Iowa State University’s Agricultural Urbanism Toolkit Helps Communities ‘Start the Conversation’ on Local Food SystemsMarch 10, 2015 | Trish Popovitch
A new Agricultural Urbanism Toolkit produced by the Iowa State University’s Community Design Lab offers communities the planning tools necessary to prioritize and ignite urban farming projects. Created with the support of a grant from the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture, the Toolkit includes process, practice and case studies to help jump-start local urban agriculture programs.
Courtney Long is a fellow for the Community Design Lab and facilitator of the urbanism toolkit program.
Urban Farm Raises Awareness, Offers Different Flavor of the Good Life in Affluent Southern CaliforniaMarch 5, 2015 | Trish Popovitch
Often, urban farming startups focus on bringing food options to underserved communities.
After interning on a sustainable farm in India, Rishi Kumar wanted to bring his experiences back to affluent Diamond Bar. He is now offering his well-heeled neighbors a different flavor of the good life. With chickens for eggs, and compost and bees for honey, Kumar is bringing the world of locally grown to a community that doesn’t have to think about self sufficiency in the same way many American communities do.
Pablo Alvarez and Craig Petten are Toronto natives with a combined 40 years of experience in the food industry. By starting a new aquaponic farm in their home city, the co-founders hope to both increase Toronto’s food stability and increase people’s connection with their food.
Alvarez and Petten first discovered aquaponics during their time at Humber College, where they majored in Sustainable Energy and Building Technology. After 20 years working in the hospitality industry in Toronto, the pair founded Aqua Greens. As Petten explains, their work in hospitality allowed them to see first hand the lack of connection between food and its source.
Panther Ridge Farm is a four-year-old, first-generation family farm in the foothills of Southern California’s San Gabriel Mountains. Founded by farmer and community organizer Hop Hopkins and his wife, Adalila Zelada-Garcia, the farm is focused on sustainable organic (non-certified) agriculture.
A variety of items are grown and raised at Panther Ridge Farm, including fruits, vegetables, nuts, herbs, flowers, mushrooms, heritage fowl and bees. A prime aim at the farm is to help increase food sovereignty, especially for poor people and those impacted by degradation of the land.
A second objective is education, which is fulfilled through the farm’s Outdoor School, where children and families learn about agriculture and the wilderness through hands-on, experiential programs. Participants learn how the natural world connects and sustains all living things, and the link between nature and agriculture is emphasized.
Ryan Serrano was 22 and freshly graduated from California State University, Long Beach, when he founded Foodscape in 2011.
The journey took a winding road toward its present incarnation. At first, Serrano immersed himself in social issues in college, and saw how food access can be a symptom of social dysfunction as well as a catalyst for social change. The key, he believes, is sustained and easy access to healthy, sustainable and affordable food.
Known as the “First Great Metropolitan Park of the 21st Century,” the City of Irvine’s 1,300-acre “Great Park,” is living up to its ambitious goals.
Created on the grounds of the former El Toro Naval Base, the park’s focus on promoting a relationship between local residents, sustainable food systems and community green space provides an example of how far a city can go to foster sustainable agriculture.
Grow Riverside Conference to Examine Economic, Community Benefits of Local Sustainable Agriculture in Urban AreasJanuary 14, 2015 | Robert Puro
This year’s conference at the Riverside Convention Center sets its focus on “The Future of Local Food” with the goal of sharing vital lessons and information with many municipalities.
Using Riverside’s significant accomplishments over the past 12 months as a model, the conference will examine the City’s initial steps to build and strengthen its local food system as well as explore solutions to help other cities and local governments establish and bolster their own similar initiatives.
Founded in 2002, the LA Neighborhood Land Trust is a nonprofit organization that identifies underutilized space in a 475-square miles area in and around Los Angeles, and transforms it into green space for urban agriculture and community recreation projects.
Real estate costs are high in Los Angeles, so the work of the Trust moves forward one small lot at a time.
“Our little land trust is good with conserving half-acre properties and creating green space in a community that has never existed before,” says Mark Glassock, director of special projects for the Trust. “In terms of our acreage, we are quite small, but in terms of our impact and our reach in terms of population, I believe we’re actually very, very large.”