Tag Archives: Gardening

Urban Farmer Wins $500,000 “Genius” Award

At 6 feet 7 inches tall of urban Farmer Will Allen commands attention when he speaks. “The next generation of farmers aren’t going to come from rural family farms because those farms don’t exist anymore. The next generation of farmers are going to come from the cities,” states Allen.  When we think of the current economic crisis and the “fact” that jobs aren’t coming back the way they used to be before the housing bubble burst, one is faced with the frightening dilemma of actually being free.

“Stop looking for a job and MAKE a job for yourself. That means doing what you love most … and what better cause than to “feed my sheep” or teach others how to create healthy food for themselves, how to commune cooperatively with greater quality of life.

Will Allen grew up on a farm outside Washington, D.C., played professional basketball for a time after college, mostly in Europe. In 1993, he left a job with Procter & Gamble and bought a roadside farm in Milwaukee’s economically depressed north side — the last remaining registered farm in the city — and got local teenagers involved.

Two years ago, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation “genius” grant. The grant recognizes Allen’s work bringing affordable fresh produce and quality grass-fed meats to the urban poor and educating communities about sustainable farming. The Chicago-based MacArthur Foundation awarded Allen $500,000 over the next five years to use however he wishes. Allen, 60, also received $100,000 in 2005 from the Ford Foundation on behalf of urban farming work. co-founded Growing Power in 1993 in Milwaukee to help teach inner-city kids about the origins of their food.

This may be one of the most important Post I’ve discovered. Please … please … visit YouTube and view some of the short videos about various projects taking place at Growing Power:

YouTube Video: Meet Will Allen

YouTube Video on:  Vermicompost
Website:  Vermicompost

YouTube Video on: Aquaponics
Website: Aqualponics

YouTube Video on Clean Water & Aqualponics <click here)

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Dreams Change

“Cultivators of the earth are the most valuable citizens.”  Thomas Jefferson knew the important role farmers and producers play in our great Nation.  With the security of America’s energy sources slowly dwindling we must focus on ensuring the sustainability of our great Nation.” ~www.rcdnet.org

Created by God

I haven’t been posting much lately. The reasons are many … but the main reason… is that I discovered time had run out on my dream of owning a farm. I’ve always been a very active guy with a lot of energy. But I’m 56 now and I have to be realistic. While growing fresh fruit and vegetables replenishes my body-mind, I have to ask myself, how much more manual labor do I want to do as I age?

Urban Farming is more of a realistic goal for me now. There are so many ways to do it. There are even grants for it. The rewards can be as small as insuring the health of you and your family, to building a small cottage industry. Perhaps that’s another reason urban farming is so attractive … the reality that wherever there’s a problem, if you think a few steps past “the problem” and look for a solution, you can get paid!

Manufacturing comes out of agriculture. All the “value added” products that farmers and ranchers produce created the foundation for the industrial revolution. People needed shoes and cowhides supplied the leather. Urban dwellers needed fresh lemonade so bottles were made and artist were hired to create the labels. Trucks were bought to fill the store shelves. Carpenters built the stores, and so on …

My only worry is that as we enter this newest period of “change”, huge, greedy corporations like Monsanto will be able to close the doors before the open. Obesity is the second greatest cause of cancer in the world today. The potatoes in your big chain grocery stores today have so much sugar in them, that you cannot even cook the same potato-based recipe that you could just 13 years ago!

Monsanto created Roundup. [<-Please read the Slate.com Roundup article] You know, the herbicide that kills weeds and grass? Yeah. Well, they found a way to insert RoundUp into the plant growing in the field, making it resistant to insects and other pests. The only small problem is that WE’RE EATING IT. [SEE: Millions Against Monsanto ]

Think Genetically Modified Food is no problem? Tasteless tomatoes and other gas-ripened food that sit on selves like wax time bombs waiting for trusting, uninformed mouths to gobble them down … is that what you really want? Monsanto created  Agent Orange! You know … the “herbicide” used in Vietnam that eventually killed thousands of former G.I.s who walked through the stuff? They didn’t even eat or drink that product and cancer ran rapid through their ranks. HOW in the world are we feeling so secure about eating yet another of their products simply because “they” put it on the local store self?

Grow your own food. You’ll be healthier, wiser, more spiritually alert, and … you’ll find ways … to “get paid.”

Urban Farming In Cleveland

Everything that initially looks bad … ain’t always bad. Sometimes it turns into a blessing. Take Cleveland for instance …  read how yet another city is coming up with creative ways to solve their problems of declining quality of life  (orignal story here).

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Cleveland Council approves urban farming, teardown of foreclosed homes

Posted by Henry J. Gomez/Plain Dealer Reporter February 02, 2009 22:05 PM Real Time News CLEVELAND –

The City Council on Monday approved two measures aimed at reshaping the city’s urban landscape.

In short, the Cleveland City government has realized it’s time to demolish abandoned homes and buildings and allow residents to grow their own food on the unused land.

Decades of population drain, industrial death and, most recently, the foreclosure crisis have left about 3,300 vacant acres in the city, and at least 15,000 vacant buildings.

The other ordinance sets guidelines for how Mayor Frank Jackson will spend $25.5 million in federal neighborhood improvements funds. The bulk of the money will be used to tear down abandoned homes left behind by the foreclosure epidemic.

One ordinance will allow residents to raise and keep farm animals and bees. It’s a step, proponents believe, toward finding innovative uses for vacant land. “We want people to be able to grow their own food,” Cimperman said.

The ordinance allows residents to keep chickens, ducks, rabbits and beehives but not roosters, geese or turkeys. A typical residential lot could have no more than six small animals and two hives

Urban farmers face opportunities and obstacles

“You don’t need a ton of infrastructure to produce food,” she said. “You need access to land, water, sun and know-how. That’s not a lot of barriers to entry compared to other start-ups,” said ordinance sponsor, Councilman Joe Cimperman.

Customers at the ever-expanding number of local farmers markets are snapping up so much of what grows in the city that the gourmet chefs who also demand local produce can scarcely get enough.