Urban Farming encompasses a vast array of interests: growing produce for personal consumption, involvement in a community garden or even with the intention of selling product at a local farmer's market. You may have a modest dream of a salsa garden on your patio, or loftier aspirations of creating a homestead with multiple plots. Whatever your ‘green goals’ may be, Urban Farming connects you back to the basics and gives you an enhanced appreciation of the magic of nature and how food is grown.
Southwest Institute of Healing Arts’ Urban Farming program guides you through each phase of creating a productive greenspace in any area you have available. And you may be surprised! Something as modest as a twelve-inch planter can produce seasonal vegetables, or your kitchen windowsill could house fresh herbs for cooking. And that corner of your yard that doesn’t get much attention? Imagine having lettuce, tomatoes and peppers to use!
You will learn to plan, implement and maintain your crops through a lens of sustainability, as well as develop of knowledge of soil composition, tool usage, and how to save seeds for the next growing season. You’ll even have the chance to visit some of the amazing permaculture sites around the Phoenix area for inspiration and how to turn your fruits, herbs and vegetables in to supplemental income through product sales and workshop creation!
Turn Your Passion in to a Profitable Opportunity
Your knowledge of Urban Farming will allow you to establish your own productive greenspace, and then you will decide how to share your understanding and enthusiasm for agriculture. Your unique vision will develop during the program, however here are some ways that Urban Farmers serve their communities:
- Selling organic produce and homemade goods at local Farmer’s Markets.
- Teaching others how to cultivate their land.
- Creating informative materials, such as books, podcasts or videos for aspiring Urban Farmers.
- Consulting with homeowners about the creation of a garden on their land.
- Providing locally grown produce to area restaurants.
- Nonprofit efforts to provide healthy food to underserved communities.
There is no limit to the value of having farming as a skillset. In fact, you will be one of the 2% of Americans with the knowledge to grow delicious produce from seed to harvest! This is of ever-increasing importance, as the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, predict that nearly all of the world’s population growth between now and 2030 will be concentrated in urban areas in developing countries. With this rapid growth in our cities, farming in and around urban areas needs to play a bigger role in feeding city populations—and it starts with you!
Meet Joel Hamilton, Our Urban Farming Program Director
Joel Hamilton is the Associate Dean of Massage Education and Urban Farming Program Director, and comes from many generations of farmers. It is his goal to teach others of the importance the three key Permaculture laws: Earth-care, People-care and Fair-share. Born and raised on his family farm on the Canadian Border of upstate New York, Joel now makes his home in Chandler, Arizona where he has farmed the same land since 1983.
He explains, “It is my life’s goal to teach people that the planet does not belong to us, but that we belong to the planet”. It is his hope to help others make that connection in their hearts, minds and feel it in their souls so that our planet can remain safe for generations to come.”