Masoud Will Be Missed

This evening I attended the funeral of Masoud Awartani, owner of Zaytoon restaurant, peacemaker in Greensboro, friend to so many. I’ve never written a goodbye to a friend in this way before, and it is hard to express the sadness we feel. So I will share a poem from my favorite poet, Jelaluddin Rumi:

Today, like every day, we wake up empty
and frightened. Don’t open the door to the study
and begin reading. Take down a musical instrument.

Let the beauty we love be what we do.
There are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the ground.

Thank you for being part of our lives Masoud, and making it better by being in it.

Eggplant Carpaccio

Eggplant Carpaccio

Rosa Bianca Eggplant

Pingtung Long Eggplant

“The Recipe”


3 skinny eggplants
juice from 1 lemon
2 tbsp olive oil
salt & pepper, to taste
feta cheese, to taste
half cup pine nuts, toasted
1 teaspoon fresh mint, chopped


Slice the eggplant into very thin, round pieces. The thinner, the better. If you have a slicer or a mandolin, you may want to use that.

Lay the eggplant in a thin layer over a large plate.

Make a dressing with lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper. You can add herbs and spices that you like. Then either toss the eggplant in the dressing before you lay it on the plate, or you can drizzle it over the top of the eggplant.

Finally, top with crumbled feta cheese, pine nuts and mint. Remember that feta can be salty, so be careful not to overdo it.

A Mall of Food

Check out this interesting idea for renovating a dwindling shopping mall into a space for urban food production. People in Cleveland are tossing out the quintessential Abercrombie’s and Bath and Body Works’ for the possibility of an indoor urban farm.

Eating Seasonally

As consumers, many of us are often boggled when we enter the grocery store.  Whether it is the middle of December or the hottest day in July, our supermarkets and grocery stores are consistently stocked with carrots, strawberries, tomatoes, and so on. While some may find this comfort appeasing, the fact that there is no recognition of seasonal variation  in large market outlets is widely unsettling.

our grocery stores look the same in February and October

The fact that vegetables and fruits have seasons is ignored. However, I along with many, thought of course! i know that veggies and fruits are seasonal … but when exactly? Walking into a grocery store, do we know when lettuce is in it’s prime, what about eggplant, peaches, and cherries? Finding these answers, and moving towards a lifestyle of seasonal eating is an issue taken up by Barbara Kingsolver in her book Animal, Vegetable, Miracle.

As advocate for nutritious food, Kingsolver wrote that her intention for writing was to recover a “lesson our culture has lost”, to provide an understanding and explanation of food as a process rather than a product.  Understanding food as process leads to an understanding of why watermelon are late, and when to look for asparagus.

The vegetannual is a visual image to keep in mind (or print out online!) as you walk through your local Farmer’s market or grocery store. We can make mindful decisions about what produce to buy and when, in order to decrease the energy exuded on food miles, support locally grown food, and nourish our bodies.

Barbara Kingsolver's vegetannual is an easy to use explanation of seasonality

Eating seasonally enriches the flavor of our food, opens our eyes to enjoy the unique splendor of food when it’s available, and allows us to diversify our diets year-round. To understand our food as a process!.. and indulge in the tasty menus of the seasons!

As Kingsolver states, “Two generations ago, people knew such things intuitively, but now we may have to learn them from a book”.

Elon Students Volunteer at Community Garden

This summer, the Dunleith Community Garden has undergone some great advancements and renovations thanks to an upsurge of eager and interested volunteer groups! Most recently, a group of twenty incoming Elon Freshmen were chosen to experience a week of service learning to better their local community.

they were a group of ecstatic volunteers!

Urban Harvest’s  first major project, The Dunleith Community Garden was one of the sites chosen for the students to spend a proportion of their week-long commitment  to service. The students were informed about the ins-and-outs of urban food production and sustainable farming practices. The tasks spanned from learning the techniques of composting, the importance of pollinators, and the simplicity of lasagna gardening. Thanks to Elon for your enthusiasm and genuine work ethic in the garden, we look forward to hosting you again in the future!


the beginning layer of Dunleith's new pollinator bed

step 2 : add straw

step 3: add compost

almost done! step 4: add the pollinator plants

Pollinator bed completed, ready for enjoyment

Note: Making your own lasagna garden or bed is simple and very efficient in urban areas. For more information, I recommend reading this link about a woman who transformed her small backyard into a flourishing lasagna garden!

Hopes for Urban Farm Underway

As we move into July, Urban Harvest has been working diligently to provide the people of Greensboro with an comprehensive idea of who we are, what we’ve done, and where we want to go. As a local non-profit, Urban Harvest envisions a Greensboro that can ultimately provide equal access to healthy food for all citizens in a sustainable manner. 

Discussion with Urban Harvest Organizers and City Officials around Urban Harvest’s vision has already initiated through the City’s Redevelopment Commission. This Board is responsible for researching and discussing the proper path for development of Greensboro’s vacant spaces and lots.

In the upcoming weeks, Urban Harvest will be working alongside the Redevelopment Commission in developing a proposal of an urban micro-farm for the City Council. The following is an article published by the News and Record outlining the process discussed above.

Engaging and serving the community is the primary priority of the proposed Urban Farm; therefore  we want to hear from you. If you have any questions, concerns, or would like to weigh in on the vision and  become involved, please contact Urban Harvest Organizers at

Green Bean Fundraiser

Last Friday, members and supporters of Urban Harvest gathered at the Green Bean Coffeeshop in downtown Greensboro to discuss local food initiatives and raise awareness about Urban Harvest while enjoying live music and refreshments!

Here are a few pictures to highlight the event:

Thanks to the Green Bean and everyone who came out to support Urban Harvest! Our next event will be a Swapathon at the Dunleith Community Garden on Saturday, July 17th.

Urban Farms, the new solution

Urban planners have recently released statistics on the large-scale decrease in American farmland:

Not surprisingly, as a growing number of Americans are living in and around city centers agricultural focus has shifted to populated urban areas . Residents in cities have made things clear : they have several innate needs … water, housing, parking, and food. We are Americans who are grouchy if we have to wait in lines, sweaty if our ac doesn’t work, and ticked off if our stomachs are empty.

In order to cater to these demands, urban planners have shifted focus to a diversify development in order to create diverse and rich micro-environment within industrial areas.  Nowadays, agriculture and businesses can be seen through a dual-focus lens rather than separate entities.

skyline of downtown Greensboro

Food production within a city locale is not only a viable option but perhaps a lasting solution as city’s increasingly fall to the category of  “food desert”.

The loss of American farmland is not synonymous with an end to American food production. It is simply a transition linked to our progression as a country. Just as we trade in Suvs for cars with better gas-mileage, we shift food production to better serve its target market or community (in this case, cities).

Food meets City: the Edible Schoolyard in downtown Greensboro.

Food meets City: the Edible Schoolyard in downtown Greensboro.

With that said, one may find that as the amount of rural farmland fades,  cities will be faced with the responsibility of providing food for the urban dwellers within it! How exciting!

To find out more about Urban Harvest and urban farming initiatives in North Carolina feel free to contact

Spreading Awareness in Urban Areas

sidewalk seed vending

I recently came across a story about a guerilla gardening initiative  in Los Angeles aimed at distributing seeds in a manner that was eye-catching and accessible.  Using public sidewalk space and their background in Design, two grad students/concerned citizens launched a sidewalk seed bomb project using vintage candy machines!

a vendor with her new batch of seed bombs

Unlike traditional gumball machines, these newly crafted machines are loaded with a lot less sugar and unconventional weaponry. Known as “seed bombs”, the gumball machines house grenade-like balls full of a compact mixture of  seeds,compost, and clay that citizens are encouraged to plant anywhere throughout the city.

a better kind of bomb

Using this innovative design as a voice for expanding urban gardening has proven successful for the two grad students. Their green gumball machines have trickled into other areas of California, in conjunction with an organization known as Greenaid, and have continued to spread awareness about urban farming and the use of vacant public areas.

The story and mission of the group is truly inspirational:

Urban projects such as this one demonstrate the growing potential of greener cities and urban areas across the nation (literally from Los Angeles to Greensboro)!

Urban Farm Plan Amasses Media Attention

This month we have made notable headway in our plans to bring an urban farm to the people of Greensboro. This progress garnered the attention of Michelle Ferrier of Locally Grown News to submit a cover story about Urban Harvest’s work at the Dunleith Community Garden and our long-term vision for a progressive and educational micro farm in downtown Greensboro.

Check out the story here :