At one time, the term urban farm sounded like an oxymoron. No longer.
A new movement is sprouting up in America's low-income neighborhoods. Some urban residents, sick of fast food and the scarcity of grocery stores, have decided to grow good food for themselves.
One of the movement's (literally) towering icons is Will Allen, 62, of Milwaukee's Growing Power Inc. His main 2-acre Community Food Center is no larger than a small supermarket. But it houses 20,000 plants and vegetables, thousands of fish, plus chickens, goats, ducks, rabbits and bees.
People come from around the world to marvel — and to learn. Says Allen: "Everybody, regardless of their economic means, should have access to the same healthy, safe, affordable food that is grown naturally."
The movement's aim is not just healthier people but a healthier planet. Food grown in cities is trucked shorter distances. Translation: more greenhouses in the 'hood equals less greenhouse gas in the air.
Just as important, farm projects grow communities and nourish hope. The best ones will produce more leaders like Allen, with his credo "Grow. Bloom. Thrive."
Jones, founder of Green for All, is a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress