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Beehive safety in parks debated

Before they might open up selected Eau Claire parks to beekeepers, City Council members want more details as they grapple with how that could affect residents who are allergic to the insects’ stings.

The council discussed potential changes Monday night to its ordinance that allows beekeeping, which are expected to come back for a vote later this month after undergoing some revision.

“Overall I like the direction this is going,” Councilman Jeremy Gragert said.

The changes would ease requirements for people seeking a license to have beehives in their backyards for personal use, while also allowing beekeeping in parts of six city-owned public spaces.

READ THE STORY: https://www.leadertelegram.com/news/front-page/beehive-safety-in-parks-debated/article_66d8c6c2-c91e-5d8f-8e18-a1914cbf4d8c.html

Make the most of ‘living green’ in Seattle

Young Woman Working in a Home Grown Vegetable Garden

Whether you’re a newcomer to the city or a born-and-bred Seattleite, it’s no surprise that the Emerald City has a reputation for being green in more ways than one. In July, Seattle became the first city in the nation to ban the use of plastic straws at cafés and restaurants. In 2015, composting became not just a nice alternative to trash and recycling, but mandatory within city limits.

“Living a greener lifestyle is almost second nature for Seattleites, whether that’s recycling, composting, riding a bike to work or carpooling,” says Randy Bodkin, assistant manager in Amica Insurance’s Seattle office.

If you’re looking to get into the Seattle groove and start living a more eco-friendly lifestyle, there are many ways you can get in on the action. “We suggest checking with local ‘green’ energy efficient affiliates, your power company, or your waste management company for safe and easy ways to live greener,” Bodkin says.

One quick and easy change to make? Sign up for paperless billing from your insurance company and other utilities. Many companies will even offer a discount for going paperless. “Insurance companies, for one, generally send many policy documents. When our customers go paperless, this helps in reducing their carbon footprint,” Bodkin says.

READ THE FULL ARTICLE: https://www.seattletimes.com/sponsored/make-the-most-of-living-green-in-seattle/

Opportunities abound for New York agriculture

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. — Saratoga County is a microcosm of New York’s diverse $5 billion agriculture industry, which ranks nationally as a leader for goods such as yogurt, cheese and sour cream (first); apples and maple syrup (second); and milk production (third).

Many more opportunities such as farm-to-school initiatives, urban gardening and enhanced marketing of products ranging from hemp to concord grapes are also on the horizon in 2019.

The state’s 35,000 farms encompass more than seven million acres and are responsible for nearly 200,000 jobs.

“There are a lot of positive trends,” state Agriculture Commissioner Richard Ball said. “We need to exploit these opportunities.”

But there are challenges as well, such as bringing state leaders, who make crucial budget decisions, up to speed on high-priority issues confronting farmers today.

Democrats now control the upper house of the Legislature so Sen. Jen Metzger, of Ulster County, has replaced Sen. Patty Ritchie, of St. Lawrence County, as chair of that body’s agriculture committee. In the Assembly, Donna Lupardo of Broome County, succeeds fellow Democrat Bill Magee, of Oneida County, as committee chair.

READ THE STORY: https://www.saratogian.com/news/local-news/opportunities-abound-for-new-york-agriculture/article_67f21f3c-1126-11e9-a03a-9b19258f0fbb.html

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Farm Bill would benefit Detroit’s urban agriculture

Detroit — Democratic U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow on Monday championed reforms to encourage urban agriculture in the 2018 Farm Bill.

Stabenow, a ranking member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry, urged President Donald Trump to sign the bipartisan legislation that would widen a safety net for farmers, encourage conservation efforts and protect food assistance programs.

Both chambers of Congress passed the bill by wide margins last week after the 2014 Farm Bill expired Sept. 30.

“I see through the lens of Michigan, and Michigan really is on every page,” Stabenow said during a press conference at Eastern Market. “I’m proud we were able to get this done in the midst of all of what has been happening in Congress…This is something that will be a wonderful Christmas present for many, many, many people.”

READ THE FULL STORY https://www.detroitnews.com/story/news/politics/michigan/2018/12/17/stabenow-farm-bill-michigan-urban-agriculture/2332256002/

Uber CEO and Alphabet Invest in Urban Farming Startup

Bowery Farming Inc., a two-year-old startup that uses robotics to cultivate crops indoors, is on track for more growth. The New York-based company plans to announce on Wednesday that it raised $90 million from investors including Alphabet Inc.’s GV and Uber Chief Executive Officer Dara Khosrowshahi, said Bowery’s co-founder and CEO, Irving Fain. The company declined to provide its valuation.

Bowery is part of a new crop of agriculture technology startups growing leafy greens in controlled environments near cities. Last year, Plenty, a San Francisco-based vertical farming company, raised $200 million from the Japanese conglomerate SoftBank Group Corp.’s Vision Fund. Bowery grows its veggies in layers of sensor-rich trays that move and react to humidity, carbon dioxide and light. One square foot of Bowery’s indoor farm is 100 times more productive than an equivalent plot of arable land, Bowery says. Plenty makes similar claims.

READ THE FULL ARTICLE: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-12-12/uber-ceo-and-alphabet-invest-in-urban-farming-startup

 

Urban farms could be incredibly efficient—but aren’t yet

The green revolution that transformed modern agriculture has generally increased its scale. There’s tremendous potential for efficiencies in the large-scale application of mechanization, fertilization, and pesticide use. But operating at that level requires large tracts of land, which means sources of food have grown increasingly distant from the people in urban centers who will ultimately eat most of it.

In some ways, hyper-local food is a counterculture movement, focused on growing herbs and vegetables in the same dense urban environments where they will be eaten. It trades the huge efficiencies of modern agriculture for large savings in transportation and storage costs. But is urban farming environmentally friendly?

According to researchers at Australia’s University of New England, the answer is pretty complex. Within their somewhat limited group of gardeners, urban agriculture is far more productive for the amount of land used but isn’t especially efficient with labor and materials use. But the materials issue could be solved, and the labor inefficiency may be a product of the fact that most urban farmers are hobbyists and are doing it for fun.

READ THE REST OF THE STORY: https://arstechnica.com/science/2018/12/urban-farms-could-be-incredibly-efficient-but-arent-yet/

Urban farms could be incredibly efficient—but aren’t yet

The green revolution that transformed modern agriculture has generally increased its scale. There’s tremendous potential for efficiencies in the large-scale application of mechanization, fertilization, and pesticide use. But operating at that level requires large tracts of land, which means sources of food have grown increasingly distant from the people in urban centers who will ultimately eat most of it.

In some ways, hyper-local food is a counterculture movement, focused on growing herbs and vegetables in the same dense urban environments where they will be eaten. It trades the huge efficiencies of modern agriculture for large savings in transportation and storage costs. But is urban farming environmentally friendly?

According to researchers at Australia’s University of New England, the answer is pretty complex. Within their somewhat limited group of gardeners, urban agriculture is far more productive for the amount of land used but isn’t especially efficient with labor and materials use. But the materials issue could be solved, and the labor inefficiency may be a product of the fact that most urban farmers are hobbyists and are doing it for fun.

READ THE REST OF THE STORY: https://arstechnica.com/science/2018/12/urban-farms-could-be-incredibly-efficient-but-arent-yet/

Most POPULAR Gardening Instagram Posts from 2018

It’s been a BEAUTIFUL year! Now that it’s coming to an end let’s have some FUN and celebrate by looking back at our most POPULAR posts from 2018.

1. @urbanorganicgardener

2. @mimscuisine

3. @myactiveroots

4. @825farm

5. @bigdeliciousplanet

6. @suburban.existence

7. @almabackyardfarms

8. @lifecanbeadreamsweetheart

9. @suburban.existence

Happy 2019!

To see MORE great garden inspiration, make sure you’re following us on our Instagram Account, @urbanorganicgardener