The farmers in Farmers City, California, are looking to diversify their food production. Many urban farmers are working to divert organic waste from city landfills by converting food waste into compost. For example, Growing Power in Milwaukee has a compost pick-up program that uses massive amounts of food waste from local businesses, including brewery byproducts. Last year, Growing Power generated more than 11 million pounds of compost. Another program, City Slicker Farms, removes compost from restaurants via bicycles and then recycles it on its farms. In addition to urban agriculture, Farmers City also has a strong recycling program. A recent survey revealed that only 5.3 percent of cities and towns have a composting program, despite the fact that over 50 percent of the cities and towns have some form of garden.
Urban farms have several benefits. Not only do they provide fresh produce to the community, but they also create value-added products that create additional jobs and additional income. In addition, these farmers can reduce their costs by providing services like trash collection, compost from the local recycling program, and water. Localities can provide fire hydrants for urban farmers, and the water department can offer special rates for different types of uses.
If you are interested in urban farming, consider contacting the Service Corps of Retired Executives (SCORE) program. Through grants from the Small Business Administration, SCORE provides free small business advice. The nonprofit organization has 364 local chapters nationwide, and relies on its more than 13,000 volunteer mentors. SCORE volunteers are typically working business owners, retired executives, and corporate leaders. If you are interested in learning more about urban farming and how it can help your local community, contact the program.