January 25, 2015 20:37 UTC

learningenglish

The Appeal of Urban Farming

Volunteers harvest spinach at EcoCity Farms in Edmonston, Maryland
Volunteers harvest spinach at EcoCity Farms in Edmonston, Maryland


Download this story as a PDF

This is the VOA Special English Agriculture Report.

Old properties and empty lots in cities and towns around the United States are finding new life as urban farms.

Eco City Farms in Edmonston, Maryland, is located near shopping centers, car repair shops and homes. The neighborhood is a working-class community. People do not have very much money, and they have limited access to fresh food in markets.

Over the past two years, the farm has attracted volunteers from the community like Marcy Clark. She schools her four children at home. On a recent day she brought them to Eco City Farms for a lesson.

MARCY CLARK: “It’s important that the children understand the connection between the food that they eat, the soil, the air, the pollution, how all this is connected to their well-being.”

Her children harvested rows of spinach, mustard greens, lettuce, Swiss chard and carrots.  What did Hannah, Caleb, John and Alston think of the experience?

HANNAH CLARK: “You know, it’s good for the earth and it’s good for us.”

CALEB CLARK: “It may not be like fun, fun, but it’s fun, ’cause you’re learning and not, like, writing something out on a piece of paper.”

JOHN CLARK: “Basically instead of feeling down when I have to eat vegetables, I feel happy.

ALSTON CLARK: “I like coming out here. You know, you connect with the earth, where your food comes from. You appreciate the food a little bit more.”

Margaret Morgan-Hubbard started Eco City Farms. She thinks of it as a place where people can learn to live healthier lives.

MARGARET MORGAN-HUBBARD: “Our view is that what happens in a community, influences the culture of that community. So our idea was growing food in a community and showing that you can have farms even in urban areas, redefines what’s possible in that area, in that community and brings people together.”

“Every piece of what we do here is a demonstration to show people everything about how to have a sustainable community," she says. That means not only farming food and raising chickens and bees, but improving the soil with compost made from food waste. Sixteen wooden bins are filled with worms. Their job is to eat the food waste and help make it into compost.

Benny Erez is a technical adviser at EcoCity Farms.

BENNY EREZ: “When people come and look at this, obviously we show them a technique, a technique how to take food waste and close the circle and bring the food back from being food to composted and then use it on the farm, back to growing vegetables and back to people, and it’s basically closing the loop.”

Eco City Farms is an "off the grid" experimental operation. The farm gets its power not from the local electricity grid but from the sun with solar panels. In winter, the greenhouses are heated using a geothermal system. Buried tubes pump air at underground temperature -- thirteen degrees Celsius -- into the structures.

Vegetables can be grown all year. So once a week, all winter long, neighbors like Chris Moss and her three children bicycle to the farm to pick up a share of the harvest. What does five-year-old Owen Moss think of it?

OWEN MOSS: “I like eating the vegetables.”

And that's the VOA Special English Agriculture Report. You can find two videos about EcoCity Farms -- including one about the composting worms -- at voaspecialenglish.com. I'm Jim Tedder.

___

Contributing: Rosanne Skirble

 

<iframe width='480' height='305' src='http://www.voanews.com/templates/widgetDisplay.html?id=141434043&player=article' frameborder='0' allowfullscreen></iframe>

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments page of 2
    Next 
by: Ms.Dieu Quynh-TTLady
03/21/2012 3:15 AM
It's incredible ! I'm so proud of my system at home. It's keeps our earth green !


by: nguyễn hoa
03/19/2012 11:51 AM
i find it really interesting and helpful. i'd like to listen information about agriculture which voa gave for us.


by: trungle
03/19/2012 5:52 AM
it is the great idea, but it will be difficult to apply in some developing countries like Vietnam. because having a big barrier that is people do not separate organic waste and inorganic waste, so to collect organic to make compost will be difficult.
most urban places in Vietnam pollution because of waste food is a serious issue, so the local governments should train dwellers to contain each kind of waste in different nylon bags before throw them into garbage cans.


by: Bui Van Huong
03/19/2012 5:05 AM
this model was strongly developed in Vietnam with more limited scale. in fact, a lot of box filled with earth have been often used to plant vegetable in a number of families not only in the countryside, but the urban areas. these vegetable harvested are very good for health, assists citizens in saving a mount of money for other daily life demands


by: Karl
03/17/2012 1:01 PM
It's a good exemple for community especially in USA where a lot of food is wasted . People eat too much , growed fat and underestimate that meal is very important and valuable .


by: Old oak
03/16/2012 8:05 AM
We are living a time where a space to plant is almost impossivel or doesn't exist. So this project is wondeful and must be shared with all the people aound the world.


by: Thinh Nguyen Van
03/12/2012 7:12 AM
It is so good to hear that.I could image that our house will become better and better in the future with more and more Eco cities.Lets act together for a better world.Thanks for VOA.


by: sherif
03/10/2012 2:52 PM
very good vidio


by: sherif
03/10/2012 2:52 PM
very good vidio


by: NGDI
03/10/2012 10:38 AM
Good, to have modern life, we need natural raise.

Comments page of 2
    Next 

Learn with The News

  • Video Experts Decide Ethiopia Has Best Coffee

    What makes Ethiopian coffee the best? International coffee experts travel the world to find the best tasting cup of coffee, however they keep returning to Ethiopia. The country has an export revenue of more than $840 million a year from coffee to 120 countries. More

  • Thailand Fishing Industry

    Audio Labor Groups Criticize Abuses in Thai Fishing Industry

    Thailand is the third largest exporter of fish and fishery products in the world. Those exports are worth more than eight billion dollars. But the Thai fishing industry is under attack because of reports of labor rights abuses and human trafficking. The government is taking steps to stop the abuses. More

  • Audio Vietnamese Officials Worried about Political Blog

    The blog publishes documents and photographs, and has linked suspected corruption to some cabinet members and their relatives; the blog has been visited almost 14 million times since it was launched a month ago. People’s Daily newspaper has suggested that the blog is publishing false information. More

  • korea2

    Video S. Korean Businesses Want to Ease Trade Restriction with North

    Business leaders in South Korea are urging the government to ease trade restrictions with North Korea. They believe that expanding trade will help their businesses and contribute to long-term peace and security on the Korean peninsula. South Korea cut many economic ties with the North in 2010. More

  • Obama

    Audio Has Obama Set the Message for the 2016 Campaign?

    “I have no more campaigns to run … I know because I won both of them.” Mr. Obama cannot run for president again – U.S. presidents may serve only two terms. But some observers say his most recent State of the Union message on the middle class sounded like a campaign speech. More

Featured Stories

  • Obama

    Audio Has Obama Set the Message for the 2016 Campaign?

    “I have no more campaigns to run … I know because I won both of them.” Mr. Obama cannot run for president again – U.S. presidents may serve only two terms. But some observers say his most recent State of the Union message on the middle class sounded like a campaign speech. More

  • American Sniper

    Video With Oscar Nomination, 'American Sniper' Stirs Debate

    The movie is based on a book by Navy SEAL Chris Kyle. He is considered the deadliest marksman in the history of the United States military. The film explores how war can affect a soldier's mental and emotional health and stirs a debate on social media over its message. More

  • Designers work at computer stations at TechShop in the South of Market neighborhood in San Francisco, California, April 24, 2014

    Video TechShop Puts High-Tech Dreams Within Reach

    Members of TechShop use high-tech equipment to develop and produce ideas they have for inventions. Members are able to use costly machines including 3D modeling tools and laser cutters. Membership costs for TechShop start at just over $100 per month. | Science in the News More

  • .

    Video Rare, Important Art Is Now Only a Click Away

    The public has never seen the majority of works in the Smithsonian Institution's National Museums of Asian Art. Now they can be downloaded from the Internet -- in many cases for free. The Freer and Sackler Galleries worked for over 15 years to make digital copies of more than 40,000 objects. More

  • Video Light Pollution. How Much Light is Too Much?

    Light pollution can affect our ability to see the night stars. It can also hurt our health and the planet. But light is needed to make our cities safe. How can we find a balance? In cities, artificial light comes from street lamps, buildings, signs and cars and blocks out stars in the sky. More

Practice Your Writing

Confessions of an English Learner blog
Confessions of an English Learner blog

 

 

 

Tell us About Our Programs