Tips for Farming with Neighbors
Urban agriculture takes place in close proximity to neighbors and within communities. Furthermore, the success of an urban farm is often dependent on the support of those neighbors and communities. In order to gain and maintain that support, urban farmers must be careful to minimize disturbance or annoyance to others, such as by:
- Acting in accordance to community standards of aesthetics by keeping things tidy, keeping less attractive equipment and structures away from streets and pedestrian rights of way, keeping compost piles contained, and planting flowers or other decorative plants;
- Maintaining farm sites by picking refuse up on a regular basis, mowing, controlling weeds in pathways, repairing and maintaining fences and structures, and so on; and
- Preventing nuisance conditions such as loud noises or offensive odors by carefully maintaining compost and other organic fertilizers, applying manure, fish emulsion, or other fertilizers in accordance to neighbor activities, and properly keeping urban livestock (see Factsheets #29-31, Urban Livestock, Chickens and Other Poultry, and Beekeeping).
It is also important to build relationships with individuals, local elected officials and local groups and organizations to ensure community involvement in the farm. These are important for maintaining farm site security (see also factsheet #19, Site Security).
Consider attending neighborhood community group meetings to learn more about any neighborhood concerns or issues, or ask if you could make a presentation explaining your farm project. Or, host occasional farm tours and volunteer days to get neighbors more involved in your work.
Also explore creative ways that you might give back to your community, such as donating unsold produce after a market day, hosting gleaning days to help with end-of-season clean-up, or offering free hands-on workshops.