$500,000 MacArthur genius grant awarded to urban farming advocate

September 23, 2008

From pro basketball to urban farming… only in America!

One of Wisconsin’s few African-American farmers, Allen, a former professional basketball player in the ABA, founded Growing Power in 1993 in Milwaukee to help teach inner-city kids about the origins of their food. It has expanded to include satellite-training sites in Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Massachusetts and Mississippi.

The group’s high-quality produce and grass-fed meats are sold through farmer’s markets that target inner city neighborhoods in Chicago and Milwaukee, where access to fresh food is often difficult and expensive.

Here’s the link to the Growing Power website.

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Urban farming snapshot: Philadelphia

May 23, 2008

The New York Times this week has a story about Greensgrow Farms in North Philadelphia, producing hydroponically-grown greens and also connecting urban consumers with regional producers of meats, cheeses, and other vegetables. I’m intrigued by the financial information that the article contains:

The farm earned about $10,000 on revenue of $450,000 in 2007, and hopes to make a profit of 5 percent on $650,000 in revenue in this, its 10th year, so it can open another operation elsewhere in Philadelphia.

 And:

Although no one at Greensgrow is getting rich from the operation – after 10 years’ work, Ms. Corboy is making an annual salary of $65,000 – there is a sense that their time has come.

This is all on one acre of land. And I really like the idea of combining the working farm with other operations, such as honeybees and seedlings.