Urban farming is one way to begin solving the problems of a lack of access to fresh food in many urban neighborhoods. Many people don’t understand there’s a problem, especially in a neighborhood like Garfield, where Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, and Giant Eagle are only a mile or two away. But for those living without access to a car at the top of the Garfield hill in the new subsidized housing, a trip to the supermarket can be a major undertaking. Imagine a single mother with two small children walking down the steep hill to the bus stop, taking the bus to the closest market and back, and then trucking it back up the hill, where busses rarely come, with bags of groceries and those two little kids. Not easy. What is easy is to walk to the only corner store in the neighborhood and get some cheap hot dogs and white bread, maybe a few bags of chips. Options for fresh and healthy food don’t exist.
For the past five year’s Garfield Community Farm and hundreds of other urban farms around the country have been attempting to fill the void of food access in their own urban neighborhoods. Garfield Farm fulfills its mission of getting fresh organic produce to it’s neighborhood through a farmer’s market on the hill top, a 20 family CSA (which includes families from the larger neighborhood) and through donations our produce to a food pantry that is walking distance for many carless families. For many urban farms (really just small or medium sized gardens) the food we grow doesn’t go far enough and so urban farms are partnering with other local farms, non-profits and organizations to create more food access. For Garfield Farm, we purchase produce through the Pittsburgh Food Bank from a variety of other local farms for our market.
Urban farms not only create an access point for healthy food, they also exist for purposes of ecological restoration in abandoned urban areas and educational hubs around nutrition and ecology. Through urban farming, once blighted acreage where drug deals and prostitution constantly took place are becoming like the garden of Eden (on their best days). Of course considerable work is needed consistently to transform a abandoned city lot into a beautiful garden, but work also creates pride and a sense of accomplishment. Urban farms can help youth of a neighborhood take part in something they can be proud of, something they can call their own, but something that is bigger than themselves.
You can get veggies from Garfield Community Farm at our farm stand at Valley View Presbyterian Church on the corner of Aiken and Black Streets in Garfield every Wednesday from 3pm – 7pm starting June 12th.
Bioshelter Market Garden: A Permaculture Farm by Darrell Frey (Feb 1, 2011)
Sepp Holzer’s Permaculture: A Practical Guide to Small-Scale, Integrative Farming and Gardening–With information… by Sepp Holzer (Apr 11, 2011)
Gaia’s Garden, Second Edition: A Guide To Home-Scale Permaculture by Toby Hemenway (Apr 2009)
Permaculture: A Designers’ Manual by Bill Mollison (Dec 1988)
Permaculture: Principles and Pathways Beyond Sustainability by David Holmgren (Dec 1, 2002)
Permaculture One: A Perennial Agriculture for Human Settlements by Bill Mollison, David Holmgren and Earle Barnhart (Jun 1981)
Restoration Agriculture by Mark Shepard (Jan 1, 2013)
Deeply Rooted: Unconventional Farmers in the Age of Agribusiness by Lisa M. Hamilton (Mar 30, 2010)
Rodale’s Ultimate Encyclopedia of Organic Gardening: The Indispensable Green Resource for Every Gardener [Paperback]
The Curious Garden by Peter Brown (Apr 1, 2009)
Over the years GCF has planted and harvested some very uncommon vegetables for our CSA members, and we hope to continue to try new and interesting things in the future. One very successful perennial at the farm has been our Broad Leaved Sorrel. I won’t say it’s been the most popular of additions to the CSA, but I blame that on it’s rarity and not its potential. There seem to be plenty of stories from our CSA members coming back wondering what that sour lettuce was or why their spinach tastes like rhubarb. Some people love it and some people just don’t know what to do with it. Other’s, like my son Micah, will just eat as much as he can right out of the garden!
The newest Mother Earth News magazine has a great article and recipes on sorrel. Check it out. http://www.motherearthnews.com/real-food/sorrel-recipes-zmrz13fmzmat.aspx#axzz2Jg4tFi7R
Our 2013 CSA filled up more quickly and with a more diverse crowd than ever before. If you are wanting a local farm CSA this year check out http://pittsburgh.about.com/od/farm_markets/tp/csa_farms.htm
2013 CSA Program
CSA Mission: The Garfield Community Farm CSA program exists to provide the best quality local produce to people in Garfield and surrounding neighborhoods. We will also provide community engagement, environmental education, and education on holistic healthy living. Our CSA will be intentionally small, relational and neighborhood focused.
CSA Description: A wide variety of vegetables will be harvested and distributed on a weekly basis from our pickup site in Garfield. Each week will include approximately enough vegetables for a family of four for one week. Also available for CSA members will be various culinary and medicinal herbs found throughout the gardens at Garfield Community Farm, members may harvest these on their own as they are ready throughout the year.
Suggested Donation Per Share: $20 per week at 20 weeks totaling $400.00 for a full season. While a donation in full is encouraged before the season starts, participants may opt to pay $100 before the first pick-up of each month. Reserve your share now with your first month’s payment. Contact email@example.com for details.
Working Share: People may agree to work at least five hours every week for the farm and receive a share of the CSA for no cost. These work shares are also limited. Scheduling your work hours is flexible, but at least one morning a week should be available. Most work share participants do a slightly less intense option of three to five hours per week and pay half the cost of a full share.
Hope Share: Individuals and families in the Garfield Neighborhood may be considered for our Hope Share program. Depending on income, families may purchase their share for three-quarter, half or quarter price. Hope Shares are reserved first for Garfield residents. If you receive FMNP or SFMNP checks through the WIC program we can accept these for payment. We expect to also be able to accept SNAP benefits by the spring of 2013.
Time Frame: Mid or late May through Early October
Responsibilities of CSA Members: Our CSA farm is truly a “community supported” farm. It is hoped that each share-holder will volunteer at the farm in addition to paying for their weekly vegetable and fruit allotment.
Pickup: Pickup of all vegetables will take place on Wednesday evenings at our farm stand at Valley View Presbyterian Church located at 601 N. Aiken Ave., Pittsburgh, PA between the hours of 6:00 and 8:00 PM.
First Come, First Serve: While we hope to expand our capacity in future years we will only allow for 15 – 20 CSAmembers in 2013. That means you should sign up with the first month’s payment well before our March 1st deadline.
For the first time we can accept donations for our alternative gift program online! The new website is just now being finished. Here it is http://gifts.garfieldfarm.com
The new site not only allows you to purchase a specific gift for the farm but you can do it in someones name. You will then be able to download a PDF card that you can print and give to your loved one or friend. Please consider a donation, at least check out the website. You can make a $10 donation for seeds or a $100 donation toward our bioshelter. Below is a PDF of the hard copy version. GCF Alt. Gift Brochure 2
Here’s a PDF on solar energy that I prepared for a workshop I’ll lead at the Lamppost Farm fall festival tomorrow. Much of the info on active solar is from Wikipedia, passive solar is from my own experience. Solar Energy Workshop
Starting Tuesday, October 16th John Creasy will be leading a book group at 7:30am. The focus of the group will be food, faith, sustainable systems, permaculture, etc. If you’re interested let us know in the comments section. The first reading will be The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan. We’ll meet at Tazza D’oro on Highland Ave. Come out with the book and the first chapter read.
For the first time Garfield Farm is going to offer an eight week autumn CSA beginning in October and lasting eight consecutive weeks. Last spring we were able to begin our summer CSA, which lasts for 20 weeks, three weeks early. Usually it doesn’t end until mid October. This year it’ll end at the end of September giving us a couple weeks to get the new autumn CSA started. We also have a new 60′ caterpillar tunnel to grow fall crops in this year and we can make as many low tunnels as we want. The CSA’s for the fall will be limited to just 10 families so let us know now if you’re interested. The cost will be $200 per family. Our fall crops will include lots of salad greens, root crops like radishes and turnips, and lots of kale and other cooking greens. We’ll also include some things purchased from some other local farms like apples winter squash. If you’re interested email firstname.lastname@example.org