A trend has been growing in our cities over the past few years. It’s agriculture in urban areas.
The oldest example I know of is Happy Heart Farm in Fort Collins. The farm acreage is in the heart of west, central Fort Collins. It is a CSA or Community Supported Agriculture farm. Their members buy shares of produce to be grown through the season. Being right in town, the members can bike to pick up the weekly shares of fresh produce.
Also in and around our communities are market farms. I met the owners of Native Hill Farms last week as they were planting the first seeds of the season. They, like many other urban farmers, have a few acres in and around town. Some market gardens are on vacant lots in neighborhoods.
Some urban agriculture is designed as part of a community development. The High Plains Environmental Center is a designed portion of the High Plains Village neighborhood in Loveland. The Environmental Center is an active part of the community. It is an example of land stewardship and sustainable living practices.
Agriburbia is a company in Golden that brings agriculture production into communities. They develop sustainable projects that marry urban conveniences with rural production practices.
The Gardens on Spring Creek has an active community garden. Gardeners lease plots to grow their own food. The Gardens also has a large vegetable demonstration garden called the Garden of Eatin’. It not only is a garden that teaches people to grow their own food. It also donates the food grown to local food banks.
In our business, we have also seen this trend. Many folks want us to combine vegetables into their ornamental gardens. We plant more containers with bush type tomatoes or herbs combined with flowers. Recently we’ve constructed more raised beds for easier veggie growing.
While urban agriculture will never reach the magnitude of mass agricultural production, it is a trend. Rising food prices is just one reason communities will benefit from developing local food production.