PHOTO by Mimi Schiffman
by Ruth Eckles
There’s so much wasted land in a lawn,” laments Collier Reeves of Homegrown City Farms in a recent interview.  Her words remain on my mind as I drive to work, passing the broad expanse of lawns that surround office buildings, pedestrian malls, hotels, grocery stores and highway medians.
“We live in an agriculturally rich area here in the Piedmont, but there is a lot of underused land, especially in urban areas,” Maryah Smith-Overman, the other half of Homegrown City Farms, adds.
Since moving from Asheville to Durham last year to launch the project, the two have steadily transformed a borrowed quarter-acre plot in East Durham into a small farm overflowing with sugar snap peas, chard, beets, radishes, spinach, arugula, carrots, and broccoli raab.  On June 1st, they will begin distributing the vegetables through CSA shares.

Homegrown City Farms grew out of Reeves and Smith-Overmans’ mutual desire to promote community, food sovereignty, and sustainable land stewardship practices.

“Plus…I just like being dirty and working with plants,” laughs Reeves who earned a degree in Agriculture at Warren Wilson College, and worked on various farms around North Carolina and Virginia before moving to Durham.

Urban farming cuts down on fossil fuel, creates food security for the community, and empowers people to become a bigger part of their food system
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