Green America: Growing the Green Economy for People and the Planet

Raleigh City Farm
Raleigh, NC

Congratulations to Summer 2012
People & Planet Award winner Raleigh City Farm!

Raleigh City Farm is a commercial urban farm growing food made from local rain, local compost, and local sunshine. We believe that every city needs an urban farm to reduce waste, improve our health, and deepen the connection we urbanites have to our own food supply.  We see urban agriculture as a major upgrade to city life. The need is great and the time is now.  

We are working to change the industrial food paradigm that predominates today. We are working to endow the human being with their former power to know what real food looks like, where to find it, and even how to call it up out of the ground themselves. We are doing this by the surprisingly simple act of responsibly growing and selling lots of real food, hyper-locally.

The farm is located less than a mile from Raleigh’s city center in a highly visible, formerly vacant lot along a busy corridor. An estimated 15,000 people pass by the farm site each day, each person becoming suddenly aware, if they didn’t already know, that a city’s food doesn’t have to come from the country or far away. Underutilized urban spaces everywhere can be put to better use.

herbs
squash
zucchiini

RCF offers an opportunity for (and depends on) our local residents and businesses to participate. Each week volunteers descend on the farm to help expand and maintain it, learn about food, urban agriculture, and build community. Our weekly farm-stand offers fresh, organically grown produce and has been a hit with residents, giving them a chance to take home some of the local-est food ever while providing us with critical revenue. We also serve as a field-trip destination for neighboring elementary and middle schools, universities, and assisted living centers. After all, food, the well-being of the planet, and a regenerative economy are important to everyone regardless of race, gender, background, or age.

We have already become a part of, and catalyst for, the local economy. We supply a growing number of restaurants who want to send a message of corporate responsibility to their customers. We partner with many local business to re-use byproducts and would-be waste such as wood, coffee bags, cardboard, and newspapers, which to us means building supplies for our growing-beds. And three local businesses became so excited about our farm that they decided to move into the long-vacant shopping center next door.

We still have a long way to go till we are growing as much food as we can, as responsibly as we can. Funding from the Green Business Award will help us take our next green step: a rain-water collection and irrigation system. The massive roof of the shopping center next-door can catch enough water for our entire farm but instead all that good water goes down the drain. Funding will help us get the farm growing  entirely on rainwater, reduce storm-water runoff, conserve valuable drinking water, and secure the farm’s water supply in a location that suffers moderate to severe drought conditions every year. (See photos of the farm at the Raleigh City Farm Flickr stream.)