24 August 2013

Hyper Local

In Town Ag grows food. Not on a 500 acre farm in Lane County replete with the red barn and tricked out tractor, nor do they raise crops on a 5 acre plot on Sauvie’s Island; In Town operates on a completely different proposition and a completely scale: they use spare lots, under-utilized garden plots and parking medians to produce food via garden share. Enough food that they have excess to sell at area markets.

Using a different approach to land means In Town must have a different approach to growing food. Drawing on founder Justin Simms’ background in environmental science and landscape design, In Town is able to employ a wide array of approaches to agriculture, from the familiar square foot gardening, drip irrigation, and greenhouses to the less well known practices of biointensive agriculture – the closed loop system that focuses on yields through fertility of the soil – and cloches – which can mean a hat in fashion or in French, a bell, but in agriculture refers to covers for crops to the mundane leaf mulching, trenching and organic fertilizers. About the only thing not on the table for consideration is the application of herbicides or pesticides.

In a little of a year In Town has capitalized on desire of Portlanders to make the most out of their land and neighborhoods and will trade land for expertise and a 5050 split of the crops. Justin explains, “In our first year we already have established gardens in the following neighborhoods: South Tabor, Richmond, Woodstock, Montavilla, Ladds, and St Johns. Our gardens range from small raised beds to entire urban residential lots including sidewalk strips. There is a huge demand for garden sharing from residents and we are adding coworkers with a profit sharing system to maximize sales at farmers markets this year and expand to local grocers and restaurants by 2014.”

Enjoy the pictures below and visit In Town at the King and St. John’s Markets. Beautiful Veg, great story, stop by for both.