The Urban Farm
“A person who undertakes to grow a garden at home, by practices that will preserve rather than exploit the economy of the soil, has his mind precisely against what is wrong with us.... What I am saying is that if we apply our minds directly and competently to the needs of the earth, then we will have begun to make fundamental and necessary changes in our minds. We will begin to understand and to mistrust and to change our wasteful economy, which markets not just the produce of the earth, but also the earth's ability to produce.”
-Wendell Berry Think Little from A Continuous Harmony: Essays Cultural & Agricultural
Wendell Berry once described eating as an Agricultural act. We agree. As we become more aware of this intrinsic connection, the necessity of understanding where our food comes from becomes extremely vital. Eating Local has joined Organic as an important criterion for learning how to behave responsibly and sustainably. Indeed, ‘eating local’ is a political act. This ideal, together with the understanding that the need to preserve vanishing prime agricultural land is vital, has the potential to shape how we reassess our Urban Spaces.
The Urban Farm is a model for alternative urban land use where people grow food, work together, take care of the land, and build community. Throughout its 35-year history, the Urban Farm has been a place and a process, integrating biological, ecological, economic and social concerns.
The class is a hands–on experience where students learn by doing. We refer to several organic gardening philosophies: basic NW French Raised Bed Intensive, Steve Solomon's approach, Ruth Stout and Uday Balwalker's composting in situ/no-till method as well as the introduction and education of issues relating to Sustainable Agricultural practices. These issues include: Bio-Dynamics, Bio-Intensive Farming, Community Supported Agriculture, Food Justice, Herbal Medicine, Plant and Soil Science, Plant Morphology, Protection of Heirloom Plant Varietals and Social Justice.
Complimenting the work done on site, Urban Farm students are introduced to and interact with the vibrant local agrarian community of Lane County. This place-based experiential learning opportunity gives students a unique perspective of their local foodshed and how food shapes how and where they live.