A Greener Indiana

Everybody can do something to make a greener Indiana

I first was alerted to the urban farming movement by Ellen Ley. She is active in promoting urban farming in Fort Wayne. The thought is why have these vacant lots around and pay somebody to mow them when you could have a garden? Do you think that this is something that Indiana can benefit from?

Below is a copy and paste of an article
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Urban Farming is bringing Detroit residence together to fight the
foreclosure crisis by filling abandoned lots with gardens to feed the
needy and homeless of the area.

Urban Farming, a non-profit organization, saw something in Detroit
that many people around the nation have noticed. Detroit has been hit
extremely hard by the foreclosure crisis and the country's economic
downturn. According to the Ann Arbor News, Michigan will lose 51,300
jobs in 2008. Economists do not expect economic upturn in Detroit
until 2010.

Due to the economic and housing crisis in Detroit, Urban Farming
believed there was no better place to begin their mission.
The Mission of Urban Farming

Due to the economic situation in Detroit the founder of Urban Farming
Taja Seville decided there was no better place to begin than where
people need help the most. Urban Farming's mission is to "eradicate
hunger while increasing diversity, motivating youth and seniors and
optimizing the production of unused land for food and alternative energy."
Urban Farming Helps the Detroit Community

According to the Urban Farming website through partnerships with local
business and support of the community Urban Farming plants food for
the needy to pick and eat. Urban Farming also facilitates mentoring
programs to teach both youths and adults about agriculture, fossil
fuels, math, science, life skills and the advantages of healthy eating
habits.

An NPR report sites Urban Farming has taken over nearly 20 derelict
properties in Detroit and the surrounding areas alone. After the food
is grown and dispersed what ever is left over is donated to local food
banks.

In the same NPR report citizens of Detroit praise Urban Farming.
Detroit Resident Eric Parrish told NPR "You can tell people are
struggling. So when I do see these plots of land it makes me say, 'I
want to garden there."
The Future Of Urban Farming

Urban Farms are now popping up all over the country. Urban Farming is
not the only nonprofit seeking to eradicate hunger by using land and
spaces that otherwise waste away.

Time.com displays a slideshow of images from urban farms across
metropolitan America including San Francisco, Boston, New York and
Chicago. The pictures boast of future farms grown vertically on sky
rise buildings, off lakefronts on farm towers and agricultural
pyramids free of pesticides and parasites.

While these ideas are those of urban farms future the urban farms of
the present are bringing communities together to serve the needy and
to clean up the foreclosure crisis that threatens Detroit and so many
American cities. Urban farming is also being used to eradicate other
problems facing Americans today, such as, global warming and loss of
land space.
from:
http://poverty.suite101.com/article.cfm/urban_farming_cleaning_up_d...

Tags: farming, food, indiana, urban

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Replies to This Discussion

If you have the land... pfft... shoot for the moon.
backyard, side yard, front yard.
no yard? learn how to grow indoors...

you might be suprised what can grow in a 4ftx4ft make-shift fenced off area...

http://survivalseedbank.com/ for non-gmo seeds
i know my post was not clear, but this refers to communal farming on land you do not own. It refers to farming on abandoned lots in the city.
The Indianapolis area has a really good urban, or community gardening/farming program going, CCGP or Capital City Garden Project Indianapolis through the Purdue Extension service. CCGP is a participant in the Plant A Row For the Hungry progam (PAR) of Garden Writers Assoc. of America
The Capital City Garden Project is a community-based educational program in Marion County promoting healthy people and greener neighborhoods through gardening. Because of the surge of interest in urban community gardening in the past few years, the program has assisted many schools, community centers, neighborhood groups and individuals in a variety of ways.
Here is Fort Wayne's best kept secret, the Angel Community Garden Club. I commend Mr.E. Smiley for this tremendous community service, and his humbleness, commitment to people in need.
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The Garden Angels is a non-profit community gardening group that provides organically grown vegetables to older and low-income residents while giving local children hands-on organic gardening experience and plenty of exercise.
Here are a few items on the Garden Angels’ wish list. For more information, contact Ephraim Smiley at Maplewood Elementary School:
• Used and repairable lawn and garden equipment such as hand tools, tillers and lawnmowers
• Cricket manure
• Wheel barrow
• Seed allowance for Asian vegetables
• Fuel allowance for garden tillers
• Natural fertilizers and pesticides
• Wood ashes
• Snack allowance for children and senior citizens
• Old metal lawn chairs
• Used or repairable 8-horsepower
• Troybilt tiller
• Pedometers
• 5-10 acre plot of land for Asian vegetables


Cupped inside his calloused hand, Ephraim Smiley cradles a few dozen seeds. Pretty ordinary to look at, the seeds are large and small; some beige or gray, a few crimson. But all of them – a pile, wrapped carefully inside a couple of pieces of crumpled newspaper – have a story.

They were a gift. Carried thousands of miles inside the pocket of a refugee from Burma.

“These seeds have been entrusted to us,” Smiley says, taking a few seeds from his hand and placing them on the table in front of him.

“He brought them all the way from Burma – thinking he wouldn’t be able to find them here. And that demonstrates the power of plants.”

Surrounding Smiley are some of his fellow gardeners – Danielle Scheeringa, Marquz Jones, Terrence Caldwell and Amber Sims – all fifth-graders at Maplewood Elementary School and all members of the Garden Angels, Smiley’s community gardening group.

“What are they?” Danielle asks, pinching one seed between her fingers.

“I’ve eaten some of these Asian vegetables,” Marquz says. “They taste pretty good with ranch.”

Smiley has a vague idea what the seed will eventually turn out to be, he says. (One of the mystery seeds is an edible gourd.)

But it won’t be long before he and the other gardeners find out for sure.

This year, Smiley and the Garden Angels – a collaborative effort among Maplewood Elementary School, Health Visions Inc., Come As You Are Community Church, Anthony and Sandy Peyton, Fort Wayne Community Fishing Club and Friends of Bethany – are planting a variety of Asian vegetables.

Asparagus bean, bitter gourd, Chinese mustard; the addition of Asian vegetables is designed to help better serve Fort Wayne’s Burmese community. In return, several Burmese farmers are helping the Garden Angels plant vegetables in their 200-foot garden near Tillman and Hessen Cassel roads.

“We’ve got Burmese families struggling in this community,” Maplewood Elementary School Principal Frank Kline says. “It’s our responsibility to give them the opportunities to become self-sufficient. That’s the American Dream. And bringing the Burmese into this community gardening project makes them a part of the community and gives them a little piece of what many of the rest of us have been given.”

In the field, farmers (the majority of whom are women) crouch side by side with the children, planting broccoli, tomatoes, potatoes, okra, turnip greens, and several varieties of lettuce. Occasionally, they experiment with Smiley’s recycled gardening inventions – plows made from old bicycles, compost sifters formed out of old clothes dryers. The concept of recycling is nothing new to them, Smiley says.

“The Burmese farmers use what they have,” he says. “And in that way, they are very similar to us. Being recycling and organic gardeners, we believe in not letting anything go to waste. And you can see the care these farmers put into every seed they plant.”

The Asian vegetables and the more familiar organic vegetables the gardening group grows every year are given to local senior citizens and other families in need. But they will also be on sale to the general public on Saturday mornings from July to August in the parking lot at League for the Blind & Disabled, 5821 S. Anthony Blvd.

“It feels good to offer people healthy food,” Garden Angel Terrence Caldwell says. “So they don’t have to choose between paying for food and paying for medications.

And the Burmese have their own style, their own way of planting. Maybe the food will taste better if we use their techniques, too.”

The Garden Angels are hoping one day to expand their program – currently the largest community gardening program in northeast Indiana – to include a separate plot of land for local Burmese families, Smiley says.

“Working with the farmers has changed our outlook,” he says. “This is the tip of the iceberg. We want to help the local Burmese farmers find land they can farm commercially. Right now, some of these families are struggling. But, eventually, their farming will benefit everyone.”

edowns@jg.net

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