Start a Farm in the City


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Start a Farm in the City

  1. 1. A Publication of ATTRA – National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service • 1-800-346-9140 • www.attra.ncat.orgATTRA—National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service is managed by the National Center for Appropriate Tech- Funding for the development of thisnology (NCAT) and is funded under a grant from the United States Department of Agriculture’s Rural Business-Coopera- publication was provided by thetive Service. Visit the ATTRA Web site,, for more information about ATTRA’s services and publications. USDA Risk Management Agency.
  2. 2. Urban Farms Cultivate Food and Communityby Lee Rinehart, NCAT Northeast Regional Director San Francisco civic center was the site of aUrban farming is not a new concept, but it is gain- large victory garden ining new support among diverse citizen groups all over summer 2008. The citythe country. Schools, colleges, churches, city councils, food policy now pro- motes urban agriculturegovernment agencies, parks departments, anti-hunger on public land, supportsgroups, healthcare providers, and nonprofit organiza- local farmers, and callstions are coming together to give a fresh new meaning for healthy local food atto “greening the city.” Large cities like Philadelphia, Bos- schools, jails, shelters,ton, New York, Seattle, and Toronto have initiated sub- and city events. Photo: Kristin Reynolds.stantial programs to foster urban agriculture.In addition to community gardens and farmers’ markets,urban agriculture involves land use decisions, nutritiousmeals at schools, employment and job training, food pro- Urban farmers arecessing and delivery, the creation of clean green working often community-spaces in urban areas, citywide systems of composting minded individuals engaged in urban renewal and eco-waste, and much more. Many of the new urban garden- nomic revitalization. Urban agriculture has the poten-ers grow tons of food on small plots, provisioning farm- tial to relieve food insecurity, make neighborhoodsers’ markets, restaurants, food banks, and community- safer, and improve regional economies.supported agriculture share boxes. To learn more, contact, 570-696-6706. ATTRA—the National Sustainable Agriculture Infor- ATTRA Publications for mation Service—offers hundreds of free publications Urban Farmers about specific crops, livestock, pest management, energy, marketing, and other agriculture-related Alternative Soil Testing Laboratories (IP105) topics. All of these are available to download for free Bringing Local Food to Local Institutions (IP242) from ATTRA’s Web site, Community Supported Agriculture (IP289) Call 1-800-346-9140, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Eastern time to Direct Marketing (IP113) order a free paper copy or to speak with one of ATTRA’s Enterprise Budgets and Production Costs for sustainable agriculture specialists. Organic Production (RL041) ATTRA is a project of the National Center for Appropri- Farmers’ Markets (IP146) ate Technology (NCAT), with offices in Pennsylvania, Louisiana, Iowa, Arkansas, Montana, and California. Organic IPM Field Guides (online & CD only) Keys to Success in Value-Added Agriculture (IP172) Table of Contents Market Gardening: A Start-Up Guide (IP195) Organic Greenhouse Vegetable Production (IP078) Resources about Urban Agriculture Resource Guide to Organic & Sustainable Vegetable International Resources........…..............… 8 Production (IP188) Urban Soils and Soil Testing..................................... 9 Scheduling Vegetable Plantings for Continuous Soil Test Order Form................................................. 11 Harvest (IP323) Creating Barriers to Protect Raised Beds........... 13 Selling to Restaurants (IP255) U.S. Resources…….............................….................. 13 Urban Agriculture Businesses............................ 14 Sustainable Small-Scale Nursery Production (IP104) Urban Agriculture Organizations...................... 14 Sustainable Soil Management (IP027) Urban Agriculture Publications ............................ 18 Worms for Composting: Vermiculture (IP110) Social Justice and Urban Agriculture.................. 20 Coming Soon: Urban Ag Start-Up GuidePage 2 ATTRA Start a Farm in the City
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  8. 8. Selected International Resources for Urban Agriculture City Farmer—Canada’s Office of Urban Ag maintains an ment. Web: outstanding Web site with interesting commentaries and Sustain began in the U.K. to promote food and farm prac- links from all over the world. Web site: tices that enhance the health and welfare of people and the Food for the Cities is a project of the United Nations environment. Web site: focused on improving nutrition, and food production sys- RUAF Foundation provides extensive resources such as tems in the world’s cities. Web site: Urban Agriculture Magazine, available in English, Spanish, Guerilla Gardeners started in London growing gardens on French, Arabic, Chinese, Portuguese, Turkish. unused land. Members now farm neglected “orphan” land Urban Chicken Wiki for North America lists laws and info internationally. Web site: about keeping chickens in urban zones. Web site: www. Heifer Project International’s Urban Iniative supports and sponsors many community urban farming programs Urban Harvest works to enhance food security for poor in U.S. cities and abroad. Web site: urban families in Africa and South America. They offer prac- Journey to Forever provides an extensive resource list tical resources as well as statistics and databases to monitor on urban agriculture, nutrition and community develop- global urban trends. Web site: www.uharvest.orgPage 8 ATTRA Start a Farm in the City
  9. 9. Urban Soils and Soil Testing:Avoiding Lead & Other Heavy MetalsBefore you plant any food crops in an urban area, it’simportant to assess the risk of soil contamination byheavy metals. The most commonly found metals are lead(from lead paint), cadmium, nickel, and mercury. Preg-nant mothers and young children should avoid expo-sure to these heavy metals. The effects of these metalson the body and the brain are many, varied, and shouldbe avoided. Strategies to reduce risk of heavy metal con-tamination include the following: • Improve soil stability through crop plantings and Residents of Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania create a garden at an intersection on the edge of the Wilkes University campus. The soil amendments like mulch, which reduce wind- project is co-sponsored by NCAT and SPIN (Small Plot Intensive) borne dust and the tracking of contaminated soils Farming. Photo: Lee Rinehart, NCAT into residences by human feet and household pets. do not generally take up lead in significant concentra- • Emphasize fruiting plants—including vegetables tions unless there are very high levels of lead in the soil. like peppers and eggplants—in the garden, rather Keeping the soil pH level—the relative acidity of the than green leafy vegetables and root vegetables that soil—at 6.5 or higher will help minimize lead contami- absorb heavy metals about ten times faster than do nation of produce. fruiting plants. • Add compost and/or calcium to the soil to lower The standards for “safe” lead levels are 100 ppm if there soil acidity and reduce the metal “uptake” by plants. are small children who may eat the soil, or 300 ppm for The more acidic the soil, the easier it is for plant simply growing produce (Rosen, 2002). The most prac- roots to take in high levels of heavy metals such as tical approaches for dealing with lead in soils are the lead. People and animals who eat those plants can following: be poisoned by the metals. • Immobilize the lead by reducing the soil acidity and • In highly contaminated soils, grow ornamental adding organic matter followed by planting of sod. plants rather than edible plants. You will still reap • Mix or cover the high-lead soil with clean, low-lead the rewards of beauty, exercise, and healthy cities. soil. • Use phytoremediation. Cultivate highly absorptive Locations adjacent to busy streets, and right next door plants to “take up” heavy metals from the soils. Do to old buildings may be more likely to have lead pollu- not eat these contaminated plants and be careful where you dispose of them. Soil Lead Levels • Use raised beds, container Lead Level Extracted Lead (ppm) Estimated Total Lead (ppm) gardens, and hydroponics to Low less than 43 less than 500* avoid many contamination Medium 43 to 126 500 to 1,000 problems. High 126 to 480 1,000 to 3,000Background lead levels in U.S. Very High greater than 480 greater than 3,000agricultural soils range from 7 *At present, total soil lead levels less than 200 ppm have not been asso-to 40 parts per million (ppm— ciated with elevated blood lead levels in young children. If estimatedthis is the same as milligrams per soil lead levels are above 300 ppm however, young children and preg-kilogram). In most cases, levels nant women should avoid soil contact.higher than this are the result oflead contamination of some sort Table from Earthworks website. “Soil Lead Levels—Interpretations and Rec-(Holmgren,, 1993). Plants ommendations,” ATTRA Page 9
  10. 10. tion from leaded gas and lead paint, respectively. Metals References on Urban Soilalso may have been deposited by past industrial activi-ties, such as battery production, brass and steel manu- Contamination, Testing & Remediationfacturing, mining, and many different processes involv- Urban Soil Primer for Homeowners and Renters,ing nickel, cadmium, copper, and lead. Lead is especially Local Planning Boards, Property Managers, Stu-evident near roadways because of automobile emissions dents, and Educators. J.M. Scheyer and K.W. Hip-before the availability of unleaded gasoline, and auto- ple, 2005. USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Ser-mobile demolition areas may contain a variety of metals vice, National Soil Survey Center, Lincoln, Nebraska.that were commonly used in older cars. As lead paints Provides information important in planning and man-and some window blinds and soldered pipes used in aging land resources in a manner that helps to pre-houses before 1978 wear out and deteriorate, they add vent or mitigate problems associated with sedimen-lead to nearby soils. tation, contamination, runoff, and structural failure.Metal contamination on a site may be shown by poor growth, odd animal behavior, or paint flecks con- Overview of Public Health and Urban Agriculture:taining lead from older buildings. Many plants simply Water, Soil and Crop Contamination & Emergingcannot grow where the level of certain metals is high. Urban Zoonoses. Kathleen Flynn, 1999. Published byOther plants grow well in contaminated soil but fail International Development Research Centre (IDRC).to set seed or do not grow as well as expected. Absence This report addresses the potential health hazards ofof any plant growth is a warning sign that a site may farming and raising livestock in cities. severely contaminated. Caution during sampling is urbanharvest/documents/bibl_UA&publichealth.docneeded. Total lead levels higher than 1,000 ppm arelegally hazardous. Contact your state’s Department of Cadmium, Lead, Copper, and Nickel in AgriculturalEnvironmental Protection regarding removal of contam- Soils of the United States of America. G.G. Hol-inated soil materials. mgren, M.W. Meyer, R.L. Chaney, and R.B. Daniels,Be sure to consult the references on urban soil contami- 1993. Journal of Environmental Quality 22:335-348.nation, testing and remediation here and on page 13. will give you a better understanding of how toavoid problems in urban gardens. Lead in the Home Garden and Urban Soil Environ- ment. C.J. Rosen, 2002. University of Minnesota Exten-Soil Testing Resources sion Service. culture/DG2543.htmlGrowing Gardens in Portland, Oregon conductsfree soil testing for low-income families and providesresources for low-income families who want to havegardens at their homes. Soil Contamination and UrbanWeb site: Agriculture: A practical guide toSoil and Plant Tissue Testing Lab at University of soil contamination issues forMassachusetts, Amherst welcomes samples from any- individuals and groupswhere in the country.Mailing address: By Alexandra Heinegg, Patricia Maragos, Edmund Mason, Jane Rabinowicz, Gloria Straccini, and Heather Walsh.Soil and Plant Tissue Testing Lab 2002. McGill School of Environment, McGill University.682 North Pleasant StreetUniversity of Massachusetts This is an illustrated primer on soil contamination forAmherst, MA 01003 gardeners and community groups. It discusses the413-545-2311, Fax: 413-545-1931 dangers of gardening in contaminated soil, the sourcesE-mail: of contamination, how to evaluate the level of contami- nation, and your various options for addressing the prob-Web site: lem. Written for Montreal and Canada, but also useful inAn order form and soil sampling instructions from the other cities and countries. Download at Mass Amherst Testing Lab is supplied on pages 11and 12 of this publication.Page 10 ATTRA Start a Farm in the City
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  13. 13. Creating Barriers to Protect Raised Beds on Urban SoilsIdeas, methods and sources compiled from the Comfood listserv, Justin Freiberg,· Try landscape fabric, which allows moisture to pass need an in-ground edging or an actual raised bed struc-through while suppressing weeds (and in this case, plant ture to keep adjacent soil from migrating in laterally.roots from growing through).· You could put wood chips down before building the Using Various Containers as Bedsbeds and adding soil. Wood chips can be obtained for · Austin just switched recycling from large plastic curb-free. Gravel also works but it costs money. side bins to rollable dumpsters. All those old bins would make great gardening containers, due to their size. Deep· Cedar beds lined with mesh screen, filled with non-bio- and big enough but not too big, easily moveable.degradable packing peanuts, and covered with durable,permeable landscape barrier fabric, then soil. · I was involved in a project in Chicago that uses hard plastic kiddie wading pools with good soil placed on· For heavy metals like lead your job is really to keep urban lots with high lead soil. Punch holes in the bottomplant roots from penetrating downwards through your for water permeability. This was in the Austin neighbor-barrier (and earthworms, etc. coming upwards)—both hood of that plants don’t scavenge lead from the contaminatedsoil, and so that you don’t mechanically mix the bad soil · I’d suggest an EarthBox type thing. I’ve just helped ain with your good soil when the plants+roots+soil get Brooklyn homeowner install almost 70 on her rooftoppulled up at the end of the season. The chemistry of that we hand-made because the cost was prohibitive.most garden soils keeps heavy metals in a fairly immo-bile, water-insoluble state (unless you start to get into Keeping Dust Down on Pathsseriously acidic sites—which is bad for growing mostfood crops anyway) so you don’t have to worry about · Contaminated soil on paths should be covered withlead making its way upwards on its own like other sorts something like woodchips, about 6 inches deep.of chemical contaminants might. · To keep dust down consider sheet mulching with card-· Our co-op uses boxes about 3 feet high. The top 18 board and covering with wood chip mulch.inches are filled with soil. Underneath is heavy plastic · Throwing seeds of a durable plant like chamomile ormesh that allows water to seep through, but retains the clover will root the dust in place. Otherwise, use rocks.soil. I grow annuals and vegetables in the boxes.· For our GIFT Gardens program, we build 8x2x10 inch For More Informationelevated beds up off the ground using concrete blocks ·, includesto elevate it, hardware cloth as a bottom reinforced by information about soil testing, interpreting test results,slats of lumber, and cypress or cedar lumber to build and best practices for healthy soils. Check out the threethe raised bed. This method seems to work well for folks fact sheets listed under “Resources for Healthy Soils”.with physical disabilities. ·· Another thing to keep in mind is that lead contam-ination typically drops off rapidly with depth (again, · Bob Hyland, a champion of the sub-irrigated world,due to its relative immobility in the soil environment). has a blog with links to groups working with EarthThis means that you could conceivably do some system- Boxes and directions for making your own sub-irrigationatic testing of your soil at different depths, decide that containers: below xx inches depth is safe for growing, and then organic-gardening-award-winner.htmlremove the upper soil to another location on site. Weused to do this on really contaminated sites by digging a · American Community Garden Association listserv hasdeep pit and effectively flipping the soil. You could dump a good discussion thread on this topic: www.communi-your contaminated horizons from each garden bed on tygarden.orgsite into a single big pit that you dig. And you can usethe “clean” diggings to start refilling your beds. You will · ATTRA Page 13
  14. 14. Urban Agriculture Resources ATTRA—National Sustainable Agriculture Infor-Selected City Farming Businesses mation Service offers free in-depth publications and technical assistance on production practices, innovativeAll Edibles landscaping company in Berkeley/Oakland marketing, organic certification, and alternative cropinstalls food gardens for clients. E-mail all.edibles@gmail. and livestock enterprises. ATTRA’s newsletters featurecom. Web site: sustainable agriculture and organic farming news, eventsMy Farm is a decentralized urban farm whose members and funding opportunities. 800-346-9140 (English) orgrow and exchange organic vegetables throughout San 800-411-3222 (Spanish), Web site: www.attra.ncat.orgFrancisco, transporting themselves and delivering the American Community Gardening Associationproduce by bicycle. Web site: (ACGA) maintains an online search tool to find com-Seattle Urban Farm Company establishes produc- munity gardens in neighborhoods across the coun-tive organic vegetable plots for clients in their yards. try. Staff and volunteers answer requests for informa-Web site: tion about community gardening and networking. Toll-free 877-275-2242, Farming is a commercial vegetable farming system Web site: http://acga.localharvest.orgfor areas of less than an acre. The group offers coursesin intensive food production for small areas. Their cur- Biological Urban Gardening Services (BUGS) is ariculum provides very detailed information about what California-based membership organization devotedgrowers need, including layout, equipment, marketing, to reducing reliance on toxic agricultural chemicalsand costs. Contact in highly populated urban landscapes. 916-726-5377,Web site: Web site: www.organiclandscape.comYour Backyard Farmer in Portland, Oregon cre- Community Food Security Coalition’s Urban Agri-ates small sustainable organic backyard farms for cli- culture Committee offers an urban agriculture primerents. Call Robyn, 971-506-6508 or Donna, 503-449- as well as urban agriculture courses, workshops, con-2402, or e-mail ferences, and an Urban Agriculture listserv. ContactWeb site: Betsy Johnson,, 617-536-1711. Web site: Nationwide Urban MetroAg Alliance for Urban Agriculture bringsAgriculture Organizations together culturally diverse stakeholders to share best practices. Toll free 888-395-8528, info@metroagalliance.USDA Cooperative State Research, Education and org. Web site: www.metroagalliance.orgExtension Service (CSREES) has offices in almostevery county in the United States. They provide techni- Heifer International’s Urban Agriculture sup-cal assistance and research for agriculture and commu- ports grassroots organizations that help commu-nity development. nities reclaim and support local food systems.Web site: Web site: Farming Systems Information Center Urban Chicken, based in Albuquerque, New Mexico,(AFSIC) is a program of the USDA’s National Agri- is dedicated to promoting backyard chickens in urbanculture Library, They main- residential landscapes. We support chicken keepers intain a comprehensive section of their website called all urban environments across the U.S. and abroad.Farms and Community: Urban Agriculture and Com- Web site: www.urbanchickens.orgmunity Gardening. 301-504-6559, site: Urban Farming creates an abundance of food for peo- ple in need by planting environmentally sustainableAmerican Horticultural Therapy Association offers gardens on unused land, increasing diversity, educat-a great list of publications regarding urban gardening ing youth, adults, seniors, and strengthening commu-for people with physical or mental disabilities. 800-634- nities. Toll-free 877-679-8300, Web site: Web site: www.urbanfarming.orgPage 14 ATTRA Start a Farm in the City
  15. 15. World Hunger Year (WHY) helps grassroots orga- Mo’ Better Food uses agriculture as an educationalnizations and students fight hunger and poverty. tool to empower low-income neighborhoods to increaseWeb site: ownership and self-sufficiency within the commu- nity. Contact David Roach, State Urban Web site: www.mobetterfood.comAgriculture Organizations People’s Grocery is building a local food system to improve the health and economy of West Oakland. TheirCalifornia Urban Agriculture program supplies fresh food throughCalifornia Food and Justice Coalition organizes work- a network of urban gardens and a suburban farm.shops to help secure land, write leases, engage the com- 510-652-7607. Web site: www.peoplesgrocery.orgmunity, conduct policy work, start up urban ag proj-ects, and market produce to people who need it most. Southern CaliforniaWeb site: Center for Urban Agriculture at Fairview Gardens in Santa Barbara is a 12-acre farm that feeds approximatelySan Francisco 500 families. The center runs an education program toAlemany Farm produces food for the neighborhood and teach the community about the connections betweenworkshops on topics such as mushroom cultivation and food, land and well-being. They offer farm-to-schoolperennial vegetables. An ecological horticultural training programs, cooking and gardening classes, farm festi-program offers apprenticeships. The farm’s environmen- vals, guided tours, and apprenticeships. 805-967-7369.tal education program introduces children and adults to Web site: www.fairviewgardens.orgthe wonders of the natural world and the importance of The Learning Garden at Venice High School is a jointlocal food production. Web site: effort with the UCLA horticulture department and vari-The Garden Project provides job training and support to ous community groups. In the garden, volunteers andformer offenders. Apprentices learn how to grow organic students learn to grow food for the neighborhood. Thevegetables for seniors and families, cultivate plants for garden is also a community center with classes aboutschools, establish and maintain gardens at police stations yoga, cooking, tai chi, and other health-related subjects.and housing developments, and carry out community 310-722-3656. Web site: www.thelearninggarden.orgclean-ups. 650-588-8253, UC Cooperative Extension’s Common Ground Pro-Web site: gram makes gardening possible for Los Angeles County’s low-income and traditionally underrepresented families.Literacy for Environmental Justice—a coalition of Families learn to grow and prepare their own food. Theyouth, educators, and community leaders—addresses the program trains community volunteers and Master Gar-ecological and health concerns of southeast San Fran- deners, and publishes a school garden set-up guide andcisco. Youth are planting gardens, restoring wetlands, a community garden set-up guide in English and Span-operating a native plant nursery, and working with neigh- ish. Web site: stores to increase their stock of fresh produce. Ground_Garden_ProgramWeb site: Seeds at City Urban Farm is a partnership betweenSan Francisco Garden Resource Organization San Diego City College, Roots Sustainable Food Proj-(SFGRO) links local community gardeners, school gar- ect, and two local high schools. Students and commu-deners, and other open space and urban agriculture nity volunteers learn and work together with professionalgroups. They also provide links to community garden organic farmers. They grow food for themselves and forgroups all across the country. Web site: those who have no access to fresh organic produce. Con- tact Karon Klipple,, 619-388-3638.Oakland Web site: www.seedsatcity.comCity Slicker Farms grows and distributes affordablefresh food for West Oakland. They help the commu- Coloradonity grow with a weekly farm stand, workshops, and Growing Gardens runs gardening programs in Boul-backyard gardens all over the Bay Area. 510-763-4241. der County. They manage community gardens, youthWeb site: programs, neighborhood compost and greenhouse ATTRA Page 15
  16. 16. ects, and a community food project. Contact Ramona chance to participate in the entire growing season fromClark, 303-413-7248 ext. 2, seed to harvest. Interns market produce through a CSA,Web site: a farmers’ market and a farm stand. 773-549-1336.Denver Urban Gardens runs and helps recruit volun- Web site: www.growinghomeinc.orgteers for nearly 100 community gardens and their out-reach and education programs. They provide classes, Kansasfree seeds and seedlings from their nursery to thousands Kansas City Center for Urban Agriculture is work-of gardeners every year. Web site: ing toward a vision of small, community-based farms that provide fresh food, work opportunities, and pro-Connecticut ductive use for vacant urban spaces. The Center devel-Grow Hartford, a project of the Hartford Food Sys- ops training and research programs for new and experi-tem, promotes a sustainable and equitable food sys- enced farmers and operates the Kansas City Communitytem by cultivating youth leadership and civic par- Farm, a certified organic vegetable farm. 913-831-2444,ticipation through agriculture. 860-296-9325. Web site: www.kccua.orgWeb site: MassachusettsDelaware The Food Project’s mission is to create a thoughtfulDelaware Center for Horticulture cultivates a greener and productive community of youth and adults fromcommunity through horticulture, education and con- diverse backgrounds who work together to build a sus-servation. Programs include greening initiatives such as tainable food system. They produce healthy food, pro-community gardens, public landscaping, and tree plant- vide youth leadership opportunities, and inspire people toing. Contact Ann L. Mattingly, community gardens create change in their own communities. 781-259-8621,manager, 302-658-6262. Web site: Web site: www.thefoodproject.orgGeorgia Nuestras Raíces manages community gardens andThe Funny Farm: Organic gardener Duane Marcus youth gardens. Tierra de Oportunidades is a begin-maintains an informative blog on his urban agricul- ning farmer training project with a farm stand inture experiments at http://happyfood-funnyfarm.blogspot. Holyoke. The environmental conservation and stew-com, and also offers workshops on intensive gardening. ardship project includes a youth development initia-Web site: tive, cultural activities, and nature trails. 413-535-1789, fromthefunnyfarm/HOME.html Web site: www.nuestras-raices.orgGeorgia Center for Urban Agriculture is a Coopera-tive Extension website with information about home Michigangardening, landscaping, water resources, research gar- Garden for Growth—a project of the Michigandens, Spanish language resources, and maps to com- Land Bank Fast Track Authority—encourages inter-munity gardens. Web site: ested individuals and nonprofit organizations to lease urbanag/index.cfm vacant parcels of land for $50 per year to create anHABESHA Gardens in Atlanta is a community gar- agricultural space in their community. 517-636-5149.den project of Black to Our Roots. They raise food for Web site: neighborhood, teach about organic gardening and Garden Resource Program Collaborative is a teamhealthy living, train youth leaders, sponsor the annual effort of Detroit Agriculture Network, Greening ofOrganic Fest, and promote communities that are sus-tainable and environmentally sound. Detroit, Capuchin Soup Kitchen’s Earthworks Garden,Web site: and Michigan State University. Programs include Urban Roots Community Garden Training, Detroit UrbanIllinois Garden Education Series, Sweet On Detroit beekeeping,Growing Home provides job training through a non- and Keep Growing Detroit season extension. Contactprofit organic agriculture business in Chicago. The job Ashley Atkinson, 313-237-8736, program lasts seven months so interns have a Web site: www.detroitagriculture.orgPage 16 ATTRA Start a Farm in the City
  17. 17. Seeds of Solidarity Education Center is a nonprofit Pennsylvaniaorganization that provides people of all ages with inspi- Greensgrow Farms is a nationally recognized leader inration and practical tools to use renewable energy and urban farming, selling fresh produce to local restaurant.grow food in their communities. The organization is They run a premier farm stand stocked with the verybased at a farm that grows and markets specialty greens, best the region has to offer, a well-stocked nursery offer-garlic and flowers. Solar greenhouses extend the grow- ing a variety of great locally grown plants and if thating season and renewable energy powers the center. wasn’t enough, a CSA. Web site: www.greensgrow.org978-544-9023. Web site: West Philadelphia’s Mill Creek Farm is a collectivelyMinnesota run urban education farm that grows and distributesMinnesota Food Association leases a 200-acre farm as produce and demonstrates ecological methods of agricultural training center for immigrant farmers. The farm offers field trips, skill-sharing workshops, andThey market their produce wholesale as well as through job training for youth. E-mail CSA, a farmers’ market, and direct to local stores and Web site: www.millcreekurbanfarm.orgrestaurants. The program strengthens the local foodsystem and creates opportunities for farmers. 651-433- Texas3676. Web site: Sustainable Food Center’s Grow Local program in Austin believes it’s important that everyone have theNew York opportunity to reap the benefits of growing their ownEast New York Farms! is a collaborative project that pro- food. They provide support for community and youthmotes local and regional sustainable agriculture and com- gardens in backyards, churchyards, office buildingmunity-based economic development. They grow food for lawns, etc. 512-236-0074, community and engage youth in leadership training. Web site: www.sustainablefoodcenter.org718-649-7979 x14. Web site: Urban Harvest in Houston has a network of urbanGreen Guerillas uses a unique mix of education, orga- gardens, farms and orchards that inspire and empowernizing, and advocacy to help people cultivate commu- people of diverse backgrounds to grow food in the city.nity gardens, sustain grassroots groups and coalitions, Programs include organic gardening classes, school &engage youth, paint colorful murals, and address issues youth gardens, an after-school program, the Bayou City Farmers’ Market, community gardens, and an organiccritical to the future of their gardens. 212-594-2155, horticulture business-education alliance. 713-880-5540, Web site: Web site: www.urbanharvest.orgJust Food hosts the City Farms project, which works toincrease food production, marketing and distribution via Vermontcommunity gardens throughout New York City. Available Intervale Center’s Healthy City Program provides jobfor purchase on the Just Food site is The City Farms Tool- and life skills training for at-risk youth ages 13 to 16, tokit, a comprehensive guide to urban agriculture in NYC. ensure better education about food—and better nutri-Contact Emily Gunther, farmer outreach associate, 212- tion—in schools, and to address the needs of low-income645-9880 x 231, or families for fresh produce. Healthy City is creating aWeb site: community of teens and adults dedicated to growing healthy food for themselves, their families, and others inOhio the community. The program does this through the com-Cleveland’s City Fresh Market Garden Training Pro- plimentary Healthy City Youth Farm, Gleaning Projectgram is a learning network that promotes urban agricul- and Burlington School Food Project. 802-660-0440.ture in Northeast Ohio. The program provides education Web site: www.intervale.orgon business planning and growing techniques, orga-nizes youth entrepreneurship through summer employ- Washingtonment opportunities, provides start-up funding for urban Seattle Youth Garden Works empowers homeless andagricultural enterprises, and promotes sharing of tools, under-served youth through garden-based education andequipment, knowledge, and marketing. 216-220-5532. employment. It is a market gardening program for youthWeb site: ages 14 to 22 in the University District and South ATTRA Page 17
  18. 18. Selected Urban Farm Publications Agropolis: The Social, Political and Environmental Dimensions of Urban Agriculture. L.J.A. Mougeot. Earthscan, 2005. Reports on field projects funded by International Development Research Centre’s Agropolis urban agriculture grants in Argentina, Botswana, Côte d’Ivoire, Cuba, France, Togo, Tunisia, UK, and Zimba- bwe. Cities Farming for the Future—Urban Agriculture for Green and Productive Cities. Edited by René van Veen-Photo: Kristin Reynolds huizen, 2006. Published by RUAF Foundation, IDRCGrowing Power barn and sheep pens, Milwaukee, Wisc. and IIRR. City Bountiful: A Century of Community Garden-neighborhoods. The program goals are to connect youth ing in America. Laura J. Lawson, 2005. University ofto housing, health care, education, jobs, and community. California Press. This book reviews the history of the206-632-0352. Web site: greening of urban communities in the U.S. Web site:Seattle P-Patch community gardens began in 1973 the city bought a family farm for the public to Civic Agriculture and Community Problem Solv-use. Now there are 1,900 plots on 12 acres, with vibrant ing. Thomas A. Lyson. Culture and Agriculture, Vol.programs for new farmers, youth and seniors. Web site: 27, No. 2, pp. 92–98. 2005. American Association. Civic agriculture embeds local food produc- tion in the community., DC culture&agriculture/04.CAG.27.2_092-098.pdfCommon Good City Farm is an urban farm and Continuous Productive Urban Landscapes: Design-education center that grows food for low-income city ing Urban Agriculture for Sustainable Cities. A. Vil-residents. The group provides educational opportu- joen. Architectural Press, 2005. Viljoen extends andnities for all people to increase food security, com- develops the widely accepted “compact city.” He pro-munity health, and environmental sustainability. vides a design proposal for sustainable urban agriculture.202-330-5945, info@ site: home/703919/description#descriptionWisconsin Cultivating Havana: Urban Agriculture and FoodGrowing Power’s Commercial Urban Agriculture Security in the Years of Crisis. Catherine Murphy, 1999.Training Program helps people manage their own Food First Development Report No. 12. After the breakfarming business by practicing skills needed to profit- up of the Soviet Bloc in 1989, Cuba lost 85 percent of itsably farm in the city. Begun in Milwaukee, they now trade, including food and agricultural inputs. This ledhave sites in Chicago and elsewhere. Training facilities to a 50 percent reduction in caloric intake in the earlyinclude greenhouses, gardens, aquaponics, large-scale 1990s. Cuba restructured agriculture with local, low-costvermicompost and composting operations, anaerobic and environmentally safe inputs., and a food distribution facility. Contact Jay Edible Schoolyard: A Universal Idea. Alice Waters.Salinas, 414-527-1546, Web site: Chronicle Books, 2008. A pioneering school garden, Berkeley, California’s Edible Schoolyard is a visionary model for sustainable farming and childhood nutrition.Milwaukee Urban Agriculture Network is a collabora-tive effort of local individuals and organizations inter- This book is a call to action for schools across the country.ested in urban agriculture in Milwaukee. Projects include,book-info/community gardens, ecology centers, youth training, store,books/products_id,7928/title,Edible-Schoolyardschool garden and lunch programs, planning groups, For Hunger-Proof Cities: Sustainable Urban Food Sys-and city farms. Web site: tems. Edited by M. Koc, R. MacRae, L.J.A. Mougeot,Page 18 ATTRA Start a Farm in the City
  19. 19. and J. Welsh. IDRC, 1999. The 20th century has wit- A Patch of Eden: America’s Inner City Gardens. H.nessed a massive growth in urban populations. In 1990, Patricia Hynes. Chelsea Green, 1996. Interviews withone-third of the world’s people lived in cities of one mil- founders of urban ag projects in Harlem, San Francisco,lion or more. How do we build lasting urban food sys- Philadelphia, and Chicago.tems? Planting for the Planet: The Cool Foods GardenGeneral Plans and Zoning: Toolkit on Land Use & Guide. Published by Center for Food Safety. The GuideHealth, L.M. Feldstein. Calif. Dept of. Health Services, is a how-to on everything from container garden-2006. Nutrition and other public health advocates now ing to composting, seed purchases, and home canningrecognize the link between land use and food access. techniques. Contact: Meredith Niles, 202-547-9359.Here is an explanation of how land use decisions are and how to effectively participate in those deci- Rural-Urban Migration and the Stabilization ofsions. Cuban Agriculture. Lisa Reynolds Wolfe, 2004. GlobalGreen Urbanism: Learning From European Cities. Exchange. Cuba’s agriculture transformed from a systemTimothy Beatley. Island Press, 2000. To find examples based on the “green revolution” to an agroecological sys-of a holistic approach to dealing with sprawl, one must tem. How has this affected food security in the island’sturn to models outside the U.S. cities? bookstore/details.php?isbn=9781559636827 Sustainable Agriculture and Resistance: Transform-Growing Better Cities: Urban Agriculture for Sustain- ing Food Production in Cuba. F. Funes, L. García, Development. Luc J.A. Mougeot. IDRC, 2006. Bourque, N. Pérez, P. Rosset. Food First Books. TheOver the next 25 years nearly all population growth story of Cuba’s remarkable achievements in organicwill be in the cities of the developing world. 60% of farming, urban gardens, smaller farms, animal traction,the world’s population will live in cities by 2030. More and biological pest control. more people in cities are growing some of their own Urban Agriculture: Food, Jobs and Sustainable Cit-food. But urban farming is often seen by cities as a prob- ies. United Nations Development Programme, 1996.lem to be eradicated rather than as a part of the solution. J. Smit, A. Ratta, J. Nasr. Urban Agriculture Reports on projects of the Urban Agriculture Initiative ofHow Urban Farms Could Feed the World. An article the UNDP in Asia, Africa, and Latin America. Includesin Earth Island Journal by Michael Ableman of Fairview extensive research from diverse sources over many years.Gardens. 202-362-5095. online magazine of metropolitan agricul- Urban Agriculture Magazine. Resource Centres onture, and MetroFarm: The Guide to Growing for Big Urban Agriculture & Food Security (RUAF). PlatformProfit on a Small Parcel of Land. By Michael Olson, for exchange and discussion of grounded information:who also produces a weekly radio show, Food Chain. research, project experiences, critical analyses of conven-Learn about Olson’s projects at tional & innovative policies. Good Land: The Autobiography of an Urban Farm. The Urban Homestead. K. Coyne, E. Knutzen, 2008.Michael Ableman. 1998. Chronicle Books. Fairview Process Media. Filled with tips and details from expe-Garden is a 12-acre farm now completely surrounded by rienced urban food producers. The authors’ blog: homesuburban housing tracts. Ableman describes his 30+ year Book: www.processmediainc.comtenure and how he turned the farm into a valued com- Urban Soil Primer for Homeowners and Renters,munity asset.,book- Local Planning Boards, Property Managers, Students,info/store,books/products_id,814/title,On-Good-Land and Educators. J.M. Scheyer and K.W. Hipple, 2005.On Guerilla Gardening: A Handbook for Gardening USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service. Impor-without Boundaries. Richard Reynolds, 2008. Blooms- tant information on how to prevent sedimentation, con- tamination and runoff. Free at USA. Started in London by gardeners who hadno land to plant, this movement has spread around the Vitalizing the Vacant. Annie Meyers, 2008. Describesworld. Participants grow plants in street medians, parks six urban farms that each have different arrangementsand other private and public lands where they do not with the city where they are located. www.thoughtsonthehave permission to do so. ATTRA Page 19
  20. 20. Social Justice andUrban AgricultureBy Kristin Reynolds, University of California, DavisUrban agriculture can create ownership and leadershipin food production among low-income urban residents,many of whom are people of color. Members of socialjustice movements may have different views of food sys-tem problems, but urban agriculture projects that aremotivated by community food security, food justice,and food sovereignty have at least one common goal.They are working to make it possible for city people togrow, harvest, and consume culturally appropriate, fresh,healthy foods.Three Food System Movements Photo courtesy of Kansas City Center for Urban Agriculture, www.kccua.orgCommunity food security (CFS) refers to a conditionin which all community residents obtain a safe, cultur- Members of each of these movements who grow foodally acceptable, nutritionally adequate diet through a in urban areas also cultivate leadership and communitysustainable food system that maximizes community self- connections. While urban agriculture may not alwaysreliance and social justice. (Community Food Security be the central focus of food-system social justice move-Coalition: ments, there is a possibility for urban food productionFood justice reframes CFS and considers the social and to be a part of each movement’s vision. Urban agricul-economic inequities that give rise to food insecurity, ture programs are diverse— ranging from youth devel-emphasizing democracy and local community control. opment to food production and marketing—but they(Peoples’ Grocery: convey a common message that speaks to the relation- ship between agriculture and nutrition, food access, andFood sovereignty considers it a human right for people community be able to define their own food and agriculture sys-tems and have access to healthy and culturally appro- To learn more, contact Kristin Reynolds, karfireynolds@gmail.priate food produced through ecologically sound and com. She would like to thank members of the Growing Foodsustainable methods. (Food First Institute for Food and and Justice for All Initiative for providing comments on socialDevelopment Policy: justice and urban agriculture. GFJI is a national network aimed at dismantling racism and empowering low-income and communities of color through sustainable local agriculture: Start a Farm in the City: Photo courtesy of Seattle Urban Farm Company Change Your Community by Growing What You Eat By Rex Dufour, NCAT Agriculture Specialist E-mail © 2009 NCAT—National Center for Appropriate Technology Illustrations: Robert Armstrong Resources: Marisa Alcorta, Lee Rinehart, Kristin Reynolds Production: Karen Van Epen This publication is available on the Web at: IP 350 Slot 349 Version 072309Page 20 ATTRA