Posts Tagged ‘greensboro’

A Successful Community Brainstorm

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 urbanharvest.gso@gmail.com) 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!

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Urban Food Visioning for 2011

What a fantastic and exciting year 2010 has been! I could list all the cool things we’ve done this year, but I’ll save that for another post. But needless to say, we’ve got some great momentum on local food action in Greensboro, and we know you’re itching to get involved with a local grassroots organization to keep that momentum going! I’ve personally been inspired and energized by the CFSA (Carolina Farm Stewardship Association) Sustainable Agriculture Conference that took place last weekend in Winston-Salem. I was again reminded of my dedication to urban food systems and the possibilities that lay before us. (We are particularly fond of Toby Hemenway and the amazing things going on in Portland, OR like CityRepair.org.)

This is why we want to invite you to our first Urban Food Visioning Session. So many of you have expressed interest in getting involved with Urban Harvest, and as you know we are currently an all-volunteer organization. We’ve been successful at small steps and small victories with a small number of people, but we have power in numbers. So we’d like you to join us around the “kitchen table” to tackle something a little larger. Come with your project ideas, and an open mind to others’ project ideas, and we’ll create an action plan to forge a greener, healthier Greensboro! Since this will be a “kitchen table” session, plan to eat with us!

What: Urban Food Visioning
Date: Saturday, January 15th, 2011
Time: 3-5 pm with dinner to follow
Place: TBD (depends on how many people will attend)

Please RSVP by Jan 8th to urbanharvest.gso@gmail.com

Calling all gardeners without a garden

As many of you know, our main project thus far has been at the Dunleith Community Garden in the Aycock neighborhood. The garden was installed in June of 2009, and since then we’ve had 2 successful seasons of CSAs (community supported agriculture) and 7 neighbors renting plots.

Well, when it comes to the garden, the time to think about spring is in the fall! We’ve got some winter “cash crops” (edibles) in the ground, as well as some winter “cover crops” (to help improve the soil). This fall, we are opening the garden up for more folks to rent a plot in the spring.

In the past we have offered the option of participating in the garden through a CSA or by renting a plot. This year, we hope to fill up more of the garden with plot renters, and from there determine whether or not we will run a CSA. After all, it is a community garden, and we want our community to have ownership.

A community plot rental is a small financial investment but a large time commitment. Plot rentals give you 10 months to tend your own community plot. Spring plots will be available Feb 1, 2011 for you to prep and plant those super early spring crops (like snow peas)! If you are interested in renting a plot at the Dunleith Community Garden, please send an email to urbanharvest.gso@gmail.com and we well send you a sign-up form.

Here’s to spring veggies!

What is a road block?

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

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!

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/

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