Local News

Supporters say urban farms can blossom in Raleigh

Posted December 9, 2012

— 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."

Raleigh City Farm Urban farm blooms in downtown Raleigh

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."


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  • sabedo Dec 11, 2012

    The concept of a community garden is great and one that urban areas in Europe have been doing for ages. However, how they do it there is that people "rent" their space in the garden, work it themselves and use what they grow. That concept works great for those in tight, urban living conditions who want to work for their own food and do not have the space. How many people downtown would like their own space to garden? I think a general polling of the community would be helpful here. And some clarification of this being a "government garden" or a "community garden" that people work themselves. I'm not sure the full concept is clear in this article.

  • 2headstrong Dec 11, 2012

    Backyard gardens were the norm when I was growing up. I'm surprised it's even a story that people want community gardens.

    @lindaburton2004: So if someone steals a car parked in front of a house, we're supposed to shrug our shoulders and ask "What did you expect to happen?". Just because something is in the open doesn't make stealing it any less wrong.

  • shortcake53 Dec 10, 2012

    Urban gardens are nothing new. During and after WWII people had Victory Gardens in their yards to suppliment their homes.

  • Barfly Dec 10, 2012

    I didn't know having a grocery store within 2 blocks from one's residence was a constitutional right. Where did the local residents shop prior to Kroger's failed venture? Furthermore, I don't think the local community is losing any sleep over the MLK Kroger's closing. Instead, it's the white apologists and so-called community leaders. Get a grip.

  • IPayYouPay Dec 10, 2012

    Grow things, great! No problem. Farm animals, NO THANKS! Just don't come crying to me because someone got into your yard and stole all your vegetables. I love people who move here and think NOTHING'S EVER GOING TO HAPPEN.... Yeah, right. There's someone in our neighborhood that planted some cabbages on the section between the street and the sidewalk in front of her house...cabbages one day, none the next - What in the world could have happened to them? OMG!

  • MadMaxx Dec 10, 2012

    FEE is the politically correct word for TAX!!!! The city of Raleigh needs to use the proper words for the left to truly understand.

  • btneast Dec 10, 2012

    I'd be leery of leaving my garden just out in the open away from my home for anyone to snatch the veggies whenever they like

    Yep. The concept sounds really nice, but those of us who have been around a while understand the problems this will produce. Just whose garden is it.....who does the work? Who reaps the benefits? Who decides on who can participate? Who keeps up with who works when and for how long? Who pays the taxes on the property? Who settles disputes?

  • mmtlash Dec 10, 2012

    I believe the urban farm would benefit apartment dwellers more so then home owners, as home owners can put a garden in their back yard anytime which is not something you can do in an apt community...although I'd be leery of leaving my garden just out in the open away from my home for anyone to snatch the veggies whenever they like

  • homefree Dec 10, 2012

    I love my garden at home. I'm not sure about all the details in this story. I think several folks have pointed out great questions. Something about this doesn't pass my sniff test. I would like to see the details of how, when, where, who and how much. I would support anyone adding a garden....I just don't understand the difference between a home garden for yourself and a urban garden. Why is there a $200 fee...what is that preventing of helping. There just seems to be more to this story than meets the eye.

  • brotorious Dec 10, 2012

    I would love to live in a place governed by all you people and your great negative ideas. It would be so nice to have a place where there were no parks, creative thinkers are punished, the weak and poor die, and nobody tries to help each other. Oh wait, that sounds like a third world country.