Abandoned land, backyards, front yards, and even trucks have all contributed to Phoenix Arizona’s flourishing urban agriculture scene. Food Tank explores ten of the city’s most innovative urban agriculture projects.
Slow Food Phoenix is part of the larger Slow Food Movement (a non-profit, eco-gastronomic, membership organization that educates people about how their food choices affect the rest of the world). Slow Food Phoenix chapter members range from professional chefs to home cooks who enjoy the philosophy of quality slow food.
Truck Farm Phoenix debuted in the Fall of 2011 with the goal of reaching out to youth in at least 25 locations including underserved school districts, farmers’ markets, youth day camps, community centers, festivals, and fairs.
Urban Farm provides communities with the knowledge and skills to successfully grow, harvest, and share food from their very own yards. Urban Farm also seeks to engage communities with the 10,000 Urban Farms Project, whose goal is to develop a farm on every street.
Tiger Mountain Foundation (TMF) is a non-profit organization that promotes community development through gardening on more than four acres of inner-city land in South Phoenix. Varying seasonally, the gardens produce a wide assortment of produce, from vine-ripened tomatoes to fresh collard greens. TMF utilizes the Asset Based Community Development Model (ABCD), created by John McKnight and John Krentzmann of Northwestern University to bring sustainability back to the community.
Phoenix Urban Research Farm is where “urbanites go to learn how to garden or even start a small farm business.” The farm is managed by faculty at the Maricopa County Cooperative Extension, part of the University of Arizona College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, and began with a half-acre on a vacant lot in the heart of the Phoenix. The research farm is now part of a 15-acre urban revitalization project, a partnership of Keep Phoenix Beautiful and landowner Barron Collier Companies.
Roosevelt Row Growhouse is a quarter-acre property in downtown Phoenix dedicated to urban agriculture practices and local food. The Growhouse started on a vacant, blighted property as an informal greening, arts, and revitalization initiative by two artists in November of 2008. A.R.T.S. (Adaptive Re-use of Temporary Space) transformed the space into a place to learn about urban desert vegetable farming, sustainable living, healthy eating, and edible landscaping. The garden prides itself on providing fresh veggies to markets and cafes within blocks of where they were grown.
The Farm at Agritopia is a 15-acre USDA Certified Organic urban farm in the heart of the Agritopia community. Founded on ecological farming principles, farmers here grow a variety of fruits and vegetables year-round and offer produce through: a CSA program, local farmers’ markets, a self-serve farm stand, and several local restaurants. The farm’s mission is to be sustainable, educational, and beautiful. In addition to 100+ crops, sheep, chickens, and honeybees also play an integral role to the ecology of the farm, acting as cultivators, fertilizers, and pollinators.
University of Arizona’s Cooperative Extension offers classes designed to teach job skills and nutrition to homeless men and women in Phoenix.This is a partnership between the Maricopa County Human Services Campus and UA Cooperative Extension. Volunteers and staff offer educational programming twice a month in the campus’s one-acre urban garden.
Arcadia Edible Garden Tour “urban orchards of stone-fruit trees, espaliered apple trees, nut trees, vegetable & herb gardens that use traditional and raised bed techniques, berry hedges, pollinator gardens of mixed beds of flowers and edibles, composting systems in a variety of sizes, grey water ponds, and everyone’s favorite – the backyard chicken coops.”
International Rescue Committee (IRC) responds to the world’s worst humanitarian crises. The IRC restores safety, dignity, and hope to millions who are uprooted and struggling to survive and rebuild their lives. The IRC’s New Roots program, “is enabling refugee farmers to revitalize urban spaces, share their homegrown crops at neighborhood farmers markets and rebuild local food systems.”