San Diego, California is helping urban gardeners grow more food in the city. In 2011 and 2012, the San Diego City Council relaxed the permitting process for community gardens and for the farming of chickens, goats, and bees. This week, Food Tank highlights ten innovative urban farming organizations working in San Diego.
City Farmers Nursery was founded in 1972 as a family-owned garden store and nursery. In recent years, City Farmers has become a resource for information and training on urban farming techniques, particularly for the backyard chicken community.
Herb en Routes began in 2012 as a micro-farm on a small vacant lot; the farm was designed to provide fresh seasonal produce to local restaurants. Now, Herb en Routes has transformed into an urban community garden that hosts urban agricultural classes and farm dinners.
The International Rescue Committee’s New Roots Community Farm provides refugee and low-income communities with a place to farm. In the City Heights neighborhood, 85 refugee families have a place to use their home countries’ farming practices to reconnect with nature and increase their food security.
San Diego Foodscaping connects people interested in edible landscaping and organic urban farming. By providing informational resources and direct consulting, San Diego Foodscaping guides community members to create beautiful and productive home landscapes.
The San Diego Roots Sustainable Food Project brings together individuals concerned about the food system for fun educational programs that encourage the cultivation and consumption of locally grown food. The project also offers weekend workshops on a variety of gardening concepts and field trips to local farms for urban students.
The San Diego Sustainable Living Institute uses consulting, design, and hands-on education programs to push San Diego towards a sustainable future. With a focus on permaculture and water harvesting, this nonprofit strives to reduce water consumption and increase San Diego’s reliance on urban gardens.
Seeds@City Urban Farm offers field training in an attempt to encourage young people to join the urban farming community. Since 2008, this one-acre farm attached to San Diego City College has coordinated classes for students and volunteer days for the general public.
SMARTS Farm is a community garden and learning center in a once vacant lot in the East Village of San Diego. Run by Humane Smarts, a local nonprofit dedicated to providing youth with access to the arts and gardening community, this small farm leases garden plots to community members and offers environmental education programs to help youth connect to nature.
SoCal Urban Farms creates and distributes small-scale vertical gardens, which addresses growing concerns about urban land scarcity and soil deprivation. SoCal aims to help homeowners produce sustainable and healthy food with little space and poor soil.
UrbanLife Farms works at the nexus of youth unemployment, hunger, and sustainability. UrbanLife buys vacant lots in San Diego on which they create urban farms that provide 16,000 meals each year to neighborhood youth. At the same time, UrbanLife hires local youth to work on these farms, providing young people from underserved communities with job training and seasonal employment.