Urban consumers are becoming more interested in knowing where their food comes from, and as a result, small farms have been cropping up in urban communities across the United States to meet the demand for locally-sourced food. These farms come in all shapes and sizes—some, such as those operated by CommonWealth Urban Farms in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, are even as small as a city lot.
CWUF was founded in 2010 when a group of local residents sought sustainable uses for the many vacant lots in Oklahoma City. Their mission was to use food as a way to unite the community. In partnership with fellow Oklahoma City organization Sustainable OKC, CWUF has had great success in using their micro-farms to build relationships with and within communities.
CWUF focuses on integrating each farm into its respective community as much as possible. The organization relies on the participation of community volunteers to help keep the gardens growing, and each micro-farm is tailored to the needs of the racially and economically diverse neighborhoods in Oklahoma City. Compost for the gardens is sourced from waste from local grocery stores and breweries. CWUF also runs a “veggie club,” where, for US$10 per month, local participants receive a bag of seasonal vegetables and fruits.
All of these actions ensure that CWUF will have the community support it needs to continue to thrive as a healthful, sustainable addition to the ever-growing national community of new urban farms.