Urban farm program in Portland gaining national recognition
Posted August 11
Portland, OR — Portland is getting national recognition as a model for training urban farmers.
The United States Department of Agriculture's Under Secretary Ann Bartuska took a tour Thursday morning at the Learning Garden Laboratory in southeast Portland.
The Beginning Urban Farmers Apprentice program is seven months long. It offers small-scale farming education to the next generation of farmers.
Students get to learn basic skills in vegetable and fruit production, as well as small-scale agriculture.
"Eighty percent of the American public live in urban areas, and the increasing interest in fresh local foods, the fact that we want to connect food to where people are and get really high quality nutritious food as quickly as possible, has really created an interest in urban farming," said Bartuska. "We've had a long history in the United States of community gardens but we're now taking it beyond the subsistence type garden to something that actually allows us to get economic return, farm stands, developed products, restaurants, et cetera."
Bartuska says programs like this one are picking up across the country in both small and big cities.