Right in the heart of Adelaide is a wonderful little community garden that sits on a vacant lot that will not be developed in the very near future. However when development does start this garden can simply be picked up and relocated to a new vacant space.
Mij & Sue simply commandeered the land next door!
The staggering thing about urban farms in the USA is the volume of food that they produce. These are not just garden plots for people who live in a flat or only have a small garden. Whether they are box gardens on vacant lots, roof top gardens or larger areas of government land people are working co-operatively with experienced market gardeners to grow amazing amounts of fruit, vegetables and even honey.
We interviewed people at Alemany Farm in San Francisco who had wonderful stories about how they were much more efficient when they farmed together rather than gardening in their own plots. We were so intrigued by this urban farm that when we arrived home we started looking at what was going on in Australia. Right in the middle of Adelaide we found some wonderful guerrilla gardeners who were planting food in the parklands, taking over vacant lots in the inner city and simply moving into derelict pockets of land wherever they can find them and revitalising them with productive food gardens free for the picking.
When space and water is limited not a square millimetre can be wasted.
The Friends of Alemany Farm grow food security and educate local residents about how they can become their own food producers.
The four main goals are:
• Fostering Environmental Education by introducing children and adults to the idea that local food production can be part of a healthy ecosystem, and inspiring visitors to start their own gardens at home.
• Boosting Food Resilience by providing organic, healthy food to community members.
• Growing Leaders through the communal ethic of the barn-raising that encourages people to play an active role in decision-making.
• Promoting Ecological-Economic Development by using urban agriculture as a way to develop green job skills.
SOLEfood Farm is a social enterprise that provides urban agriculture employment and training opportunities for Vancouver’s inner-city residents.
Working alongside farmer/author Michael Ableman, community residents are trained and employed to install and manage small production farms on leased urban lots. Produce grown from the farms is washed, cooled, and consolidated at a central location, then sold to restaurants, at farmers markets and distributed to community organizations. With few significant food production farms within the city, the project also provides modeling and education opportunities to a population that has little connection to the natural world or to their food sources.
The farm provides employees with a place to learn new skills and an opportunity for self-growth. SOLEfood Farm will expand to include a large network of farms throughout the city that will help revitalize neighbourhoods, provide meaningful employment to individuals with multiple challenges, supply fresh food to inner city residents, and present a successful self-supporting model of high quality innovative agriculture within the urban context.
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