While farming may seem like a rural occupation, urban gardens are starting to infiltrate major cities around the world. Michael Ableman, author of the book Street Farm: Growing Food, Jobs and Hope on the Urban Frontier, is the co-founder and director of Sole Food Street Farms in Vancouver, British Columbia. And, Deirdre Bradley-Turner is the director of Community Service and Service Learning at Emmanuel College in Boston, which is part of the Mission and Ministry Office at the college. These two guests explain the impact that urban farming can have on a community.
An urban garden, Ableman says, not only provides a city with the chance to grow part of its own produce, but also, it feeds the souls of the people who work the plots. At Sole Food Street Farms in Vancouver, these people are usually those dealing with long-term addictions, mental illnesses, or living in poverty. By training and employing them, the urban farms give them a chance to do something meaningful in a community. This has the ability to transforms lives, as they discover the untapped creativity and heart of people who often have society prejudiced against them.
Farming in a city often requires some innovation and accommodation. Ableman explains the smart farming that they have developed, using a system of 8,000 movable growing boxes to produce up to 50 different crops for the city’s restaurants and farmer’s markets.
In Boston, Bradley-Turner explains how three programs at Emmanuel College came together to produce an urban garden, with a focus on educating the community and students about food justice and security. She says that food justice is more than just feeding people who don’t have easy access to food. It’s also about teaching them about nutrition and where their food comes from. The food produced on their farm is distributed to the city’s shelters and to the students who live on the campus.
For more information about these two projects and urban farms, visit the links below.
- Michael Ableman, co-founder and director of Sole Food Street Farms in Vancouver, British Columbia, and author of the book Street Farm: Growing Food, Jobs and Hope on the Urban Frontier
- Deirdre Bradley-Turner, director of Community Service and Service Learning at Emmanuel College, Boston, which is part of the Mission and Ministry Office at the college
Links for more information:
- Sole Food Street Farms
- Street Farm: Growing Food, Jobs and Hope on the Urban Frontier
- Emmanuel College
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