Communities across the world are strengthening their connection to fresh, local food by participating in the thriving urban agriculture movement, and the capital city of Texas is no exception. Food Tank has found ten urban agriculture projects in Austin, Texas that should not be missed:
1. Austin Urban Farm is located in the heart of Austin, a mile east of the state capital building. The farm offers heirloom produce year-round and free range poultry semi-annually. Soil fertility at the farm is maintained by a “simple organic rotation system utilizing cover crops, poultry manure, and onsite composting.”
2. Boggy Creek Farm, maintained and cared for by two native Texans, is surrounded by housing subdivisions, schools, and shops. The urban farm produces both cool and hot weather crops, which are sold at a nearby farm stand or at a local Whole Foods. Boggy Creek also offers difficult-to-find specialty crops grown right in Austin, eliminating the need for costly transportation.
3. Compost Pedallers is a 100 percent bike-powered compost recycling project in Austin. Compostables from homes and commercial businesses are collected and redistributed by bike to urban farms and community gardens where it will be used to grow more local food. The program intends to reduce waste, strengthen the local food system, and connect the community through more sustainable practices.
4. HausBar Urban Farm & GuestHaus is dedicated to sustainability. Solar panels over a barn provides the whole farm with 90 percent of its electricity, and a rainwater capture storage system is used to drop irrigate the crops. The farm even forgoes gas-powered equipment for its own pair of donkeys. With its 51 hand-dug vegetable garden beds, HausBar Farm is a testament to sustainable growing.
5. The HOPE Community Farm is part of the HOPE campaign to “provide a direct line from urban farm to neighborhood market.” Produce grown at the farm by community members is sold at the HOPE Farmers Market, which also offers surplus product from backyard gardens and produce from a number of local farms.
6. Moray Farms is a start-up still in the process of building the first vertical farm in Austin. Utilizing limited space and LED technology, the farm will grow organic, pesticide-free produce in a controlled hydroponic environment. This efficient and minimum-waste model farm is projected to produce the equivalent of a 10- to 15-acre conventional farm.
7. Natural Springs Garden, LLC is a small, family-owned and operated urban farm located in Northwest Austin. NSG uses no synthetic fertilizers or pesticides in their farming of 80 varieties of vegetables, fruits, and herbs. Since its start in 2009, NSG has enriched its local community with a steady source of fresh produce that is sold to residents at their Farm Store.
8. Springdale Farm, a family-operated urban farm in East Austin, grows over 75 seasonal vegetable varieties that they sell at the public farm stand. The farm is committed to “growing produce for anyone in the area interested in eating fresh, local food.” Their homegrown produce is available to nearby Austin residents and also supplies fourteen local restaurants.
9. Urban Patchwork is Austin’s first nonprofit neighborhood farming network. Dedicated to Community Supported Agriculture (CSA), Urban Patchwork helps Austin residents convert their unused yards into farmland by planting produce. In exchange for use of the land, residents and business have access to free fresh vegetables. The organization has expanded to include farm start-up programs, workshops, training, and home food production courses.
10. Urban Roots is a nonprofit organization that seeks to “transform the lives of young people and increase access to healthy food in Austin.” The group offers paid internships to youth to work on the Urban Roots sustainable farm in East Austin. Farm Interns learn about sustainable urban growing and turn out 30,000 pounds of produce every year, 40 percent of which is sent to local food pantries and soup kitchens and the other 60 percent of which is sold at farmers’ markets.