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US (DC): Urban farm receives $150,000 in seed money

Little more than grass used to grow on the two-acre plot behind a middle school in the District of Columbia where tomatoes, okra and infrastructure for food entrepreneurs will begin cropping up this year.

In a ward of the city with just two grocery stores serving more than 70,000 residents, fresh produce is hard to come by. But the Kelly Miller Farm, which will be situated behind a middle school with the same name, aims to offer much more: youth programs, a community garden accessible to seniors and a commercial kitchen from which area residents can launch food-based businesses.

"It’s like a food system in a box — in one space, in one community," said Christopher Bradshaw, executive director of Dreaming Out Loud. The D.C. food justice nonprofit is partnering with the city and a half-dozen other organizations to run the farm in a way that generates revenue while also meeting the community’s unique needs. "I don’t know too many places combining those things," Bradshaw said.

With $150,000 in seed money from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) — through programs promoting farmers’ markets and specialty crops — and a mix of other local grants, the founders plan to build infrastructure such as hoop houses and a greenhouse while transforming a gutted shipping container into a commercial kitchen space. Construction is scheduled to begin in the spring and be completed by midsummer.

Read more at GreenBiz

Publication date: 3/16/2017



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