Urban Farmer II – Vancouver Sun

Neophyte farmer Nicholas Read is spending the summer learning how to grow food. With the help of City Farm Boy Ward Teulon, who runs a network of 14 backyard vegetable farms in Vancouver, he hopes to learn to tell the difference between a seed and a weed. This is his second report.

Even this early in the growing season, some crops are ready to harvest. Spinach, radishes, a few varieties of lettuce, several kinds of salad greens and herbs are all ready to eat. That’s because these crops can tolerate a cool soil temperature; others can’t. It’s also why if you visit a farmers’ market now, you won’t find much else unless it’s been grown in a greenhouse.

read more @ the SOURCE: Vancouver Sun – Urban Farmer II.

Vertical farms and future cities

What do vertical farms, green roofs, soft cars, breathing walls, and Dongtan, China, have in common? They were all subjects of discussion at Friday’s Future Cities event in New York City, part of the four-day 2008 World Science Festival.

To a packed house, Columbia University microbiologist Dickson Despommier described his vision for feeding the planet’s burgeoning, and increasingly urban, population. The vertical farm takes agriculture and stacks it into the tiers of a modern skyscraper. Instead of stopping at the corner pizzeria for dinner, Despommier suggested, you could pluck a nice head of lettuce, maybe some corn, and some tomatoes for a big salad, all in your own building, on the way to your apartment. You can’t get fresher or more local than that.

SOURCE: Gristmill – Vertical farms and future cities | Gristmill: The environmental news blog .

State’s wildflowers rise to new role – OrlandoSentinel.com

A new grant is helping a budding industry in Florida take root. The $50,000 from the U.S. Department of Agriculture will pay for new equipment and marketing for wildflower growers, who are currently harvesting and cleaning tiny seeds as they build their young industry.

Now, with rising gas prices and shrinking water supplies, wildflowers provide a low-impact alternative for landscaping lawns. State transportation officials are gunning for the locally produced seeds to replace grass along highways — mowing is expensive.

For years the state has planted wildflowers along highways, but they usually don’t grow back so they’re replanted annually. Now the focus is on getting wildflowers to reseed themselves — something locally produced seeds help with — and preserving existing stands along the roadways. Areas with flowers require less mowing and can save money — it costs about $250 to mow a mile of highway.

State’s wildflowers rise to new role — OrlandoSentinel.com.

Free Plastic Bag ban comes into force in China

Today is the first day of the ban on retailers supplying plastic bags to customers. Numerous
retailers have started charging customers between 0.3 to 0.5 yuan per bag and supplying the alternative of heshian or material bags for shopping.

The law has come into effect to try and reduce the the direct pollution of the environment and the indirect pollution through the production of plastic bags. The production of plastic bags uses thousands of litres of oil per day in China.

 

Living roofs, solar panels – all standard in new homes – Northampton Chronicle and Echo

A living roof, drains which lead to sunken wetland, water heated with solar panels – it sounds like something from a green home in the future but these are all standard features of a new housing development in Northampton.
The properties, which all lie just off the A45 by Sixfields, boast a ‘sustainable urban drainage system’ which offers an alternative to traditional drains.

Instead of using sewers for rainwater, the development has specially designed reed-bed ditches which create habitats for wildlife, as well as reducing the risk of flooding in heavy rains.

Read more @ the SOURCE: Northampton Chronicle and EchoLiving roofs, solar panels – all standard in new homes 

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