Urban environs couldn’t deter one woman’s agricultural dreams in Atlanta.
Patchwork City Farms – Growing Wild in the City
Cecilia Gatungo lives in Atlanta, Georgia, the center of a metropolitan area that more than 5 million people call home. Her little slice of that urban jungle adds up to about 800 square feet of space outside her home. But small as it may be, she is determined to farm it.
Gatungo spent her childhood in a Kenyan farming community where she had ready access to fruits and vegetables. “I never went inside to snack on chips,” she says. “I want the same for the kids in the neighborhood.” What started out as a dream to provide healthful food for her neighbors is even more intense now that those kids include her own 11-month-old son, Hodari.
Unwilling to start small, Gatungo promptly filled her yard with everything from fruit to towering corn stalks. Among the things growing in that miniscule space are berries, potatoes, tomatoes, greens, carrots and two small fig trees. She had chickens at one time, too, but they fell victim to predators roaming the city streets.
The fruits of her labor were satisfying, but she realized she wanted more than just a garden.
In 2010, Gatungo and two other partners launched Patchwork City Farms with the goal of becoming a large-scale farming operation, all within the confines of the dense city they call home. The farm now grows food on land donated by neighbors, schools and a local church, in addition to Gatungo’s thriving garden at home.