Sunday, November 28, 2010

"Green Farming"


After doing a bit more research I've come up with a story that would link pretty well with Evelyn's research on urban farming. It's more so about Agriculture, Water, Food and Energy opposed to Waste Disposal, but it's pretty interesting stuff.

It mainly focuses on the amount of water that is used for agriculture in the world (the stats are pretty staggering) and how we will have to manage in the coming years when food demand with probably double and water resources will be lower.

With water resources dwindling the article suggests using water taxes to encourage ZERO water waste, and efficent responsible farming techniques. This method has already been employed in Australia and so far has been successful. Food prices, surprisingly, have not increases, farms are able to allow for the water taxes in the budget.

The article also focuses on how farm land will probably be abandonned and many will flock to cities, that are already at thier limitations. Thus the article discuses the issues of this and how we may remedy them.

Water in Agriculture
The main article;
Water in Agriculture: Improving Resource Management, published March 2010,

Water in Agriculture Video
here's a video on what the article says;
also releaseded in March 2010,

and this is a graph on water consumption by country for agricultural purposes;
OECD Environmental Outlook Baseline, published 2007,

Kate Holbrook-Smith
November, 2, 2010

From BC Sockeye Salmon to Egyptian Pigs

Here are three articles that I think are interesting and relate well to our topics.
The first two get clumped together because they are both about sockeye salmon. The first, talks about a new study that proposes fish farms could be spreading disease to wild salmon and causing their decline on the west coast. The second, explains how this years odd boom in returning salmon could be caused by a volcano eruption in Alaska that fertilized the ocean. Could we maybe fertilize the oceans ourselves?
The third is about how the egyptian government's killing of all pigs caused a massive organic waste problem last year.

Here are the links:

Hume, Mark. "Tagging Solves Part of Sockeye Mystery.". The Globe and Mail. Oct 25 2010.

Hume, Mark. "Is B.C.'s sockeye boom a one-off?". The Globe and Mail. Oct 24 2010.

Slackman, Micheal. "Belatedly, Egypt Spots Flaws in Wiping Out Pigs". The New York Times. Sept 19 2009.

Stephan Gaulin-Brown
Oct 31, 2010

Great Lakes Contamination

I was thinking that it would be interesting to link Agriculture, Water, and Waste Disposal with the example of the Great Lakes. There have been numerous accounts of the lakes at some point or another being contaminated.

The contamination is largely due to inadequate water treatment facilities in the toronto, and generally poor waste disposal. It allows for toxins to flow in to the lake and causes numerous bach closing and affects the ecosystems in the lake.

In the articles below they mention how the fish populations in lake ontario are dwindling and even the fish caught are some times unfit to eat.

The fishery business in the great lakes is a great way to supply local food to the surrounding areas, keeping the environmental impact low.

Anyways here are some links that I found interesting.

Pollution Making Great Lakes Fish Inedible
Pollution Making Great Lakes Fish Inedible, published July 12 2007,

Kate Holbrook Smith
Oct. 31, 2010

Friday, November 19, 2010

Mind Map

Here is the final version of the mind map we created at one of the meetings. I hope this makes the flow of our presentation more clear.

If anyone notices that I may have gotten some of the information wrong or in the wrong order just let me know. But I'm pretty sure I got it all in there.

Kate Holbrook-Smith
November 19, 2010

Sustainable Urban Agriculture

Here are a few links I stumbled across. The purpose of our project is to create an architect's version of an "Urban Survival Kit" so I was specifically looking for articles and information urban farming and sustainability.

The first is a YouTube video on "The Science Barg" an urban farm located on the Hudson River in NYC.

The second is a website for the book "The Vertical Farm" by Dr. Dickson Despommier. It focuses on the building of "vertical farms" in urban environments. I thought this was interesting from an architectural standpoint of designing buildings to serve this purpose.

The third a slideshow from the website that shows examples of some pretty neat (probably idealistic) urban farming prototypes.

"These prototypes aim to empower urban dwellers to produce food in their everyday lives. Designed for ease-of-use and affordability, these systems inhabit under-utilized spaces within the dense urban environment and have the potential to reach wide audience though street exposure and personal networks."

I thought this idea of sustainable agriculture in an urban environment could possibly connect with F. and D. on the list (Food and Energy).

Evelyn Hofmann
October 31st, 2010

"Urban Agriculture Blooms." posted October 22, 2008,

"The Vertical Farm", accessed October 31st, 2010,

"Urban Farm Prototypes Reveal the Future of Urban Agriculture", accessed October 31st, 2010,

Evelyn Hofmann
November 7th, 2010

"Province reviewing Outlook cattle feedlot proposal"

It's about a very large cattle feedlot planned in Saskatchewan. The Ministry of Agriculture is reviewing the plan before approving it. They're looking into water supply, waste disposal etc. There's not a lot of information in the article but I think the proposed farm might be interesting to look into, it's called Namaka Farms

Sargaent, Jeff. "Province reviewing Outlook cattle feedlot proposal." News Talk 650 CKOM. (Accessed October 31, 2010).

Lea Koch
October 31, 2010

"Don't Take Water For Granted"

The following article deals with the issue of water, and its uses in the cities and for agriculture. There currently exists technologies in agriculture that help determine exact water needs, "no more, no less" so as not to waste water. There is also mention of the stresses to Canada's water sources as well as the aging water infrastructure. Additionally, communities currently have a way of recycling grey water, say from washing machines, and reusing it in irrigation. Lastly, it is emphasized that the use of 'green' infrastructure should be considered alongside the collection and effective use of rain water.
"Don't Take Water For Granted"

Bitti, Mary Teresa.
"Don't take water for granted." Financial Post | Canadian Business News, Investing and Commentary. Accessed October 31, 2010.

Michelle Duoung
October 31, 2010