Lacking the time to study up on the latest New Urbanism manifesto? A visit to Raleigh City Farm, of Raleigh, North Carolina, may provide a substantially accurate visual summary. This eight-week-old, 1.3 acre “social enterprise” is picturesquely situated between Peace College and Historic Mordecai neighborhood, granting the urban farm a ten-minute walk from the heart of downtown Raleigh. This environmental non-profit, brainchild of social entrepreneur Josh Whiton, seeks eventual economic sustainability through its food and service revenue, and is certainly en route.
By virtue of a bona fide urban planning fairy tale, Raleigh City Farm is profoundly rejuvenating the city it serves. The farm’s lot was charitably allocated by the Triangle Land Conservancy and shares the parking lot of Person Street Plaza; a vacant for years, mixed-use building hankering for business. The plaza’s hunger for progress will soon be assuaged, as three local businesses- The Market, Escazu, Yellow Dog Bread Company- plan to relocate there. The Market; an eclectic, bodega-type neighborhood restaurant, will well-nigh subsidize Raleigh City Farm through a primary utilization of the farm’s produce. The farm is to provide a majority of the eatery’s ingredients. Only now, in the budding episodes of the project’s conception, an ecosystem is forming.
“This is so cool” is the sweetly terse verbalism of Lisa Sluder, Raleigh City Farm’s head farmer. She’s right. Volunteer coordinator Ryan Finch provides prescient reasoning for the air of optimism that encapsulates the farm. She recounts the 25 to 30-person volunteer load- a norm for a popular day, the urbane support from City of Raleigh government, the numerous urban planners and landscape architects touched by the project, the neighborly donations from local business and citizenry, the educational group visits, the cardboard-requesting twitter post that resulted in a cardboard mountain gift the next morning. Community enthusiasm will be the farm’s champion ancillary.
Where will the Raleigh City Farm sit in history? Member of an intermittent trend or signpost of a sustainable future?
Credits: Images and data linked to sources.