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New Urban Farm in D.C. Is About More Than a Food Desert

Kelly Miller Farm is scheduled to open in spring 2018 in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Chris Bradshaw)

Bradshaw hopes the data will help build the case for more urban farms like this to be built on public lands. “There are more conversations now around protecting public lands for the public good, versus privatization,” he says.

By Stephanie Castellano
Next City
October 24, 2017

Excerpt:

“I didn’t have no help when I got out, not even from my parole officer,” he says. With Kirby, at Kelly Miller Farm, he’ll be teaching workshops on gardening, composting and carpentry, skills he learned while incarcerated. Passing those skills on to others, Luther says, won’t just lead them to jobs, it will help them become entrepreneurs.

“We don’t just want jobs, we want careers,” he says. “The farm’s not just about growing, it’s about making money, and that’s something many people in this community don’t have.”

That entrepreneurial spirit is running largely untapped through D.C.’s low-income communities. Bradshaw says that, at farmers markets run by Dreaming Out Loud, people would often ask the staff how they might sell their own products there. Yet there are few commercial kitchens in the District and they are expensive to rent, which presents a barrier to low-income people looking to start a food business.

Bradshaw and his staff plan to raise awareness of the newly implemented Cottage Food Act, which allows D.C. residents to run food businesses out of their home kitchens, provided their annual revenue doesn’t exceed $25,000. Through outreach and classes at the Kelly Miller Farm, Dreaming Out Loud and its partners will educate residents about the act’s regulations and help them get their businesses off the ground. Bradshaw says this will be one of their most important metrics for success: how many cottage food businesses they can discover and nurture into profitability.

Read the complete article here.