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Good News on Urban Farming

RECEIVED Wed., April 17, 2013

Dear Editor,
    For those fretting about the future of urban farming after the HausBar Farms conflict, I write to share some good news and express some public thank-yous.
    The truth is, our urban farming movement is stronger than ever. The HausBar Farms case is one crucial episode in an epic adventure in which hometown heroes are taking bold action, raising important questions, and diving into the complexities of one of the most important challenges of our city: nourishing our diverse urban community.
    Thank you Susana Almanza, and PODER! Your efforts to remove the toxic tank farm from the Govalle/Johnston Terrace neighborhood led to greater health for neighbors, including opportunities to grow healthy food again. Thank you for assisting our community to build box gardens and secure land for gardening at Levander Loop and in Montopolis. And thank you, personally, for contributing your leadership and wisdom to the East Feast 2022 movement to create Austin’s first public food forest in the Holly Shores/Edward Rendon Sr. Park.
    Thank you, Dorsey Barger and HausBar Farms! Not content to buy into an industrial food system that produces egregious social and environmental burdens, you are boldly experimenting with healthier alternatives. Your experiments are helping us get closer than ever to sustainable urban farming solutions.
    Thank you to Heather Frambach and the Sustainable Food Policy Board for embracing the challenge of creating new rules to advance the public good as we experiment in creating a healthy and just food system.
    Together, we move from unworkable food systems to a healthier city. There aren't silver-bullet, singular solutions. There will be smells to manage and trade-offs to consider. Yet, we can build this healthy, just city, so long as we’re willing to experiment, learn, and adapt together – and forgive one another as we stumble along the way.
Elizabeth Walsh
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