Posts Tagged ‘agriculture’

Healing Soils

With our recent announcement that the site Urban Harvest was considering for an urban farm is contaminated, we’ve had an outpouring of ideas from the community and other national organizations. The EPA was even quick to come to the call. But things have continued to move organically, and other solutions, ideas and projects have presented themselves. (More on that later.)

As an organization with both sustainable agriculture and urban agriculture at our core, we often find these 2 techniques [sustainable and urban] to sometimes be out of sync with one another. The primary concern I have with the majority of urban ag out there, is the quality of the soil. (ie. Can it be sustainable if we often need to purchase compost/manure? If we don’t bring in new healthy soil, are we able to produce food in a healthy and sustainable way?) Growing food is great, and necessary for sustainability, but if you’re growing in contaminated soil, you create other problems, and that is not a sustainable solution. Healthy soil is most essential ingredient to the work we do, and to our civilization as a whole. If cities are to become more sustainable, healing the soil has to be a priority. And if urban agriculture is to be truly sustainable, it too has to be based on healthy soils. So this new pollution cleanup technique should be integrated to any urban ag system as well as all municipal water treatments. This is will lead to more sustainable and healthy urban agriculture.

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We’re baaaacckk…

One of the challenges of any not-for-profit organization, particularly one that is growing, is finding the time, resources and people to perform the ever-growing list of tasks that need to be done to maintain the momentum of the overall effort. One of those tasks is keeping all of the stakeholders informed. We are blessed in this information age with a convenient way of doing this – the Internet and this wonderful thing called a blog. But the copy doesn’t write itself and most of the many volunteers already involved with Urban Harvest (or any other such worthwhile organization) have things like “day jobs”, families, and “the rest of their lives” to deal with meaning the blog may sometimes slide down the priority list. Ergo, another volunteer steps in – locavore11… Continue reading

Let the flood gates open

As the Dunleith Community Garden gains popularity in the media, I figured it was time to start updating everyone on our progress. That’s right! You will now be able to read weekly updates on the garden, including (but not limited to) watering schedules, volunteer needs, decorative additions and general growth updates. As Dawn and Justin shared their experiences at Growing Power and their expanding knowledge, hopefully I will be able to capture a snapshot of local food in Greensboro and our ongoing projects.

If you’ve walked by the Dunleith Community Garden, you can clearly see that a lot has occurred since our groundbreaking on June 20th, 2009. (Has it really only been 2 months?!) Since that joyous day, we have planted tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, numerous herbs, basil, and so much more. Everything really seemed to take on a life of its own–even though it was very late for a summer planting. Attributed to this abundant growth was the vital necessity of any garden: water. During the last couple months, neighbors of the Dunleith Community Garden have graciously donated water to this project. By stretching hoses from across the street, volunteers were able to hand water all of the plants–sometimes taking as long as 2-3 hours in watering. We are extremely thankful for these neighbors and the volunteers that fought over 200 feet of hose!

The last day that water flowed on the Dunleith property was in the 60’s, before the demolition of the house on the property. Almost 50 years later, Urban Harvest Sweat Equity project in partnership with Aycock Historic Neighborhood have brought back WATER! This morning we will have water once more. This is a tremendous feat, not only because of the number of years that have passed, but also because of what this water will now produce.  This garden in not state-funded, being paid for by the members of the Aycock Historic Neighborhood and Urban Harvest Sweat Equity Project.  Providing all soil amendments, compost, weeding, edging, and general maintenance, UH-SEP is striving to teach the community how to grow food and in turn, creating a sustainable community.

By involving the entire Aycock Historic Neighborhood, surrounding neighborhoods and local restaurants, we are hoping to create a community with the knowledge to feed itself. As a non-profit corporation, UH-SEP will insure individualized education, workshops and over productive food will directly impact the community that we are serving. Now, with the addition of water on this historic site, let the flood gates open (metaphorically, of course) and the hard work continue! Please join in and celebrate all of the hard work that we have ALL accomplished to come this far.

Please continue to check back for weekly communication.

Sarah Brewer “Urban Harvest Sweat Equity Project”

Organic Growers Conference

Last weekend Justin and I spent an exciting, information-packed and inspiring weekend at the Organic Growers School’s 16th Annual Conference. The 2 days of hour and half classes ranged from alternative technologies (I took one about Biofuels, knowing essentially nothing from the start and another about Passive Solar Greenhouse Design), to soil sciences to culinary and medical herb arts and even to Homesteading. With 58 regular classes to choose from, plus lunch-time speakers and 8 half-day workshops, there were so many classes that we would have love to have taken. However, I feel empowered with the new knowledge I did pick up, and even more momentum to just get out and do it!

Beyond the classes, it was exciting to see so many young people. One of the classes I attended was called Getting onto Land: Creative Alternatives to Buying which was presented by  Bryan Busha Green of Carolina Farm Stewardship Association and Andrew Branan, Executive Director of North Carolina Farm Transition Network which reminded us that the average age of a farmer in the US is closing in on 60 and that tens of thousands of acres of farmland are being lost every year. Even though our work as Urban Harvest is in the city, I still feel that we are part of the community of agri-culturists whose lives are dedicated not only to growing food, but to conservation, progressive ideas and creative solutions. As far as I can tell, farmers are some of the most ingenious and industrious people in America.