Raleigh City Farm: A Blount Street Farm Proposal

Raleigh City Farm: A Blount Street Farm Proposal

January, 12, 2011, by Paul

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Chelsea Kellner of Midtown Raleigh News wrote Sunday about the exciting news of a small urban farm possibly joining the ranks of new downtown highlights. The location in question is a vacant lot at the corner of Blount and Franklin Street (in red above - the homes shown have since been removed). The proposal, by local startup Raleigh City Farm along with the Triangle Land Conservancy, explains the social and economic advantages of the urban community garden:

"It would go from being a completely unused parcel of land to one of the best-used in the entire city," Raleigh City Farm spokesman Joshua Whiton said. "We want to be a demo site where people can come by and see how much food can be grown in a small space."
This comes as no surprise as Raleigh's locavore community is growing exponentially with the opening of Bickett Market in Five Points, the Downtown Farmers Market in City Plaza this past summer, and the large variety of restaurants featuring North Carolina products such as Poole's Diner, Irregardless Cafe, and Zely & Ritz
Raleigh City Farm now battles a zoning restriction banning the plot of land from being used for agriculture. With any luck Raleigh City Farm, and the community, will work to overturn the zoning restriction and turn this seemingly wasted lot into a new community center. Besides the delicious benefits, similar urban farms in L.A., Chicago, and Cleveland have become ever-growing classrooms for students, citizens, and visitors alike to experience the joy and bounty of farming.

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Raleigh City Farm


  • freemarketrenegade
    01/12 11:55 PM

    Awesome.  Please tell me this is going to be funded by my tax dollars.  That would make me sleep better at night.  With a $14T budget deficit, I can think of no better way to make a certain group of people feel better about themselves than corn and tomatoes growing in the city.

    Hopefully we’ll see something really useful being grown, like star fruit.

  • JeffS
    01/13 12:15 AM

    Yea man. Screw vegetables. Let’s build a Starbucks fueled solely by conservative bile.

    Seriously though, the details are pretty light at this point, but I wish them luck, especially if they can incorporate an educational aspect. Small area farming is a skill that more people are going to find necessary in the coming years.

  • coalwagon
    01/13 02:06 AM

    I’m lovin’ the protocol for commenters on New Raleigh: assume the worst, and sass about it! chill out, “renegade.” you know nothin’.

  • freemarketrenegade
    01/13 07:31 AM

    If by “conservative bile” you mean “stop stealing my income and spending it on frivolous garbage”, then I’ll take a grande, please…but I’m sure you would have no such issue if the proposal was to use the land to build a baptist church. By comparison, there is no “let’s” when it comes to building a starbucks; it is privately held and doesn’t require the city to waste the money I earned and it subsequently took from me by threat of prison..  but at least some small group of really cool bearded people will learn how to farm; after all, you state that is something we will all need soon, so it must therefore be true.

  • miamiblue
    01/13 08:19 AM

    freemarketrenegade: Clearly your desire to hate precludes you from researching what you’re hating on. If you took the few seconds to visit the Raleigh City Farm website and the Midtown Raleigh News article, you’d learn that the group is a non-profit startup that hopes to sustain itself from the sales of produce it grows on the farm. The only thing they appear to be asking from the City of Raleigh is the zoning change to use the land in question for their business, which happens to be agriculture.

  • JeffS
    01/13 09:33 AM

    renegade, you’ve demonstrated exactly what I was referring to.

    Zero facts, unlimited hate, and a few misquotes thrown in for flavor.

  • slaterric
    01/13 09:48 AM

    Hey “freemarketrenegade”.
    Why don’t you just hope on over to wral.com. You would feel much at home with hateful lunatics that mostly comment on articles posted there.

  • RaleighRob
    01/13 10:08 AM

    Well back to the subject and away from the mouth-breathing trolls, I will say I like the idea. 
    I’m slightly disappointed that the mixed-use development that was originally going on this plot (as well as on the site of the old mini-strip center immediately to the east) never happened.  But this could be a good idea nonetheless.

  • Lea
    01/13 10:53 AM

    Great idea! I hope it happens.

  • ASUGeog
    01/13 10:59 AM

    Small area farming is a skill that more people are going to find necessary in the coming years.

    well said Jeff.

  • Bill M
    01/13 11:17 AM

    Freemarket Renegade making big complaints about a small urban farm while $.50 cents of every dollar earned by big farms come from government subsidies.  http://farm.ewg.org/region.php?fips=37000  Way to channel your energy, Sir.

  • freemarketrenegade
    01/13 01:48 PM

    farm subsidies are terrible waster of money; a review of my comments shows I never stated otherwise..  as far as this group not wanting tax money - if it is a non-profit who gets to pay their tax burden?

  • matt
    01/13 02:14 PM

    I look forward to the day when any ninny using the words “my tax dollars” is immediately imprisoned. Not because the world will be any better; I just like seeing ninnies punished.

  • Bill M
    01/13 02:44 PM

    A review of your statement shows you are complaining about the POSSIBLE use of your tax dollars.  A review of my statement suggests that your efforts would be better directed elsewhere.  I actively encourage you to write a letter to your reps about billions in subsidies to Big Ag instead of complaining to a blog about some tiny thing you don’t even know about.

  • freemarketrenegade
    01/13 04:35 PM

    matt - interesting.  For what other reasons might you want people thrown in prison?  I am simply stating that I don’t want my tax dollars used on a farm.  Reason being, there is plenty of food available in numerous locations around the city already; but most importantly, I don’t care what anyone does with that land, so long as they pay for the land and they do not receive any subsidy for it in any way, and that includes the liberal’s favorite moniker, “non-profit”.

    If you buy it with your money and pay taxes on it with your money and incur the risks and rewards of that investment, you can grow whatever the hell you want to on that land.  Everyone on this forum knows full well that none of the above is true about this project.  And yeah, it’s a small thing - it doesn’t begin to compare to big ag.  But you start to add up the stupid little things, like this, and that ridiculous concert venue downtown, and the whatever-whatever center for whatever-special-interest-group that is ‘non-profit’, and soon enough you start talking about real money.

    But let’s ask the real question:  what will be the real cost per year in tax dollars, or LOST tax dollars, for this thing to operate?  Then look at your tax return for 2010, and tell me if you spent a year of your life funding a garden.  I bet it takes a half-dozen or more of us to pay for this thing.  But, that’s just a guess.  If you know the real answer, I’d love to hear it.

  • Bill
    01/13 05:19 PM

    According to the wake county property tax site, each of the 4 lots pay about $1k per year.  The non-profit will be paying payroll tax for any employees and the employees themselves will be subject to income tax.  The net result will certainly be an increase in tax collection.

    Pretty much any program to “buy local” is a net benefit to the community.

  • freemarketrenegade
    01/13 05:25 PM

    Bill -

    Like I said - as long as someone is buying the land with their money, paying their expenses without subsidy, and reaping the benefits or downfall of the investment on their own, I support whatever they are doing.  But if any part of this is subsidized in any way, then it’s just another feel-good waste of money.  I’ll keep buying my EVIL TOMATOES from Harris Teeter.

  • gspot
    01/13 05:28 PM

    fur trapping is a skill that more people are going to find necessary in the coming years

  • freemarketrenegade
    01/13 05:29 PM

    well said, gspot.

  • Fur Trapper Jim
    01/13 05:48 PM

    I propose that Moore Square be turned into urban hunting grounds.

  • Bill M
    01/13 05:50 PM

    Well said, Fur Trapper!

    Don’t tread on me.

  • freemarketrenegade
    01/13 06:00 PM

    I propose that Moore Square be turned into urban hunting grounds.
    well said, Fur Trapper Jim.

  • Jeff
    01/13 10:20 PM

    Wow that sure is a lot of comments for something so non-threatening.  Troll, you raise an interesting point about non-profits in general, but most of them are churches and charities.  Not really a liberal/conservative issue.  I’m sorry you don’t like small farms.  I think it sounds like a cool idea.  It’s not like a lot of revenue is coming out of a vacant lot anyways.  Besides, you gotta spend money to make money.  If neat things like this help bring people downtown to live or visit, or that’s tax revenue right there.

  • ivanscorp
    01/14 01:32 AM

    I love when people complain about their ‘‘hard-earned’’ tax dollars being used on frivilous things. I find it amusing. We live in America and I’m guessing your quality of life isn’t so awful after all especially in respects to other parts of the world. I am so tired of this debate of private vs. public sector and taxes vs. no taxes. It’s just old. We live in enough of a civilized country that we have to balance the independent “don’t tread on me” spirit of capitalism with the humanistic qualities of socialism. However the problem is no one will ever be satisfied! I know you tea partier types do not want to go down any sort of socialism road but guess what…TO LATE! In fact your whole lifetime you have lived in a semi-socialist society. We have public schools, police departments, public court systems that we all pay for!

    That being said the idea of urban farming has been successful in other parts of the country and mabye it will do well here, and mabye it won’t. Regardless I find it bold, and creative of enough idea to try and I seriously doubt it will effect one single penny of my tax dollars and if it does I DON’T Care. I trust the government more now than I do greedy corporations who run their companies into the ground and yet run crying to the government wanting a bail out.

    And this urban hunting ground idea…Why don’t you be more direct? What exactly would you like to hunt there? I wish you crazies would have some nuts and say what you really want to say, that way us people on the side of sanity and humility can just stop reading, roll our eyes and move on to a comment that is on the side of reason.

  • 150
    01/14 09:47 AM

    Uh-oh, ivanscorp…you said the new magic word that makes a certain segment of the population lose their minds: that “s” word. 
    As for the actual topic:  I don’t quite get the downtown farm idea, but it seems better than an empty lot, so I say have at it.

  • RaleighRob
    01/14 10:02 AM

    Y’all, stop feeding the troll.  Ignore him and he’ll get bored and go harass some other innocent blog.

  • Karen
    01/14 10:24 AM

    I think this is great news. If that location doesn’t work out for whatever reason, I would encourage the organizers to look for spots on South Wilmington Street or Rush Street just south of downtown. That’s an area that could use some creative development.

  • Aaron
    01/14 02:03 PM

    It’s a small farm. Chill out.

    I’m sorry but I really can’t stand Conservatives like that hot-head ‘renegade’ up a few posts. Maybe use their hard-earned dollars and deport them so we can move forward?

  • gspot
    01/14 03:25 PM

    well said aaron.  i agree that when cooler heads prevail, all conservatives will be deported.

  • freemarketrenegade
    01/16 11:35 AM

    Aaron…if you deport all conservatives, who will pay for your farm?

  • Aaron
    01/16 05:19 PM

    I’m assuming it would be Raleigh City Farm. How many times shall it be said until it gets through your thickened skull?

  • Alton
    01/16 06:34 PM

    This is a great idea.  Limbaugh Jr. here repeatedly assumes they’re buying the land but that’s idiotic.  He only assumes that because he’s an idiot with no business sense.  I’ll assume that developers will continue to own the land and this would be leased as a farm until the free market determines the land is more valuable for development.  So, let the idiots eat their “Evil Tomatoes” from Harris Teeter, the ones subsidized by the Federal Government, picked by illegal aliens, and shipped on the Federal Interstate system using fuel from big oil.  Mr. Free Market Renegade is so contradictory that he seems to have been created by the same performance artist that created Fred Phelps.

  • Bill M
    01/16 06:42 PM

    I agree Mr Wingnut is contradictory and not the brightest bulb but you should refrain from using insults like “idiot”.  It only diminishes your argument.

  • Aaron
    01/16 06:52 PM

    Alton’s response, I hope, will be the end of this controversial and heated debate about a small farm. This, ladies and gentlemen, is the state of our country these days wrapped up in a single news post.

  • gspot
    01/16 10:10 PM

    bill, i agree the teabagger is an idiot, but i think you should refrain from using insults like “wingnut.” it only diminishes your argument.

  • whoknowswhatinRaleigh?
    01/17 08:47 PM

    Doesn’t the Farmer’s Market already serve this need?  I support a city farm concept but I’m concerned it will add to the hardships currently experienced by our local farmers.  Seriously, if the idea was that good wouldn’t free enterprise have already done it?

  • b-fuss
    01/18 01:43 PM

    Have to agree with freemarketrenegade on this one. Uh, why do libtards always acuse someone of “hating” when they posit a viewpoint opposite their own. Pot, let me introduce you to kettle. I’ll admit, I am a hater, I hate liberals and commies but don’t NEED to call them names to make them feel small. All I have to do is ask them to explain their positions using reason and logic. It’s at this point when a bunch of “uhs” and “ums” and “wells,” spew forth with the occasional spittle missile when they finally let loose with invectives like “Nazi” or “teabagger.” Where are all the Daniel Patrick Moynihan liberals that actually have a brain and could at least get their ideas across without stuttering? You know, if all the hipster greenies that will be working this place (wearing hemp coolies?) owned their own property they could each build their own garden without any chance of costing the city tax revenue.

    P.S. Earth to “Bill,” there is no such thing as Wake County income tax.

  • JeffS
    01/18 02:24 PM

    I don’t know b-fuss. Perhaps the same reason you began your post with name-calling and then criticized others for doing the same?

    At least you make it easy on us. Posts containing political name-calling never have any content.

  • Aaron
    01/18 07:35 PM

    Personally, I think it’s an encouraging sign that we are now closing, hopefully, the disconnect between us, our food, and where it comes from. I have seen these ‘urban farms’ at work in places like Detroit. Not only does it provide some greenery in a concrete jungle or on an old, forgotten lot, but it is actually doing something that is renewable: it is providing locally grown food to the city around it. In addition, it should also bring the city and especially the neighborhood together. I believe, as a liberal, that this is a positive and progressive thing to have happen, and I hope to see more of it in the future. I believe that it is good for our country, not only saving us money and trips to supermarkets (where most of the food is actually foreign) and costs related to shipment, it is good that we are buying things not only grown on our soil, but grown on the soil of our city and on the soil of our neighborhood.

  • coalwagon
    01/19 12:26 AM

    you people are really ridiculous.

  • b-fuss
    01/19 01:07 PM

    Yeah, it’s good that Detroit was once the third largest city in the country, with an economy bigger than some countries, built half the cars sold in the world, produced some of the greatest music ever heard. But hey, it’s on the rebound- growing tomatoes next to the crack house.

  • gspot
    01/19 02:01 PM

    b-fuss, don’t hate on our urban sharecropping dreams

  • Michelle
    01/20 10:03 AM

    So excited about this. Can’t wait to get involved.

  • Francesco Zappa
    01/25 12:44 PM

    Fantastic idea! I love how the trolls come out whenever something that is a no-brainer is suggested in this universe.

    Next, similar farms/gardens need to be started in the poorer neighborhoods so children can grow up eating at least a little healthy, learn where actual food comes from, learn to work as a team with their neighbors, and on and on.

    I hope it works out and they can move Raleigh forward a small step.

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