This community composting initiative uses “compost hubs” throughout Los Angeles, CA to educate the public on the importance of compost, gather communities to work and play together, and connect people with the soil that feeds them. Learn more at LA Compost’s website.
This diversified organic farm hosts the first community supported agriculture (CSA) initiative in China. Located in a village just northwest of Beijing, Little Donkey Farm’s CSA has hundreds of members, while several hundred more families rent small plots of land from the farm – giving them a place to take a break from the city and plant their own gardens. ￼￼￼To learn more, listen to the NPR story How Community Supported Agriculture Sprouted In China.Photo byEdward Sanderson,(CC BY 2.0)
Comprised of designers, farmers and engineers, the Meconomica team is working to bring agriculture to the city of Kiev. They do so by developing garden projects in public spaces and offices — introducing micro-farms, permaculture, and vertical gardens — as well as by offering interactive urban gardening classes for adults and children at Kyiv Farm, one of their micro garden projects. In addition, they work with local farmers in and near Kiev to promote urban farming throughout the region. To learn more, visit http://meconomica.com/urbanfarmingukraine. Photo courtesy of Meconomica
In 2005, in the face of rapidly increasing land values, urban sprawl, and farmland development pressures, the forward-thinking Mouans-Sartoux town council purchased an old farm estate that was slated for development, and has since designated over 100 hectares of land in the area as protected farmland. The municipality also set a goal that 100% of the food served in their three public school cafeterias should be local and organic. To help meet this ambitious target, the local council updated their procurement policies to make it easier for small producers in the area to meet school catering needs.But even after changing these policies, the supply of local produce was insufficient to meet the town’s needs. So the town took matters into their own hands by growing their own vegetables on the old estate purchased a few years earlier. In 2010 the town hired its first “municipal farmer,” invested in farming and storage equipment, and officially launched its régie agricole municipale or “municipal farming service.” By 2015 the municipally-run farm produced 85% of the organic vegetables used in local school meals. The program reduces food waste by coordinating cafeteria menus with what’s available on the farm, and by processing and storing produce harvested during school holidays. In addition to fresh produce, the municipal farm provides opportunities for school children and young adults to learn about farming and where their food comes from. The farm also sells vegetables at a discount to low-income residents and donates surpluses to the local food bank. To learn more, visit the program’s website (in French) or read the relevant entries in these reports from Access to Land and the Transnational Institute.Photo from Wikimedia Commons; CC BY-SA 4.0
The Multinational Exchange for Sustainable Agriculture, or MESA, is a cross-cultural network of farmers, elders, and educators, who share ancestral knowledge and practical skills with each other to build ecologically sound food systems. The list of their projects is lengthy, but perhaps the most unique is an on-site training program in Oakland, California, geared towards immigrants, refugees, and former prisoners who aspire to be farmers. They also have a two-way exchange program which allows farmers outside the US and inside the US to cross paths and learn from each other’s traditions. MESA’s extensive work can be explored at https://mesaprogram.org/.
Native Seeds/SEARCH (NS/S) is a nonprofit organization working to promote seed diversity and food security in the southwest region of the United States. Founded in 1983 as a humble operation with seeds stored in chest freezers, NS/S now preserves nearly 2,000 varieties of indigenous desert seeds, including many rare and endangered species. To learn more, visit Native Seeds/SEARCH’s website.
This Toronto-based organization creates community around harvesting, sharing, and celebrating local, seasonal fruit. City residents register their fruit-bearing trees with the organization, and it mobilizes volunteers to pick the fruit when it is ripe. The yield is divided evenly between the owner, the volunteers, and people in need. In 2018, Not Far From The Tree donated nearly 8,000 pounds of local fruit to 33 local food banks, shelters, and community kitchens, all delivered by bicycle. To learn more about their work, visit their website – and check out this guide from City Fruit in Seattle to learn how to organize your own urban fruit harvest.
In Holyoke, Massachusetts, US, the urban agriculture organization Nuestras Raíces has grown to include a central farm, a network of 12 community gardens, and a youth program currently working to improve the food served in schools. Founded by Puerto Rican immigrants, Nuestras Raíces brings food and culture together in a tangible way by hosting cultural events at its urban farm ‘La Finca,’ which also hosts training for beginning farmers and spaces for small local businesses. Visit their website for more information.
Zimbabwe Organic Smallholder Farmers Forum & Shashe Agroecology School both work to support smallholder farmers in Zimbabwe as they exchange ideas about agroecology, reconnect with traditional farming practices, and lobby to protect their livelihoods from seed patent laws, the World Trade Organization and transnational corporations. Read the full story in this Medium article.
The Palestinian West Bank is one of the regions where agriculture was first practiced, with many ancient seed varieties native to the area. But lately, Palestinian farming culture has fallen under threat. The Palestine Heirloom Seed Library works to preserve the area’s rare and precious seed varieties, and other aspects of the farming culture, before it is too late. Read the full story in this Medium article.