Los Angeles Digs In with City Farming
The urban farming company Farmscape is the next revolutionary in the local food movement, aiming to bring agriculture to the city. "One of the things that people don't talk about when they talk about the food system is who is working," states Rachel Bailin, the marketing manager for Farmscape. In an attempt to get their own hands dirty, the young company has begun digging in on sites all over Los Angeles with a dedicated team of workers. "The less-than-four-year-old company has 12 full-time employees-including seven farmers who receive a living wage plus healthcare-and is looking to keep growing," writes Zak Stone. "So far they've installed more than 300 urban farms throughout the L.A. area and maintain 150 of them weekly."
The company runs itself as a business, serving various private clients, but their work has become more of a profitable community service. "'When we first started, we expected that our clients would be of a higher income level and would be two-parent working families,' says Bailin. Instead, Farmscape has been delighted to build gardens for preschool teachers, single mothers, and institutions and businesses that want employee gardens as perks."
Using local farming as their platform, the Farmscape company has chosen to take on a political presence by running for office for the 2013 mayoral election. "Bailin says it's an ironic way of questioning the bounds of "corporate personhood," extended to a corporation's right to free speech by the Supreme Court's ruling on Citizens United in 2010." Ironic or not, the company is serious about its mission to make farming an accessible and beneficial food option for urbanites. Bureaucracy and red tape, Bailin believes, are unnecessary obstacles to spreading her company's mission. Asks Bailin, "If corporations are already deciding our politics by giving a bunch of money and lobbying, why not see if we can take out the middleman that would be the politician and make corporations the politician?"