Friday, February 26, 2010

"Urban Farm Movement is Taking Root in Akron"

In Isaac Asimov's Foundation trilogy, there is a planet called Trantor, the capital of a galactic empire. Every square foot of that world is urban. When the empire falls after a long age of decline, and Trantor becomes virtually deserted, the few remaining inhabitants start tearing away the steel and concrete to expose the soil beneath. Then they farm.

This article in the Akron Beacon Journal describes a somewhat similar process taking place in several cities in Ohio:

In Pittsburgh, Youngstown and Cleveland, gardening and urban farming are vital parts of revitalization plans — and Akron isn't far behind. Grow Pittsburgh promotes local,
urban food through farmer education, school gardening and a host of other projects.

Grow Pittsburgh's Braddock Farm project is a large-scale urban demonstration farm operating on eight city lots in Pittsburgh's historic borough of Braddock, set against the backdrop of the borough's last operating steel mill.

In 2009, the half-acre farm's second year of operation, hundreds of pounds of organic vegetables and herbs were grown and then sold to area restaurants and the on-site farmers' market. Grow Pittsburgh's volunteers and staff, including youth employed for the growing season, tend the all-raised-bed farm.

Susanna Meyer, Grow Pittsburgh's director of agricultural production, said youth involved in the project learn where food comes from and how to grow produce, providing for some their first interaction with fresh food.

Meyer said Pittsburgh is ''ripe for urban farming'' because of the city's population loss and shift in recent decades, coupled with the amount of green and vacant space and the growing interest and awareness in gardening over the last decade.

''Young people in particular are looking to sustainability and want to provide for themselves,'' Meyer said.

1 comment:

  1. It would be awful if any part of this was mandated by force, but I love the idea of people recovering arable land. It only makes sense we should never build anything where food can grow.