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Home > Feature Articles > Food Processing for Sustainable, Local, Organic and Effective Food Distribution

Growing affordable fresh produce with urban agriculture

Solutions for food and spirit come from urban gardening and urban agriculture.

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Growing some of your own produce has been an age-old survival strategy. It's time to get educated on what you can grow in your space -- your windowsill, your patio and in your yard or grounds. Even companies that have some space on a rooftop can provide employees with space in which to get back to the earth.

Why is getting back to the earth important? The food is only a small sliver of the benefits of gardening. A genetic connection is revived and we understand that we must cooperate with nature -- and that requires attention, thinking about the natural system, and working in harmony with the 'system'. People take comfort in that connection with the earth, too. And that reduces stress...which frees up creative thinking, hope and persistence in working toward the goal of healthy, organic productivity.

Critical thinking skills also help on the job. And with family challenges. And financial planning.

Natural systems are about collaborative survival. Living and working within a community. Making everything count. Division of labor and flexibility balanced for results.

Gardening, whether it is rural, suburban or urban, is a basic human survival education. And let's not forget about the benefits of garden-to-table freshness and food quality that preserves nutrients and taste. Or about productivity of plants that draw upon nature's quiet regenerative strenths: soil, water and nutrients to produce food for us. Gardening is common sense, and it helps us get back to basics in so many ways.

California Urban Farming / Gardening Programs

CITY SLICKER FARMS - Oakland, CA

Programs include Backyard Garden Program (free gardens for low-income West Oakland residents; Community Market Farms Program (including Community Farm Stands & Compost Pickup Program; Urban Farming Education Program (Workshop Series, K-College school group urban farm visits)

City Slicker Farms has partnered with Slow Food Nation and Garden for the Environment to transform the lawn in front of San Francisco's City Hall into the "Slow Food Nation Victory Garden". With limited funds and an outpouring of volunteer assistance, this group of urban farmers grew nearly all the plants for the Victory Garden, planted the garden, and are providing weekly docents to educate the public on urban gardening and farming. They are also provide technical assistance to Garden for the Environment's "Victory Gardens 2008" Program, a pilot project funded by the City of San Francisco to support the transition of backyard, front yard, window boxes, rooftops, and unused land into organic food production areas.

CITY SLICKER FARMS
510-763-4241
1724 Mandela Parkway, Suite 5
Oakland, CA 94607
www.cityslickerfarms.org

Slow Food Nation

Slow Food Nation over Labor Day weekend, 2008, in San Francisco celebrated the birth of a broad and inclusive food movement to build a better American food system. Over 60,000 people attended. Participants savored food from across the U.S. at the 50,000 square foot Taste Pavilions; met farmers and producers at a marketplace surrounding a 10,000 square foot newly-planted urban garden in the heart of the City; learned from visionary speakers; and engaged in political discourse to shape a more sustainable food system. Slow Food Nation also featured a music festival, workshops, films, dinners and hikes.

Slow Food Nation is dedicated to creating a framework for deeper environmental connection to our food and aims to inspire and empower Americans to build a food system that is sustainable, healthy and delicious.

Slow Food Nation
609 Mission Street, Third Floor
San Francisco, CA 94105
info@slowfoodnation.org
(415) 369-9950
slowfoodnation.org

Additional Urban Agriculture & Gardening Resources

Garden for the Environment

Garden for the Environment; Educating San Francisco about Sustainable Agriculture, Ecological Horticulture and urban compost systems.

Food Declaration

Declaration for Healthy Food and Agriculture -- We, the undersigned, believe that a healthy food system is necessary to meet the urgent challenges of our time. Behind us stands a half-century of industrial food production, underwritten by cheap fossil fuels, abundant land and water resources, and a drive to maximize the global harvest of cheap calories. Ahead lie rising energy and food costs, a changing climate, declining water supplies, a growing population, and the paradox of widespread hunger and obesity....

Sunset Publishing Corp.

California based publisher of magazines, books and other media about travel, garden, home, food and community in the West and South.

Rodale

Rodale is a global multi-platform media company with a mission dedicated to the health and wellness of the individual, community and planet. The company publishes magazines — Men’s Health, Prevention, Women’s Health, Runner’s World, Best Life, Bicycling, Running Times, and Organic Gardening -- and related books.

Roots of Change

Roots of Change (ROC) is a collaborative of diverse leaders and institutions which are unified in a common pursuit of achieving a sustainable food system. Across California, farmers, eaters, health advocates, chefs, business owners, policy makers and many more are forming an alliance to create a sustainable food system for our state in one generation.

Urban Farming

Urban Farming is a nonprofit that plants food on unused land and space and gives it to the needy. Some programs in California include:

Los Angeles:
Brentwood Science Magnet School
Chabad Center School and Summer Camp
Los Angeles Leadership Academy
Richland Avenue Elementary School
The Accelerated School
The Learning Garden (at Venice High School)
The Vets Garden
Washington Elementary, Compton

Cooperative Extension Centers

Many cityfolk aren't familiar with the USDA's agricultural extension centers that in past decades launched homemakers groups, farmer support programs and youth programs. They're still with us, and provide many urban food programs, youth programs, and urban gardening and agriculture resources. You can find the locally based California cooperative extension centers in every county The UC-Davis university is a "land-grant" college, charged with community and agricultural research and education. It was called "cooperative extension" for many years, and now has been subdivided into a wide variety of "extension" educational programs:
UCDavis Extension
UC Davis Public Service



Edited by Carolyn Allen, owner/editor of California Green Solutions
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