BY SHELLEY SEALE
10.18.11 | 01:45 pm
Urban farming is pretty big in the grassroots-friendly city of Austin. We have dozens of farms within city limits and many more in the surrounding areas, an abundance of farmers markets from which to choose (and some great farmhouse delivery services that bring nature’s bounty straight to your home).
But eating real, organic food that hasn’t been processed, sourced from local farmers and artisans, isn’t granola or trendy. Our grandparents would have simply called it food; it’s only been since World War II that the mass-produced, processed, packaged grocery items, junk food and fast food have exploded and become so commonplace.
Besides being healthy for those of us who prefer to eat from locally produced foods, urban farming is quietly doing something even grander. It’s working on ending hunger in America.
Urban agriculture is the practice of cultivating, processing and distributing food in or around a village, town or city—and it’s turned into a revolution. The documentary Urban Roots chronicles the movement in Detroit, one of the most blight-ridden cities in the U.S. Detroit has lost more than half its population since the 1950s, going from close to two million to around 900,000 people in the space of decades. With the urban flight and relocation from the rust belt came thousands of abandoned buildings and vacant lots—more than 100,000 of them. Urban food pioneers have transformed many of those into farms to feed the community, taking the abandoned tracts of land and growing food on them to feed the community and combat hunger.
“Feeding a person for one moment isn’t really doing anything about getting rid of the systemic issues,” says one urban farmer in the documentary. People in Austin agree, and we have several similar such operations in our own backyard. You may not know about these people, but trust me—you should….read about Urban Patchwork, Genesis Gardens and more at http://austin.culturemap.com/newsdetail/10-07-11-18-48-how-urban-farming-can-end-hunger/
We are thrilled and honored to announce that the Paradox Players, one of Austin’s premier community theater groups, is generously donating one performance of their final production of the season to Urban Patchwork as a fundraiser. Please support your neighborhood farm by purchasing a ticket to this wonderful production and by sharing the opportunity with you friends and neighbors!
ABOUT THE SHOW:
Guest Artist – October 20th, 8pm
Written by Jeff Daniels | Directed by Karen Jambon
A funny and touching drama about what happens when a young man meets his washed-up idol in a small town bus station. Truth happens as each stumbles upon his own profound self-discovery. A semi-autobiographical drama by the much-acclaimed film and TV actor, Jeff Daniels. Directed by Karen Jambon.
Joe Penrod – Harris
Tyler Jones – Kenneth
Craig Kanne – Ticketmaster
TICKETS: $20 Online – click the “Buy Tickets Here!” image —-> (includes a special reception with refreshments)
We’re expanding our neighborhood food plots and need your help! What better day to do it than on October 1st. The weather will be incredible, and you’ll be joining thousands of others across the nation working together to be the change we want to see in the world.
On Saturday, October 1st, the people of Austin will once again join together to serve their community as part of the Be the Change National Day of Service. Inspired by Mahatma Gandhi’s famous quotation, “You must be the change you wish to see in the world,” Be the Change takes place every year on or near Gandhi’s October 2nd birthday. Started at the University of Michigan eleven years ago, Be the Change has grown into a volunteer and leadership development program that attracts thousands of volunteers across the country. In 2010, nearly 3,500 volunteers participated in fifteen cities and on over sixty college campuses nationwide.
2011 Violet Crown Spring Festival
Saturday, May 7, 2011, 11 a.m.–6 p.m.
6701 Burnet Road Market, Austin, Texas
Blooms! Sprouts! Repotting! Spring is the time, and the Violet Crown Festival is doing some “repotting,” too! The festival will be held on May 7 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. at a brand-new location – the new 6701 Burnet Rd. Market (formerly known as the Travis County Farmers’ Market). Admission is free.
The festival – staged by Violet Crown Community Works (VCCW) and sponsored by Amy’s Ice Creams, Burnet Road Self-Storage, Grande Communications, The Pilates Center of Austin, and the 6701 Burnet Rd. Market, will feature arts and crafts vendors, family fun, children’s activities, live music, refreshments, and a very special event — the grand opening of the new farmer’s market.
Other offerings include a raffle; spin art; art-car-building participation; and gardening demonstrations/information from Urban Patchwork.
Refreshment vendors include Amy’s Ice Creams, Elsi’s Restaurant, and Hat Creek Burger Co., as well as delicious roasted corn and sausage wraps.
There are still opportunities for arts, crafts, and refreshment vendors. For information on vending, contact Mona Prater at email@example.com.
This spring’s festival is the 11th neighborhood event VCCW has coordinated since 2003. The event will again showcase the best of local music, food and arts; neighborhood history; community resources; and family activities. Proceeds from the festival will benefit Urban Patchwork, a Violet Crown-based non-profit CSA (community-support agriculture) dedicated to making local, natural food affordable and accessible for all of Austin.
Local community and church groups are invited to sponsor a family activity and have an information table, and local artist/crafters are encouraged to reserve a booth.
[exerpt]..If we want to encourage urban farming, we should find a way to make it more feasible by offering farmers fair water prices that reflect the way that they actually use water…[end exerpt]
In the city of Austin, you pay for most of the water you use twice: once when it comes into your house and once when it goes out. Your water bill covers the costs of extracting water from Lake Austin or Town Lake, filtering it and treating until it is clean enough to drink and delivering it to your home. Your wastewater bill covers the costs of cleaning the water you’ve used and getting it up to EPA standards before it is released back into the Colorado River. Since wastewater is much dirtier than lake water, wastewater treatment costs the Austin Water Utility more than drinking water treatment. Consequently, most people find that their wastewater bills are higher than their water bills.
Paige Hill, Founder, Urban Patchwork Neighborhood Farms
All my life I have had an innate connection with nature and an awareness of how impossible it is for humanity to dominate it or separate from it, no matter how hard we try. My hope is that we stop trying.
We envision all of Austin covered in a network of community-focused neighborhood farms that everyone considers as an abundant primary food source. In this future, the power of community and a collective dedication to everyone having access to healthy, safe, affordable food is the answer to our current failing food systems. read more…
Farmer’s Blog (Flog?): Keith McDorman with Urban Patchwork
Keith and I met at Johnson’s Backyard Garden when Travis and I started as interns. Keith was halfway through his internship. He had come back to the States after a stint in Jamaica with the Peace Corps. He was then and he remains one of the most dedicated, hardworking people I’ve met.
I grew up in the countless miles of suburbs that surround Los Angeles. In that place I learned that food comes from grocery stores. The cows down the street (Chino’s once lucrative dairy industry) simply gave our city its reputation – an olfactory impression that wafted to the wrinkled noses of our closest neighbors. It was a city of CAFOs (Confined Animal Feeding Operations) and I learned absolutely nothing about them, save for the fact that they smelled horrid and brought with them a pestilence of flies every summer….