Companies that Delivery CSA Boxes to Richmond:
Urban Agriculture Organizations (SF Bay Area):
- Communities United Restoring Mother Earth
- Dig Deep Farms
- EcoVillage Farm
- Edible Schoolyard
- Oakland Food Connection
- Spiral Gardens Community Food Security Project
Urban Agriculture Organizations (National):
- Growing Power—Someday I hope to visit Growing Power’s urban agriculture center in Milwaukee. They have greenhouses which house a large-scale worm composting system, aquaculture, and hydroponic vegetable production. I think the non-profit generates a significant amount of their income from the sale of ag products which they produce themselves. Also check out this page from Science Friday for videos of Growing Power in action.
Education & Curriculum Resources
Growing for home consumption rather than market.
- Kitchen Gardeners InternationalSign up for their e-newsletter. Practical, small-scale solutions to the big-scale problem of sustaining ourselves.
Commercial Market Gardening
As we attempt to build an urban foodshed, we should not just rely on school, community, and non-profit gardens. Commercial urban market gardens and livestock operations will most likely play an important role in a diverse, healthy urban foodshed. Market gardening is at a completely different scale than backyard gardening and requires different tools, work cycles, knowledge, and perspective.
- Spin Farming—These folks are the experts on urban market gardening. Very inspirational. Once you purchase some of their materials, you can also join a listserve they manage. I have learned a lot of practical info from the listserve.
- Somerton Tank Farms—This was the demonstration site for the Spin Farming folks. Similar info as above.
- Feasability Study for Somerton Tank Farms—Based on 4 year’s operation at Somerton Tank Farms, the folks from the Penn. Dept. of Commerce project $120,000 annual gross earnings from every urban acre converted to market gardening. Green development at its greenest!
- Growing for Market—Follow this link to subscribe to the Growing for Market newsletter. Very practical articles written by market gardeners and farmers in a clear, concise style. I can’t wait to get mine every month.
- Greensgrow Urban Farm in Philadelphia. Article from Common Dreams.org. 1 acre of raised beds and greenhouses on the site of a former steel-galvanizing factory grossed 450K in 2007! This model holds much promise for west Contra Costa County.
- Info Sheet for Urban Gardeners from the Oklahoma Food Coop This document suggests that the fastest way to grow a West County might be to create our own local food co-op. This would create a marketing channel, increase demand for local, healthy foods, and there-by increase supply. See below for more links to the OK Food Coop.
- Truly Living Well Natural Urban Farms I susbcribe to their newsletter and they sound like a very effective non-profit which produces and sells natural produce at an urban farm and does youth development. However, I believe they are a for-profit business which is great and probably more sustainable in the long-run. They are in Atlanta.
- The Path to Freedom Crazy. Groundbreaking. Inspirational. The Devraes family runs an urban farm on a 1/10th acre lot in Southern California. Last year, they grew more than 6,000 lbs. of produce in their backyard. Yikes, I feel inefficient!
Urban Ag and Development
- Neighborhood Development LEED Certification; Points for Local Food Production—I was delighted to learn that green developers can earn points for building in local food production sites when putting in subdivisions under the Neighborhood Development Pilot Project. They recommend at least 2,000 square feet per acre are reserved for “neighborhood farms and gardens”. Developers foot the cost not only for hard infrastructure such as irrigation and storage sheds, but also for tools and setting up a mechanism for community input into the neighborhood farm management. Go to page 95 of the .pdf.
Marketing Related to Local, Urban Foodsheds
- The Oklahoma Food Co-op Read much about this and you’ll probably want to start a CoCoCounty Food Coop. It happened to me.
- CSA Links: Both of these links were recommended by SPIN-Farmers as useful CSA market garden planning tools. Hopefully, someday soon, these will come in very hand for all of the West County CSA’s that will be springing up.
The link is at the bottom, right hand column entitled: CSA Calculator. You can edit numerous fields on the first sheet and it will calculate a whole range of data that would help any serious vegetable gardener.
Nutritional Information related to local foodsheds
- Still No Free Lunch Report Brian Halweil, a long-time food system writer, documents the low and diminishing nutrient density in industrially-produced American foods. And, you guessed it…organically produced fruits and veggies had higher nutrient densities in study after study. You can’t compare (conventional) apples to (organic) apples! Michael Pollan in his latest book In Defense of Food suggests that low-nutrient density of our foods may be driving the obesity epidemic. We fill up on calories, but since the nutrient:calorie ratio of our foods is so low, we can’t get enough nutrients, so we keep eating to satiate our hunger for nutrients.
Victory Garden Movement
- Victory Grower website—This website is maintained by Rose Hayden-Smith, Food and Society Fellow, Victory Garden History and one of the biggest fans of the West County Foodshed. The 5% Local Coalition had the honor of hosting Rose Hayden-Smith for two days in May, 2008. Look for her blogs about various west County ag sites. Thanks for the visit and your support, Rose. Also, check out this article and video about Rose’s campaign to revive the Victory Garden movement.
- Thriving in the ‘Burbs Richmond’s own Rebecca Newburn started this blog to support a neighborhood-based movement to create a more sustainable society. She includes information about starting and maintaining Earth Victory Gardens. Adding the qualifier Earth to the term Victory Garden is a nice twist.
- UC Vegetable Research and Information Center—Invaluable source for cultural information about 25+ vegetable crops tailored to California climate. Target audience is mainly growers although has some home garden specific info.
Health and the Food System
- Study: Investment in Community-Based Projects to Promote Activity and Nutrition yields 5:1 Return on Investment in just 5 years
1. New York Times Local Food Index Page More than 200 articles, indexes, etc. about local foods.
2. Locavores As far as I can tell, this is the webpage which coined the word “locavore” thanks to West County’s very own foodie-superstar Jessica Prentice.
Wise Food Ways/Nourishing Traditions/Weston Price
1. Three Stone Hearth This is a groundbreaking community-supported kitchen. All of their foods are nutrient dense prepared in the Nourishing Traditions/Weston Price style. They purchase much or most of their ingredients locally from sustainable farmers. West Countian and locavore gure Jessica Prentice is one of the founders/owners.
2. Weston Price Foundation Weston Price retired from dentistry in the 1920′s. He realized that he had the last opportunity to conduct a large-scale comparison of the effects of industrialized versus traditional diets. Travelling the world, he compared people living in villages with roads and industrialized diets to people living in villages without roads who retained traditional diets. Wherever he went, Swiss Alps, North Sea Islands, South Pacific Islands, people who ate traditional diets were healthier. He studied disparate traditional diets and derived about a dozen basic principles. Modern American industrialized diets basically violate all of them. Fascinating stuff!
1. Recycled Organics Unit—They are breaking it down, down under! These folks are light-years ahead of us. I love their Evaluation of the Processing Capacity of On-site In-vessel Vermiculture Technology.
2. Bio-conversion using the Black Soldier Fly Larva (BSFL)—Oh, yes, it can hardly get ag-geekier than this! But come on, how many of you haven’t grown impatient and frustrated because your worms could not keep up with the putrescents waste stream coming out of your kitchen? This appears to be the solution. Click here for a technical report about using BSFL to get rid of toxic swine waste in big pig factories.
3.Decompiculture—OK, so maybe it can get even geekier. This is a position paper basically saying that now that agriculture has allowed us make the world so crowded with humans and our stuff and our foods, we need to develop a new science/art of decompiculture tending those organisms which help us break down all this organic stuff. Got to love it.
Soil Contamination and Testing
1. Where to Get Soil Tested—Unfortunately, contaminated soils are a real issue here in west County (and many other urban areas across the country). If you have an older house, chances are it was once painted with lead-based paints and you should have your soils tested before you start growing food crops.
Policies related to Growing Urban Foodsheds
Policies, Programs, Initiatives, and Information to Help Grow Urban Foodsheds Link to Urban Tilth webpage