Two-thousand eleven is turning out to be a good year so far! Justin and I are looking forward to the Southern SAWG (Sustainable Working Ag Group) conference in Chattanooga, TN that starts on Thursday of this week. What is even more exciting is the energy and momentum that many of us feel after the Urban Food Visioning Session that took place this last Saturday. First, a big thanks to Holy Trinity Episcopal Church for allowing us to use their space for free! There were about 30 people in attendance and this is THEIR work!
As the name suggests, in the gathering our main activity was brainstorming—always a fun thing to do, I think! You can download the results of our brainstorming to read exactly what we came up with. We organized the ideas into 10 categories and gave them “juicy” titles to help us connect more viscerally to these ideas. Broadly speaking our categories spanned from creating online resources and ways to connect folks who want to grow food with places to do that; community education and workshops on all sorts of urban food topics but definitely on how to grow food; finding ways to heal the soil and community in the proposed urban farm location (see post); eating food together; making food more physically accessible; and getting better food into our public schools. The next steps include meeting in committees (or as we prefer to call them, nests) to develop plans to get some things done!
If you wanted to participate but were not able to make it, or just didn’t hear about it in time, we still want your participation! Download the brainstorm results and let me know what your interest is. Then I’ll make sure that you are connected with your “nest” of interest to get involved.
My goal is to create a listServ to help facilitate discussions and get people DOing! (If any of you have ever set up a listServ, I’d greatly appreciate your assistance! Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org) As I emphasized in the meeting, Urban Harvest is happy to facilitate, lead, organize, partner, or just help make connections. We realize this is about Greensboro, not about Urban Harvest, and the more people we have empowered and excited about doing something, the more success we can have as an entire community! Thanks to everyone who attended, and for everyone else, we hope to see you next time!
We move at the pace of nature. So that we observe, dip our toes, make a connection, spark an idea. And usually the idea remains dormant until conditions are just right for germination. Really, we cannot force things to be a way that is against nature—because nature has her ways, and as a part of nature we really have no choice in the matter but to accept her rules.
So what happens when an obstacle comes in the way of what we want? Well, it means to me that we have to re-evaluate our strategy. Its not a road block, merely a speed bump.
Urban Harvest has been working very diligently—slowly but methodically—to create a fully-fleshed proposal for an urban farm. I say full-fleshed because we tried to anticipate every question, every bit of skepticism and have an answer. We answered all the questions but one, and that one turns out to be the most important: What about the soil? A: If its contaminated, we’ll clean it up. Continue reading »
Check out this 10 minute video that we created. Urban Harvest and the Greensboro Children’s Museum teamed up to apply for a scholarship for the Terra Madre conference in Italy this fall.
We’re all aware of fads. They seep into our fashion, our reading, and our vocabulary. Most fads I can do without (leggings, IM-speak, side ponytails) but a new awareness of the environment mixed with an urgent call to action has produced a fad of new vocabulary that’s creeping into every corner of our lives. The terms “green”, “organic”, and “local” have become staples in this ecologically minded movement and are next to impossible to avoid. Though there’s much debate about the determining values behind these words, the only word that this particular post concerns itself with is ‘local.’
Greensboro, though typically slow to jump on the proverbial bandwagon, has really embraced the ideology and production of local food. (Our definition of “local” is within a 150 mile radius of Greensboro. This food is typically considered coming from small production farms and may or may not be grown in a certified Organic environment.) From an increase in foot traffic through the Curb Market to several restaurants featuring locally grown produce, Greensboro is keeping step in a movement that will last longer than snap bracelets or Tickle Me Elmo. I’m glad to support the efforts of the “Gate City” and want to highlight a few local establishments that have gone above and beyond to promote a localized food movement.
Mentioned first (and properly so) is the Curb Market. This is a place where farmer’s come to sell their veggies and vendors tote their local produce. Here one can find a variety of vegetables, fruits, prepared goods, breads, cheeses, meats and flowers. Table 16 is a restaurant located in downtown Greensboro. The menu is constantly changing and touting many local, in-season dishes. If your taste buds haven’t yet delighted in the cooking of chef Graham Heaton, I strongly recommend checking it out. For locally milled flour (not lucky enough to have it locally grown – yet) visit The Old Mill of Guilford. The Old Mill is a great resource for flour, cornmeal and GREAT recipes; I always leave with something new to bake!
Those are a few of the MANY Greensboro hot spots dealing in local food. Please check out Slow Food Piedmont for a list of more restaurants, farms and stores that carry local products. We’re always looking for more recommendations—let us know if you have a favorite place that has local food.
Most of you in Aycock are probably familiar with the name Urban Harvest, or at least know something about the community garden that was installed at Dunleith back in June of 2009. But I wouldn’t be surprised if you said, “so what’s going on with that?” or “who are they again?”
Though you may have seen many other faces at the ground-breaking event in June, Urban Harvest is composed of Dawn and Justin Leonard and Lou Gamble. We began as an LLC in the fall of 2007 by installing residential vegetable gardens or as we like to call it “edible landscaping.” We soon realized that what we really wanted was to educate citizens and teach people about the benefits of local food in addition to providing sustainably produced food within the city of Greensboro. Over time, we’ve changed our mission to reflect these new ideas:
Our mission is to provide and promote local urban food production, distribution and education, made accessible to all citizens, using the principles of sustainability. The vision of Urban Harvest is to create a community where all citizens have access to healthy, fresh food grown right in Greensboro.
Community Garden at Dunleith
The installation of the garden at Dunleith was an important first step to achieving some of our goals, Continue reading »
Sometimes I think Urban Harvest is starting to get lucky. But then Justin reminds me this “luck” is actually the meeting of our preparation with the right opportunities. And we’ve had several of these “lucky” opportunities in the last couple of weeks!
As this point, Urban Harvest is funded by our blood, sweat and tears, and a few installation projects. But our vision for a Greensboro where all food consumed in Greensboro is grown in Greensboro, needs some real funding. Here is where we got lucky: At the Alice Waters’ breakfast for policy-makers in September, we had a conversation about a mobile market with Leslie Armenoix of Get Healthy Guilford, and she told us she knew how to get it funded! Continue reading »