Urban Farms in Need of Farmers

Nate Berg explores how the excitement of establishing urban farms and gardens tends to evaporate when the hard work sets in. He profiles one entrepreneur who's trying to fill the gap in dedication and knowledge.
April 30, 2012, 11am PDT | Alesia Hsiao
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There has been a surge of urban gardens and farms cropping up in schools, residences and empty lots across the country. While there is great enthusiasm in creating these small-scale farms, the understanding and the willingness to maintain them has not been met with the same interest, notes Berg.

"For schools especially, I think the process of creating a garden is pretty exciting to people, so they build a coalition who get really excited and everyone shows up for the ribbon cutting at the garden, and then the hard work sets in," says Dan Allen, the owner of Farmscape, a company that helps maintain small-scale farms. "It's not just building the garden and doing that first planting, but also doing the diligent maintenance of the crops."

That's where Farmscape, a company based in the outsourced landscaping capital of the country – Los Angeles – comes in. "The company's website claims its services are comparable to those of 'mow-and-blow' landscapers, but with the added value of an expertise in organic farming techniques. His team – 'half a dozen college-educated 20-somethings' – are filling the void of farmers in a city with a disproportionate supply of urban farms and gardens."

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Published on Tuesday, April 24, 2012 in The Atlantic Cities
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