By Robyn Johnson
In a manifesto of sorts released by Civil Eats, Brooke Budner of Little City Gardens, co-owned by Caitlyn Galloway, lays out the farm’s intention to create San Francisco’s first for-profit urban micro-farm in that generates a viable income for farmers, thus paving the way for more potential urban farmers follow suit:
"Our approach to growing the urban agriculture movement is based upon the premise that urban food production will not reach its full potential unless there are avenues in the local market economy for growers to make a living through the sales of their produce. Currently, San Francisco’s urban agriculture is largely anchored in the realms of education and non-profit work. While a substantial amount of food can be grown […] the quantity pales in comparison to what could be grown if farmers could earn a living wage through the cultivation and sales of food in the city."
She admits that the concrete details outside of their business plan are a little vague and that a time of trial and error lies ahead. But the energy behind their can-do-ness and optimism is infectious, and especially invigorating in these crisitunity-loaded times. With others exploring creative economics—take Mission Street Food’s radical new model relying upon 100 investors or even People’s Grocery alliance with for-profit grocery store in West Oakland—perhaps it’s time to be a little open to out-of-the-box possibilities.
Their fundraising campaign (they’ve been unable to apply for loans as an experimental business) has already met and exceeding its target by at least two months in advance. So clearly, the community has got their back.
What do you think? Can Little City Gardens foster a sustainable market for urban farms to thrive in San Francisco?