Month: August 2013


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Highly productive, easily managed

Micro-gardens are highly productive and can be easily managed by anyone – women, men, children, the elderly and the disabled. FAO studies show that a micro-garden of one square metre can produce any one of the following:

  • around 200 tomatoes (30 kg) a year
  • 36 heads of lettuce every 60 days
  • 10 cabbages every 90 days
  • 100 onions every 120 days

Where no land is available, vegetables can be planted in a container filled with garden soil or a “substrate” made from local materials, such as peanut shells, coconut fibre, rice husks, coarse sand or laterite. If substrates are unavailable, there is another option: growing the vegetables on water enriched with a soluble fertilizer.

A micro-garden can be grown on an area of just one square metre. Water requirements are modest, an important consideration in developing cities, where good quality water is often scarce and expensive. In a year, a one square metre micro-garden consumes about 1 000 litres of water, or less than 3 litres per day. To ensure a regular water supply, micro-gardeners can channel rainwater into storage via a system of gutters and pipes. Rainwater is virtually free (after the investment in harvesting equipment) and usually of good quality. From a roof of 20 sq m, growers can collect 2 000 litres of water for every 100 mm of rainfall, enough for the year-round cultivation of a micro-garden of two square metres. Keeping micro-gardens productive is also fairly simple. They can be fertilized regularly, at no cost, with compost produced from household organic waste. Pests are controlled by non-chemical means, including coloured sticky traps, insect proof nets and intercropping with aromatic herbs that naturally repel insects, such as basil, parsley and mint



DIY DESIGN: Solar Powered Aquaponics

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How to Build a solar powered IBC tote Aquaponics System CHEAP and EASY!

Indoor food: idroponics kit

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The Fizzy Farm Classic is a beautiful, healthy, simple to use, state-of-the-art hydroponic growing system.

Designed Grow non-vining fruits and vegetables – Lettuce, Kale, Swiss Chard, Basil, Strawberries, Chives, Thyme ect.

  • Turn your deck, balcony or any outdoor area into a stunning garden.
  • 90-Day 100% money back guarntee.
  • Choose from either 2″ or 3″ net cups for ALL your growing needs

more info:


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Pam Warhurst is the Chair of the Board of the Forestry Commission, which advises on and implements forestry policy in Great Britain. She also cofounded Incredible Edible Todmorden, a local food partnership that encourages community engagement through local growing. Incredible Edible started small, with the planting of a few community herb gardens in Todmorden, and today has spin-offs in the U.S. and Japan. The community has started projects like Every Egg Matters, which educates people on keeping chickens and encourages them to sell eggs to neighbors, and uses a ‘Chicken Map’ to connect consumers and farmers. Incredible Edible Todmorden empowers ordinary people to take control of their communities through active civic engagement.

Local hero become world hero.

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Planting a vegetable garden beside a road is no longer a fineable action in Los Angeles.

In a major victory for TED speaker Ron Finley, otherwise known as the renegade gardener of South Central, the Los Angeles City Council voted 15-0 on Tuesday to allow the planting of vegetable gardens in unused strips of city land by roads. The council is opting to waive the enforcement of a city law that requires sidewalks and curbs to be “free of obstruction” in the case of vegetable gardens designed for community use. The city will stop enforcing this law immediately.

“I live in a food desert, South Central Los Angeles, home of the drive-thru and the drive-by,” he said. “So what I did, I planted a food forest in front of my house. It was on a strip of land called a parkway. It’s 150 feet by 10 feet. Thing is, it’s owned by the city. And somebody complained. The city came down on me, and basically gave me a citation saying that I had to remove my garden, and the citation was turning into a warrant. And I’m like ‘Come on, really? A warrant for planting food on a piece of land that you could care less about?’”

more on TED

Show of 700 tomato’s variety at Pontremoli, Italy.

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Show of 700 tomato’s variety at Pontremoli, Italy.

Rete semi rurali italia, seed saver association.

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Urban agriculture is being technologically liberated from an utopian vision, opening the horizons of contemporary design research at an accelerated pace. The creation of micro-farms is one of the most fascinating themes that was once visible, unfortunately, only virtually in exquisite video-graphic simulations — from demographics to Facebook farms. Today, however, technological opportunities are rendering their implementation and standardization concrete. The micro-farm on display at ENSCI, one of the most prestigious design schools in Paris, is the third and first truly working farm. 


How healthy is urban horticulture in high traffic areas? Trace metal concentrations in vegetable crops.

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A study by:

Ina Säumel a,*, Iryna Kotsyuk b, Marie Hölscher a, Claudia Lenkereit a, Frauke Weber a, Ingo Kowarik a

a Department of Ecology, Technische Universität Berlin, Rothenburgstr. 12, D-12165 Berlin, Germany

b Botanical Garden of Khmelnitskij National University, str. Instytutska 11, Khmelnitsky 29016, Ukraine

High traffic burden near the planting site, i.e. <10 m, resulted in 67% of crops having Pb values which exceeded the standards of the European Union. In contrast, only 38% of the crops grown at the distance of more than 10 m from the nearest street exceeded these values. Only 37% of samples had critical Pb values when crops were grown behind a barrier (buildings and/or tall vegetation) between the cultivation site and the next street, while more than half (52%) of all samples collected at sampling sites without such a barrier had critical Pb values. Almost no sample collected in this study exceeded the standards of the European Union for cadmium concentration in food crops. Surprisingly, vegetables which had been planted directly in urban soil beds had lead values above the critical value less often (40%) than vegetables planted in beds filled with commercial soils or planted in pots (50%).

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The organopónicos and intensive gardens are the primary methods of urban cultivation. The only difference between the two is the structure of the garden: whether cultivation occurs in raised beds or in the preexisting soil. Because of the poor quality of many urban soils, the organopónico method is the most popular. Although statistics are still being compiled, official estimates in 1996 calculate the total number of organopónicos in Cuba to be about 1,613, covering about 250 hectares. They have an average yield potential of 16 kg of produce per square meter, with a total production of about 840,092 qq. [1 quintal equals 100 pounds]. There are about 430 intensive gardens with a total area of 165 hectares and a total production of 421,000 qq., or about 12 kg. of produce per square meter. More data are available for the capital city of Havana, which has the largest and most developed system of urban agriculture in the country (Table 2). Urban agriculture in Cuba has rapidly become a significant source of fresh produce for the urban and suburban populations. A large number of urban gardens in Havana and other major cities have emerged as a grassroots movement in response to the crisis brought about by the loss of trade, with the collapse of the socialist bloc in 1989. These gardens are helping to stabilize the supply of fresh produce to Cuba’s urban centers. During 1996, Havana’s urban farms provided the city’s urban populationwith 8,500 tons of agricultural produce, 4 million dozens of flowers, 7.5 million eggs, and 3,650 tons of meat. This system of urban agriculture, composed of about 8,000 gardens nationwide has been developed and managed along agroecological principles, which eliminate the use of synthetic chemical pesticides and fertilizers, emphasizing diversification, recycling, and the use of local resources. This article explores the systems utilized by Cuba’s urban farmers, and the impact that this movement has had on Cuban food security.


The greening of the “barrios”: Urban agriculture for food security in Cuba

Miguel A. Altieri,1 Nelso Companioni,2 Kristina Cañizares,3 Catherine Murphy,4 Peter Rosset,4

Martin Bourque4 and Clara I. Nicholls5

1College of Natural Resources, University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA; 2Instituto de Investigaciones Fundamentales en

Agricultura Tropical (INIFAT) in Havana, Cuba; 3Department of Environmental Sciences, Policy and Management, University

of California, Berkeley, CA, USA; 4Institute for Food and Development Policy (Food First) in Oakland, CA, USA; 5Department of

Entomology, University of California, Davis, CA, USA