Urban Farm

The Urban Farm is alive and kicking in its fifth growing season! Started in 2010, the Urban Farm, located at 1209 Smith Street in Columbia, is 1.3 acres packed full of vegetables, chickens, native plants, bees, and friendly folks. Two-thirds of an acre is devoted solely to commercial vegetable production.

One goal of the CCUA is to demonstrate that urban farming is an economically viable profession. The first years of any farming operation are full of investing in and building up infrastructure, and we are now closer than ever to turning a profit off of this small, lovely piece of land. It is exciting to realize that not all jobs in the city have to revolve around a climate controlled cubicle and a daily commute. Even vegetables commute; those suckers are shipped here from all over the world. And we live in the Midwest, on top of some of the richest soils in the whole world!

Which leads to another goal of the Urban Farm: to break down the mental disconnect that where we live should be geographically and intentionally distant from where our food is produced. Although this is a relatively new idea (ask your grandma – if she is a Missouri native she most likely grew up with a radically different understanding of where food comes from than youngsters of today), it is terrifyingly pervasive. Do you know that most elementary school kids think that food comes from Hy-vee?! No, it comes from the land! And not just a far-away land: it can come from that old vacant lot around the corner. Stop by the Urban Farm and learn about our intensive production methods and get your own case of urban farming fever.

A few notable details about the place if you just can’t make it (but, really, what’s five minutes?):

  • We are organic; however, we are not certified.  BUT that doesn’t mean that we don’t live and breathe sustainable farming practices. COME OUT to the Farm to get a first hand feel about what being on an ecologically sustainable farm looks and feels like.
  • We love horse poop and (specific forms of) trash. We are ardent composters. We collect food scraps from downtown restaurants and horse bedding from Stephen’s stables and make the original black gold out if it: humus. If you want, we’ll take your personal kitchen scraps to our pile, too.
  • We have bugs! Boy do we have bugs! With so much plant diversity, life is literally crawling back to this 1.3 acre lot. Cityscapes hurt ecosystems because most plants and animals cannot live within the confines of our concrete jungles; but our little farm is turning back into the oasis it used to be.
  • We also have birds: the wild kinds that flock to the farm to eat the bugs (that came in the first place to eat our plants!) and those domesticated kinds, too. That’s right: we have chickens. The City of Columbia Health Department has granted us a variance so that we can house up to 50 birds on our farm. They have lots of grass and veggies to eat and lots of room to stretch their wings. The chickens are easily the biggest stars of our farm and they show it; when it gets hot like it can here, they turn into a bunch of divas.

That is only the tip of the iceberg. Interested in learning more? Stop by or contact carrie@columbiaurbanag.org for more information.

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