Tag Archives: Urban Farming

Chicks in the ‘Hood: Touring Pittsburgh’s Urban Chicken Coops

On Sunday I had the pleasure of touring several of Pittsburgh’s urban chicken coops.

The self-guided tour was the first of its kind in the city. Read more about the tour and its organizers here.

Check out these chicks…

This was from a backyard farm in the Highland Park neighborhood.


The city’s zoning code allows for three chickens per 2,000 square feet, plus one additional chicken for each additional 1,000 square feet, according to event organizers. Roosters are not permitted. Chicken farmers must also apply for a zoning ordinance.

Here’s some of the bounty, from a coop also in the Highland Park neighborhood:

There are other urban chicken farmers in the Squirrel Hill, Spring Hill, Fineview and Mexican War Streets neighborhoods.

Want to know more about raising chickens in your yard? Try MyPetChicken.com, Backyardchickens.com, or madcitychickens.com.


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Filed under Featured, Good Ideas, the environment, Urban Farming

Cleveland’s Land Use Metamorphosis

Next American City is carrying a very interesting story about Cleveland’s battle to return vacant land to productive use.

A collection of foundations, government agencies, nonprofit organizations and private citizens are collaborating to return agriculture to the city. What’s unique about Cleveland’s efforts, however, is the level or coordination and the overarching vision for a greener, more cohesive neighborhoods, according to the article.

The process has been dubbed, Reimagining a More Sustainable Cleveland and it has the support of the mayor, the state government and a handfull of well endowed foundations.

“We’re talking about pushing people together into dense urban nodes,” said Terry Schwarz, interim director of the Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative. “We’re coming up with a way of managing the landscape enough so it looks like an intentional wildlife corridor. It makes the spot where development occurs obvious.”

Cleveland Urban Farmer Maurice Small owns a small farm in Tremont. Photo via Plain Dealer, www.cleveland.com.

Cleveland Urban Farmer Maurice Small owns a small farm in Tremont. Photo via Plain Dealer, http://www.cleveland.com.



Filed under Good Ideas, Green Jobs, Headline, Real Estate, The Big Urban Photography Project, Urban Farming, Urban Planning

What Do You Wish For Your City In 2010?

I’m going to borrow an idea from this Cleveland Scene article, which asked a number of Clevelanders what they hoped for in 2010 for their city.

Among the responses: safer streets for walkers and cyclists, more neighborhood gardens, more tourists, a sports championship and many more goals.

What do you hope for your city in the coming year?


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Filed under Editorial, regionalism, Rust Belt Blogs

Community Gardens Blossom in Toledo


The Toledo Blade reports the number of community gardens in Lucas and Wood counties is increasing significantly – from 30 to 81 in the last eight years.

A number of the gardens were showcased on a recent public tour. The Blade reported some gardens even raise chickens and turkeys, and feature art to add vibrancy to the neighborhood.

The article goes on to add,”Raising thousands of pounds of food, these gardens are located at churches, schools, and in empty lots. Typically grown in improved soils without pesticides or chemicals, the vegetables feed the folks who raise them. Much of the bounty is donated to food banks.”

The story doesn’t explicitly state this, but a number of the gardens are located in low-income or central city areas, such as Ten Eyck Tower, a public housing complex.

I feel like we’ve had a lot of depressing Rust Belt news this week, so it is nice to have a positive story.


Filed under Featured, Good Ideas, Green Jobs, Urban Farming

Growing Power


All you members of GLUE – Great Lakes Urban Exchange– may remember hearing (and seeing!) Will Allen and learning about his amazing urban farm, Growing Power, in Milwaukee.

In fact, we at Rust Wire featured some photos from Growing Power back in March.

Now, The New York Times has noticed Allen and the work he is doing.

For those of you not familiar with the project, Growing Power is  “14 greenhouses crammed onto two acres in a working-class neighborhood on Milwaukee’s northwest side, less than half a mile from the city’s largest public-housing project.” It advocates safe, healthy, affordable food for everyone.


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Filed under Good Ideas, Green Jobs, Headline, the environment, Urban Farming

Detroit: Schools, urban farms, and a conversation

I’ve been meaning to post several Detroit-related items this week:

First, earlier this week, the Detroit papers reported that the city’s public schools are in serious trouble – even more serious trouble than usual.


“After months of financial projections, independent audits and declarations of financial emergency, the state-appointed financial manager for Detroit Public Schools submitted a report to the state today that paints a historically dire problem,” the Free Press reported.

It gets worse – “DPS will have to cut thousands of jobs and close as many as 50 schools over the next two years because the district has accumulated a $305-million deficit. And it should have seen the problem coming months ago, said Robert Bobb, the financial manager. The crisis could lead to more cries for mayoral control of the school system, a solution advocated by U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan.”

It’s a pretty depressing state of affairs. The health of cities is completely intertwined with the health of their public schools systems, plain and simple. And everything I read about the Detroit Public Schools (and many other urban school systems) paints such a terrible picture it is hard to imagine anything ever getting better. I know that’s a bad attitude to have; obviously the schools didn’t get this way overnight. But it’s still so overwhelming to think about.

So after that depressing item, here is something more hopeful:


A Detroit businessman has put forth a proposal that would “convert hundreds, even thousands, of vacant parcels in the city into urban agriculture,” the Free Press reports.

“Detroit already is home to hundreds of smaller community gardens. But Hantz’s proposal is the first to envision large-scale commercial farming.”

The article goes on to detail how foreclosed city, county, and state-owned properties could be used. Not everyone is in favor of this. One community-garden advocate pointed out that smaller gardens to a lot to bring communities together, as opposed to a large, commercial operation. But it’s an intriguing idea, and I hope we haven’t heard the last of it!

Thanks to Rust Wire reader Claudia Raleigh for bringing this item to my attention!

Finally, I want to plug an event that is happening in Detroit on Wednesday evening.

The magazine Next American City is hosting a conversation about the economy and how Detroit is working to reposition itself. It is part of the magazine’s Great Minds Great Cities Urban Nexus series.

It’s open to the public if anyone is interested in going. I can’t make it, so if any of you Rust Wire readers in Detroit want to go and report back what happens, it would be much appreciated! For more details on the when, where, and who, click here:



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Filed under Green Jobs, Urban Farming