The City Farmer in Memphis: New ideas about urban farming may help spread area growing
Roots Memphis, a new urban farm in Whitehaven
By Mary Phillips
The Commercial Appeal
September 7, 2012
But for every well-intentioned landowner with money to invest in community agriculture, there are hundreds of vacant, overgrown lots, either forgotten by negligent owners or sitting unclaimed in the land bank. And while blight and unemployment may seem like unrelated, disparate issues, by providing willing workers with access to land, education, and capital, creating urban farming businesses can activate blighted spaces and provide Memphians with a means to self-employment.
There are a few organizations seeking to address these issues. For the last few years, GrowMemphis has sold its community gardens’ produce at the Cooper-Young Community Farmers Market through a cooperative selling model. There are a few individual growers who sell their produce at the GrowMemphis market booth to supplement their own personal income, but most of the vegetables you’ll find at the table are sold by the community gardens solely to fund the upkeep and maintenance of the individual gardens.
Gardeners don’t only sell together, but they plan crop rotations together so there is always a large variety of produce at the GrowMemphis booth. Chris Peterson, the executive director of GrowMemphis, noted, “The gardeners are working and growing collectively. We try to foster a spirit of collaboration so that the gardens aren’t competing against each other. That way, everyone wins.”