Tag Archives: Urban Farming

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)

Paying and Volunteer Farm Jobs – U.S. and Abroad

I ran into this interesting website that discusses traveling and working abroad. Transitions Abroad is packed full of ideas and opportunities to enrich your life through working with others in different countries. There are links to real, paying jobs in agriculture and other career … fields… as well as information about Internships, Au Pair jobs, student work and summer schools, teaching English and many other thought provoking ideas for the restless.

This is a great time to be young. It’s also a great time to be either retired, or in search of a new way of living. Spiritually, “Sloth” is the sin of refusing to enjoy all of God’s bounty. There’s too much out there to ignore. You decide … take the red pill and stay where you are … forever, or take the blue pill, and prepare to smile!

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.”

Detroit: Model For Urban Farming

Food Among the Ruins

by Mark Dowie

Reprinted from Guernica: http://www.guernicamag.com/spotlight/1182/food_among_the_ruins/
detroit500
“Detroit, the country’s most depressed metropolis, has zero produce-carrying grocery chains. It also has open land, fertile soil, ample water, and the ingredients to reinvent itself from Motor City to urban farm. Mark Dowie’s immodest proposal…

‘Were I an aspiring farmer in search of fertile land to buy and plow, I would seriously consider moving to Detroit. There is open land, fertile soil, ample water, willing labor, and a desperate demand for decent food. And there is plenty of community will behind the idea of turning the capital of American industry into an agrarian paradise. In fact, of all the cities in the world, Detroit may be best positioned to become the world’s first one hundred percent food self-sufficient city.’

Right now, Detroit is as close as any city in America to becoming a food desert, not just another metropolis like Chicago, Philadelphia, or Cleveland with a bunch of small- and medium-sized food deserts scattered about, but nearly a full-scale, citywide food desert. (A food desert is defined by those who study them as a locality from which healthy food is more than twice as far away as unhealthy food, or where the distance to a bag of potato chips is half the distance to a head of lettuce.) About 80 percent of the residents of Detroit buy their food at the one thousand convenience stores, party stores, liquor stores, and gas stations in the city. There is such a dire shortage of protein in the city that Glemie Dean Beasley, a seventy-year-old retired truck driver, is able to augment his Social Security by selling raccoon carcasses (twelve dollars a piece, serves a family of four) from animals he has treed and shot at undisclosed hunting grounds around the city. Pelts are ten dollars each. Pheasants are also abundant in the city and are occasionally harvested for dinner. (Click here to read more about Glemie Beasley)

Detroiters who live close enough to suburban borders to find nearby groceries carrying fresh fruit, meat, and vegetables are a small minority of the population. The health consequences of food deserts are obvious and dire. Diabetes, heart failure, hypertension, and obesity are chronic in Detroit, and life expectancy is measurably lower than in any American city.
Not so long ago, there were five produce-carrying grocery chains—Kroger, A&P, Farmer Jack, Wrigley, and Meijer—competing vigorously for the Detroit food market. Today there are none. Nor is there a single WalMart or Costco in the city…..” (Click here to read entire story)