Urban Farm Tour Broadens Definition of 'Farming'


Image credit: Sammy Slade

From Goat Patrol's urban landscaping to the Quite Contrary After-School Farm, my adopted home town of Carrboro, NC is not short of innovative small-scale agricultural initiatives. Now, to augment the annual regional farm tour that takes town folk out to visit the outlying rural foodshed, Carrboro is also hosting an "urban farm tour" - showing folks what can be grown on their own doorsteps. The result is an enlightening study in creativity - with some unexpected workshop topics included. But is it really farming?Taking in 15 sites showcasing everything from community gardens to private growers, and featuring workshops on everything from lasagna bed preparation (aka no-dig gardening), honey harvesting, and even chicken processing (not one for the vegetarians!), the tour looks set to open some eyes to the potential for a more productive and tasty urban environment. The event will also be used to raise funds for an urban farming tool 'library.'

For some, the term 'farming' might seem odd when applied to community gardens, and even private residences that are growing their own food. But I think the use of the definition here is important. If we're going to find new and sustainable ways to feed the world, we have to give due respect and dignity to those who take responsibility for growing at least some of their own food, let alone food for their neighbors too. And using the term farming helps to do just that - this is more than a hobby. Whether they are paid for it or not, growing food is a part of each and every participant's means of making a living. So whether someone is simply growing a few herbs on their window sill, or growing a ton of produce to trade with neighbors, these are important steps they are taking on the road to sustainability. Maybe we are all farmers now?

The tour will be held on Saturday September 12th. Full details available at Carrboro Greenspace.

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