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Food & agriculture - August 3

Click on the headline (link) for the full text. Many more articles are available through the Energy Bulletin homepage

New San Francisco legislation will jump-start urban farming

John Upton, Grist
Bay Area locavores and caterpillars rejoice: An edible urban jungle is poised to sprout in San Francisco.

City supervisors approved legislation Tuesday that will help grassroots farming groups replace barren concrete and forests of weeds on vacant land and rooftops with veggie gardens, chicken coops, and honeybee hives. And the move cements San Francisco’s role as a national leader in urban food production.

“[San Franciscans] are thought of as foodies, and environmentalists,” said Laura Tam, a policy director at the nonprofit San Francisco Planning + Urban Research Association (SPUR), which helped push the new rules forward. “This is a marrying of our sustainability objectives with the reputation that we have in the world.”

The legislation [PDF] follows zoning changes last year that made it easier to operate small farms and legal to sell food grown in San Francisco. This new set of laws will take it further by removing additional bureaucratic barriers for hopeful gardeners and actively searching for land they can use while providing them with seeds, tools, and advice...
(18 July 2012)
You can access a pdf of the legislation here.

Soil Microbes Help Save Plant-growing Input Costs

Dougl Weatherbee, vimeo.com
Learn how beneficial soil microbes can provide soluble nutrients and plant disease suppression to your farm or garden.

Go to soildoctor.org for more information
(June 2012)

Help Us Weave the Food Web!

Abe and Josie Connally, indiegogo
The Food Web is a food production model, based on sustainable methods and working examples. Help us publish the design manual!

The Food Web is a real world model for integrated livestock and food production. We have tested the methods, and we hope to provide a unique way for small farmers to establish a diversified livestock system that is sustainable and economically viable. This is a holistic approach that focuses on animal welfare, waste integration, water conservation, innovative feed systems, and profitability for small farmers.

A web is a simple system. To make a Food Web, we select species that have feed inputs that align with waste outputs of other species, thereby reducing costs and increasing the diversity and resilience of your revenue streams.

Harvest "weeds" and grasses from local sources to feed your small group of rabbits. Manure from the rabbits feeds a worm bin, where you grow earthworms. The earthworms are harvested regularly to feed a small flock of chickens. The chickens browse pests from your garden area (soil fertility is increased by the vermicompost from the worms), keep the fly population under control, and clean up wasted food from other animals. Slaughter waste from the rabbits and chickens makes an excellent pig feed. Pigs offer a variety of high value products, and their manure adds to your worm population.

Even such a basic food web saves significant feed costs, while providing a diversified product range. There are at least 5 potential products being produced from the same resources it would take to produce just one of these products in a conventional setup. What's more, the farmer has eliminated multiple waste streams!

For a more detailed look at the concept, check out:

Select from one of our reward packages to the right, which include a copy of the book when it is completed, a book sent to your local library or school, fur products from our sustainably raised bunnies, and more. See a full list of our How-to's: http://velacreations.com/foodweb/howtos

(July 2012)

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