This is another of several 'urban farming' iniativs in Bflo that hold exciting promise. With many thousands of vacant lots & deep poverty, raising food in the neighborhood holds great promise. And this project is being done by 'professionals' who know what they are doing, making risk of failure much less than many well intentioned projects . . .
From Bflo Rising:
Farm Fresh and For Sale at Vermont and West
Today, 12:01am By West Coast Perspective
A group of young horticulturalists are planning an urban garden on the west side and will be selling their bounty on site. Prep work is underway at the organic farm and it promises not to be your run-of-the-mill tomato, lettuce and green bean patch. The project at the northeast corner of Vermont Street and West Avenue will be much more.
“Curbside Croft” will be an urban farm (croft = small farm), the idea of Matthew Barnhardt, Justin Fundalinski, Brandon Majewski and Emily Gadanyi. All are college graduates and work in the landscape design field. Their goal is to create a close relationship between the neighborhood and the farm both as a food source and informational resource.
They are leasing the vacant lot from a long-time resident and anticipate acquiring other lots so they can increase their acreage, yields and profits.
Their vision has been in the design and planning phase for a year. They will have wash stations, an on site cooler for storage, storage area, and mini-greenhouse. Rain barrels and cisterns will be used for irrigation.
“The vegetables will be mainly heirloom types,” says Gadanvi, a graduate of the Ontario School of Horticulture, one of the best in North America. “The purpose of these selections will be to encourage genetic diversity, recapture taste and other qualities sacrificed by hybrids meant to withstand long-distance travel and for food security purposes.”
“We also hope to experiment with several ethnic crops, suited to the Northeast, that would be desirable for some of the international or refugee populations in the neighborhood,” adds Gadanvi.
Curbside Croft will be employing various permacultural methods such as no-till, 'lasagna style' beds, formed in modular shapes to maximize space efficiency. They will be growing as many of their own materials - natural insecticides, stakes, etc. Perennial plantings will be mixed with annuals, as encouraged by permaculture authorities.
Several features are intended to make this venture unique. They plan to sell their produce on-site as opposed to other markets and venues. This way, neighbors who lack access to vehicles can walk to the farm site. They are also planning to sell to local stores, markets and others.
There will be a floral aspect to the venture - cut flowers and bouquets will help keep the food costs low for customers. They have already talked to a floral shop interested in their products.
The City and neighbors are on board as well. Niagara District Council Member David Rivera supports the project and sees it as a potential model to be used elsewhere. Last week, the Zoning Board of Appeals signed-off on plans to erect a fruit and vegetable stand on the lot and approved commercial sales.
The core area of the farm has had beds installed utilzing top soil and leaves that have been collected over the past few weeks. Woodchips, compost, alfalfa meal, rabbit droppings and other content will be added creating biologically-active and loamy planting media. Eventually they will be incorporating a vermiculture aspect to their soil management.
“This is truly a one-of-a-kind project,” says Brandon's father, landscape expert Dave Majewski of Premium Services. “It is not the typical ‘feel-good’ city garden project that ends up abandoned and overgrown after three months like so many others. They are making a full 110 percent commitment.”
Get Connected: Emily Gadanyi ( email@example.com )