Photo courtesy of Wasatch Community Gardens
Could farming with a social mission:
introduce the next great agricultural era?
Could these farms provide thousands of viable farming jobs and even offer farming careers for those who wish to farm?
Could micro-farming in communities local to where the food is consumed make a powerful, positive impact, not only on the physical, but also the emotional health of individuals?
Could the experience of producing healthy food from the Earth and sharing that food with our neighbors multiply genuine connections to one's own food, the Earth, people growing, and the people receiving it?
Could farming become a means for transitional employment and job training for those who desire a second chance to reconnect with society and live sustainable, self-reliant lives?
Could farming with a social mission keep money in our local economy and empower people to make responsible food decisions?
Could such farms with social missions green and beautify cities and serve as centers of environmental education and community celebration?
I believe the answer to all these questions is a resounding, "Yes". That's what Eden Streets is about. Eden Streets empowers farmers to cultivate individuals and grow communities. As an association of farmers with social missions, we work with community partners to fund farm projects to address specific social needs.
Given the promise of these possibilities, I want to know how to build a farm with a social mission. As a new farmer trying to start an urban farm with a social mission, I have encountered the following challenges:
How do I know I have the best layout for my farm?
What should my goal for productivity and community impact be?
How do I approach the city about my proposal?
How do I work with the city to lease an abandoned lot?
How do I avoid the mistakes others have made?
These knowledge gaps are at least partially addressed in Michael Ableman’s second book, Farm the City: A Toolkit for Setting up a Successful Urban Farm. However, to really understand urban farming requires an ongoing dialogue with those doing the work. The world is changing rapidly; yet, I have still to find a network of people, a forum, to help me with these questions.
Why Eden Streets?
Eden streets is a non-profit organization that enables farmers with social missions network and gain resources so they can expand their social impact. Across North America, there are over 150 urban farms with social missions. This is an opportunity to change the world. By creating this network of urban farmers, we increase the chances of success and shorten the time to return on the investment.
Your Input On Value And Priorities
Although each farm is unique, we address common challenges. We benefit from understanding your world: what you struggle with and where you have succeeded. We hope you are willing to share your thoughts about what information and support would be of greatest value to you.
Possibilities for Collaboration
Please consider the following ways in which we can support each other:
Funding and financial support
Sharing what works and doesn’t work
Managing farm support (Legal, Marketing, Personnel, Accounting, Payroll, IT, etc.)
Attracting, securing, and developing human resources (labor, teamwork)
Interfacing with city leaders
Fostering partnerships within the community
Thank you for the work you are doing! The positive impact of farming with a social mission on both individuals and communities is truly remarkable. I look forward to meeting you and sharing ways we can deliver these benefits to more individuals in the communities in which we work.
- Farmer Karl