Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Urban farming spreading in Pittsburgh; Green Up Pittsburgh; Pepsi Refresh Project; Andrew McCutchen

The nationwide trend toward urban consolidation and urban farming has intersected with Major League Baseball amd Pepsi.

Earlier this month I commented on the urban farming trend that is beginning to take hold in major cities across the country, especially Pittsburgh. The previous article listed numerous urban farms taking root in Pittsburgh.

A new initiative by the City seeks to take advantage of a grant competition sponsored by Pepsi for the purpose of creating another urban farm in the Homewood section:

The competition is sponsored by Pepsi, which is offering 15 Major League Baseball teams the opportunity to receive a $200,000 grant as part of the Pepsi Refresh Project, designed to help improve communities.

The proposed initiative will fund the education, tools and support to cultivate an urban garden, which would be used to grow fruits and vegetables that would be donated to various nonprofit organizations to feed the hungry, including the youths participating in various programs at the Homewood-Brushton YMCA.

The idea was supported at a press conference yesterday featuring Mayor Ravenstahl and Pittsburgh Pirate center fielder Andrew McCutchen. The competition is clearly not intended to be an isolated event:

The urban garden idea is an extension of the Green Up Pittsburgh program that was introduced in 2007 to combat the increasing problem of overgrown vacant and abandoned lots in city neighborhoods.

While there is no guarantee that Pittsburgh will win the competition and be the recipient of Pepsi's grant money, 15 different cities are competing and the urban farming concept will advance a little further in one of those cities.

The competition is to be decided by online vote. The Post-Gazette article contains information on how to vote.

The other cities competing for the Pepsi grant have proposed ideas unrelated to urban farming.

Here is Andrew McCutchen's promotional video.

The video and the press conference did not make clear how big the garden/farm would be, but at a cost of $200,000, it had better be a very big garden.