A few months ago we watched a documentary entitled, Living in a Food Desert, produced by Virginia State University in Petersburg, Va. This documentary explained that Richmond, Virginia is the largest food desert in the country.
A food desert is basically what it sounds like. An urban area in which it is difficult to access fresh wholesome foods because there are no grocery stores. Richmond is the largest because it has the most people per square foot with no access to a grocery store. Large grocery store companies say they don't move into cities because it is not profitable. There are currently grassroots efforts underway to combat this issue in the city and we want to be a part of this movement. We've seen a resurgence in farmer's market popularity over the last several years. And while this is great, a large part of the Richmond population remains uneducated and under served of healthy food options.
After watching this documentary we knew that our passions and our cause were intertwined. We have made a commitment to providing education in our community about how our nutrition and wellness relates to the food we put into our bodies. Our educational programs will focus on the development of education surrounding produce and growing it in an urban setting. Lessons will also incorporate basic gardening skills and an understanding of our food system as a whole and how food links to our overall nutrition and well-being.
With the average age of the U.S. farmer being about 65, we are in desperate need for a new generation of young farmers. In 30 years we will need farm space the size of South America to feed the U.S. alone! We are running out of space and farmers! The future of farming is looking very bright with advancements in vertical farming, grass roots movements to "green up" our cities, and using hydroponics and aquaponics to grow leafy greens. The food production system in the U.S. is adjusting to an aging farming population, corporate tractor tillage and stripping of the land that has destroyed the soil, and finding new ways to bring food production into our cities. Here at Sun Path Family Farm, we are committed to educating the youth in the community in which we live. We are committed to bridging the gap between consumers and local producers of food. Even though we are a commercial, for-profit farm, our farm will be a learning center for the community. We are dedicated to educating and inspiring a new generation of farmers. But we can’t do it alone. Running a farm operation, like any business, has its costs. We’ve had a hard time obtaining traditional USDA loans for our operation. Your donations support our mission of creating an urban commercial farm that is a learning space for youth groups across the city. Your donations will also go towards the multiple beautification and urban gardening projects we have at Armstrong HS and John Marshall HS.