An app can help introduce newbies to the garden. But the real rewards are in the dirt.

Some children garden at the knee of their parents or grandparents, and by the time they are young adults and ready to start their own plant adventures, a lot of the horticulture comes naturally. But such lucky people are thinner on the ground than in previous generations, I suspect, even though there has never been a more urgent time to introduce younger folks to the power of the plant kingdom,…

The battle against bugs: it’s time to end chemical warfare

Insects are important wildlife often overlooked in urban habitats. What we do notice are the cockroaches, ants, and mosquitoes in and around our homes. All too often we reach for the insect spray. But not all insects are pests – a wide variety of them help keep our cities healthy. They pollinate plants, feed other wildlife, recycle our rubbish, and eat other insect pests. Insects are vital to our well-being.…

What are soil contaminants—and how did soil get contaminated?

Newswise — Feb. 18, 2019 – Soil is all around us, in cities and rural areas. But some soil becomes contaminated. The Soil Science Society of America (SSSA) Feb. 15 Soils Matter blog post summarizes common contaminants and the risks they carry. “The biggest risks for soil contamination are in urban areas, and former industrial sites,” writes Lauren Svejcar, a researcher at Murdoch University. “Common contaminants in urban soils include…

High School Garden Club Helps Students ‘Grow’ Their Skills

LOS ANGELES, CA – Pens and paper are the typical supplies for many high school students, but that is not the case at Arroyo High School in El Monte. Students growing their skills in garden club Found in part by Eco Urban Gardens Helping students learn about agriculture, nutrition The school is part of a growing program, founded in partnership with a local nonprofit Eco Urban Gardens, meant to help…

7 Innovative Architectural Ideas With World-Changing Potential

Our ancient relatives, Homo heidelbergensis, were constructing shelters at least 400,000 years ago, and architectural innovation has been a defining feature of societies since then, changing to suit the needs and desires of the builders and occupants as they evolved. From energy-efficient designs to community-based spaces, these seven designs could help shape the future. As the population ages, society is faced with a challenge: How to help people who require…

After Years of Planning Santa Clara’s Urban Farm ‘Agrihood’ is Set to Break Ground by 2020

One of Santa Clara’s biggest and most unique affordable housing projects in the pipeline promises to offer a blend of urban living and farm life. The City Council last week granted final approvals to a housing project on a six-acre plot of land across the street from Westfield Valley Fair mall. The project, known as the “Agrihood,” will to provide 361 new homes, 181 of which will be below market rate.…

Will The Generation That Wants To Change Agriculture Show Up To Work?

What is interesting about this younger generation, who are stereotypically labeled as harsh critics of our current food production system, is that on the surface most only seem to want to voice their dissatisfaction vicariously. It is easy and safe to go after genetically modified apples and Roundup in your Cheerios via your Facebook and Twitter accounts. What is becoming increasingly apparent is that there is a much, much lower…

On rooftops and in tunnels, city farms lead food revolution

Only the Northern line tube trains rumbling through tunnels overhead provide any clue that Growing Underground is not a standard farm. The rows of fennel, purple radish and wasabi shoots could be in almost any polytunnel, but these plants are 100 feet below Clapham High Street and show that urban agriculture is, in some cases at least, not a fad. The underground farm has occupied a section of the second…

Plants ‘talk to’ each other through their roots

Plants use their roots to “listen in” on their neighbors, according to research that adds to evidence that plants have their own unique forms of communication. The study found that plants in a crowded environment secrete chemicals into the soil that prompt their neighbors to grow more aggressively, presumably to avoid being left in the shade. “If we have a problem with our neighbors, we can move flat,” said Velemir…

Urban agriculture gives Paris space to breathe

Green walls, rooftop gardens, and urban farms are aiming to bring nature back into central Paris as the city looks to improve its air quality and create a more sustainable future.   In the last few decades, manmade surfaces have taken over green space, leading to urban heat islands and more pollution in the air. It’s left Paris, like many other big cities, with higher urban temperatures and a greater risk…