Friday, October 12, 2012

A Visit to Tri-Cycle Farms

The LL.M. class took a trip to visit an amazing community farm in the heart of residential Fayetteville -  Tri Cycle Farms.  There, they really do what their motto provides, "building community through soil."

Tri Cycle Farms describes itself as "a community urban farm working to address food insecurity by growing food and teaching others to grow food."

Friends and neighbors have worked together to reclaim 2 acres of urban landscape, creating a beautiful, productive garden that has produced an amazing amount of good food - all in the first year of the project.  Their continuing goal is to "strive to create community by reconnecting with the land, with people, with food, and with each other."

The LL.M. class took a Wednesday afternoon trip to Tri Cycle, located just south of campus. There, we met the force behind the farms' effort and its founder, Don Bennett.  Don spoke with passion and determination. As Don explained, the name, "Tri” Cycle Farms, refers to the use of the produce they grow:  one third is donated to those in need; one third is goes to those who help do the work to grow it; and one third is sold to generate money to invest back in the farm.

Although Tri Cycle has only been in operation for just over a year, they are already actively involved in teaching gardening and farming skills, donating fresh organic nutrient-dense food to those experiencing food insecurity, hosting classes on the use of fresh produce and herbs, doing community outreach, and sharing their vision for the development of sustainable community-based food system.

Legal and policy issues come up in many ways.  The City of Fayetteville is now considering an urban agriculture initiative, and an number of groups are assessing both current and proposed ordinances. A city's legal structure can either help or impeded the development of urban farms and related agricultural activities. The visit to Tri Cycle led the class to consider all of these issues.  And, it led several in the class to volunteer at Tri Cycle and several more to attend the Tri Cycle Farms fundraiser, the First Annual Pesto Fest at Greenhouse Grille. We hope to stay abreast of Don's efforts as well as the legal and policy issues raised by urban and community-based agriculture.

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