Sunday, March 13, 2011
A morning at Urban Farms.
On Friday night, I stopped by TJ Maxx and bought the last pair of rubber boots in the store. It’s a good thing. After volunteering Saturday at Urban Farms, my feet look like this.
I’ve been intrigued by Urban Farms since it started last summer, but until yesterday, I hadn’t joined in the effort to grow food for an underserved neighborhood in Memphis called Binghampton. The farm is tucked so tightly between affluent and forgotten that it doesn’t show up on Map Quest. But thanks to the
remarkable efforts of a handful of organizers and enthusiastic volunteers, three acres where cotton once grew is now a thriving and sustainable farm.
There are compost piles, a tank for tilapia (the water if filtered through watercress that is also sold to local restaurants), and lovely rows of cool weather crops like broccoli rabe, romaine, and red lettuce. Come summer, there will be much more produce, along with chickens, goats, and bee hives.
I spent most of my time Saturday rearranging drip hoses and planting kohlrabi. Others beat back the kudzu, sifted worm castings, or moved around compost with the farm’s tractor. A few blocks down Tillman Avenue, another group of volunteers helped to get the Urban Farms Market ready for a March 26 opening. Eventually, produce from the farm will help stock the market, bringing healthy and affordable food to people with few food choices.