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Books/Media and Urban Agriculture


Documentary Films: "Another World is Plantable!" Buenos Aires, Berlin, Cape Town
In the film series, "Another World is Plantable!", community gardens in different parts of the world are presented. At the core of the film series are the activists from the community gardens, the gardens themselves, and the visions the activists have of them. They recount how and why their gardens are not just green oases in the middle of the city, but much more than that projects that bring into being 'another world'. Posted November 28, 2007

Escape from Suburbia - Beyond the American Dream
This film includes urban agriculture as part of a larger theme: "through personal stories and interviews we examine how declining world oil production has already begun to affect modern life in North America." There are moving and dramatic scenes at the destrruction of LA's South Central Farm and thoughtful conversations with New York community gardeners. Posted August 27, 2007

"A Well-watered Garden" is a short documentary
"The garden at the centre of the film is part of a faith community called Jacob's Well in Vancouver, Canada. The neighbourhood (downtown eastside) has complex difficulties including extreme poverty (the poorest postal code in Canada), drug addiction (more than 5000 needle users), widespread disease (highest HIV and AIDS infection in the western world, and prevalent mental illness (estimated to be more than 50% of the area residents)." Posted June 27, 2007

Garden Your City
"Feldt has tapped the wisdom of urban gardeners from San Francisco to Boston, and she includes her tips and quotes in this invaluable manual. It will inspire and empower the inexperienced gardener who lives on a fourteenth floor in Chicago, the expert roof gardener in Seattle, the civic-minded green thumb who envisions red geraniums under the neighborhood street trees, and the yard-less urbanite who dreams of fresh vegetables from a community plot." Posted February 6, 2007

IDRC's 'Expose Urban Solutions' Photos
Urban agriculture images included. "Cultivating New Horizons - In Dakar, flat concrete rooftops form a veritable second city landscape. As Senegalese cities become more and more dense, entrepreneurs like this immigrant farmer are beginning to make use of this vast, unused resource to enhance their livelihoods with productive activities. His salads are grown organically with home-made compost made from kitchen scraps and chicken manure donated by his neighbors. The produce will be sold in the market to earn the man a modest monthly income." Posted September 28, 2006

Food Not Lawns - How to Turn Your Yard into a Garden and Your Neighborhood into a Community
New book. "Flores, an urban gardener and activist, believes that the first step toward a healthier, more self-reliant, and more ecologically sane life is growing your own food. Gardening is a radical act, she says. Those who control our food, control our lives. Gardening empowers us, offering freedom from the industrial food market where profit, not heath and the environment, rule the day. Flores envisions life-sustaining paradise gardens everywhere, from your own front yard, to an inner-city abandoned lot, or even the strip of grass between the sidewalk and street. Her step-by-step guide leads you through the practical steps of site selection and design, building nutrient-rich soil, and choosing appropriate plants." Updated September 20, 2006

Documentary: "Farmers in the City" - Problems and Opportunities in the City of Lima
In Spanish. English subtitles coming. "The first Urban Harvest documentary demonstrates what is urban agriculture and why it is practiced in particular in Metropolitan Lima. The documentary identifies the reality of urban agriculture in the eastern district of Lima and describes the importance of urban agriculture as a livelihood strategy for families that contributes to their food security and provides them with extra and alternative income, while also maintaining a sustainable city environment." Updated September 7, 2006

Deconstructing Dinner - Radio - "Farming in the City I"
One hour radio show. Guests: Wally Satzewich - Farmer, Wally's Urban Market Garden / SPIN Farming (Saskatoon). Beth Sobieszczyk - Program and Social Enterprise Coordinator, Fruit Tree Project, LifeCycles Project Society (Victoria). Jac Smit - President and CEO, The Urban Agriculture Network (TUAN) (Washington D.C.) Posted September 4, 2006

44 Urban Agriculture Photos
Finding new photos that illustrate city farming is an exciting occasion. You'll find something to surprise you in this collection. "Queen Elizabeth II in lively discussion with gardening enthusiasts on their garden allotment." ... and... "With their garden implements held on their shoulders these blind children form a 'V' for victory gardening." Posted July 27, 2006

Growing Better Cities - Urban Agriculture for Sustainable Development
Luc Mougeot's new book is now on-line! "As the cities grow, so does the number of urban poor. Unemployment, hunger, and malnutrition are commonplace. In the big city, most of any cash income the poor might bring home goes to feeding themselves and staying alive; any food that does not have to be bought is a bonus. As a result, more and more people are attempting to grow at least some of their own food to supplement poor diets and meager incomes. But farming in the city - urban agriculture - is too often seen by municipalities as a problem to be eradicated rather than as a part of the solution to making the city and its environment more sustainable." Posted June 21, 2006

City Farmer TV
With all the buzz about watching video on Apple's latest Video iPod, we decided to start our own TV show. These short clips will bring you up close and personal with the kind of work we do at the Vancouver Compost Demonstration Garden. See how we trap rats in a compost bin and plant our cold frame with overwintering salad greens. You can watch these short films on your computer but you'll want to download the latest version of iTunes and Quicktime. Updated November 21, 2005

Garden Warriors of 'Yesteryear' - Photos Slideshow
We are building on the ideas and work of past generations. These photos are from the Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division, Washington and one from the Archives of Canada, Ottawa. Posted November 15, 2005

School Children Gardening - Photos 1914-1918: Slideshow
These wonderful photos are in the Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division, Washington. They remind us that earlier generations were as excited as we are today about the potential of teaching kids about food gardening. Posted November 7, 2005

US Victory Garden Film WW2
(Film plays for 20 minutes on-line!) A farm garden is portrayed in the film but the same message was sent to city residents. "The Holder family in Maryland lays out a quarter acre Victory Garden during World War II. Most of the gardening work is done by Grandpa Holder and his teenage grandchildren Rick and Amy and from the looks of the film, it's backbreaking. There's the early garden of peppers, tomatoes, pole beans, potatoes, asparagus and sweet corn. Then, there's the late garden with beets, squash, late potatoes, late cabbage, kale, collard greens and three rows of turnips. To save gasoline, they use a horse and plow and humble farm implements. It's anything but organic. We see every kind of pest, worm and disease that can affect the garden. Rick sprays various noxious looking chemicals on the vegetables without wearing a face mask or gloves. A victory garden is like 'a share in an airplane factory', the film's opening tells us. It's also a 'vitamin factory' that will keep Americans strong. The film ends on a patriotic note. 'No Work, No Victory!' Bear that in mind all you Victory Gardeners and 'Work! For Victory!' A no-nonsense, non-idealized look at what it's like to have to really grow your own food." Posted October 29, 2005

Agropolis - The Social, Political and Environmental Dimensions of Urban Agriculture
"This book presents the first findings of original field research projects funded by IDRC's AGROPOLIS International Graduate Research Awards on Urban Agriculture. Countries studied include Cuba, Argentina, Botswana, France, the UK, Zimbabwe, Ivory Coast, Togo and Tunisia. Together, these studies examine concrete strategies to better integrate 'city farming' into the urban landscape." Posted June 25, 2005

Film: "Seeds in the City" - The Greening of Havana
"Seeds in the City tells the remarkable story of how the people of Havana have pulled themselves back from the brink of disaster. Faced with food shortages and widespread hunger, city dwellers began growing food on rooftops, in schoolyards, and in front of office buildings. Now there are thousands of urban farms in a city better known for its music, dance and nightlife." Posted May 30, 2005

Urban Gardens of Caracas, Venezuela - Swords Into Ploughshares
"As part of the progressive social reforms President Chavez has been implementing in Venezuela, a system of communal and hydroponic gardens has been developed in the inner cities, in the slum areas and on army bases. See Carmen Victor's documentary photographs of the communal gardens in Caracas." Posted September 14, 2004

Micro Eco-Farming: Prospering from Backyard to Small-Acreage in Partnership with the Earth
New Book: "Micro eco-farms fill in spaces that larger sized farms don't attend to. They use back yards, vacant lots, or their family's own small acreage. As they grow in number, it is anyone's guess as to what type of new economical foundation they could create." Posted August 12, 2004

Continuous Productive Urban Landscapes - Designing Urban Agriculture for Sustainable Cities
New Book: "The first book on urban agriculture for architects, landscape architects and urban designers. Over 230 images give the reader a clear visual idea about the impact of this pioneering subject. Urban design is shown in practice through international case studies. Chapter One: Carrot and City: A New Urbanism. Chapter Two: Pro Urban Agriculture. Chapter Three: Open Urban Space." Posted August 9, 2004

BBC World feature - A Growing Trend - on Urban Agriculture
" 'A Growing Trend' highlights exactly that: how different methods of producing food - small-scale, organic, natural farming and urban agriculture are on the increase. While alternatives to large-scale agriculture are often born out of necessity, these methods are proving to be highly effective at meeting nutritional and economic needs and at the same time helping to build communities and protect the environment." Posted June 18, 2004

RUAF's Urban Agriculture Video
" A ten minute clip is now available on-line. Shot in four cities, in Dakar (Senegal), Hanoi (Vietnam), Dar Es Salaam (Tanzania) and Cuenca (Ecuador)", the video has been produced to facilitate a greater understanding of urban agriculture among policy-makers, urban planners, NGOs, sectoral organizations and other people who can make a contribution to the integration of urban agriculture into urban planning policies, plans and development programmes. Posted May 23, 2004

In my Backyard: Growing a Sense of Place in Bankside
"In the book you will discover: How a Bangladeshi garden group has helped create friendships, a sense of community and some tasty meals; Why sheep and goats were grazing in the middle of an inner-London local park; That Bankside used to be two riverside gardens, with orchards and vineyards." Posted March 3, 2003

Feast Your Eyes: The Unexpected Beauty of Vegetable Gardens
"Pennington tells a terrific story of the rise and fall of ornamental vegetable gardening between the seventeenth and the nineteenth centuries, and its comeback in the twentieth. The cast of supporting characters is made up of both familiar figures (Thomas Jefferson, Alexander Pope, etc.) and obscure heroes of horticulture and landscape architecture." Posted March 3, 2003

Training Organic Farmers & Gardeners: Resources for Instructors
This 600-page manual covers practical aspects of organic farming and gardening, applied soil science, and social and environmental issues in agriculture. Units contain lecture outlines for instructors and detailed lecture outlines for students, field and laboratory demonstrations, assessment questions, and annotated resource lists." (PDF edition available on-line) Posted March 3, 2003

The Urban Farmers Almanac - A Journal of Post Punk Gardening
A new urban agriculture publication featuring stories titled Minneapolis Squatter Gardens, Small-Scale Urban Soybean Farming, and Low-Light Indoor Agriculture. The author "created this site... to serve as a psychological steam valve". "Everyday I spend festering in this rotten city working on my graduate degree (Masters of Agriculture in Horticulture) makes me more and more insane." Posted August 14, 2002

"Return of Lenin" (to a Swedish allotment garden) - a short film
"In 1917 Lenin passed through Stockholm on his way to the Russian Revolution. Anna Lindhagen invited Lenin to the allotment gardens of "Barnangen" to show all its benefits. Lenin was totally unresponsive to this, - to poke in the soil was to prepare the ground for political laziness in the class struggle. The workers shouldn't be occupied, with gardening, they should rather devote themselves to the proletarian revolution. - " Posted June 17, 2002

The War Garden Victorious
This rare book (1919), about the USA food gardening program during World War I, is being republished chapter by chapter on the Internet. "The United States government strongly encouraged everyone to plant a garden to provide their own food so that food, transportation and other resources could be freed up for the war effort." - "The sole aim of the National War Garden Commission was to arouse the patriots of America to the importance of putting all idle land to work, to teach them how to do it, and to educate them to conserve by canning and drying all food they could not use while fresh. The idea of the 'city farmer' came into being."
Posted June 1, 2002

Old Cities/Green Cities - Communities Transform Unmanaged Land
"This report was developed out of a series of documents on urban vacant land by one of the leading gorups in the country dealing with this issue--the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society (PHS). Part 1 of the report addresses the challenges to urban vitality presented by vacant land; vacant land as a neighborhood resource; large-scale greening systems; and the link between urban renewal and sprawl. Part 2 provides an in-depth look at some PHS programs. An appendix provides a list of contacts to the many Community Development Corporations active in the area of urban greening in cities throughout the United States." Posted May 29, 2002

Urban Agriculture Online - a new magazine
Geoff Wilson, editor and publisher of Urban Agriculture Online said he chose to launch the online magazine at the 'Dallas Urban Agriculture Symposium' because he saw it as the most important global event in urban agriculture in 2002. "Many countries have endorsed urban agriculture as most complementary food production that well meshes with rural agriculture. They are seeing it as an important response to the world's rapid urbanization of rural areas, desertification, pollution of air and water, and the possible impact of bio-terrorism." Posted May 21, 2002

Chapter 16 - Urban Agriculture: A Powerful Engine for Sustainable Cities
Just and Lasting Change - When Communities Own Their Futures, includes a 3000 word chapter by Jac Smit on Urban Agriculture. "People around the world are returning to farming in cities. As a Ford Foundation urban adviser in 1968 I found that people in Calcutta were producing one-quarter of the fish and vegetables being consumed there, using waste-water and solid waste. In many places today urban agriculture supplies between one-quarter and one-half of city dwellers total food needs." Posted March 10, 2002

RUAF Urban Agriculture Film
"This video on Urban Agriculture has been produced to facilitate a greater understanding of urban agriculture among policy-makers, urban planners, NGOs, sectoral organisations and other people who can make a contribution to the integration of urban agriculture into urban policies, plans and development programmes." Posted March 4, 2002

RUAF's Urban Agriculture Video
" A ten minute clip is now available on-line. Shot in four cities, in Dakar (Senegal), Hanoi (Vietnam), Dar Es Salaam (Tanzania) and Cuenca (Ecuador)..." Posted May 23, 2004

Diary of a Compost Hotline Operator
Edible Essays on City Farming

Sweat Equity: a Film
"Sweat Equity is the first film produced by the Metro Farming Film Project. The documentary focuses on community gardening activism that was occurring throughout the City of Los Angeles during the years following the 1992 civic unrest. Grassroots actions by local leadership and the sweat equity of community people made it possible to reclaim abandoned land to create urban gardens. " Posted March 4, 2002

A Guide to Community Food Projects
"This 20-page Guide features case studies of seven innovative projects funded by USDA's Community Food Projects grant program including - a youth employment program in San Francisco that produces quality organic food products, economic development, and personal growth; - fruit and salad bars in 30 Los Angeles County schools that provide healthful foods and nutrition education to school children; - and new community gardens that increase food-self reliance in low-income neighborhoods in New York City." Link downloads PDF edition. " Posted February 14, 2002

Growing a Community Food System
"This publication discusses developing projects, building successful coalitions, planning and assessment, developing resources, evaluating a community food system, community food system models, and lists other references and resources." PDF edition available on-line. " Posted February 13, 2002

New Book Makes the Backyard Gardener a Part of the Solution to Global Hunger
"This book invites the everyday gardener to become a part of the battle against global hunger. The authors explain how each and every one of us can turn our backyard garden into a global garden where exotic vegetables can be grown and harvested. In the process they encourage us to learn more about our neighbors in this, our global village, do backyard research and share our knowledge and wisdom with others." Posted November 28, 2001

FAO Photo Files - Gardens help meet household food needs

Mauritania: Women rewarded with success in their attempts to grow vegetables in the middle of the desert

School gardens nurture knowledge

China: Farmer at the local market selling cauliflower and spinach from baskets strapped to his motorbike


Games for Community Gardeners
"Gaia's Garden" - 4 gardeners plant vegies in their organic garden; bugs want to destroy the crops and predator insects help the gardeners."
"Youri's Pea" - How to grow a pea plant with the help of soil, water, air and sun. Wildlife in and around the garden interferes with the plant growth. Posted May 7, 2001



Beyond Organic
The Center for Urban Agriculture - The Film
"BEYOND ORGANIC tells the story of this amazing farm and its long battle to survive in the face of rapid suburban development. It explores the efforts of Ableman and his staff to diversify the farm, open it to educational tours for thousands of people -- especially schoolchildren -- and defend it against angry neighbors, hostile public officials and developers eager to re-zone the land for condominiums." Posted August 16, 2000

References Relevant To Urban Agriculture
Here you will find reports on topics relating to urban agriculture. Updated April 26, 2000

2nd Edition of Urban Agriculture: Food, Jobs and Sustainable Cities is in the works!
Authors want to know how you would improve the first edition, by bringing to their attention gaps or errors you may have spotted in the original publication. Posted October 15, 1999

Urban Agriculture: Food, Jobs and Sustainable Cities
Landmark publication released in February 1996 by the United Nations Development Programme. Written by Jac Smit and his team at the Washington based Urban Agriculture Network, this book marks the beginning of a new age in the development of Urban Agriculture.

Cities Feeding People Program Reports Series
29 Cities Feeding People Reports are now available on-line from the IDRC. The contents of these ground-breaking studies will be a valuable resource to researchers around the world. Updated October 30, 1999

For Hunger-proof Cities: Sustainable Urban Food Systems
"For Hunger-proof Cities is the first book to fully examine food security from an urban perspective. It examines existing local food systems and ways to improve the availability and accessibility of food for city dwellers." Posted February 8, 1999

"Garden City" Documentary
"Canosa's first documentary takes a look at the history of New York City's community gardens and the controversy that ensued after the city's authorities put up many of them for sale to real estate brokers. The film gives expression to the antagonist values that community groups and speculators attach to those "green enclaves". Posted September 20, 1999

FAO Photo Files - Fields in the City

Yemen: crops in old Sana'a town

Bosnia: a widow with the crops she grows on a plot supplied free by the municipality

China: ducks at the South Suburb Beijing Company, which raises the "Beijing Duck" - famous worldwide for its special taste


City Farmers - the film
Directed and produced by Meryl Joseph, City Farmers is "a journey of hope down New York City's meanest streets where inner-city residents have transformed derelict, abandoned lots into oases of vegetables and flowers." Posted October 20, 1998

Photographs of Community Gardening in New York
Operation Green Thumb celebrates the beauty and joy of New York's in an exhibition of 43 photographs. Published in conjunction with the show is a wonderful booklet titled Tales From The Field II, Stories By GreenThumb Gardeners

The Autobiography of an Urban Farm
Michael Abelman has written a book about his home, Fairview Gardens: The Center for Urban Agriculture, a 12-acre organic farm in Goleta, California, surrounded by housing developments, highways and encroaching urban sprawl. This self-sufficient farm, which employs 15 people, grosses over $350,000 annually. Posted July 30, 1998

Satirical Web Site Creates a "College of Urban Agriculture"
"Learn how to grow weeds and qualify for federally subsidized reclamation water." General Delivery University's (GDU) "Bored Of Rejects" will even provide you with a diploma.

All Built Up, Places To Grow
The Christian Science Monitor (Sept/97) has published a news story about urban agriculture using information collected from a number of their journalists stationed around the world. "It has been estimated that individual gardeners, tending their tiny plots intensively during Russia's short growing season, produce as much as a quarter of all the country's fruit and vegetables." Updated October 10, 1998

Sierra Magazine features stories about edible "Livable Cities" May/June, 1997
Articles include "Food for Thought - Downtown on the farm" and "Strong Roots - Teenagers plant seeds of hope." Updated November 4, 2001

Setting Up These Pages On The World Wide Web
City Farmer doesn't need a mailing list, a layout artist, a printer or publisher, a distributor, tons of paper or postage to produce this new publication. (This article was written in the early days of web publishing, May 1995, just a year or so ago. Much has changed. See following article.).

UPDATE: Setting Up Pages On The World Wide Web - A Case Study
This revised piece was originally published in the May 13, 1996 edition of Canada Internet Daily.

Julie McCarroll's Horticultural Delights
Beautiful posters and cards created by this Toronto watercolour artist.


Urban Agriculture Magazine July 2000, Volume 1, No. 1
"Articles include: Concept and Definition * Urban Food Security; urban agriculture response to crisis * Urban Agriculture and Biodiversity * The Integration of Agriculture in Urban Policies * Learning to Live with Livestock in Town * Dynamics in Tropical Homegardens * Ahmedabad Green Partnership Project * Urban Agriculture in St Petersburg, Russia * Urban Agriculture in Havana, Cuba Posted July 11, 2000

Spring Planting, 2000, QuickTime 4 Movie of our Compost Garden
This clip from the garden shows our "chien bizzare", catches gardener Sharon Slack planting onions, Chinese cabbage and leeks, and scaring Starlings away.

Made with a digital camcorder, a Mac computer and a Firewire cable, these clips are best viewed using a fast Internet connection, e.g. Cable or ADSL. Those with lesser speeds can let the file download slowly before playing it. Size 10.6 MB, length 1.5 minutes. You must have QuickTime 4 installed as well. Posted May 5, 2000

Photo Tour of City Farmer's Demonstration Garden
See it all! The vegis, the compost toilet, the worm corner, the office in a greenhouse, and much more. Posted November 3, 1999

Staff Photos from Media Events
We always seem to be in the news. Take a close-up look at Wes, Spring, Ross, Gill, Beth, Lorenzo, Elaine and Mike. Posted May 14, 1999

City Farmer Newspaper 1978 -1981
"25 cents was the street price for our 'rag'. If a copy sold in a corner store we'd get half that back from the proprietor as our share. More often, we'd never find our way back to that store, and if we did, we'd find our paper had turned yellow with age." Posted May 13, 1998





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Revised November 28, 2007

Published by City Farmer
Canada's Office of Urban Agriculture

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