Local Food News — World

How to get tax money back: urban farming in DC and Baltimore

DC council members David Grosso’s and Mary Cheh’s Urban Agriculture and Food Security Act of 2014 (text) passed in December of 2014. DC has been pushing its new program, Sustainable DC, for a while now and this is one of the most impactful results for community members who will now be able to grow fresh produce right where they live. The city will identify 25 vacant lots of 2,500 sq ft to be used for urban farms as well as a 50% tax abatement reduction in property taxes if undeveloped land is leased to a farm. Now Baltimore looks to be next. In the Baltimore Sun “The bill, sponsored by City Councilman William “Pete” Welch, would provide a 90 percent property tax break for urban farmers who grow and sell at least $5,000 of fruit and vegetables a year.” Urban Farm Project post.

 

Tenth Open Farm Sunday celebrates record breaking year

What a day!  The sun shone (on most of us!) and the crowds came flocking onto farms in their thousands!  Early estimates show that visitor numbers for Open Farm Sunday 2015 will be over 250,000 – far exceeding the record breaking attendance of 2014 by more than 15%. Our tenth Open Farm Sunday has been a resounding success and a fantastic celebration of British farming and food. From the feedback received so far, it’s clear that Open Farm Sunday enabled hundreds of thousands of people to have an amazing day in the countryside, learning about farming and the story behind their food. We’re particularly delighted so many families took the time to visit farms up and down the country, many for the first time. Linking Environment And Farming post.

 

Euro-toques International

Euro-Toques is neither a marketing association nor a new union, but a lobby in Brussels, guardian of the authenticity and specificity of our best products. “Science without conscience is but the ruin of the soul.” Our goal is to give prominence to seasonal products and defend the regional artisans, remaining vigilant of the new laws. The lobby was created in Brussels in 1986. For 28 years 2000 chefs have been striving to keep the diversity of gastronomic products. Website.

 

‘Grow Forth’ and Prosper – GrowRIVERSIDE Digs in for the Future of Local Food

The farm-to-school program at Riverside Unified School District (RUSD) has not only transformed a school district but an entire community, and Taylor believes the momentum generated from the local food and agriculture movement in Riverside can energize and transform the nation. “We can change the way people think about food and agriculture in America,” he said. “Riverside is a great city, but it’s a city with great need. Farm-to-school has a major impact on our community. A nutrition program can be a catalyst for change in a community.” Grow Riverside post.

 

Rural School District Goes “All Hands on Deck” with Wellness and Farm to School

Here in Nebraska, our Farm to School pilot program is working with Norris School District in Firth, Neb. Norris was an early adopter of Farm to School. It is an excellent example of what happens when a district makes a commitment to healthy students. Dr. John Skretta, administrator of the Norris School District, says, “Healthy students learn better because they eat better.” He kicked off the Center’s most recent Farm to School Regional Conference with a powerful keynote outlining the value-added education students received after the district made a firm commitment to wellness. Center for Rural Affairs post.

 

How can a city produce more real food for itself?

I think that cities should offer incentives for converting private lawns into food producing areas. Perhaps with property tax breaks or water credits. My city provides free treated compost if you pick it up yourself and only charges a small fee to deliver a dump truck full. Other cities could do something similar. Cities could use their owned vacant lots to grow food for those in need. Owners of vacant land in the city should either be required to use it for the production of food for the hungry or given tax breaks to do so. Cities could also offer incentives for new residential buildings that provide rooftop growing space. Dissident Potato guest post by Cecily Hedman.

 

Yorkshire Dales Food and Drink Heaven

Gastronauts will be licking their lips over the impressive choice of food and drink on offer in the Yorkshire Dales National Park following the launch of two new projects. The Yorkshire Dales Food Network has been set up to to boost awareness of the huge variety of food producers in the Yorkshire Dales. Andrea Burden, the National Park Authority’s Sustainable Development Officer, said: “This is a pilot project that aims to create a searchable, interactive, internet-based directory and network of local food producers connected to retailers, restaurants, hospitality businesses and consumers. Stackyard story.

 

In L.A., Now You Can Use City Land For A Free Vegetable Garden

When Robert Finley received an arrest warrent for planting vegetables in front of his house, he decided to take a stand.  A member of his gardening group, Green Grounds, started a petition and gathered the community to take action.  The Los Angeles Times picked up the story and then he started to get global attention. The city council also took notice and the warrent was revoked.  Now, the policy has been changed and under a new law, the city will allow free gardens next to sidewalks. Minds story. Robert Finley TED talk on guerilla gardening.

 

Definition: Locavore

A locavore is someone who gives precedence to food that’s locally grown. In many cases this leads the locavore to know who grows his or her food. Jessica Prentice, a Bay Area chef, food writer, and community kitchen incubator, created the term in 2005. According to her, the term means a person who bases their diet on foods that are grown and produced in the geographic region where they live, are in touch with the seasonality of their food systems, and seek to cultivate relationships with local producers and processors. Locavores also have some kind of hands-on interaction with their food (cooking, gardens, baking, fermenting) either domestically or professionally. Prentice coined it by first looking at the Latin root for “place” — locus, which is now we get words like “local” or “locomotion” — then coupling it with the vorare, the Latin verb for “to eat” or “to swallow.” It’s also the root of “devour” and “carnivore.” Putting the two roots together gave her locavore. The Lexicon of Sustainability information artwork.

 

France Says New Roofs Must Be Covered In Plants Or Solar Panels

According to a new French law approved on Thursday, rooftops on new buildings in commercial zones across France must either be partially covered in plants or solar panels. Green roofs, which cover rooftop space with a layer of grasses, shrubs, flowers, and other forms of flora, offer a number of benefits. They create an insulating effect, reducing the amount of energy needed to heat or cool a building depending on the season. They increase local access to green space, which often comes at a premium in urban environments. They retain rainwater, thus decreasing runoff and any related drainage issues. They provide a space for urban wildlife, such as birds, to congregate and even nest, and they reduce air pollution by acting as natural filters. Climate Progress story.

 

AND IF YOU HAVE TIME

 

Lessons from the past in how we eat our food

Among the many priceless nuggets of information about how we used to eat, on show at the National Library of Scotland’s exhibition spanning 400 years of food and drink in Scotland, is a set of exquisite late 17th century table plans for the patriotic household of Andrew Fletcher of Saltoun, East Lothian. Class divisions notwithstanding, they show that daily consumption of an astonishing variety of home-grown produce was the norm, at least for the wealthy who had the room to grow their own and the wherewithal to purchase meat and sugar, even pay a French cook; hence the constant references to the ragouts and fricassees so unfavoured by Robert Burns when compared to good old haggis. The kitchen staff would have eaten well from leftovers; the rural poor also had access to nutritious local food. Herald Scotland story.

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