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Food security: an urban issue

Food security: an urban issue | Advancing Eco-cities |

“Populations in general are growing very rapidly in Africa, and on top of that we’re seeing increased urbanisation,” says Mellissa Wood, director of the AIFSRC.


A new project by the World Vegetable Centre (AVRDC) is trying to address this by pulling together the issues of urban growth, migration, livelihoods and undernutrition, and drawing specific attention to the role of peri-urban 'corridors' of production outside cities.


“young people in cities are not necessarily finding employment opportunities, and that is potentially increasing future food security issues in these regions. This project is quite holistic, so it’s getting young people into vegetable production as a source of livelihoods, helping existing farmers too, and optimising the whole system by finding improved varieties that will work well in particular regions, and strengthening value chains.”

The main vehicle for the project is the establishment of best practice hubs in peri-urban areas – which it defines as areas within 2-3 hours of cities – around the four target cities. These hubs will serve as centres for crop trials and experimentation, and will give the young producers who are new to farming full training in vegetable crop growing and management. They will also be open to existing farmers looking to improve their skills, so the idea is that they will serve best practice sites for the farming communities around them.

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Yoga Can Disrupt the School-to-Prison Pipeline

Yoga Can Disrupt the School-to-Prison Pipeline | Advancing Eco-cities |
This is an interview with B.K. Bose, who started the non-profit Niroga Institute with a few yoga students in 2005. Niroga was asked to help work with a group of delinquent young women in an alternative high school in the San Francisco Bay Area, and from the first yoga class the Niroga teachers could see how these students took to the mindful action, breathing and centering (the ABCs) like fish to water. They seemed to connect with a place inside themselves that was safe from all the dysfunction

Today, Niroga conducts over 100 yoga classes a week in 40 sites throughout the Bay Area, serving over 5,000 children, youth, and adults annually, in mainstream and alternative schools, juvenile halls and jails, rehab centers, and cancer hospitals.
ddrrnt's insight:

Mindfulness in the city : Safe and stressless

When kids drop out of school, the risks of inner-city violence increases.  Entire families are struggling with stresses that can be reduced with scientific approaches to mindful yoga and meditation.

Thet's where Niroga Institute's program comes into play: Transformative Life Skills (TLS).

Nurturing every child's Potential

"We believe that every child and every youth has infinite capability for self-awareness and self-mastery, to act rather than merely react, to achieve their fullest potential."

Watch a short video on Yoga, Self-Control and Social Transformation here.

by Rob Schware

12 Dec 2012

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Magical Urbanism | URBZ via @wwjimd

Magical Urbanism | URBZ via @wwjimd | Advancing Eco-cities |

That reality often exceeds imagination is well known. What is less often discussed is how imagination can transform reality.

The fact is that fantasies of radical transgression, including bombing and killing have always been part of a certain subversive imagination, which is particularly appealing to the youth. Especially those who have been brainwashed into negating their violent impulses, desires, drives, aspirations and ego-trips. Attraction to extreme violence, in fictional or actual form is often a response to an unbearable level of frustration caused by the repression of perfectly healthy impulses – impulses to do with expression of anger, creativity and active control of their lives. (...)

It is unfair to expect any self-denial of these impulses from the youth. And it is even worse to lock them up in a world running on autopilot, where any sense of agency is deemed dangerous or impulsive. To them, such a world seems headed straight to a crash. So many youth across the world feel trapped in rigid urban and social structures; stuck in a reality that they are not allowed to reinvent. As a result they often respond passionately to fictionalized versions of reality, which are full of possibilities, including the most extreme and destructive ones. Most often these fictions remain in the realm of the imagination, but sometimes, when intent and determination are high enough, they do translate into reality. (...)

The space of youthful imagination is highly potent. It is like a fertile jungle continuously producing a million new audacious ideas. It is violent and exciting, destructive and creative, all at the same time. It is a space where one can get lost, discover, experiment and grow. A sacred grove of sorts, that one can come back to at any point in time to reconnect to a vital creative energy that helps accomplish wonders

August 26, 2009 by matias

ReTweetYouth : Escaping the trap with #Creativity via @wwjimd

Also, see more Scoops on Creativity and Innovation

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Time with parents is important for teens' well-being

Teenagers are famous for seeking independence from their parents, but research shows that many teens continue to spend time with their parents and that this shared time is important for teens' well-being, according to researchers.

Via David Hodgson
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Internet of food: Arduino-based, urban aquaponics in Oakland

The land in West Oakland where Eric Maundu is trying to farm is covered with freeways, roads, light rail and parking lots so there's not much arable land and the soil is contaminated. So Maundu doesn't use soil. Instead he's growing plants using fish and circulating water.

It's called aquaponics- a gardening system that combines hydroponics (water-based planting) and aquaculture (fish farming). It's been hailed as the future of farming: it uses less water (up to 90% less than traditional gardening), doesn't attract soil-based bugs and produces two types of produce (both plants and fish).

Aquaponics has become popular in recent years among urban gardeners and DIY tinkerers, but Maundu- who is trained in industrial robotics- has taken the agricultural craft one step further and made his gardens smart. Using sensors (to detect water level, pH and temperature), microprocessors (mostly the open-source Arduino microcontroller), relay cards, clouds and social media networks (Twitter and Facebook), Maundu has programmed his gardens to tweet when there's a problem (i.e. not enough water) or when there's news (i.e. an over-abundance of food to share).

Maundu himself ran from agriculture in his native Kenya- where he saw it as a struggle for land, water and resources. This changed when he realized he could farm without soil and with little water via aquaponics and that he could apply his robotics background to farming. Today he runs Kijani Grows ("Kijani" is Swahili for green), a small startup that designs and sells custom aquaponics systems for growing food and attempts to explore new frontiers of computer-controlled gardening.

Maundu believes that by putting gardens online, especially in places like West Oakland (where his solar-powered gardens are totally off the grid), it's the only way to make sure that farming remains viable to the next generation of urban youth.

More info on original story 

Mariana Soffer's comment, July 15, 2012 7:37 AM
so usefull
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Get Away From the Sprawl: More Young Folks Moving Into Cities

Get Away From the Sprawl: More Young Folks Moving Into Cities | Advancing Eco-cities |

If it seems like cities these days are crawling with more young people than ever before, that's because they are, according to data released by the U.S. Census Bureau.


The takeaway by the AP is hardly a surprise:

Burdened with college debt or toiling in temporary, lower-wage positions, they are spurning homeownership in the suburbs for shorter-term, no-strings-attached apartment living, public transit and proximity to potential jobs in larger cities.

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City student overcomes the odds on his way to college

City student overcomes the odds on his way to college | Advancing Eco-cities |
Doors that Manuel Rosado never knew existed are now opening to him.

Manny - who dropped out of high school at 14 but now is a high-achieving student on track to be valedictorian of his class at Olney ASPIRA Charter School - was profiled in The Inquirer last month.

Since then, Manny has received an astonishing stream of kindnesses from people inspired by his story of determination, perseverance, and the power of education.

People have written notes, offered to mentor him, sent checks. An entire class of middle school students wrote to tell how proud they were of him. Most important, one family has offered to help him get through college.

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Shareable: The City as Network and Commons

Shareable: The City as Network and Commons | Advancing Eco-cities |

The very notion of prosperity is being redefined by a new generation. It no longer means McMansions, SUVs, and Rolexes — baubles which Millennials watched their parents destroy themselves over. Many want something different, and most couldn’t afford the old dream anyway, even if they wanted it. In this new experiment, prosperity is defined by healthy relationships, realizing one’s creative potential, civic participation, meaningful experiences, and purposeful work — all things that actually deliver happiness.

In a sharing economy, products connect us rather than operating as status symbols that divide. Here product service systems and time-tested urban commons like libraries, parks, streets, and public transportation make our daily needs widely accessible. Here access trumps the burdens of ownership. Here we stop destroying our planet chasing a manufactured dream.

Instead, we come home to where prosperity has long been centered — within the vital relationships forged in our homes, neighborhoods, and cities. It’s no accident that Gen Y is flocking to cities in what is the greatest migration in history. But there’s an epoch-making twist beyond these shifts: the Internet widens the circle of sharing beyond family, tribe, and nation to the global scale.

by Neal Gorenflow 

Shareable 13 Nov 12

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Rescooped by ddrrnt from The Big Picture!

Nothing to do, nowhere to go: 1 in 4 UK youths jobless

Every fourth person under the age of 25 in Britain is currently out of work. And despite government efforts, many young people say there are no opportunities...

Via Khannea Suntzu, David Hodgson
dephunked's comment, October 6, 2012 10:32 AM
Digital Athens, Call it the “leisure rate” instead of the “unemployment rate.” &
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Why Millennials Don't Want To Buy Stuff

Why Millennials Don't Want To Buy Stuff | Advancing Eco-cities |

Compared to previous generations, Millennials seem to have some very different habits that have taken both established companies and small businesses by surprise. One of these is that Generation Y doesn't seem to enjoy purchasing things.

The Atlantic's article "Why Don't Young Americans Buy Cars?" mused recently about Millennials' tendency to not care about owning a vehicle. The subtitle: "Is this a generational shift, or just a lousy economy at work?"

What if it's not an "age thing" at all? What's really causing this strange new behavior (or rather, lack of behavior)? Generational segments have profound impacts on perception and behavior, but an "ownership shift" isn't isolated within the Millennial camp. A writer for USA Today shows that all ages are in on this trend, but instead of an age group, he blames the change on the cloud, the heavenly home our entertainment goes to when current media models die. As all forms of media make their journey into a digital, de-corporeal space, research shows that people are beginning to actually prefer this disconnected reality to owning a physical product.

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Youth Say Race Still Matters—So What Are They Doing About It? - COLORLINES

Youth Say Race Still Matters—So What Are They Doing About It? - COLORLINES | Advancing Eco-cities |

Earlier this month, our publisher released a report, “Don’t Call Them Post-Racial,” which surveyed attitudes about race in key systems in U.S. society among young adults 18-25. Dom Apollon’s research team conducted focus groups with dozens of young people in the Los Angeles area, and learned that their thoughts on race are far more nuanced than most polling and commentary has suggested. Theirs is the most diverse generation in U.S. history, but that doesn’t make them post-race. Rather, the young people in the focus groups made clear that they believed race still matters today.

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“Dr. Dia” says Hip-Hop is More than just Lyrics – It’s Therapy

“Dr. Dia” says Hip-Hop is More than just Lyrics – It’s Therapy | Advancing Eco-cities |

 “Dr. Dia” is a Hip Hop scholar who holds a doctorate degree in Clinical Psychology. She has a lifelong relationship with the Hip Hop culture and is fascinated with its ability to not only express emotion, but heal and ultimately transform lives.


 cnt'd @ PULL


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