Home-grown food part of a new vision of urban development
In Burlington, Vermont, more than 8 per cent the food consumed by residents is grown within the city limits.
By Mark Cullen
Feb 01 2013
Indulge me for a moment and imagine a new residential development of quality homes surrounding an 18-hole, championship golf course. A well-designed community of semis, towns and fully detached homes are knit together by winding, well-treed streets. Every garage has a golf cart in it and every golf cart has two large garden trugs in the back.
Say what? OK, change that golf course to a farm. And not just any old farm, the latest “urban” farm, where half of the green space normally devoted to the golf course is a huge garden that produces food for the immediate community. Fresh greens and produce are sold to local green grocers and restaurants. People travel long distances to see this place. And local residents only travel a few blocks to pick up their groceries, fresh from the land.
The other “half” of the farm is carved into 1.5-acre plots for part-time urban farmers. These are co-op farms, where the farmers share equipment and trade produce (“I am long on cucumbers; can I trade you for some of your beans?”). These same farmers make their living through Community Supported Agriculture (CSA). Clients, like you, sign on for a season worth of produce and, for a fixed monthly fee, receive a basket of food fresh from the land: whatever is ready for harvest is distributed to the subscribers. You can have it delivered for a small fee, or come and pick it up in your golf cart.
A portion of the “farm” is partitioned into “community gardens” for local residents who want to grow their own food and share the experience of gardening with other people.