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Fostering Sustainability and Innovation in Agriculture
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Urban Agriculture

In Urban Gardens Without Borders, Project Sweetie Pie Plants Seeds for Food Justice and Freedom

January 18, 2017 |
Micheal Chaney founder of Project Sweetie Pie Filling compost bin

Michael Chaney, founder of Project Sweetie Pie, an urban farming movement based in Northern Minnesota to seed healthy changes in the community. Photo Credit: Karl Hakanson.

“North Minneapolis is going green
Give us a call and learn what we mean
Where once lay urban blight
Now sits luscious garden sites
Gardens without borders
Classrooms without walls
Architects of our own destinies
Access to food justice for all.” 

    – Michael Chaney, Project Sweetie Pie

In a collaborative effort to revitalize the economy and the community of North Minneapolis, Project Sweetie Pie, an urban farming movement working to seed healthy changes in the community, has as one of its principal goals the mentorship of 500 local youth in growing food, obtaining practical sales and marketing skills, and becoming leaders. Launched in 2010 Project Sweetie Pie has made great strides towards this goal by aligning dozens of community partners with hundreds of urban youth to implement community garden and farm stand initiatives, which together have resulted in a framework for a more self-sufficient and self-aware urban community. Read More

On Land Once Occupied by a Tomato Cannery an Agrihood Rises to Grow New Farmers and Feed a Community

January 16, 2017 |

The Cannery, a farm-to-table housing development in Davis, California, is the first agrihood of its kind in California. With its own urban farm and small orchard, the unique housing development can offer its residents fresh, hyperlocal produce as well as pastured chickens and eggs.

The land for The Cannery, aptly named because it was once the site of a tomato cannery, was sold to The New Home Company by ConAgra. The City of Davis has a rule that if developmental land borders agricultural land, then a 300-foot buffer is required. In this case, the buffer was about seven acres in total. Instead of opting for a plain green space, though, the developers were attracted to the idea of creating a working farm on the land. Once the City of Davis accepted its proposal, the company turned to the Center for Land-Based Learning to plan, develop, and run the farm. It has taken over six years to get to the point where the farm is now operational. Read More

Innovative Neighborhood Farm Adjacent to Housing Complex Increases Food Access and Grows Community

January 9, 2017 |

“Beyond growing vegetables, beyond growing soil, we’re building community through agriculture,” says Dave Victor of Orchard Gardens Neighborhood Farm and Community Garden. “That’s a big part of the mission, a big part of the vision for the farm. It’s all about providing healthy fresh local food for low income people.”

Dave Victor, after five years honing his growing skills with Garden City Harvest, became the manager of Orchard Gardens Neighborhood Farm just last year and he couldn’t be happier with his new position.

“Just like any sustainable agriculture farmer the focus is on building soil,” says Victor. “I tell people that I’m a vegetable farmer but first and foremost it’s all about growing soil and building that soil ecology.” Read More

Weekly Stories of Food Systems Innovation from Around the Country

January 5, 2017 |

To Grow Community and Jobs of the Future, Suburbanite Launches Vertical Farming Enterprise in Detroit

BY TRISH POPOVITCH

After spending time with street children in Brazil as part of a missionary trip, Jeff Adams, founder of Detroit, … Read More

In Missouri, A Hobby Garden Gone Wild Evolves into Certified Organic Urban Farm

December 21, 2016 |

Rodger Kube describes the start of his and his wife’s urban farm in Kansas City, Missouri, as a hobby gone wild.

Stony Crest Urban Farm is a certified organic operation that produces vegetables on about 2.5 acres, Kube says. The farm is a small one that sells hyperlocally, keeping the produce within 10-miles, he says.

Stony Crest came to fruition after Kube and his wife, Diane Hershberger, bought a property in 1997 in southeast Kansas City so they could have more space to garden. Read More