Posted October 10th 2012 at 3:31 pm by
in citychat

#citychat No. 6 : Financing an Urban Farm

Join #citychat on October 18th at 2:00 p.m. Eastern Time via this link . #citychat is an open twitter conversation about cities held on the 3rd Thursday of each month. Each chat is on a different topic.

#citychat No. 6 : Financing Urban Farms

A Concrete Jungle volunteer picks pears. The group donated nearly 600 pounds of pears to the hungry after they finished picking that day.

October’s #citychat is going to be a collaborative, crowd-sourced brainstorm on creative ways for small urban farms and sustainable food ventures to grow and finance themselves. One farm in particular is looking for your ideas: Concrete Jungle of Altanta, Georgia.

The City of Atlanta is overflowing with unclaimed fruit. Sidewalk trees, office park trees, and even people’s backyard trees bear thousands of pounds of delicious fruit each year, but often no one bothers to pick them. Craig Durkin and Aubrey Daniels founded Concrete Jungle in 2009 because they wanted to get that bounty to people who could not afford fresh produce. Every weekend during Atlanta’s long and lush growing season, Craig and Aubrey and their volunteers go out in search of these fruits. They pick what they find and deliver it to homeless shelters and food banks for free. Their operation is 100% volunteer-run. By the time this chat takes place, Concrete Jungle will have donated an impressive 10,000 pounds of food.

Today, Concrete Jungle is at a turning point. Recognizing a growing demand for fresh fruit and an opportunity to expand farming and foraging operations, Craig and Aubrey are contemplating scaling up. But how? They want to figure out a way to be sustainable without compromising their main mission of gathering, growing, and delivering fresh produce to those who can’t afford it. What do you think? Should Concrete Jungle sell a portion of its bounty? Should it seek grant funding? Should it explore cooperative ownership models? Should it maintain its current model? One thing is already clear: “We don’t want to be an organization that just lives off of grants,” said Craig.

If you are involved in urban farming anywhere in the world, please come to this #citychat to tweet your ideas and experiences.

#citychat is on Thursday, October 18th at 2:00 p.m. Eastern Time (1:00 p.m. Central, 12:00 noon Mountain, 11:00 a.m. Pacific). @MITCoLab will introduce @cjungle, and then we’ll start brainstorm. @the_curioscity will be there to moderate the discussion and ask follow up questions. @the_curioscity came up with this incredible idea for a brainstorm #citychat.

UPDATE: This chat transcript is now available.

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