Urban Farming News

Freezing in Florida : Juice For Thought

Posted in climate stabilization, food security, hunger, local food by Urban Farming News on January 12, 2010

Record low temperatures have swept across Florida freezing orange, tomato, corn, ornamental plants & fish farms. Chilling news as I sipped my coffee while listening to NPR’s Morning Edition today. This is an especially bad time for growers who are typically two weeks into their winter harvest. Fish farms are suffering as many species; including catfish begin to die at temperatures of 60 degrees and below. Don’t forget the large plant nurseries that grow palm trees and ornamental plants.

This is a hard hit for Florida’s agricultural industry. Rumors of an official disaster declaration are circulating. Orange juice prices have also been in dramatic flux this week. As reported by the Wall Street Journal, orange juice prices dropped to $1.3185 a pound on Monday. Experts say that the full extent of the frost damage cannot be confirmed for several days or weeks. <<insert snarky farmer comment here>>  Tragically, many young trees will not survive this dramatic frost. Orange juice prices will rally and recover, however these growers will still feel the lasting effects.

In the coming weeks, we may feel the impact of this frost across the nation. In the coming days, the weather experts are predicting more climate upheaval across the nation. Torrential rainstorms are predicted for California, hitting many areas that suffered wild fires hard. No need to comment on the dramatic damages that could ensue.

The big questions: Is climate change to blame? Can we expect odd weather patterns like this to up heave our agricultural practices in the future? What can we do to sustain our crops and stabilize our climate?

What do you think?

A side note: Most of our juice supply comes from Florida; while California’s orange crops typically go for fresh fruit resources.

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Car Dependency Decreasing

Posted in climate stabilization, fossil fuels by Urban Farming News on January 8, 2010

Apparently American’s are relying less on cars, finally. My curiosity was peaked when I bumped into Steven T. Jone’s article “Has car ownership peaked? Let’s hope so” in the San Francisco Bay Guardian. As a commuter cyclist, user of public transit and recreational walker. I try to limit my driving to 1-2 trips per week. Don’t scoff; I’ve pulled this off in Los Angeles, Madison and San Francisco Nonetheless, I am curious about this trend.

According to the Earth Policy Institute, in the past year we scrapped 14 million cars. American’s only purchased 10 million. Math check; that equals 4 million less cars on the road. Great. If the trend continues, we will be down another few million in a couple years.

What’s the cause of this? The usual symptoms of course; market saturation, economic uncertainty, climate change concerns, fuel insecurity, people sick of sitting traffic, hipsters taking over the world with single speeds…

Above all, this is a really interesting trend. Many cities are upping restrictions on car use by increasing parking fees and extending meter hours.  The day I discovered $3.00 per hour parking was a rude awakening indeed. As a relatively “young” person I will be the first to admit that my pocket book is thin. Cars are expensive. Families are sharing cars, fewer teens are getting their driver’s licenses and cities are pushing for public transportation.

If you’ve taken a bus lately, you know how badly we need to improve public transit. Perhaps you’ve battled commuter traffic on the Bay Bridge. I was even appalled at the cross-town traffic in my lovely hometown of Madison! Ranting and raving doesn’t help much, however we’ve got to be aware of the trends. The stats are mere facts; please draw your own conclusions.

Salutations and Seedlings

Posted in Uncategorized by Urban Farming News on January 7, 2010

Welcome! I’m delighted to present Urban Farming’s official blog. Here we join together, sow seeds, share our triumphs and harvest food as a community.

Urban Farming’s mission is to end hunger in our generation. We plant food gardens on unused green space, cement lots, rooftops and walls. In addition, we are committed to stabilizing climate change. We are aware of our environmental impact. The non-profit was founded in Detroit in 2005. Those 3 original gardens have branched out into 18 cities across the nation and abroad. We’ve got limbs spreading in every direction, building communities and expanding.

Why should you read this blog?
· This is an open forum. Let’s discuss current food security and environmental impact issues.

· What’s happening in your neck of the woods? We’ve all encountered successes and challenges. We need to communicate with each other.

· Who inspires you? It’s time to acknowledge pioneers of the Urban Agriculture movement. We can all learn from thoughtful interviews and informative posts.

With our eyes on the same page our hands can work in unison. We can indeed achieve our goal to end hunger. Let’s share our passion, present our challenges, revel in our success and speak our minds. Stop over each week and see what’s happening in the gardens. I hope to hear from all the Urban Farmer’s out there soon!
Cheers,

Karleen
San Francisco