When planning out what you’re cooking for dinner, you probably don’t hesitate to include fresh fruit and vegetables on the menu. Whether you buy them from your grocery store or from the produce stand that’s on the way home from work, chances are, you have that option. For some folks, specifically those living in urban areas, fresh produce is a luxury that is hard to come by.
A food desert is described as a geographic area where community members have low access to affordable and healthy food options (fresh fruit and vegetables). According to the USDA, 2.3 million people in the United States live over a mile away from a supermarket and don’t have access to a car. This creates many issues within the community relating to nutrition and overall health.
The good news is urban farmers are working to bring an end to this problem, right in our backyard.
Fresh Perspectives Top 100 honoree, Allison Boyd, Coordinator of Farm Alliance of Baltimore, is helping the city by revitalizing blighted neighborhoods, creating educational and job opportunities, and providing fresh, affordable produce to low-income Baltimoreans.
The Farm Alliance of Baltimore is a network of urban farms, spread over 15 acres of formerly vacant land, with the same vision for the city they love. Member-growers, with the vast majority being young, beginning or minority farmers, are united by practices and principles that are environmentally, socially and economically just. They value being good stewards of the land and the Chesapeake Bay by utilizing farming methods that reduce runoff and erosion, improve soil quality and create green landscapes amidst a concrete jungle.
“We are creating a model for urban revitalization through food and farming and educating and inspiring the next generation of food producers and advocates,” says Allison.
The Alliance expects to continue to grow and expand, and has plans to build a farm incubator site within the city limits that would serve as a full service farm training site for beginning farmers.
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