|All photos by Sara Ventiera|
|Stephen Hill of the Urban Farmer Shows Us His Greens|
If you are even remotely into food, you know that the locavore movement has been making some serious progress. In cities like Chicago, urban farms are so prolific that 65 acres
of city space has been utilized to produce food. Like most things, in South Florida, the movement has taken some time to catch on, but with the help of some activists and entrepreneurs, local foods are increasingly finding their way onto our dinner tables. Cue: the Urban Farmer.
Owned by Stephen and Cyndy Hill and Jon Albee, the Urban Farmer focuses on local farm-shares, growing systems, and gardening education. For two years, the group had a farm in an industrial area off of Copans Road, but were forced to move in the beginning of August due to high rent. They are now running a farm share program and garden center out of an office in Pompano Beach.
The 'patio market' -- named after the old market, which was actually on a patio -- serves as a pick-up point and local-shop for CSA members and the public. Unlike many Community Supported Agriculture programs, this one serves as more of a co-op, by connecting individuals to a bunch of local growers. And unlike most full-season CSA programs, the Urban Farmer only requires a four share commitment, available either weekly or bi-weekly. According to Stephen Hill, "The objective is not waste in labor or food."
|The Urban Farmer's CSA Members get to pick their share|
Individuals and families can join online, anytime during the year. It runs year-round, but tries to keep it as local as possible in the summer. "You may find lettuce from California or chard from Colorado," says Hill, "But out customers would rather buy from us, because they know it's going to be organic and they like to support us year-round."
The Urban Farmer tries to make it easier for customers by giving out tips on how to cook and store the foods in their shares. "A lot of members don't know what to do with the food--it starts with recipes, but also how to store food. Can you freeze it? Can you bag it? We also have a blog that goes over that," says Hill.
|Parents frequently bring kids to count out the items for CSA shares|
Full shares and half shares are available, for $58 and $32 respectively. The most common is the half. Members are required to bring their own bags for pick-up. Local eggs, honey, yoghurt, and gardening products are also available for purchase.
The Urban Farmer is open Friday afternoons and Saturdays from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm. Call (954) 586-6686, or visit the website here
. The address is 3195 N. Powerline Rd. Suite 101 in Pompano Beach.