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Farm bill’s urban farming programs fuel growing sector

“It is really important for extension to refocus its attention on urban agriculture,” says Cohen. An office dedicated to urban agriculture can help do that.”

By Fran Howard
Agri Puse
Mar 14, 2019

The 2018 farm bill officially recognizes urban farmers — from those with community gardens to those operating multimillion-dollar vertical farms — with the creation of both a new office and a research, education, and extension initiative.

The Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 is not the first time a farm bill has recognized the importance of urban farming; the urban garden program during the Carter Administration allocated funding to the nation’s largest cities in an effort to empower local communities to grow their own food.

The 2018 farm bill, however, is unprecedented in that it calls on the ag secretary to establish a USDA Office of Urban Agriculture and Innovative Production and appoint a senior official to serve as its director. The mission of the new office will be to “encourage and promote urban, indoor, and other emerging agricultural practices,” focusing on things like community gardens and farms located in urban areas, on rooftops, and using technologies like vertical or hydroponic farming.

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March 23, 2019   Comments Off on Farm bill’s urban farming programs fuel growing sector

Bumper crop of urban farming can be found in Ohio

A Columbus father and son work together starting seedlings. Urban agriculture is as much about people, as it is about food production, according to Michael Hogan, extension educator and associate professor of agriculture and natural resources at The Ohio State University.
(Photo: OSU Extension office)

The Ohio State University Extension has embraced developing food safety training specifically for urban farmers, since they have some unique issues to deal with.

By Linda Martz
Mansfield News Journal
January 28, 2015


Cleveland, which has spent as much as $750,000 mowing vacant foreclosed properties during the summer, managed to reduce that bill by turning over unused parcels to land banks, sometimes for urban farming.

Ohio City Farm in Cleveland, at 6.7 acres and located on the banks of a river that famously caught fire in the 1960s, was probably until recently the biggest urban farm in the U.S., he said.

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February 8, 2015   Comments Off on Bumper crop of urban farming can be found in Ohio

Urban farming and food tyranny – podcast

kidyellowPhoto by Andy Boenau, used with permission.

Interview with Josh O’Conner, Senior Editor for the Urban Times an online magazine. He’s a planner by trade and an advocate for community-oriented urbanism.

By Andy Boenau
Urbanism Speakeasy


Why does the government make growing and selling your own food so difficult? The FDA approves sugary desserts and sodas but I can’t bottle my own milk and sell it to a neighbor. Is there any hope that local or state governments will get behind their constituents and make small-scale agriculture more attractive? [Spoiler alert: prohibition never ended in the United States.]

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May 26, 2013   Comments Off on Urban farming and food tyranny – podcast

Food Bank Garden Patch: Urban Agriculture in the Heart of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan

Downtown Saskatoon’s 1.5 acre Food Bank Garden Patch.

Urban agriculture is a new way for the Food banks to supply nutritious emergency food while addressing underlying causes of hunger and food insecurity.

By Alison Robertson
Director of Community Development,
Saskatoon Food Bank and Learning Centre
July 26, 2012

If you are heading through downtown Saskatoon you will happen upon a somewhat unfamiliar sight – businesses owners, police officers, librarians, newcomers to Canada, and perhaps even the City’s mayor – all working together on a 1.5 garden parcel of once vacant land, now transformed into a beautiful, bountiful garden.

These community members from all walks of life have joined forces to grow food for hungry families in Saskatoon.

The Garden Patch is an innovative partnership between the City of Saskatoon and the Saskatoon Food Bank & Learning Centre. The City of Saskatoon has adopted a “Garden Site Policy” that allows community organizations to grow food on any vacant municipal land.

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July 27, 2012   Comments Off on Food Bank Garden Patch: Urban Agriculture in the Heart of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan

NPR: Science Friday – From Rooftops And Abandoned Lots, An Urban Harvest

Country farm and city skyscrape.

From rooftop apiaries in Paris to a vegetable-and-chicken farm in Philadelphia, agriculture has come to the city. Urban farmer Mary Seton Corboy and food writer Jennifer Cockrall-King talk about the future of food in the city. Plus, Tama Matsuoka Wong gives tasty tips for eating garden weeds.

By Ira Flatow, Host
May 18, 2012


This is SCIENCE FRIDAY. I’m Ira Flatow. If you live in a big city, there’s no shortage of places to buy groceries. You’ve got your supermarkets, your delis, your farmers markets, your sidewalk fruit stands. It seems like a limitless supply of food, right? But if you stop the delivery trucks, experts say a city’s food would run out in just three days.

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May 21, 2012   Comments Off on NPR: Science Friday – From Rooftops And Abandoned Lots, An Urban Harvest

Detroit, 96-year-old philosopher Grace Lee Boggs, Feed ‘Em Freedom Growers, Urban farming

Photo by Amy Senese.

Hear Feed ‘Em Freedom Grower at 31.30 minutes in the radio show. Slide the button forward to the chosen time.

By Krista Tippett
On Being – American Public Media
January 19, 2012

We travel to Detroit to meet the civil rights legend Grace Lee Boggs. We find the 96-year-old philosopher surrounded by creative, joyful people and projects that defy more familiar images of decline. It’s a kind of parallel urban universe with much to teach all of us about meeting the changes of our time. Radio interview here.

“Detroit, because we have this position in the history of the country and the world, is creating that alternative — not in words but in action,” she says. “There’s a group on the east side called Feed ‘Em Freedom Growers; if you don’t have food you can’t be free. Detroit has over 1,000 community gardens. Urban agriculture started very simply with some African-American women seeing some vacant lots.

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January 23, 2012   Comments Off on Detroit, 96-year-old philosopher Grace Lee Boggs, Feed ‘Em Freedom Growers, Urban farming

Urban Farming Takes Off In Baltimore

Amplify Baltimore Episode 2: Farmers’ Markets & City Farms.

“I sell to restaurants, I go to market on a weekly basis and I operate a small CSA.”

By Matt Purdy,
Baltimore, 88-1, WYPR
Sept 2011


Abby Cocke is an environmental planner with the Office of Sustainability.

“There’s been a community gardening movement for many, many years which is just about encouraging self-reliance and community building and reusing of vacant spaces, building up of neighborhoods and at least as I’ve been able to see the urban agriculture movement has sort of sprung out of that, out of that energy and out of the energy of young people… to see can we make a living off of this, can we change the way that these food systems work, not just for me and my neighbors but for the whole city.”

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September 21, 2011   Comments Off on Urban Farming Takes Off In Baltimore