Raleigh, N.C. — The nonprofit group that planted an urban farm in a vacant lot on Blount Street is urging the City of Raleigh to ease up on restrictions so more community gardens can sprout up in downtown Raleigh.
Urban farming is a growing trend across the nation. Supporters say community gardens should be cultivated in Raleigh, and they plan to take the issue to Tuesday's City Council meeting.
The city currently requires a special permit and $200 fee to develop a community garden.
But Erin White says the city should loosen those rules to grow downtown Raleigh residents's access to fresh, healthy food – especially in light of the impending closings of two Kroger stores in southeast Raleigh.
People in the neighborhoods impacted by the Kroger closings "would have a chance to grow their own food and pick their own food," White said.
At Raleigh City Farm, at 800 N. Blount St., volunteers grow kale, carrots, arugula and radishes.
"It provides open space in the city, but not just open space," White said, "productive open space."
Chris Cook lives across the street from the farm.
"I think it has a positive influence on the neighborhood," he said.
The produce is sold to local restaurants. Unfortunately, Cook said, some people think community gardens mean free food for anyone nearby.
"You have a broad, open deal here, and I think some people unfortunately take it to the limit of community garden means free," he said. "(That's) not necessarily true."