Cuba’s urban farming program a stunning success – International Herald Tribune

or Miladis Bouza, the global food crisis arrived two decades ago. Now, her efforts to climb out of it could serve as a model for people around the world struggling to feed their families.

Bouza was a research biologist, living a solidly middle-class existence, when the collapse of the Soviet Union — and the halt of its subsidized food shipments to Cuba — effectively cut her government salary to US$3 a month. Suddenly, a trip to the grocery store was out of reach.

So she quit her job, and under a program championed by then-Defense Minister Raul Castro, asked the government for the right to farm an overgrown, half-acre lot near her Havana home. Now, her husband tends rows of tomatoes, sweet potatoes and spinach, while Bouza, 48, sells the produce at a stall on a busy street.

Neighbors are happy with cheap vegetables fresh from the field. Bouza never lacks for fresh produce, and she pulls in between 2,000 to 5,000 pesos (US$100-250) a month — many times the average government salary of 408 pesos (US$19).

Read more @ the International Herald Tribune Cuba’s urban farming program a stunning success .

Green revolution: Air is what’s bothering Indians

Most Indians ranked environment pollution as their second worst problem in a list of six and believe that air, water and noise pollution will get worse, says a first-of-its-kind survey conducted by CNN-IBN and Outlook magazine.

The survey, in partnership with the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) and Centre for the Study of Developing Societies (CSDS), found that most Indians regard air pollution to be the worst environment problem. Planting more trees is the environment challenge people want the Government to tackle first.

SOURCE: IBNLive – Green revolution: Air is what’s bothering Indians.

Reconstruction of infrastructure priority in quake-hit areas

China’s Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development (MHURD) stressed in a circular on Tuesday that infrastructure restoration was a priority in reconstruction after the May 12 earthquake.

The MHURD ordered governments at all levels to draw up construction plans by June 8, including building locations and materials.

It instructed officials to better manage construction of interim housing in quake-hit areas to ensure its safety.

The government is to assess all school buildings in quake zones, said a statement from the earthquake relief headquarters of the State Council.

Local governments must organize personnel to conduct safety appraisals of all school buildings as soon as possible to ensure the safety of students as they return to school, according to the statement.

SOURCE: Xinhua – Reconstruction of infrastructure priority in quake-hit areas.

Dwell on Design Los Angeles to start on June 5

What happens when Dwell editors drive the agenda? A roster of more than 50 incredibly talented and diverse speakers ranging from legislators to practitioners to activists, discussing everything from urban gardening to a mandated LEED program for LA. The conference follows two parallel tracks but we encourage you to veer from the linear and sign up for any panel that sparks your interest.  

An exciting and different event will be the Monrovia Design Challenge allows party attendees to create an instant, eye-catching landscape within a small space. Three teams at a time have just 10 minutes to create a design using a wide palette of stylish Monrovia plants. When all sets of teams are finished, the judges, including Monrovia CEO Miles Rosedale, will award the winning team a living trophy from Monrovia. Every party attendee will receive a Monrovia plant to take home.

Dwell on Design – Los Angeles starts on June 5 to June 8

SOURCE: dwell.comDwell on Design Los Angeles Home Page – Dwell Conferences – .

Athens’ deserted Games sites a warning to London Olympics – Telegraph.co.uk

The buildings constructed in Athens for the Olympic Games four years ago are fly blown, closed to the public and covered in graffiti, a forewarning of the possible aftermath of the London Games in 2012.

Of the 22 venues in the city, 21 are in a state of disrepair and under guard to prevent vandalism.

Athens spent more than £9 billion on staging the Olympics, slightly less than the current estimate for the London games.

The hangover from the games was tremendous. Greece was left with a national budget deficit of 6.1 per cent, more than twice the maximum allowed under European Union rules.
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The infrastructure, which was installed in such haste, has proven to be far too extravagant for the city. It is difficult to imagine there was ever much local interest in continuing to use the baseball, kayaking, fencing and handball facilities down the coast at Hellenikon.

A few miles outside the city centre, the sprawling Faliron complex that once hosted the beach volleyball and taekwondo competitions is deserted and a lone security guard has not been able to deter youths from spraying the walls with slogan

Telegraph.co.ukAthens’ deserted Games sites a warning to London Olympics.

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