It’s hard to describe Urban Farming in a brief post. The founder, Taja Sevelle, explains it this way:
“We want people to see food growing all over the place, in yards, on rooftops, on walls, anywhere there is space,” she said. The one common denominator with all of the gardens is that they are open to the public. “There are no fences,” she said. “Anyone can take food from the garden.” (source)
I visited Urban Farming a couple summers ago, and only spent an afternoon with some of their staff and volunteers, but what I saw was really cool: open garden patches, where anyone in the neighborhood could stop by and pick some food.
While I was there, one neighbor walked over to help a volunteer crew lay down some plastic mulch, and another neighbor showed up to harvest some greens. The staff said that people generally respect the gardens and appreciate them. The gardens—more like row crops—transform vacant lots into productive land and provide new opportunities for neighbors to get outside and meet one another. Most of all, they make fresh fruits and vegetables more available in places that really need them.
Growing food for public consumption is basically the same idea championed by Darrin Nordahl in his recent book, except that he goes even farther, calling on municipalities (not only donors and volunteers) to help create these kinds of food-producing landscapes, just as they would other services like parks and farmers markets.
Where is this all going to lead? I don’t know, but I’m excited about the work Urban Farming is doing, and appreciate the unique voice they bring to the urban agriculture movement.