Welcome Friends of Urban Food and Farming
The 2020 growing season has begun (please ignore the April snows), and it is time, despite COVID-19 and all its extreme challenges, to share with you what the Lansing Urban Farm Project (LUFP) is doing – virtually and on the ground.
Over the past ten years, LUFP has focused on operating Urbandale Farm and using it as a venue to teach the art of urban agriculture to prospective farmers. In this we have been very successful. Lansing, and especially the Eastside, has become home to many urban farming operations.
At the same time, the economic, political, and social climate for urban agriculture is not as robust as it might be. Small farmers (urban and otherwise) are still quite vulnerable, without secure markets, access to land, irrigation, and support from the wider community of food providers and eaters.
For this reason, LUFP has refocused its energies and resources on improving the visibility and vibrancy of urban farmers and farming across the city. In 2018, we initiated the Lansing Grown campaign as a way to showcase urban farmers and their produce. There is now a Lansing Grown label and about half a dozen farmers who use it. We hope to grow this number.
We are also working with the Ingham County Land Bank, with the Board of Water and Light, with community-based organizations and with the city’s Office of Economic and Neighborhood Development. These partnerships are helping us to increase awareness of the operational and policy needs of Lansing Grown farmers as well as their role in supporting the environmental and economic health of the city and the personal and neighborhood health of its residents. An endowment to help fund this work would be so helpful.
Urbandale Farm is still in operation; again this year under the stewardship of Aliza Ghaffari and Nate Kermiet of Magnolia Farms. They are superb farmers, who are trying to make their living solely from urban farming. This is a hard row to hoe (an accurate metaphor) and the pandemic is making it even harder. LUFP is serving as a clearing house for information and resources. We encourage you to support them too by eating locally, visiting their on-farm markets, and asking for their produce whenever you go out to eat.
We were thrilled to have added several new board members in January: Jane Bush, John Nussbaumer, Anna Mcclurkan, and John Krohn. They have bolstered our collective strength and passion.
In 2020, we will post feature articles on Lansing Grown farmers and urban agriculture generally as well as spotlight continuing and emerging LUFP programs. Be on the lookout for a Lansing Grown brunch sometime this summer, for urban farm tours, and our 5th Harvest Gala scheduled for September 12th. In the meantime, please stay well, shelter in place, wash your hands, and welcome the sunshine and the spring.
Elbow bumps to you all,
The Lansing Urban Farm Project (LUFP) is a Michigan non-profit that seeks to support small and urban farms in the Lansing area and integrate food and farming into larger community building efforts.
Members of House Committee on Agriculture Tour Urbandale Farm
House Committee on Agriculture members Brian Elder (D-Bay City), Cynthia A. Johnson (D-Detroit) and Angela Witwer (D-Delta Township) toured Urbandale Farm with LUFP Board Member, Laura DeLind and Lansing Grown Farmer, Nate Kermiet Tuesday, October 8th.