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Room to Grow: Popularity of Urban Farming in North Carolina

Photo: Gardening is growing in popularity in North Carolina and the rest of the country, including the practice of urban farming, where little, or not, land is used. Photo courtesy of Ashevillage Institute
Photo: Gardening is growing in popularity in North Carolina and the rest of the country, including the practice of urban farming, where little, or not, land is used. Photo courtesy of Ashevillage Institute
April 24, 2014

ASHEVILLE, N.C. – This weekend, thousands of North Carolinians are expected to roll up their sleeves and spruce up their yards as the weather warms.

Many of them also are looking towards plants of an edible variety.

According to the National Gardening Association (NGA), 35 percent of American households is growing food at home or in a community garden, up 17 percent in the last five years.

"It's not rocket science,” says Janell Kapoor, founder and co-director of the Ashevillage Institute. “We've been growing our food for ages and so to learn how again to grow our food, there's certainly things to know, but it's just a matter of also doing it."

The Ashevillage Institute regularly hosts workshops and classes, and starting in May will offer the Urban Farm School at the University of North Carolina Asheville campus for people looking to turn their love of gardening into a profession.

According to the NGA, a well-maintained food garden yields a $500 return on investment when considering the market price of produce.

The NGA also found that young people are the fastest growing segment of food gardeners.

Kapoor says younger generations are motivated by a larger sense of self and wellness.

"I think there's something, just simply the delight of walking outside of your kitchen and going into your garden and touching the plants that you're about to put into your body," she maintains.

Kapoor adds that people don't need a lot of land in order to farm. Smaller raised gardens and patio planters make it possible to grow your own food no matter your living situation.

Stephanie Carroll Carson, Public News Service - NC