Contributing Monkie G Living Staff Monkies
Published on May 21, 2008
Urban farmers isn’t the name of a hot new musical act (though it should be), or a euphemism for teenagers handy with da hydroponics — it’s a real and revolutionary movement that’s taking place all over America. Forget cold comfort farm, city dwellers can now enjoy this agrarian pastime from the comfort of their own apartments.
Just ask Denniston and Marlene Wilks, who grow scallions and bitter watermelons “in the shadows of the elevated tracks toward the end of the No. 3 line in East New York, Brooklyn.” (via the New York Times) They set up their urban farm with the help of the Parks Department gardening program, GreenThumb, who assisted them in building raised beds of compost as “heavy metals are common contaminants in city soil because of vehicle exhaust and remnants of old construction”.
To keep the integrity of the organic produce, the Wilkses planted marigolds to keep squirrels at bay. They also took advantage of city composting programs, utilizing decomposed leaves and zoo manure. And last year, they made just over $3,000 selling their organic produce at a local market.
There are hundreds of urban farms — run by school children, rescue missions, community centers and non-profits in Brooklyn and beyond, from Detroit and West Oakland, Philadeplia to Milwaukee — with some of the farms grossing up to $220,000. Urban farms are a win win. Consumers win by removing the disconnect with air freighted supermarket produce or highly processed ready-made food. And farmers win because they can pursue their passion without the inconvenience of living in the country.
Sorry, I’m an urban girl. What can I say?
(via the New York Times)