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Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Urban gardening runs amok 

SEEDS garden at #706 Gilbert Street

Friend of the Clarion Content and fellow blogger, Durham Profiles, is a great place to read stories about fellow Durhamanians. We loved their profile of Durham musician, Steven Coffman, a couple of months back.

Durham Profiles and founder Ruth Eckles most recent article follows the story of urban farming in Durham through Homegrown City Farms. Local food is a cause near and dear to the Clarion Content's heart.

A brief excerpt from the latest pearl on Durham Profiles...
"There’s so much wasted land in a lawn," laments Collier Reeves of Homegrown City Farms in a recent interview. Her words remain on my mind as I drive to work, passing the broad expanse of lawns that surround office buildings, pedestrian malls, hotels, grocery stores and highway medians.

"We live in an agriculturally rich area here in the Piedmont, but there is a lot of underused land, especially in urban areas," Maryah Smith-Overman, the other half of Homegrown City Farms, adds.

Since moving from Asheville to Durham last year to launch the project, the two have steadily transformed a borrowed quarter-acre plot in East Durham into a small farm overflowing with sugar snap peas, chard, beets, radishes, spinach, arugula, carrots, and broccoli raab. On June 1st, they will begin distributing the vegetables through CSA shares. Homegrown City Farms grew out of Reeves and Smith-Overmans’ mutual desire to promote community, food sovereignty, and sustainable land stewardship practices...Both artists and musicians, Reeves and Smith-Overman are attracted to Durham’s overlapping social justice, farm-to-fork, music and art scenes.
Ms. Eckles teases out that uniquely Durham story, that vibe that makes our town a place where people find a way to say "Yes", rather than "No." Homegrown City Farms is clearly built on and sustained by a cooperative community effort.

They employ a process called a "Crop Mob" when they need extra help. A spin-off of the meme of the flash mob, crop mobbing is a way to harness the collective effort of the community. It is a natural pairing with urban farming because in the past when activities like planting, harvesting, processing, and barnraising almost always required local collective effort, the rural community was there. In the modern parlance, crop mobbers work together, share a meal, play, talk, make music and revel in life. No money is exchanged.

The Clarion Content knows we are not alone in Durham in our support for urban gardens, local farms and locally grown food. Just yesterday, we heard bon vivants, Jennifer and Dain Phelan, proprietors of a favorite Clarion Content watering hole and eatery Dain's, held a fundraiser to support SEEDS. SEEDS, a long time Durham institution, is a non-profit educational community garden that uses gardening and growing food to teach respect for life, for the earth and for each other. SEEDS young urban gardeners sell their wares at their own Produce & Craft Market Wednesday's from 4pm to 6pm at #706 Gilbert Street, in Durham and also Saturdays at the Durham Farmer's Market.

Read Ruth Eckles and Durham Profiles whole article here. Read more about Crop Mobbing here.

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Dumpy-looking. Durham should be renamed Crystal Mangum City. (With a Nifong Square).
Easy on the haterade, anon. It is a vegetable garden, it is not about how it looks. It is about what it produces.
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