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!

LASAGNA GARDENING

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 http://garden2table.blogspot.com/2007/04/how-to-sheet-mulch.html 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.

http://www.news-record.com/content/2010/06/30/article/urban_farm_sought_for_s_elm_eugene

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 urbanharvest.gso@gmail.com.

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:  http://www.hobbyfarms.com/farm-industry-news/2010/05/20/2007-national-resources-inventory.aspx

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 urbanharvest.gso@gmail.com

http://www.urbanharvest-gso.com/

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:

http://thecommonstudio.com/index.php?/project/greenaid/

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 :

http://locallygrown.live.communityq.com/detail/26388.html

Urban Homesteading: Cherries

At Urban Harvest we’re all about Urban Homesteading. While the original definition of homesteading involved colonizing the wild west frontier, our definition: to grow and produce as much of your needed goods on-site. Summer is optimal time for collecting the fresh, ripe fruits of as much as possible and preserving them for the harsher months. And while we certainly don’t grow everything that we preserve, we collect it from regional sources so that we can, say enjoy tomatoes in the winter, without having to go to the store (reducing our carbon footprint).

Back at the beginning of June, we picked several pounds of strawberries and froze them. We use them in smoothies, made some ice cream, and when its not so hot out (November), we’ll use them to make jelly or jam. This last week, we went up to Levering Orchard in southern VA and picked about 25 lbs of sweet cherries! And then we had to pit them all! Fortunately, in my grandmother’s recent down-sizing we acquired 2 cherry-pitters which came in very handy! Now we’ve got frozen cherries, dried cherries and in about 4 months we’ll have Brandied cherries!

The act of climbing a wooden ladder propped in the higher branches of a cherry tree was a good challenge to my fear of heights, but the view and the vast quantities of beautiful cherries were well worth it! And while sour cherries are common in the Piedmont, the sweet cherry trees don’t do as well in this climate versus the mountains. The drive was also worth while, especially since we got to stop in at the apple orchard where Justin and I were married almost 4 years ago!

Check out the rest of the photos on flicker.