Amid COVID-19, Urban Growers Collective distributes nearly one million pounds of produce

ADAM M. RHODES

We’re now in the eighth month of the COVID-19 pandemic, and millions are struggling to maintain their incomes and housing. But even before the pandemic started, one Chicago nonprofit, the Urban Growers Collective, was working to address residents’ struggles to access another basic necessity—fresh, healthy food—and the current crisis has only emboldened that work.

From mid-March to the end of September, the group delivered nearly one million pounds of produce to more than 25 partner organizations across the city, including Howard Brown Health on 63rd, Grow Greater Englewood, and West Side Mutual Aid, says UGC development associate Brandon Lov. That number, Lov says, includes produce boxes UGC delivers directly, as well as deliveries the group coordinates with its partners, including prepared meals and boxes of fresh produce, dairy and meat as part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farmers to Families Food Box program.

READ THE FULL STORY: https://www.chicagoreader.com/chicago/amid-covid-19-urban-growers-collective-distributes-nearly-one-million-pounds-of-produce/Content?oid=83220311

Urban agriculture ‘not gonna feed the world,’ but has much to offer close to home

Jodi Kushins, of Over the Fence Urban Farm, in Columbus, picks cherry tomatoes at her farm Aug. 27. (Sarah Donaldson photo)

COLUMBUS — Jodi Kushins, of Over the Fence Urban Farm, knows she doesn’t grow a lot compared to some farms. She feeds about 20 households through her CSA program, with 2,500 square feet in her yard and her neighbor’s yard.

“It’s like a drop in the bucket,” she said. “Seeing a semi truck full of produce and then thinking about the very, very tiny amount of food I’m able to produce in my yard definitely gives me pause.”

READ THE FULL STORY: https://www.farmanddairy.com/news/more-than-a-token-urban-agriculture-not-gonna-feed-the-world-but-has-much-to-offer-close-to-home/626629.html

Urban poor families set up food gardens to cope with hunger amid pandemic

Monitoring leader Arbie Santacera with Apple Montales and Estrelita Sanchez water their vegetables on an empty lot turned into urban gardening along Clemente road, Barangay Payatas B, Quezon City.
INQUIRER PHOTO / RICHARD A. REYES

MANILA, Philippines — Struggling to put food on their tables through weeks into quarantine due to the new coronavirus pandemic, residents of Barangay Payatas in Quezon City have found a new reason to band together amid the scarcity of food aid and jobs.

They have transformed concrete walls, backyards and empty lots into urban food gardens — where patches of green, leafy vegetables keep their community vibrant despite months of lockdown.

“It also gives us the motivation to wake up every day to see how our vegetables are doing. It would make us smile to see our lettuce leaves or eggplants grow by the day,” said Gilda Rollamas, one of the volunteer mothers of Ina ng Lupang Pangako Parish.

Read the FULL STORY here: https://newsinfo.inquirer.net/1340874/urban-poor-families-set-up-food-gardens-to-cope-with-hunger-amid-pandemic

Denver Urban Gardens Plans Sale of El Oasis Land to Pay Off Debt

Extra food from El Oasis is donated to Bienvenidos Food Bank as part of DUG’s pledge to help those with low access to fresh produce. Claire Duncombe

Denver Urban Gardens plans to sell most of the land where it operates El Oasis, one of its Highland neighborhood gardens, to Caliber Construction in a $1.2 million deal set to close on December 1. But members of El Oasis, located at 1847 West 35th Avenue, are fighting the sale by raising public awareness in hopes of pressuring Caliber Construction to back out while the agreement is still under contract.

The money from the sale is intended to help DUG alleviate accumulated debt and continue to fulfill its role in offering gardens on more than 180 properties around the city, according to Ramonna Robinson, president of the nonprofit’s board. DUG informed El Oasis gardeners of the planned sale on September 9, with notices to vacate plots on the two-thirds of the land that Caliber will take over by October 5. The remaining third of the land will remain a garden in perpetuity. The gardeners, many of whom have tended El Oasis plots for years, believe that DUG has fundraising options other than selling the land, but DUG says that without the sale, the nonprofit will cease to exist.

READ THE FULL STORY: https://www.westword.com/restaurants/community-gardeners-try-to-stop-sale-of-denver-urban-gardens-property-11804554

Denver Urban Gardens Plans Sale of El Oasis Land to Pay Off Debt

Extra food from El Oasis is donated to Bienvenidos Food Bank as part of DUG’s pledge to help those with low access to fresh produce. Claire Duncombe

Denver Urban Gardens plans to sell most of the land where it operates El Oasis, one of its Highland neighborhood gardens, to Caliber Construction in a $1.2 million deal set to close on December 1. But members of El Oasis, located at 1847 West 35th Avenue, are fighting the sale by raising public awareness in hopes of pressuring Caliber Construction to back out while the agreement is still under contract.

The money from the sale is intended to help DUG alleviate accumulated debt and continue to fulfill its role in offering gardens on more than 180 properties around the city, according to Ramonna Robinson, president of the nonprofit’s board. DUG informed El Oasis gardeners of the planned sale on September 9, with notices to vacate plots on the two-thirds of the land that Caliber will take over by October 5. The remaining third of the land will remain a garden in perpetuity. The gardeners, many of whom have tended El Oasis plots for years, believe that DUG has fundraising options other than selling the land, but DUG says that without the sale, the nonprofit will cease to exist.

READ THE FULL STORY: https://www.westword.com/restaurants/community-gardeners-try-to-stop-sale-of-denver-urban-gardens-property-11804554

Don’t panic, but it’s time to start your autumn gardening chores

Cooler nights bring questions, and we have been having cooler nights. I note more than a hint of panic, folks. Relax. The leaves have really not even started to turn color and lawns are still growing.

Let’s start with lawn questions. There were several about fertilizing, probably due to the influence of Madison Avenue. There is always inventory left in the fall that has to be moved, and this results in planted articles insisting fall is the time to fertilize your lawn with nitrogen-laden, synthetic fertilizer.

Here in Alaska, we don’t use synthetic fertilizers, only organic, but even if we did, we would realize the flush of growth they would cause is not what we want as we go into winter. Still, let me make it simple. Microbe foods can be put down any time of the year without causing the flush of growth and drain-off of chemical fertilizers.

READ THE FULL STORY: https://www.adn.com/alaska-life/gardening/2020/09/10/dont-panic-but-its-time-to-start-your-autumn-gardening-chores/

Farm to table to dirt to farm: This local business wants to make composting the next recycling

When Ben Bessler graduated with an accounting degree from Northern Kentucky University, he didn’t expect his work would one day have him shoveling dirt and food scraps in his parents’ backyard. But what began as a hobby at home has grown into a budding business addressing an environmental challenge alongside an emerging consumer demand. [WATCH VIDEO]

“My wife and I were trying to compost in Park Hills, and we realized that it was kind of inconvenient to take our food outside to the compost bin every day, and then at the end of the week take it out to the garden,” he told WCPO. “We thought, maybe there’s a convenient way we can get people composting and make it easy and affordable.”

READ THE FULL ARTICLE: https://www.wcpo.com/news/transportation-development/move-up-cincinnati/farm-to-table-to-dirt-to-farm-this-local-business-wants-to-make-composting-the-next-recycling

Farm to table to dirt to farm: This local business wants to make composting the next recycling

When Ben Bessler graduated with an accounting degree from Northern Kentucky University, he didn’t expect his work would one day have him shoveling dirt and food scraps in his parents’ backyard. But what began as a hobby at home has grown into a budding business addressing an environmental challenge alongside an emerging consumer demand. [WATCH VIDEO]

“My wife and I were trying to compost in Park Hills, and we realized that it was kind of inconvenient to take our food outside to the compost bin every day, and then at the end of the week take it out to the garden,” he told WCPO. “We thought, maybe there’s a convenient way we can get people composting and make it easy and affordable.”

READ THE FULL ARTICLE: https://www.wcpo.com/news/transportation-development/move-up-cincinnati/farm-to-table-to-dirt-to-farm-this-local-business-wants-to-make-composting-the-next-recycling

This South Side Gardener Is Behind Nearly 100 Urban Farms Across Chicago — And He’s Not Slowing Down

MAXWELL EVANS/BLOCK CLUB CHICAGO

SOUTH CHICAGO — Right as he’s detailing his urban farming work, Gregory Bratton abruptly stops and says he’ll need to continue the interview later.

Bratton is working with volunteers at one of the many South Side gardens he cares for, and he breaks up his interview answers to share knowledge and give directions to volunteers. His priorities lie with the garden.

“Make sure you put that in the story,” Bratton said before hanging up the phone. “I’m a busy man.”

He certainly is. The 68-year-old master gardener — 69 in a few weeks— works on 86 gardens across Chicago. More than 20 are on the Southeast Side.

READ THE FULL STORY: https://blockclubchicago.org/2020/09/24/this-south-side-gardener-is-behind-more-than-200-urban-farms-across-chicago-and-hes-not-slowing-down/

Small, modern homes with urban farming coming to Fort Worth suburb

URBAN CHIC PROPERTIES

A developer is building a small “pocket neighborhood” in Kennedale with modern farm homes and lots of outdoor space where people can grow their own food and meet their neighbors.

“Millennials want that living experience. People don’t want to mow their yards anymore. They want a smaller, compact home that is cute and modern looking, creating a cottage feel,” Sumpter said in an interview.

The Moderno is designed with a “pocket neighborhood” concept where the homes face inward often into a courtyard or an open space where neighbors can gather and get to know one another. Pocket neighborhoods are popular in the Pacific Northwest, Sumpter said.

READ THE FULL STORY: https://www.star-telegram.com/news/business/growth/article245902885.html