The Michigan Urban Farming Initiative operates urban farms in Detroit. This is a great group of young folks committed to urban farming and reinvigorating the city of Detroit. In this Skype conversation Molly Hubbell- Vice President and Pinky Jones – Farm manager talk with me about urban farming, the struggles of intercity folks to access food in a bankrupt city.
Theresa Mycek manages Colchester Farm in Georgetown, Maryland a 10 acre non profit vegetable farm. Theresa has been at the farm for over 5 years. This is a great interview with a lovely person who has followed what I’d call a classic small farm career path from intern to farm manager.
I visited with Andy Andrews from Pennypack Farm and Education Center in the Philadelphia Suburbs. Andy has done a great job of growing the farm over the past 8 years.
Here’s the Pennypack story in their own words:
Pennypack Farm grew from the commitment of a handful of citizens who responded to a letter in a local newspaper (Ambler Gazette, April 2000) suggesting the formation of a community farm for the purpose of accessing fresh, local, organic produce and preserving land within our watershed. Initial dialogues among these committed citizens grew into a vision and a plan for action.
Our Land Host:
In 2001, the Natural Lands Trust suggested that we contact The College Settlement of Philadelphia who own the largest tract of open space in Eastern Montgomery County. The Board of this nonprofit camp had recently completed a land study and was looking for a way to have community based farming on a plot of 27 acres on Mann Road in Horsham. The partnership between us grew. and in 2003 we signed a lease that formalized our intent to farm their land using organic practices and provide farm-based programming for their summer camps and Outdoor School.
The Farm: 2003
The organization gradually took shape over the next two years, finally culminating in early 2003 with the formation of an 11-member Board of Directors, the signing of a lease for land to grow crops, the hiring of a farm manager and assistant, and receiving official charter as a 501(c)(3) educational non-profit corporation.
In spring 2003 we broke ground, and with the generous help of donors and volunteers we built the infrastructure necessary to launch a working CSA demonstration farm. Opening Day at Pennypack Farm CSA was celebrated publicly on June 1, 2003. For a more detailed history: http://newfarm.
Mary Seton Corboy is a true pioneer in the Urban farming movement.
She’s charming as well…
In this episode we get a glimpse of how she and a partner started Greensgrow Farms in Kensington, PA. Kensington is is right off of I-95; something like a mile or 2 from downtown Philadelphia. Greensgrow has grown from scratch. She shares the Greensgrow story and its evolution. From finding abandoned land and the politics behind to it’s current iteration. Greensgrow is something more than and different than a traditional urban farm.
The concept of urban farming isn’t new. There are multiple examples of Urban farming in virtually every city in the United Sates. Greensgrow Farms was one of the first to experiment with this concept.
Urban farming promotes healthy communities and provides food security for many low income persons. In an urban setting, community gardens are part of the open space network. The gardens and those who participate in urban farming contribute to the preservation of open space, provide access to it, and create sustainable uses of the space. The idea is to strengthen community bonds, provide food, and create recreational and therapeutic opportunities for a community. They can also promote environmental awareness and provide community education.
Greensgrow is a not for profit enterprise. They use the non profit model to help experiment with some inner city food programs.
Once you talk with Mary you’ll fall in love.
Hope you enjoy this one.