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Thu Feb 13, 2014, 09:37 AM

It Takes a Village: Designing St. Paul’s Frogtown Urban Farm

from Civil Eats:

It Takes a Village: Designing St. Paul’s Frogtown Urban Farm
By Antonio Roman-Alcalá on February 11, 2014

Urban farms are almost a cliché these days. Since the mid-2000s, media attention and increasing grassroots efforts have looked to urban farming as a kind of cure-all, a way to address a whole range of social, ecological, and economic problems facing cities and their residents. While I don’t want to dispute these ideas, I am interested in a more nuanced understanding of what it takes to make an urban farm “work.” How can these farms go beyond the hype? What challenges do urban farms face?

It was these questions that drew me to write about my recent experiences with Frogtown Farm.

In 2009, four residents of the Frogtown neighborhood of Saint Paul, Minnesota, had a “crazy vision.” They wanted to turn a 12-acre site of a former convent into a park and farm, for the benefits of food security, inter-cultural education, and the green space needs of the community’s children. They took action, talked to their neighbors, and petitioned both the foundation that owned the unused land and the city of St. Paul to support their vision.

The Frogtown neighborhood of St. Paul is, by statistical accounts, low-income, but it isn’t a “food desert.” There are plenty of ethnic grocery outlets and the Hmong immigrants in St. Paul are some of the most active urban and peri-urban farmers in the country. While there are many home gardens and a recent upsurge in small-scale urban farming projects, however, Frogtown Farm will be the largest single public farm site in St. Paul by far. ...................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://civileats.com/2014/02/11/it-takes-a-village-designing-the-frogtown-urban-farm/#sthash.NdK19t2M.dpuf

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