People in urban centres in the USA are turning vacant lots into places for communities to grow in nearly every sense of the word.
Alemany Farm is on the forefront of a renewed interest in urban farming nationwide, from Michelle Obama’s garden on the South Lawn of the White House to the proliferation of backyard chicken coops in New York City.
“I do think there is something like a movement afoot,” said Mark, 34, who chronicles environmental trends in the Earth Island Journal and can rattle off the names of urban farms from Milwaukee to Philadelphia.
In the grittiest, grimiest, most unlikely neighborhoods, in cities that include Los Angeles, Detroit, Baltimore and Miami, volunteer farmers are growing food that provides not only for those who work the gardens, but also for neighbors, food kitchens and school lunchrooms.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture says there are thousands of community gardens throughout the country, though no one keeps an exact tally. Localharvest.org, a Web site about community gardens, lists more than 2,500 in its database.
In 2008, 557 new gardens signed up with LocalHarvest, according to the site. In the first two months of 2009, 300 more joined.