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Urban Farming in Florida

floridaAndrew Wolfe keeps beehives on his roof at his Freedom Farm. His Seminole yard has ducks, chickens, tilapia, a greenhouse, a garden and citrus. Wolfe even grows mint in a platform suspended over his tilapia pond. It’s a symbiotic relationship because the herbs filter the pond water.

Seeds of urban farming sprout in bay area

By Jessica Vander Velde,
St Petersburg Times ?March 14, 2010


A year ago, Andrew Wolfe had a typical yard: a half-acre of grass and a tree.

Now it’s less lawn, more farm.

His Seminole yard houses 16 ducks, 16 chickens, 400 tilapia and seven beehives. He built a greenhouse, started a garden and planted four citrus trees — all near a busy street with restaurants, shops and a Baptist church.

He calls it his Freedom Farm, and he’s not the only local farmer forgoing the country for the city. Clearwater grandparents harvest vegetables on 3 acres near Ulmerton Road. A Carrollwood man plans to farm on a former water treatment plant site. And the Tampa City Council is creating a zoning category to pave the way for more urban community gardens.

Nationwide, the urban farming movement is growing. Detroit’s mayor has made it a key piece of his plans for his city’s future. Cities such as Davenport, Iowa, are planting gardens on city property, providing free food for locals. A publisher recently launched a new magazine called Urban Farm.

Association estimates that farmers markets have more than doubled since the 1990s. Tampa’s community-supported agriculture pioneer, Rick Martinez of Sweetwater Organic Community Farm, estimates that farms like his have increased from 100 to about 2,000 nationwide in the past two decades.

Martinez started Sweetwater in 1993, and it’s thriving. Since then, he’s helped others in the area start their own urban farms.

“The urban farm movement is picking up steam,” he said. “We’re so dependent on food from faraway places, and now people have a yearning to be more closely involved with their food.”

A Tampa developer has taken note. In an old trolley repair building in Tampa Heights, Darren Booth grows peppers near a window in his office. He’s the project manager for the Heights development, and he has plans for garden terraces, raised plant beds and a rooftop garden in the planned community.

See the rest of the article here.