Community Roots: The Next Frontier for Supplying Local Food
Finding space for one large community garden is not the only option for producing your local food. Community Roots, in Boulder, Colorado, has another creative approach to feeding your hometown.
Kipp Nash links the productive capacity of suburban yards in his Boulder neighborhood to grow enough crops for a CSA. Nash and his group of urban farmers are currently cultivating thirteen gardens in the South Boulder area.
Two churches and eleven families offer their yard space in return for a share of the combined harvest. People who want to partake in the CSA without offering up a lawn pay approximately four hundred dollars for a pile of veggies and fruit that is delivered once a week throughout the five month growing season. Surplus vegetables are sold at the Boulder farmers market or donated to the hungry.
In 2009, five low-income families received a free share in the CSA. Another twenty five families bought a share from the multi-plot farm. “It’s much more than just a producer-consumer relationship. It’s an opportunity…I want to start encouraging people to work together in producing food, sharing food and creating community around growing food,” Nash told the Daily Camera. According to Boulder’s local newspapers, many happy neighbors are excited about the program’s potential, voicing appreciation for the opportunity to learn gardening skills, leave the lawnmower behind, and eat food that supports alternative means of transportation (Nash rides his bike to the different plots around town). “He has changed my life. I now have all of this lush, delicious, gorgeous, mouthwatering food right outside of my door,” says next door neighbor Camille Hook. This momentum is inspiring cooperation between Nash and neighborhood gardeners from other regions as well.
The Community Roots team also helps people implement the neighborhood supported agriculture model across the country. People who are interested in establishing their own “NSA” can participate in an apprenticeship program and develop the necessary skills for a successful enterprise. Apprentices learn everything involved, from start up costs to marketing and planting crops. Further afield, the organization hopes to tackle climate change and dependence on industrial agriculture, promoting urban farms through a Community Roots Institute.
This post first appeared at Food First, AKA the Institute for Food and Development Policy – which works to eliminate the injustices that cause hunger.
photo credit: istock
By Heather Quinlan