This episode of the FSC Podcast, we are diving into the world of urban farming. That’s right, farming in cities. Not the typical, sprawling pastures in the country or the iconic red barn, but we’re talking to people and organizations who are farming in the city. They are increasing access to fresh food, forging a stronger connection with the land and using urban farming as an educational and job training tool for youth. We’ve chatted with a lot of people who are growing local, even on small city plots, and proving that you don’t need a homestead in the country to take control of your food.
City farming is not only great for the local food system and for the people who directly benefit from increased food access, but it’s really great for the cities themselves. Vacant lots can be turned into thriving community gardens and urban schools can introduce students to agriculture and a whole new world of healthy eating. Urban farming is a creative way to promote reinvestment in our cities and FSC is thrilled to bring you this episode.
At the NOFA-NYWinter Conference a few months ago, Liz caught up with Erica Brenner of Dekalb Farm and Molly Culver of the High School for Public Service Youth Farm, both located in Brooklyn, to chat more about farming in the Big Apple.
Christina met with Matthew Schuler and Brian Bender of the Capital District Community Gardens’ The Produce Project, who shared with us more information about the exciting urban agricultural youth program operating in Troy, NY. The Produce Project is an organic, year-round urban farm business. Youth earn a small stipend along with a vegetable share for tending crops from seed to harvest. They sell their crops to local restaurants and at farmers markets while learning lifelong lessons in business and entrepreneurship. The Produce Project students also learn about healthy eating by participating in workshops with local food experts and network with potential future employers in our community. Christina also caught up with two Produce Project students, Devin Chandler and Stephen Cochran.
Our last interview explores the link between urban farming issues and advocacy. Jen Pursley Guidice and her husband Michael, owners of Hounds on the Hudson, encountered first-hand the controversy that can sometimes form around urban farming. Their small flock of backyard chickens stirred up emotions on both sides of the issue and launched a citywide campaign of concerned citizens that is now tackling larger issues of voter registration and government accountability through Albany Votes. Thanks to the inspiring urban farming mecca, The Radix Ecological Sustainability Center, for hosting this podcast interview!
So, city dwellers, are you inspired to get farming yet? Stay tuned for a follow-up episode later this year with even more stories and resources on urban farming.