Elaine Brown is no stranger to radical ideas. The 72-year-old former chairwoman of the Black Panther Party has long advocated on behalf of prisoners. Now she is determined to transform a once-blighted vacant lot in West Oakland, California into a thriving urban farm business that employs former offenders. And the produce they cultivate is destined for a fine dining restaurant in a city fast gaining a reputation as an eating destination. Read more
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It’s high summer and we’re lucky to be reaping the bounty of the hard work that farmers did earlier this year. Having worked on several farms across the U.S., I know that this is serious crunch time. Farmers are not only harvesting the fruits of their labors, but they’re also planting fall crops.
On an April evening in northwest Washington, D.C., 11 gardeners sat at picnic tables watching Eriks and Andrejs Brolis, co-owners of Urban Farm Plans, a landscape design company and urban farm school. Some participants looked as if they’d hurried straight from the office, wearing dresses or button-down shirts; others sported T-shirts and jeans. Read more
Nate Storey’s greenhouse in west Laramie, Wyoming, is packed with vegetables growing in long, upright plastic towers.
Storey’s set-up is an urban farmer’s dream: the waste from fish tanks fertilizes the crops through plastic tubing that drips water onto the vertical garden. The greenhouse is small, but produces a lot of food. Read more
Paul Quinn College was in a serious state of deterioration when Michael J. Sorrell took the reins as president. The historically Black college in Dallas, Texas, was millions of dollars in debt, facing dwindling student enrollment, and contending with some serious cultural issues. From the moment that Sorrell took his post, things quickly started to change.
In 2012, the city of Richmond, California, garnered national attention when its residents voted down a ballot measure to impose a tax on sugary beverages. Groups like Dunk the Junk hoped the measure would significantly hamper the city’s growing obesity problem. Doria Robinson, executive director of Urban Tilth, saw the tax as an opportunity to invest in the health of her community. Read more
With nearly 80,000 people crammed into four square miles, the city of Somerville, Massachusetts, is easily the most densely populated in New England. But in spite of spatial constraints—or perhaps because of them—the Somerville community has prioritized supporting urban agriculture. With limited space and a hankering for homegrown food, residents are squeezing gardens and greenery into as many places as possible. Read more
Thirty-year-old Roxanne Adair is a trailblazer. In 2010, she and a friend started Flint River Farm in Flint, Michigan, a city where urban farming isn’t the norm. Adair’s background was in fisheries, wildlife, and biology, and she used the knowledge gained working at the Genesee County Land bank to buy and rent city lots, totaling nearly three acres, in the heart of Flint. Read more
While Louisville has emerged as a new foodie destination in the past few years, this project is aimed more at supporting small farmers—and building a local food economy—than serving artisan sandwiches. But there will likely be plenty of those too. Read more
Urban farmers in New York City face many obstacles—from high winds, to lack of space, extreme temperatures, and more. But now, there’s a line of seeds made just for them. Zach Pickens of Rooftop Ready Seeds, a small NYC start-up, has been cultivating, packaging, and selling seeds bred specifically for New York urban farms for the past four years. Read more