Giving Compass' Take:

• Food Tank highlights an inspiration story about a woman and her urban farm who is committed to pulling carbon out of the air and storing it in soil to fight climate change while also expressing how meditative and therapeutic gardening can be. 

• How can more urban farmers share best practices within indoor farming? 

• To learn more about growing urban agriculture, click here. 

Imagine you’re new to a community. But it is plagued by poverty, conflict, and oppression. Parts of your neighborhood are covered in trash, and abandoned homes are a common sight. There are no grocery stores or places to buy healthy food. But you’re an entrepreneur, and you come from a long line of farmers and land stewards. You and your family endeavor to bring hope to this new community, and to your own lives, by regenerating the land around your new home—by growing food.

This is just part of Aja Yasir’s story, a snapshot of where she is today as she fights for her urban farm. She can follow her agricultural roots way back. “My family has never skipped a generation of growing food. Unfortunately, many black people in this country can trace their family lineage to enslaved ancestors,” says Yasir. “But my grandparents grew food in Mississippi, and my parents grew up seeing that. When my family fled from violence, discrimination, and the Klan in Mississippi during the second great migration, they came to Chicago and planted again. And here I am, planting with my daughter and son in Gary, Indiana. This is just a huge part of who I am.”

For Yasir, growing food in urban spaces was never unusual. When she moved from Homewood, Illinois to Gary, she brought this with her. She and her husband purchased a home that was zoned residential and agricultural and quickly went to work. While her neighbors had green lawns, Yasir slowly converted hers to a regenerative urban farm. She protected and built the soil with woodchips, compost, and mineral-rich seaweed that she harvested herself from the canoe launch near her home. She planted food and medicine, watering it from rain collected on her property.

Read the full story on the benefits of urban farming by Jes Walton at Food Tank.