Urban Farm Prepares for a Spot on Eco Avenue

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COLUMBIA - The Columbia Center for Urban Agriculture (CCUA) is one of 30 booths that will be along 'Eco Avenue' at the 2012 Earth Day Festival in Peace Park this Sunday.

225 booths will fill the rest of the park as residents come out to celebrate living sustainably. Columbia's Earth Day Coalition manager Mark Haim said Eco-Avenue is "the heart of Earth Day."

"What we try to do at Earth Day is encourage education and a sense of empowerment," Haim said. "We want to encourage people to feel responsible for their acitons and capable of making a difference through their actions."

The CCUA is planning activites and games to engage festival goers, most of which incorporate its own farm grown produce. Started 2 years ago, the farm is growing exponentially.

"The CCUA, and organizations like it, are an active role in the Earth Day celebration," Haim said.

Many of the farm's vegetables and salad greens are bought and used by downtown Columbia restaurants. The CCUA and its farm advocates are re-localizing the community's food supply.

"We are a production farm, so we grow everything and we sell it," CCUA representative Natalie Suntrup said. "[Restaurants] support us and we support them."

Supporters of buying local food promote the benefits of urban farms in that it lowers transportation and energy cost as well as keeps money from going to outside markets. The farm offers volunteer opportunities as well as workshops, field trips, and educational tours. To learn more, visit CCUA's urban farms website here.