Urban Farming

Urban Farming™ changed my life!

The act of starting and developing the non-profit organization, Urban Farming,
opened up a whole new understanding of our world for me.
Prince was a dedicated supporter of the vision of Urban Farming, which is to
Create Abundance for All in Our Generation. He was adamant about helping our world and he had a particular interest in helping people who have limited access to fresh, healthy food.

Urban Farming works in rural, suburban, and urban areas to raise awareness
about growing one’s own food and about healthy eating. The act of growing one’s own food is also an act of empowerment! But the Urban Farming approach is holistic and extends beyond gardening. It has led me to see that “from the root thinking” is critical to improving our overall society. It is one approach to transforming a financially stressed community or municipality into one that is healed, empowered, and able to attract global investment. Our demographic includes all ages, cultures, and backgrounds of people who are unemployed, underemployed, laid off, malnourished, suffering from food insecurity, or just flat-out starving.

A critical component of the mission is the Urban Farming Coexistence Model,
which includes Health and Wellness, Business Growth, Job Creation, Urban
Redevelopment, Urban Agriculture, and Global Investment. Coexistence investing: public/private partnerships invest in healthy concepts, including all of the principles and solutions that I list in each chapter of my new book, From The Root. Coexistence investing in healthy concepts allows us to recapture and reallocate wasted capital, and helps us to heal From The Root.
I will share more solutions that include coexistence investing in subsequent blogs. Please share how you are helping to Create Abundance in your life or your community.
Urbanfarming.org

The Story of the Liberty Gardens and the Victory Gardens…

This is a powerful example of what we can do now, to help change our world:

During World War I, citizens of the United States and Canada planted liberty gardens as a war-relief effort. In early 1917, Charles Lathrop Pack (who ironically was originally from Michigan), founded the National War Garden Commission. Through a campaign of posters, cartoons, press releases, and pamphlets, the commission strove to “arouse the patriots of America to the importance of putting all idle land to work, to teach them how to do it, and to educate them to conserve by canning and drying all food that they could not use while fresh.” Their posters blazoned phrases such as “Will You Have a Part in Victory?” “Every War Garden a Peace Plant,” “Sow the Seeds of Victory.” President Woodrow Wilson “called for every American to contribute in the war to establish democracy and human rights.” In a proclamation, the president told Americans, “Everyone who creates or cultivates a garden helps…This is the time for America to correct her unpardonable fault of wastefulness and extravagance.” This is an early example of a presidential administration facing the facts regarding wasted capital, and taking action to stop the waste. They recaptured and reallocated funds and invested in a campaign for a new structure to better serve the nation and win the war.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture formed a committee on public information to help plant “a million new backyard and vacant lot gardens.” It was thought that gardens would not only feed America so that we could send food abroad, but also that they would help us save on fuel and transportation.2 Gardens helping to save on fuel and transportation. What a concept! (Have you noticed recently, a greater awareness of the call for locally grown food?) 

But the garden movement did not stop there. During World War II, the Victory Gardens produced nearly half the produce supply in the United States. Nearly 20 million people planted gardens in their yards and neighborhoods. This massive movement took place before the use of television, cell phones and the Internet.3 Imagine what could be done in this day and age if people around the world planted their own food to cut down on their monthly bills and feed their families. 

As of September, 2019, more than 66,000 residential and community gardens across the United States and abroad had joined the Urban Farming Global Food Chain®. The gardens are located in urban, suburban, and (as we like to say) “rurban”—rural—areas all around the world. 

 

Imagine and Bring to Life… Be Free!

In the spirit of my new song, Be Free, I want to share some thoughts on how we can all get there- to that place of freedom that I describe in the song. (Find “Be Free” on iTunes, Spotify, Apple, Amazon, Google)

When we focus on the solutions and what we want in our lives and for our world, we begin to bring that vision to life. Conversely, when we focus on the problems constantly, and frame them in fighting and struggle terms, i.e.: “A Fight Against Hunger,” or “We’re fighting for our rights!” etc., then we keep ourselves mired in the “fight” or in the “struggle.” That is why, with Urban Farming, we quickly changed our soundbites to things like: “Creating an Abundance of Food for All in Our World,” or “Creating Abundance for All in Our Generation.”  These became more succinct and accurate statements of exactly what we are bringing to life. Here I will share an excerpt from the Preface of my new book, From The Root:

Imagine a world in which people have easy access to healthy food, feel empowered, and are educated with the skills for peaceful conflict resolution. In this scenario, individuals are able to participate and contribute their ideas to humankind. In this type of world, we will see balance and creativity, rather than extremities that exclude people and keep them from contributing to their own lives and to our world in fruitful ways.

My interest in our global balance has come out of a process. I have been in the music business most of my adult life. I was offered my first record deal by Prince in the same week that I was accepted into the Berklee College of Music. My life has been largely steeped in music and creativity. But recording a CD for Sony Records in Detroit, Michigan led me to see the vast amounts of unused land and the startling poverty in that city. I was moved to start a charitable organization called Urban Farming®. Armed with a global vision to create an abundance of quality food and quality opportunity for everyone in our world, I began by planting three community gardens of free food for people in need in Detroit. We started from a grass-roots level and rapidly grew, working in rural, suburban, and urban areas. 

There are now over 66,000 gardens around the world that are a part of the Urban Farming Global Food Chain®.  And out of my experiences both in affluent communities as well as economically challenged communities, I grew to understand the dire need for our world to heal from the root. That is why I was led to write my new book, From The Root. Essentially, the book is a Memoir and also a roadmap – full of solutions that will help balance our world and heal our relationships From The Root! 

Share the ways that you are healing yourself and your relationships, From The Root