The land in question
Remember this story? It must not have taken long for the Mayor’s office in Buffalo to realize: “Oh crap, if we don’t let these people farm that empty East Side land, then we’ll be expected to do something with it!” (The city owns this property, as explained in the earlier post and links.) Or maybe they saw some federal funding headed toward urban agriculture projects.
In any case, Mark and Janice Stevens will likely be allowed to lease—not buy—the two acres they want to farm in the heart of the city’s blighted East Side. Even though the Stevenses won’t own the land, there will be a lot of scrutiny on any attempt by the city to take it back; they would have to have a plan ready to put into action. Most of us are thinking—hmm, not very probable.
As the land is not plowable at this time, the couple is planning to use raised beds, outlining the following familiar strategies for growing tomatoes, lettuces, herbs, peas, green beans, beets, turnips and onions:
“Our main focuses would be composting and vermiculture — earthworms,” he said. Done properly, Stevens said, there won’t be any unpleasant smell. “Have you ever stuck your hand inside good compost?” he asked. “It smells like fresh dirt. . . . [The farm] isn’t going to smell like a dairy farm.”
Sounds good to me! It’s a financial win for the city, as a lease is some kind of income, and a boon to local farmers’ markets, where at least of this produce should turn up. I look forward to visiting this farm once it gets started—as I hope it will. I’ll take pictures.
The photo above is of the land where the farm will be. It was taken by Buffalo activist David Torke, whose Fix Buffalo blog has been closely following the urban farm story.