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Raleigh group hopes to create farm downtown

Posted January 18, 2011
Updated January 19, 2011

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— In the shadow of downtown Raleigh, City Farm wants to turn a vacant lot into urban agriculture.

It's a trend popping up around the nation, and something Joshua Whiton has seen work in other major cities.

“One of the reasons we are doing this is because the demand for local food is far greater than the supply,” City Farm spokesman Joshua Whiton said.

The founders of City Farm hope to sell their crops to people and restaurants who demand freshness.

Raleigh shopper Judy Hassell said she thinks vegetables would be much fresher and tastier coming from a nearby urban farm.

The group needs up to two acres of land downtown to serve as the farm and home base of operations. They are interested in a plot of land located on the corner of East Blount and North Franklin streets, but zoning issues remain an obstacle. 

Whiton said the group has support from the neighborhood and unlike a large-scale farm, the small plot would barely be noticed.

“With the organic method, you try to get nature to do as much work as possible,” Whiton said. “You don’t need to waste space for big tractor tires to come rolling through. You could have an incredible amount of food.”

Raleigh group want a farm downtown Raleigh group hopes to create farm downtown

J.B. Coats, who was shopping at the nearby Farmer's Market, is open to the idea. 

“I’m for it. I don’t know about it working, but I’m for trying it,” he said.

Whiton said the group hopes to be working on the land this summer.

“It absolutely can happen. As far as urban farms go, every city needs one,” he said.

City Farm wants to eventually have several farms in the city.

“I see the potential to be feeding hundreds of people in this city,” Whiton said.

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  • mswayze Jan 19, 4:22 p.m.

    While I don't recommend spending a bunch of money for it- this could be one way to make it fly-

    http://www.verticalfarm.com/more

    or something like this-

    http://www.roofmeadow.com/technical/benefits.php

    or maybe just a simple NCSU inspired greenhouse similar to this

    http://brightfarmsystems.com/images/77.jpg

    http://brightfarmsystems.com/technology/vertically-integrated-greenhouse

    it has been done-

    http://www.cityfarmer.org/winnipeg.html

    admittedly a niche market and a 'bistro' would probably need to help support it, but fresh locally grown, organic foods. (aquaponics for fish? ;-{p> Kwazai

  • rhess2 Jan 18, 6:07 p.m.

    It sure doesn't take long for crude comments to pop up. I'm surprised WRAL allowed a few of these to be posted, Darius and whatelseisnew. Darius sounds like a racist and whatelseisnew appears to lack compassion.. You both may think your funny, but what you have to say is actually ignorant.

  • Pseudonym Jan 18, 5:42 p.m.

    This would work really well in Detroit or Cleveland. Most of the lots in those cities are vacant. Call it the opposite of urban sprawl.

  • whatelseisnew Jan 18, 5:30 p.m.

    that will be great, The homeless will finally have a bathroom.