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.

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.

State’s wildflowers rise to new role –

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 —

The urban farmer: One man’s crusade to plough up the inner city – Features, Food & Drink – The Independent

Fritz Haeg isn’t perhaps the obvious representative of a revolution in global farming. As an architecture and design academic and practitioner, the American has had his work exhibited at Tate Modern and the Whitney Museum of American Art, and has taught fine art at several US universities. Yet it is last year’s community-collaborative project on an inner-city council estate in south London that best showcases his current passion: the urban farm.

Read more @ the SOURCE: The IndependentThe urban farmer: One man’s crusade to plough up the inner city

LandDesign team wins 10K for green design – Nashville Business Journal

One of LandDesign Inc.’s Nashville office team won an internal competition on green design.

Human Element, a Nashville team, tied for first place in the company-wide sustainable design competition and shared in the $10,000 first place award.

Fourteen teams competed across the company to reduce the carbon footprint of Birkdale Village, a 52-acre mixed use project with residential over retail located in Huntersville, N.C.

SOURCE: Nashville Business JournalLandDesign team wins 10K for green design.

Critics say new green rating hurts affordable housing –

The U.S. Green Building Council’s new rating system for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design in neighborhood development, known as LEED-ND, is coming under fire for not putting a greater emphasis on affordable housing.

Critics say LEED-ND, in its current draft, discourages participating developers from alloting dollars into expensive energy-efficient affordable housing if their payback is, at most, four points out of a possible 106. They worry the point system, and any resulting developer disincentives, will get ingrained in municipal law books if local governments continue to adopt LEED standards at unprecedented rates — all at a time, they add, when the growing gap between wages and mortgages is creating an affordable housing crisis regionally and nationally. 

In a recent study by Cambridge, Mass.-based New Ecology Inc., the cost of building green affordable housing held a nearly 3 percent premium, ranging up to 9 percent on some projects.

read more @ the SOURCE: – Critics say new green rating hurts affordable housing.

Ed: Although an interesting article however the article doesn’t mention the savings that low-income families will gain with lower energy bills.
More education of the public in relation to LEED is needed (eg initial construction cost vs long-term running costs and reduced environmental costs). Urban Planning also becomes more important including density of housing.

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