The Neighborhood Farm: An Urban Farming Initiative in and around Needham, Massachusetts
Kate Canney wasn’t going to let living in a suburban environment keep her from gardening. She created The Neighborhood Farm to pursue her passion.
By Farm Aid
Mother Earth News
February 7, 2013
Faced with the challenge of land access in a suburban environment just outside of Boston, Kate formed the idea to use private yards within the community as her starting ground. The idea has since sprouted into The Neighborhood Farm: nearly four acres of gardens spread among seven different spaces dedicated to growing produce that Kate sells at local farmers markets.
Access to farmland is a challenge that plagues prospective farmers nationwide. The 2007 National Resources Inventory Report found, “Every minute, America has been losing more than an acre of farmland to urban sprawl and development.”
From 2002 to 2007, 4,080,300 of acres previously used for agriculture were adapted for developed purposes, an area nearly the size of the state of Massachusetts.
That was the reality that Kate faced when she started farming. “I wanted to be a farmer since I was a little kid,” Kate said. “I don’t really know why, but it just appealed to me.” Kate studied plant and soil sciences, focusing on sustainable agriculture, at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst before taking on an apprenticeship at Keith’s Farm in Westtown, NY. Following the apprenticeship, Kate changed paths to travel and become a teacher. But in 2008, she decided to find a way to return to the world of farming again.