In the words of our friend Katherine Kelly,
"When a farmer turns the soil on an empty lot, neighbors stop by to "find out what's happening." They buy vegetables, chat, volunteer, or even ask for just a "few extra plants" for their own new garden. The farmer is out all day, so neighborhood young people have a safe adult around. They beautify the neighborhood, inspiring others to clean their own lots or pick up trash. Farmers encourage tasting, "Here, just try this SunGold cherry tomato." People taste and learn to like new foods. Then they eat more fresh produce. The farm becomes a source of stability, where neighbors meet neighbors and build relationships. Urban farms grow communities."
Organic urban farming reclaims unused property in heavily populated areas to create a working farm that grows environmental and health conscious produce which is distributed or sold within the local community.
By growing on unused or blighted property within a city, an urban farm will not only beautify the neighborhood but will avoid the harmful impacts of cultivating undisturbed land. Also growing within a population's center allows the distribution of food to have a minimal carbon footprint, insures freshness, and lowers costs.
People are becoming increasingly aware of the impact food choices make on the health of themselves, their families, and their finances. An urban farm creates opportunities for children and adults to learn to grow and preserve their own food. They also may encounter new healthy produce choices. By teaming with local schools and youth organizations the urban farm teaches children where food comes from, how plants grow, and the importance of eating responsibly for themselves and their environment.
An urban farm is a form of intentional neighboring. It can transform empty or blighted lots, raise property values, reduce crime, provide a local source of income, and be a point of community pride. When placed in lower income areas the farm may connect with people who greatly benefit from learning to grow their own food. It may also offer programs allowing individuals to work the farm in exchange for grown produce.