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Growing crops in the city
Date:10/25/2010

Madison, WI, October 25, 2010 A case study published in the 2010 Journal of Natural Resources and Life Sciences Education by professors at Washington State University studies the challenges one organization faced in maintaining an urban market garden. The journal is published by the American Society of Agronomy.

Since 1995, Seattle Youth Garden Works (SYGW) has employed young homeless individuals or those involved in the juvenile justice system. SYGW offers teens and young adults the opportunity to work, develop social skills, and eventually find stable employment or return to school. Uniting social programs and urban agriculture has been used in many cities with the aim of reducing poverty and increasing food security.

In the past, the organization lacked the resources to plan and implement a successful marketing campaign to maintain their small garden in the South Park Neighborhood of Seattle. With the help of faculty at Washington State University, a method of incorporating Community Supported Agriculture was proposed.

According to the study's authors Mykel Taylor, Doug Young and Carol Miles, the Community Supported Agriculture program allows residents to subscribe to a weekly, delivered box of produce from SYGW's garden for a growing season, usually from May to November. SYGW's eight-year crop rotation plan will utilize their half acre space to provide a variety of crops while adhering to the USDA principles of organic agriculture.

However, the South Park neighborhood is located in a poor, heavily urbanized district. According to the authors, grocery stores that once carried fresh produce have moved from the neighborhood, a term known as food flight. To combat the absence of available produce and the cost of a CSA box, SYGW would donate to the community food pantry along with two other city garden programs.

Although the CSA program was found to be the most practical, other direct marketing alternatives we
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Contact: Sara Uttech
suttech@sciencesocieties.org
608-268-4948
American Society of Agronomy
Source:Eurekalert

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