The Alleycat Acres urban farming program impacts public land management and local food security by cultivating 4 urban farmsteads on 40,172 square feet of city owned land. We provide accessible gardening space, free organic community produce, and education opportunities. In 2019, we will engage more than 1000 people in 224 community work days, and over 100 hours of diverse educational programs. We are creating a new model for community directed public space activation and urban agriculture. The Village Community Garden specifically works within Monica’s Village Place, an affordable housing community serving predominantly African American families, including 46 children. We are expanding community centered programming, including meals, harvest hours, and produce distribution, as well as seeking to hire a resident Community Liaison to lead these programs.
Food is more than what we eat: it’s a medium through which we can forge intimate, meaningful relationships between people and place. Farming is a medium that reconnects us, both mentally and physically, to our surroundings. We believe urban food systems are key in creating healthy communities. Issues surrounding food production and access – and urban land use, for that matter – are wide and many. We believe each and everyone of us has a powerful story to tell based on our experiences and the lives we’ve lived. We seek inclusivity because we know our stories, once discussed, can lead to powerful change – and to creating new relationships between people who’d never normally meet.
Our initial TPP seed grant came in the midst of the initial build out of the Village Community Farm. Over the grant period, we added an additional 9,500 square feet including a native pollinator garden, herb spiral, wildflower hedgerow, and 5 additional raised beds. We have engaged over 200 volunteers and program participants in 104 weekly gatherings, including 28 resident children, for over 352 program hours. We donated 1,862 pounds of produce, served 6 community meals in the garden, hosted 1 pollinator education workshop. TPP funding directly supported the plants, design, and installation for our native perennial pollinator garden – as well as our educational workshop to share the importance of supporting wild pollinators within our community.
Follow up funding has allowed our volunteer-led team to invest directly in a community member who will be empowered to lead community events in the garden, solicit resident feed back and input on future programs and plantings, and to develop a produce distribution system for building residents. We look forward to securing sustainable funding to continue offering economic empowerment to community members who will lead garden developments and creative space-making endeavors long term. These seed funds are a critical first step to open the position and center power within the resident community.