Growing Interest in Urban Agriculture in Arlington Means More Crops, Bees

Sourced from ARLNow

An urban farming movement growing across the country already is “booming” here in Arlington, supporters say.

“There is absolutely a boom,” said Rebecca Carpenter, founder of Arlington startup Sprout which installs backyard gardens and trains people in how to grow their own produce. “I feel like it is everywhere across the country but I feel it more so in Arlington because folks here are pretty health conscious, progressive.”

Crops can be grown in urban environments in several ways, including rooftop gardens, vertical farms, and green walls. In Arlington, officials say community gardens are one of the most popular methods.

There are 379 Arlington residents who grow fruits, vegetables, or flowers in community gardens, and another 628 on waiting lists, according to Urban Agriculture Coordinator Kim Haun of the county’s parks department. That’s after the county added space for 150 more gardeners over the last three years.

“More and more people are realizing the benefits of urban farming,” said Haun. “It creates a sense of belonging, just check out a community garden on a weekend, the gardeners are family.”

Fertile Soil in Arlington

Officials told ARLnow that a combination of demographics and development opportunity make the county fertile soil — so to speak — for community gardens, and green roofs. And beekeeper Brad Garmon said these same resources made the county an ideal home for bee businesses. Either way, everyone who spoke with ARLnow reported increases in the number of people seeking agricultural training and resources.

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