Agriculture in the hood?

Editorial by Jennifer Sierra

IMG_2818Ever wish we could have farm fresh food right here in the city? There are communities all over the United States that are being built around farms instead of swimming pools, tennis courts and golf courses. These communities are called “Agrihoods“. Usually built in the suburbs, these farms’ focus is to bring farm fresh foods to the community that surrounds them. Much like the community gardens here in Dayton, Kentucky and Bellevue, they are powered by sweat equity but some wealthier communities pay a fee which helps to support farm employees and other aspects of running the business so the residents don’t have to.

Many of these farms don’t just raise tomatoes and corn, often they have chickens, cows and other livestock from which they can get rich resources to feed their families. There are some that incorporate walking trails, healthy retailers in storefronts like yoga shops and bike shops and restaurants that feature the locally grown produce and meats.

For Dayton, Kentucky , this could be the cutting edge identity change that puts this little community on the map. In a community that is trying to find their identity in this fast-changing environment, there has been recent discussion about the direction Dayton is headed and what businesses the city should be trying to attract to revitalize their business district. There is a lot of real estate where houses have burned or been condemned and due to setback restrictions, it is nearly impossible to rebuild on many small lots. This could be a healthy alternative and great use for these, otherwise unusable, lots. These lots could also house small green houses so they can be used most of the year.

Why not strive to take the less fortunate citizens in Dayton and Bellevue from eating processed food that is paid for by food stamps to eating fresh and healthy food provided by their own hard work? Get the schools involved and teach urban kids the skills needed to become a future farmer of America. Beautify our communities. Studies show that kids that garden have better social skills and behavior, improved environmental attitudes, improved group-working skills, increased interest in eating fresh fruits and vegetables, and better grades and attitudes in school.

I would rather look out over a community garden than an empty lot the city has to spend time and money on to maintain. I would rather buy produce from my neighbors to support their organic gardening in our own neighborhood than to buy produce at Kroger and have no relationship with the people that grew the food. I would rather see young kids get their kicks from seeing what they helped grow with their own hands than see them getting into trouble on the street, wouldn’t you?

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