Urban Farming News

What is Food Security?

Posted in child nutrition, community development, global hunger, hunger, local food, urban farming, USDA by Urban Farming News on February 3, 2010

We all know how it feels to be hungry, however what does it mean to be food secure?

This is a popular catch phrase across the globe. I am working with community developers who are implementing food security programs in San Francisco. We have all donated something to the Haiti cause by now. Everyone participates in the local food drive. Urban Farming plants gardens. What are you doing?

All facts are referenced from:

Measuring Food Insecurity and Hunger: Phase 1 Report (2005)

Published by the Committee on National Statistics

The Breakdown:


Food Secure

· Food for all household members to lead a healthy, active life

· Food is acquired in socially acceptable ways

· So, farming, gardening, shopping at the market, and trading your neighbor radishes for a cup of sugar are ok!


Food Insecure Without Hunger

· Availability of nutritionally safe and adequate foods and the ability to obtain such foods in uncertain or limited

· Stealing broccoli from the community garden in not socially acceptable, this behavior indicates food insecurity


Food Insecure With Hunger

· Uncertain access to food combined with Hunger

· Hunger is  the painful sensation caused by a chronic lack of food and the recurrent, involuntary loss of food

· Times are tough, the pantry is empty, can’t afford the market, and there is no garden


How is it Tested?

By the Census of course!


The Food Security Supplement includes:

· More than 50 questions about food behavior and experiences

· Set of 10 questions for households with no children

· 18 questions for households with children


So, what’s the point of measuring food insecurity?

· To determine the socio-economic conditions that creates a lack of food

· Behavior patterns that lead to food insecurity

· Resulting emotional and social impact of long term food insecurity and hunger

· Resulting medical conditions

· How people feed their families

· Cross-cultural patterns of food security

· National trends


To figure out how to end hunger!

Again, I reiterate the goal of Urban Farming and the efforts of all gardeners, farmers and free-farm stands working to end hunger. We know how to study the problem, now let’s work towards the solution.

-Karleen

Growing Home Community Garden

Posted in community development, distribution, food security, hunger, local food by Urban Farming News on January 20, 2010

Part of my role as an outreach coordinator is to get knee deep in the thriving San Francisco urban gardening society. A project that I am particularly in awe of is the Growing Home Community Garden. This garden is part of Project Homeless Connect (PHC).

History of PHC: Since October 2004 over 21,936 volunteers have provided services to over 31,000 homeless and poor San Franciscans. I was honestly floored when I showed up to volunteer at the most recent PHC in December.

Growing Home Community Garden: Rallies city departments, the Hayes Valley Neighborhood association, and community members from far and wide. The mission: ‘to provide a community garden where homeless and housed San Franciscans work side-by-side to grow nutritious food, access green space and build community.” When I first spoke with Celina, the garden coordinator I could feel the good vibes (not to mention, any group that can get a bob cat and hydraulic arm to break up asphalt has got it’s sh*t together).

I have now volunteered twice at this amazing community project. Day One: Removing asphalt – what a great way to meet the garden directors, planners and core volunteers. Day Two: building the wooden garden boxes. It was truly a puzzle of team-work, where skilled carpenters and novice nail gun users united.

“This town [San Francisco] has a lot of heart,” gushed Judith, PHC executive director. That was a sunny December afternoon, in the past month I have begun to learn to true meaning of those words.  I am thrilled to help these truly dedicated individuals. In conclusion: take a page out of this book, get up, get out and grow.

An Education in Native California Species

Posted in climate stabilization, community development, Uncategorized by Urban Farming News on January 20, 2010

When I was asked to become the San Francisco coordinator, I was thrilled. The Bay area provides a multitude of community challenges, diverse micro-climates, well developed native permaculture and a plethora of educational experiences.

I have been gardening my entire life. I grew up in southern Wisconsin and started to work with Urban Farming in L.A…needless to say, these climates are quite different then Northern California. Fortunately, the San Francisco Botanical Garden is right at my back door and a fantastic place to learn, grow and get dirty!

Last week was my first round of volunteer work in the Native Plant Garden. I had a grand time weeding and removing grass from a sunny hill. Recently a tree was removed and this bed is becoming a native restoration area. Terry, the manager of the Native Garden was eager to share his wealth of knowledge.

Here are some fun facts:

Rhamnaceae : A California Native, Blue Flowers are characteristic, there are tons of varieties and common names. This one is “Ray Hartman”

Asteraceae: A San Francisco area native : it was thought that all of the Bary area wild plants were gone. However a couple months ago during a highway construction project a large specimen was discovered. Several cuttings have taken root at the botanical gardens and plans to move the wild plant are in the works. Cool!

Red Admiral Butterfly: ok, this is not a plant – it’s not even a Cali native.  However, this species can not survive cold weather to much of North America must be recolonized each spring. The web like cocoon is visible only to the observant eye. Terry pointed this nifty insect out to me – good thing too…few weeds escape my wrath!

I’ll keep you all updated as I learn more about native plants, restoration and preservation.

Food Insecurity Impacts Millions of Americans

Posted in community development, food security, hunger, local food, Uncategorized by Urban Farming News on January 14, 2010

Food security is a serious issue. The USDA has declared that 49 million Americans are “food insecure.” I found this great article on Food First check it out.

How can we help? Plant gardens, teach people to grow their own food ,  give urban dwellers food security. Go to Urban Farming to see our efforts and help!

In San Francisco, food security is also a local issue. I have been working with the Tenderloin Neighborhood Development Corporation (TNDC) to establish new gardens. The TNDC provides housing to low income people and families. Combating food security is a major goal.

This afternoon, I’m meeting with some of the TNDC residents to discuss food security and hopefully a new garden. Let’s make a difference!

Also heading to the San Francisco Botanical garden this morning. Today is my first day as a volunteer gardener’s assistant in the California native plant garden!

Cheers
-Karleen

Food Files: Taja Sevelle on Urban Farming to Fight Hunger

Check Out This Fantastic Article about Urban Farming’s Founder!

Food Files: Taja Sevelle on Urban Farming to Fight Hunger

by Katherine Gustafson