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Category — United States

Innovations from Cleveland’s urban farms are taking root around the world

Rid-All Green Partnership, a thriving, three-acre green space.

Four of Cleveland’s thriving urban farms that exemplify the movement’s roots in building communities and creating opportunities: Chateau Hough, Green City Growers, Rid-All-Green Partnership, and Ohio City Farm

By Billy Hallal
Freshwater
November 09, 2017

Excerpt:

Randy McShepard is well aware of the common misconceptions about urban farming in Cleveland. “People say, ‘The soil’s contaminated! You can’t do it!’ or ‘There are just three months of good weather in Cleveland!’”

But McShepard is proving them wrong. He’s a co-founder of the Rid-All Green Partnership, a thriving, three-acre green space in the struggling but strengthening Kinsman neighborhood.

Rid-All has found creative ways around typical urban agriculture obstacles. They grow cold-weather crops like collard greens and kale, harvesting 11 months out of the year. As for the soil, they make their own. Wood chips and food waste (of which they use up to 50,000 pounds a week during peak season) decompose for months to form Rid-All’s “Black Gold,” a profitable compost soil that ships all across the state.

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November 15, 2017   No Comments

Texas: Square Mile using urban farming to cultivate growth in San Jacinto

Square Mile urban farm.

“Help bring produce, healthy food, into the community as well as teach people how to use this farming method themselves, so they can bring in supplemental income and we can really foster a little bit of economic development.”

By Nicolette Perrone
News Channel 10
Nov 1, 2017

Excerpt:

What began over the summer as concrete and dirt, has now become a farm that just had its first harvest.

The farm is providing residents with keys to economic growth and health to reinvent San Jacinto as a vibrant part of Amarillo.

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November 7, 2017   No Comments

Herban Sprout is growing fresh food in Martinsburg, W. Virginia

Matt Denton in front of new 24-by-40 foot plot.

They sell to 13 restaurants and cafés in Martinsburg and Shepherdstown, W.Va., Greencastle, Pa., Winchester, Va., and Hagerstown.

By Robin Murphy
The Herald-Mail
Oct 20, 2017

Excerpt:

Established in February of 2015 on a eighth of an acre, Herban Sprout grew into a viable business from the Denton’s doing smaller deliveries of excess greens to the local community.

“We were already farming for our family on a smaller scale. Every spare minute we had we were spending out in the garden.” Stephanie Denton said. “It was a natural decision. This is what we want to be doing anyway, so we decided to do it on a larger scale.”

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October 30, 2017   Comments Off on Herban Sprout is growing fresh food in Martinsburg, W. Virginia

The Most Surprising Little Urban Farm in L.A. Is on a Mar Vista Side Street

Photo Courtesy Of Casamor Farm.

Farm sells its produce on the honor system, and ”it works perfectly”

By Joshua Lurie
Los Angeles Magazine
October 16, 2017

Excerpt:

Kohler is a Swiss national who has cultivated a small vegetable patch in every home he’s had in L.A. In 2014 he converted his front and back yards into a “food garden” by planting 30 fruit and nut trees and replacing the lawn with growing beds.

He launched the farm stand in 2016 as a way to share his surplus harvest with neighbors, putting out vegetables every Sunday and encouraging visitors to “pay what you want.” Kohler says farm stands that operate on an honor system are an “integral part of the agricultural landscape” in Switzerland. Friends questioned whether a similar endeavor would work in L.A., but Kohler persisted and learned “it works perfectly.”

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October 24, 2017   Comments Off on The Most Surprising Little Urban Farm in L.A. Is on a Mar Vista Side Street

Ohio: Urban farms help in Youngstown’s recovery

As the city of Youngstown has shrunk from 170,000 residents to fewer than 65,000 from the 1950s until present day, according to Atlantic Magazine and numerous other sources, the housing stock has noticeably deteriorated. But now, occasional bright green spots are defiantly rearing up out of the urban decay.

By Richard Weiner
Akron Legal News Reporter
October 12, 2017

Excerpt:

“We have definitely seen growth in locally-produced food,” said Melissa Miller, who runs the Lake to Rive Food Cooperative. The co-op serves and draws from farmers in an eight-county area that includes Mahoning County.

“We have seen a rise in niche products,” coming from these small, lot-sized farms, Miller said. These include Avant Garden, a mushroom farm in downtown Youngstown, and Unabandoned, a two-lot herb farm that, among other products, makes essential oils out of their herbs and Avant’s mushrooms.

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October 18, 2017   Comments Off on Ohio: Urban farms help in Youngstown’s recovery

Civic seeds: new institutions for seed systems and communities – a 2016 survey of California seed libraries

The first quantitative look at seed libraries

By Daniela Soleri, PhD
Associate Research Scientist
Geography Department
UC Santa Barbara
Agric Hum Values
August 2017

Abstract:

Seed libraries (SLs) are institutions that support the creation of semi-formal seed systems, but are often intended to address larger issues that are part of the “food movement” in the global north. Over 100 SLs are reported present in California. I describe a functional framework for studying and comparing seed systems, and use that to investigate the social and biological characteristics of California SLs in 2016 and how they are contributing to alternative seed systems based on interviews with 45 SL managers.

At a minimum, SLs function as new seed distribution institutions founded and overseen by dedicated, values-driven individuals and groups with goals including education, seed access, local adaptation, biodiversity conservation, community- building, and human health.

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September 30, 2017   Comments Off on Civic seeds: new institutions for seed systems and communities – a 2016 survey of California seed libraries

Chicago: When farm to table is just a few blocks away

Jen Rosenthal. Photo by John R. Boehm.

Farmers at Legends have to work 50 hours of community service per season for each eighth of an acre they farm, including helping Legends residents with the community garden or holding workshops on cooking or growing crops.

By Ben Feldheim
Crain’s Chicago Business
Sept 22, 2017

Excerpt:

Jen Rosenthal walks beside a row of green pea tendrils bearing small, cloverlike leaves and thin stems. She kneels down to cut the top halves. Sugar snap peas would grow from their flowers if left to mature, but Rosenthal has found leaves from this particular type pack a lot of bright flavor. Place them in water after harvesting and they don’t deteriorate quickly like their siblings. It’s one of many lessons Rosenthal has learned in the two years she’s been growing produce at Legends Farm, a training site for urban farmers through the Chicago Botanic Garden’s Windy City Harvest program.

“Some restaurants try growing these on-site, but without the rich soil they get too leggy and spindly,” Rosenthal said of the pea plants while standing in one of the lower drainage rows that run parallel between the more elevated crop rows at Legends. “We’ll let some blossom and harvest peas before they all come out to make more room for peppers and eggplants.”

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September 27, 2017   Comments Off on Chicago: When farm to table is just a few blocks away

New Orleans golf course transformed into city’s biggest urban farm with an Eco-Campus

The City Park birding corridor runs along the side of farm and provides a more wild contrast to the farmed environment.

By Lucy Wang
Inhabitat
Sept 18, 2017

Excerpt:

A former golf course in New Orleans’ City Park has been transformed into the city’s biggest urban farm—Grow Dat Youth Farm. The seven-acre sustainable farming nonprofit features a low-energy Eco-Campus built with seven recycled shipping containers and designed by Tulane University architecture students. The urban farming and leadership program teaches local youth how to sustainably grow fruits and veggies that are then sold to CSAs, local restaurants, and markets, as well as donated to neighborhoods lacking access to healthy, fresh food.

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September 24, 2017   Comments Off on New Orleans golf course transformed into city’s biggest urban farm with an Eco-Campus

Dayton, Ohio Urban Farm founder angered by city’s Garden Station eviction

Lisa Helm, the founder of Dayton Urban Grown Farm, stands among the plantings at the co-op and training farm. Helm also founded Garden Station, which was evicted from a city-owned property last year. Cornelius Frolik / Staff

“We should write an obituary for the garden, because it’s dead and it did not die of natural causes,” Helm said.

By Cornelius Frolik
Dayton Daily News
Sept. 17, 2017

Excerpt:

The land at Wayne Avenue and Fourth Street, which belonged to the city, was transferred to Kentucky developer Weyland Ventures, which has converted an industrial building across the street into hip, new urban lofts.

The developer has proposed creating an urban entertainment and housing district called Oregon East, featuring a blend of uses.

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September 23, 2017   Comments Off on Dayton, Ohio Urban Farm founder angered by city’s Garden Station eviction

Urban farms, beacons of self-reliance, change the Buffalo landscape

Mayda Pozantides takes a cover off of some vegetables at the Groundwork Market Garden on Genesee Street. This marks the first year the farm has yielded crops. (Mark Mulville/Buffalo News)

Eleven urban farms help lead the way in Buffalo. Several will be stops on the ninth annual GObike Buffalo Tour de Farms bicycling event next Saturday, Sept. 16.

By Scott Scanlon
Buffalo News
September 8, 2017

Excerpt:

Mayda Pozantides slings burgers two nights a week in an Allentown restaurant but her career aspirations involve something much more grounded.

She wants to be a full-time farmer in the City of Buffalo.

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September 10, 2017   Comments Off on Urban farms, beacons of self-reliance, change the Buffalo landscape

Queen City Acres Makes a Go of Urban Farming in Vermont

Farmer Ethan Thompson.

Thompson’s main plot produces mostly baby greens such as mizuna, mesclun from High Mowing Organic Seeds and red Russian kale

By Suzanne Podhaizer
Seven Day
Aug 29, 2017

Excerpt:

Thompson was on the verge of quitting when he found a YouTube series on profitable urban farming. “I was sitting at the computer, and what popped up is this fellow who’s making a living growing food in other people’s backyards,” he explained. “Seeing how other people had done it, I was finally able to envision how I might do it.”

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September 3, 2017   Comments Off on Queen City Acres Makes a Go of Urban Farming in Vermont

After Two Decades, a Philadelphia Urban Farm Grapples with Growing Pains

Greensgrow Farms copes with the recent loss of its founding farmer, a gentrifying neighborhood, and a changing landscape for good food.

By Robert Digiacaomo
Local Eats
08.22.17

Excerpt:

Two decades in, Greensgrow’s leaders have much to celebrate. But they also have a lot to consider. The presence of the farm has helped gentrify its surrounding working-class neighborhood, a problem common to cities around the country. As Philadelphia’s good-food landscape has expanded, Greensgrow faces competitors ranging from supermarkets stocking more local and organic foods to other urban farms in Philly to meal-kit delivery services like Blue Apron or Purple Carrot.

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August 29, 2017   Comments Off on After Two Decades, a Philadelphia Urban Farm Grapples with Growing Pains

An Ann Arbor Man Is Creating A Diverse, World-Class Urban Farm

He has his eye on a larger piece of land about a mile from where he is currently located and hopes to continue to keep growing and supplying healthy organic produce to restaurants and markets in Washtenaw County.

By Lisa Barry
WEMU
Aug 1, 2017

On the road to recovery from drug and alcohol addiction, Melvin Parson inherited a small piece of farmland in Ann Arbor from a friend who had recently passed away. That sparked his interest in agriculture. As he looked into it, he noticed a lack of diversity in those selling and buying fresh produce inspiring him to one day create a world-class urban farm.

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August 7, 2017   Comments Off on An Ann Arbor Man Is Creating A Diverse, World-Class Urban Farm

Homegrown in New York, Food From Around the World

Jose Ramos, 89, is a retired maintenance worker from Puerto Rico who works in a community garden every day in the summer. Credit Michelle V. Agins/The New York Times.

This summer, the Parks Department’s GreenThumb program — the nation’s largest community garden program — has grown to 553 gardens, up from 501 in 2009.

By Winnie Hu
New York Times
July 30, 2017

Excerpt:

Bill LoSasso, the director of GreenThumb, said the program had increased its efforts to create more community gardens across the city, especially in largely immigrant communities where many newcomers have roots in agricultural areas. Its budget has increased to $2.9 million annually from $720,000 three years ago, and its staff has nearly doubled to 35 people, who provide training and support and free materials like plants, shovels and wheelbarrows.

“Sometimes when you arrive in a new place, you don’t have a network you can tap into for support,” Mr. LoSasso said. “By joining a community garden, you’re joining a network of neighbors who are coming from diverse backgrounds who can help new members of their community to get settled.”

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August 5, 2017   Comments Off on Homegrown in New York, Food From Around the World

The unconventional farmer: Getting back to our roots at Roots Micro Farm in Flagstaff, Arizona

Roots Micro Farm, two unconventional 25-year-olds: Joshua and Madelyn Chance.

This summer, Roots Micro Farm has consistently produced 22 pounds of lettuce per week.

By Taylor Haynes
Arizona Daily Sun
Jul 27, 2017

Excerpt:

Their hardwork has paid off. The Chance’s greens may be found at Root Public House, Pizzicletta, Brix, Criollo or Shift. They hope to begin producing during all four seasons, with the help of humble hoop houses.

“[We love] showing people you can grow a lot of food in such a small space,” Madelyn says. “It’s refreshing to be small and in town—people can just walk right by.”

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August 4, 2017   Comments Off on The unconventional farmer: Getting back to our roots at Roots Micro Farm in Flagstaff, Arizona