In collaboration with key partners across the Chesapeake area, Engaged Community Offshoots, Inc. is organizing and hosting Sowing Seeds Here and Now!: A Chesapeake Area Urban Farming Summit on Friday, June 18th, 2010 at the Henry A. Wallace Beltsville Agricultural Research Center. Our keynote speaker and inspiration is Will Allen, CEO of Growing Power in Milwaukee, WI. Will Allen is a pioneering urban farmer whose organization Growing Power does exemplary work and who was named a MacArthur “Genius” Fellow in 2008. Dr. Molly Jahn, Deputy Under Secretary for Research, Education, and Economics at the USDA is confirmed to attend the event. The goal of our one-day hands-on learning and strategizing event is to catalyze and support urban farming throughout our metropolitan area – Washington, DC, Prince George’s and other local counties, and Baltimore –which we call the Chesapeake area.
We are excited that Will Allen is the keynote speaker for Sowing Seeds Here and Now!. He is the founder and CEO of Growing Power, a network of urban farms in Milwaukee and Chicago. He is the recent recipient of the MacArthur Genius Award, honoring him for his past and future innovations in urban farming and food justice.
You can read his Good Food Manifesto here.
The primary purpose of Sowing Seeds Here and Now! is to catalyze the proliferation of urban agriculture in our region. Urban agriculture has multi-faceted benefits; it:
- increases food security and the availability of healthy food,
- decreases unemployment by supplying meaningful green jobs,
- anchors vital resources and wealth in local communities, and
- is a key component in promoting public health and creating a sustainable, just, local food system.
While the Chesapeake area has many flourishing school and community gardening projects, we lack the entrepreneurial and productive urban farm infrastructure that is found elsewhere throughout the U.S. and worldwide.
This summit will serve to:
- educate attendees about the significant benefits of urban agriculture,
- showcase viable projects across the county,
- help identify specific policies and ordinances required to encourage urban agriculture in our area, and
- bring together healthy food system advocates and practitioners throughout the Chesapeake area for future collaboration.
Furthermore, this summit will invite key policy makers and agency directors who are concerned about food, health, and agriculture issues at the national, regional, state, county or city levels to discuss specific strategies with Will Allen that might catalyze urban agriculture in the Chesapeake area.
The summit will result in:
- 50 to 75 new and interested farmers learning unique and innovative urban farming techniques;
- 150 to 200 policy makers, activists, practitioners, planners, governmental organizations, and public health advocates understanding the various and complex barriers and solutions to urban agriculture in the Chesapeake area; and
- Key VIP agency heads and policymakers informed and inspired by Will Allen to proliferate urban agriculture.
- Urban Farming Technical Workshops: An outdoor hands-on experience
- Healthy People and the Environment: Health, Environment, Equity
- Policy and Planning for Community and Economic Development: Land use, Incentives, Policy and Planning
- Greenbelt Metro stop (2 miles from site). See walking/biking directions from Metro stop.
- B30 Shuttle from BWI to Greenbelt Station (BWI is accessible by Baltimore Light Rail)