Urbandale Farm, the first non-profit urban farm in Lansing, Michigan, has been awarded $90,209 by USDA-Farmers Market Promotion Program.
The two year grant, administered by Allen Neighborhood Center (ANC), will be used to 1) increase access to affordable fresh produce for the Urbandale Neighborhood by developing various marketing strategies, including a mobile “veggie cart” run by youth in the summer; 2) increase the number of growers who raise and market fresh produce in Lansing on otherwise vacant land through a six-month farm apprenticeship program targeted to young adults from the neighborhood; and 3) catalyze additional urban farms in Lansing by working with partner organizations focused on food security, land use, job creation, and community development.
Urbandale farm established spring 2010 is the first project of the Lansing Urban Farm Project (LUFP), a Michigan non-profit recently co-founded by Laura DeLind and Linda Anderson. Urbandale is a neighborhood bounded by I-496, I-127, Kalamazoo, and Clemens, and is located in one of Lansing’s most flood-prone areas. Farming began on an a half acre of vacant land in the Urbandale neighborhood on Lansing’s Eastside. The land is being leased from the Ingham County Land Bank. The project also works closely the Allen Neighborhood Center, an organization that serves as a hub for community development on the Eastside of Lansing.
Established in the 1920’s Urbandale was the first suburb of Lansing to provide affordable housing for auto workers, the neighborhood consists of large lots with mature trees, a mix of long-time and recent residents, and, increasingly, vacant lots and empty houses. Today, development is limited because of the area’s flood-plain status and urban agriculture is one way to tranform vacant lots into productive and welcoming spaces. At Urbandale Farm, neighbors have been involved in every stage from cleaning up the lot last spring through final fall harvests. The farm is beginning to serve as a commons where neighbors meet each other and a neighborhood block party has been planned. The new USDA grant will support the farm as it continues to grow both food and community in this historic neighborhood.
Other LUFP collaborators include The Garden Project (of the Greater Lansing Food Bank) and The City of Lansing’s Office of Planning and Neighborhood Development.
For more information, call us at 517-999-3916.