Urban farming in Greensboro

GREENSBORO, N.C. — Stephen Johnson lives just blocks away from UNC Greensboro. That’s why people look twice when they walk pass his front yard.

“Most of my neighbors say ‘I love your front yard.’ They bring their kids and out-of-town guests through here — all sorts of folks,” Johnson said.

Instead of grass, Johnson’s front yard has strawberries, raspberries, asparagus and other fruits and herbs.

“One of my goals is to have something visible like this. People can say I can do this. It doesn’t take long,” he said.

Johnson provides produce for his family, neighbors, local markets and restaurants. North Carolina Cooperative Extension agent John Ivey says Johnson is a part of a growing number of urban farmers in Greensboro.

“I think the objective of bringing people together is a strong one for urban farming. People want to produce more of their own food,” Ivey said.

Johnson has been growing herbs and vegetables in his front yard for nearly 20 years. Now he is preparing to grow more food in his backyard.

“I guess this was an old part of the creek,” he said. “The soil here is nice and rich. My farmer friends have red soil and mine is black. It’s really good soil.”

John Ivey believes urban farming is a good way to preserve the environment.

“I would like to think that down the road a lot of people will model after Stephen and the other farmers. Take care of what we have been given,” he said.

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