The Rise and Fall of School Gardens in New York’s Past Can Guide Us Into the Future
Community gardens are essential to the vibrancy of New York City for numerous reasons. The unique educational opportunities that gardens provide for our youth are just some of those benefits. A look at the rise and fall of school gardens in New York City’s past can help guide us into the future. Daniel Bowman Simon writing in the Huffington Post.
Seattle’s new urban-ag models are sprouting in friendly soil
Parkinson has been working in a gray area this year. Until yesterday, it was illegal to run a commercial farm from private, non-agriculturally designated property. But Seattle has been quickly working to improve the urban farming landscape in the city. This year was declared the “year of urban agriculture” by new Mayor Mike McGinn. And on August 16, the Seattle City Council approved new legislation that allows urban farmers (meaning anyone) to grow and sell food in all zones and on private property. Also, to please the more garden-variety backyard farmers, the city is increasing the number of allowed domestic fowl from three to eight — a much requested change. Grist article.
Tours to stress local food, health
The second annual Charlotte Area Farm Tour will take participants to 27 farms Sept. 18-19, including fruit and vegetable growers, livestock producers, North Carolina’s first certified organic dairy and even an ostrich farm. Organizing the tour is Davidson-based, family-run Know Your Farms LLC, which provides alternative distribution methods for products of local farms. Michael Smith of the Carolinas Natural Health Center will be on hand to explain the relationship between local food and wellness. Charlotte Observer (North Carolina) story.
The Year of Urban Agriculture
As part of the 2010 Year of Urban Agriculture, the Seattle City Council approved Council Bill 116907 that supports the rapidly growing local food movement. The ordinance updates the City’s Land Use code governing urban agriculture uses, including allowing “urban farms” and “community gardens” in all zones, with some limitations in industrial zones. Also, residents will now be able to sell food grown on their property. Seattle City Council news release.
From Motown to Growtown: The greening of Detroit
It’s that civic-minded impulse to “make everyone’s life easier” that drives the garden movement. I talked to several agriculture activists for this essay, and they all characterized the urban-ag revival as a community-based, almost painfully cooperative effort, anchored by a few key local nonprofit institutions. Greening of Detroit may be the most pervasive of them — it provides a broad array of support, including tools and compost, to the city’s nearly 1,200 registered vegetable gardens. These gardens range from single-family plots to community and school gardens to 37 market gardens, which are business enterprises that sell their goods at farmers’ markets. Grist article.
Urban fruit-picking project aims to minimize waste
Not Far from the Tree operates a residential fruit-picking program that aims to prevent locally grown fruit from going to waste. Toward that end, it sends teams of volunteers to harvest the fruit on trees whose owners are not inclined to do so themselves. Of the resulting bounty, one-third goes to the owner, another third goes to the volunteers for their labour and the final third is distributed via pedal power to charities and community organizations in the neighbourhood. Website
New York City is dotted with more than 10,000 acres (4,000 hectares) of unused land and Stacey Murphy would like to see it lush with tomatoes, cucumbers and arugula. The architect-turned-urban farmer started a business in Brooklyn last summer that’s turning backyards, vacant lots and school property into organic garden plots. With the motto, “You have the land, we grow the produce,” Ms. Murphy’s company, BK Farmyards, offers a new twist on sharecropping. Financial Post story.
Giving students a better school lunch
So two dozen cafeteria employees from Santa Barbara County schools are spending a week this summer in a culinary boot camp, learning to cook pork roasts and chicken, vegetables and casseroles they can serve in their schools — food that tastes good, comes in under budget and meets federal requirements. The boot camp “drill sergeants” — Cook for America founders Andrea Martin and Kate Adamick — also discuss politics and child psychology, nutrition and marketing. They teach time management, culinary math, knife skills, the history of school food and menu planning. Get rid of flavored milk and stop serving cinnamon rolls for breakfast, they say. Los Angeles Times story.
Colorado School Food Service Teams Head to Boot Camp
This summer, nearly 100 Colorado school food service and nutrition directors will head to boot camp…culinary boot camp, that is. The LiveWell Colorado School Lunch Boot Camp, presenting the Cook for AmericaTM Culinary Boot Camp training program, will be offered in four communities across the state in June and July. The program is designed to teach nutrition directors and cafeteria staff how to prepare fresh, made-from-scratch meals and sustain programs focused on healthful eating. LiveWell Colorado press release.
The Naked Chef’s ‘Food Revolution’ Comes to ‘This Week’
A recent government study found that children who eat school lunches are more likely to become overweight. Jamie Oliver, celebrity chef, nutrition activist and an Emmy award-winning television personality desperately wants to change that. “It’s all about food education,” Oliver said. “I’ve been trying to focus my attention in the last seven years on tangible change — stuff that gives you a really good value bang for your buck. And, you know, schools, to me, where your kids are 180 days of the year, often eating breakfast and lunch, seems like such an incredibly powerful way to make dramatic change, not just on what the kids physically eat, but also where they can be educated about food.” ABC News story.
AND if You Have Time
From Serbia comes pizza with testicles
In a remote Serbian mountain village, they’re cooking up delicacies to make your mouth water – or your stomach churn. At World Testicle Cooking Championship, visitors watch – and sometimes taste – as teams of chefs cook up bull, boar, camel, ostrich and even kangaroo testicles. Globe and Mail story.