond, Soundings, and Vie. Growing Home’s new urban farm is a part of the larger Quality of Life Plan for the Englewood community, which calls for developing an Urban Agriculture District in Englewood that will lead to healthy and sustainable living among Englewood residents. This groundbreaking ceremony is for a greenhouse and multi-purpose building that will serve as the center of Growing Home’s efforts. The U.S. organic sector is expected to grow from $13 billion in 2003 to over $25 billion in 2007. However, less than 3% of organic produce available in Chicago is grown locally.

[via PR Newswire (press release)]

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