Hello From Antonio – ECO City Farms’ New Blogger!

Hello From Antonio – ECO City Farms’ New Blogger!

I would like to spend my first post introducing myself and what I’ll be doing as ECO City Farm’s blogger.

Urban farming is a relative new interest, passion and pursuit of mine. As a young kid, the only connection to I had to farming was my grandmother’s small garden, where she grew tomatoes and herbs in her backyard in Northwest Washington, D.C. Combined with my basic education on how plants grew, I understood the gist of how we got our food, and it was sort of like my Nana’s small vegetable enterprise: Farmers planted seeds, tended to the plants and, with enough care and patience, the seeds would flourish with leafy greens, root starches and vegetables of almost every color. But that usually happened in far away places, like Idaho and California and everywhere north of New York City, so trucks had to ship them to our local Safeway and Murray’s.

Throughout middle school and high school, I had learned a little bit more about the complex biological processes that seemingly galvanized seeds into produce. Textbooks revealed the industry behind food – the manpower and technology needed to feed 300 million Americans, and hungry folks across the world.

By the time I enrolled college at Towson University – my knowledge of farming was relatively unchanged. After a study abroad excursion to Costa Rica in Fall 2009, I fell in love with photography (and the country’s beaches). In the subsequent years, my education in anthropology exposed me to the movements around the world, especially surrounding natural resources and food sustainability. During a Visual Anthropology class, a pair of classmates created a short film “Green Spaces” about an initiative to transform vacant lots in Baltimore city into useful spaces for community and the lightbulb went off. Urban farming combined many of my interests – biology, working outdoors, community development and, of course food.

While I was busy interning at Voice of America and finishing my studies at Towson, I read about different programs in nearby Washington, D.C. as well as the host of others in Baltimore. When I came across ECO City Farms, I was ecstatic – it was a burgeoning urban farm that is right here in Prince George’s County – and they needed volunteers! I subscribed to their newsletter and waited patiently until the volunteer season arrived.

On their first “Open volunteer day” of this season, I decided that I wanted to be part of this organization. Not only did I want to learn more about farming in an urban area, but their commitment to engaging the communities nearby cemented that conclusion. In a subsequent newsletter, they posted an opening for a blogger and I immediately jumped at the opportunity to combine many of my passions. After meeting the staff and talking about my interests and their needs, and they brought me aboard the team.

Suffice to say, I am very, very, very excited about future postings. The blog will focus on the people and the communities as much as the food and the farms themselves. If you have any questions, comments or have a story about your experiences with ECO (or anything related to urban farming, community engagement, sustainability, etc.), please e-mail me: antonio@ecocityfarms.org

 

Thanks for reading, and check back for updates!