Urban Farms and Community Gardens Blossom in the Triangle


Published:

Families can grow food for free in one of plots at Camden Street Learning Garden.

Photo courtesy of Camden Street Learning Garden

As families search for ways to eat healthy, buy local and save on groceries, it’s no surprise that community gardens and urban farms are blooming in the Triangle. Whether you’re looking for places to buy fresh produce or grow your own, here are a few gardens and farms that prove city-based agriculture is more than a passing trend.

Raleigh City Farm

With a 1-acre site in the heart of downtown, Raleigh City Farm was one of the first urban farms in the Triangle when it was founded in 2011.

“It’s so visible, and it’s close to downtown,” says Rebekah Beck, the farm’s general manager. “You can come see farming in different phases.” There are farmers producing off the land and dirt, hydroponic growers working in a greenhouse, and there’s also a food hub. The hub aggregates produce from different farms in the Piedmont for use in local restaurants and through a community-supported agriculture program and at farmers markets.

The nonprofit farm works to “re-connect city-dwellers with food production,” so volunteering is encouraged. Every Wednesday from April through October, the farm hosts Wine+Weeds, a weekly weeding party from 6 to 7 p.m. Check the farm’s website for additional special events and programming. 800 N. Blount St., Raleigh; 919-322-9596

Good Hope Farm

In January 2008, the Town of Cary bought 46 acres, part of which included the historic A.M. Howard Farm, built in the early 1910s.

“It’s rather unique for a local government to purchase a farm, but we have a strong commitment to historic preservation as well as preserved open space,” says Sarah Justice, environmental outreach program coordinator with the Town of Cary.

The 29-acre property, renamed Good Hope Farm, includes a homestead and several outbuildings, including two tobacco barns. The day-to-day operation of the farm is managed by the Piedmont Conservation Council through an eight-year lease, and the council is currently seeking farmers who want to sublease .5- to 2-acre plots.

This spring will mark the first growing season for the town.

“We are at the very beginning of the project, but we are seeking volunteers, and we do workshops as well,” Justice says.

For information about community outreach opportunities, visit the Town of Cary website and search for “Good Hope Farm." 1580 Morrisville Carpenter Road, Cary; 919-469-4061.

Carpenter Park Community Garden

Cary’s 16-acre Carpenter Park, which opened in 2016, is across the street from Good Hope Farm and includes the typical family-friendly features you would expect from a park such as a playground, walking trails, a basketball court and a picnic area, but it’s also home to a community garden.

“The garden has 50 plots that are rented and tended by community members,” Justice says. In addition to the leased plots, about one-third of the garden has open beds reserved for educational opportunities, volunteering and group projects.

“There are ongoing opportunities for people to learn about gardening and also take home fruits and vegetables when they come and work,” Justice says. 4420 Louis Stephens Drive, Cary; 919-469-4061.

LL Urban Farms

In 2012, Glen and Barbara Lang, and Jim and Debbie Loy bought a .99 acres on Holly Springs Road to build LL Urban Farms.

“The first thing we did was build a greenhouse for lettuce,” Glen Lang says. “Jim and I had never built anything, but we were able to learn by [looking at] YouTube videos, and so we built our first greenhouse that way,” Lang says. “And we call ourselves, affectionately, YouTube farmers.”

They taught themselves hydroponic farming, and product demand soon led to more greenhouses for lettuce and tomatoes. About half of this produce is sold to Whole Foods and is also available via home-delivery subscriptions for businesses such as The Produce Box and Papa Spuds. In 2014, the owners also added a barn and farm stand.

“We thought we were going to sell produce, but it turns out, people wanted more things,” Lang says. “We go down every Friday to the coast and pick up a couple hundred pounds of fresh seafood.”

In addition to seafood, the farm stand also sells pork, beef, eggs, honey, cheeses, milk, fresh fruit, produce, bread and more. Best of all, it’s all locally grown or made.

It’s not uncommon for school groups or home-schoolers to request tours to learn about hydroponic farming.

“The kids also love coming to see us because we have 20 chickens,” Lang says.

There are monthly tastings to allow patrons to try new products. Visit the LL Urban Farms website for more information about special events. 8225 Holly Springs Road, Raleigh; 919-234-7538.

Camden Street Learning Garden

In June 2014, the Camden Street Learning Garden was born in southeast Raleigh with the purchase of several vacant lots by the Inter-Faith Food Shuttle, a hunger-relief organization in the Triangle.

“Since then, we’ve transformed it into a space where there are community growing plots, and people can grow food for free,” says Katie Murray, urban agriculture programs manager for the Inter-Faith Food Shuttle Raleigh.

Through its Seed to Supper program, a six-week gardening course, the organization is working to educate and teach community members.

“For families that are experiencing some level of food insecurity, we provide them with the training and the tools and all the supplies they need to start their own garden on our site,” Murray says.

In addition to garden plots, the Camden garden site has a greenhouse, rain-harvesting system, indoor teaching kitchen, two beehives, a food forest with perennials such as fruit trees, and culinary and medicinal herbs.

In addition to adult programs, the Camden Street Learning Garden also offers after-school programs and opportunities to volunteer. 315 Camden St., Raleigh; 919-469-4301.

Myra Wright is the web editor for Carolina Parent and Piedmont Parent. She frequently writes about North Carolina travel destinations.

 

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Contact Name: Leigh Hamm
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Cost: $70/month

Where:
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2080 E Williams St
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5000 Whitewater Center Pkwy
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Cost: See website for fees

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Downtown Raleigh
500 S. Salisbury St.
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5000 Whitewater Center Pkwy
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5000 Whitewater Center Pkwy
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Cost: See website for fees

Where:
Downtown Raleigh
500 S. Salisbury St.
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Amongst the ancient oak trees is the heart of Raleigh. We'll help you see the forest for the trees and all its magic splendor. Tourist, local, or new to town, this is a lively small group activity...

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Downtown
500 S Salisbury St
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Telephone: 833-202-7626
Contact Name: Kelly
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More information

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Cost: $70/month

Where:
Hope Community Building
2080 E Williams St
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Apex/Holly Springs, NC  27539
View map »


Telephone: 191-990-25432
Contact Name: Leigh Hamm
Website »

More information

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Cost: See website for fees

Where:
Downtown Raleigh
500 S. Salisbury St.
Raleigh, NC  27601
View map »


Sponsor: LetsRoam!
Telephone: 833-202-7626
Contact Name: LetsRoam!
Website »

More information

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5000 Whitewater Center Pkwy
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Telephone: 704-391-3900
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Cost: Free

Where:
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5000 Whitewater Center Pkwy
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#202
Cary, NC  27513
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Sponsor: Wynns Family Psychology
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Cost: $11

Where:
Downtown
500 S Salisbury St
Raleigh, NC  27601
View map »


Sponsor: Let's Roam
Telephone: 833-202-7626
Contact Name: Kelly
Website »

More information

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Cost: $70/month

Where:
Hope Community Building
2080 E Williams St
Hope Community Building, Fuquay Varina Room
Apex/Holly Springs, NC  27539
View map »


Telephone: 191-990-25432
Contact Name: Leigh Hamm
Website »

More information

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Cost: See website for fees

Where:
Downtown Raleigh
500 S. Salisbury St.
Raleigh, NC  27601
View map »


Sponsor: LetsRoam!
Telephone: 833-202-7626
Contact Name: LetsRoam!
Website »

More information

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Cost: Free

Where:
USNWC
5000 Whitewater Center Pkwy
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Sponsor: USNWC
Telephone: 704-391-3900
Website »

More information

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Cost: 20

Where:
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5000 Whitewater Center Pkwy
Charlotte, NC  28214
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More information

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Apex, NC  27539
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Hope Community Church- Apex
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Orange County Main Library
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Sponsor: Orange County Public Library
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Cost: $11

Where:
500 S Salisbury St
raleigh, NC  27601
View map »


Sponsor: Let's Roam
Website »

More information

Amongst the ancient oak trees is the heart of Raleigh. We'll help you see the forest for the trees and all its magic splendor. Tourist, local, or new to town, this is a lively small group activity...

Cost: $11

Where:
Downtown
500 S Salisbury St
Raleigh, NC  27601
View map »


Sponsor: Let's Roam
Telephone: 833-202-7626
Contact Name: Kelly
Website »

More information

Kindermusik is a research-based early childhood curriculum that includes 45-minute classroom lessons with materials and resources that encourages parental involvement . Research has linked...

Cost: $70/month

Where:
Hope Community Building
2080 E Williams St
Hope Community Building, Fuquay Varina Room
Apex/Holly Springs, NC  27539
View map »


Telephone: 191-990-25432
Contact Name: Leigh Hamm
Website »

More information

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Cost: Free

Where:
USNWC
5000 Whitewater Center Pkwy
Charlotte, NC  28214
View map »


Sponsor: USNWC
Telephone: 704-391-3900
Website »

More information

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Cost: 20

Where:
USNWC
5000 Whitewater Center Pkwy
Charlotte, NC  28214
View map »


Sponsor: USNWC
Telephone: 704-391-3900
Website »

More information

Sign up for a Raleigh scavenger hunt and put on your best Nick Cage impression as you seek out the national treasures hidden in Raleigh. Via an app, be guided through the cultural, historical,...

Cost: See website for fees

Where:
Downtown Raleigh
500 S. Salisbury St.
Raleigh, NC  27601
View map »


Sponsor: LetsRoam!
Telephone: 833-202-7626
Contact Name: LetsRoam!
Website »

More information

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Hillsborough Library
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Hillsborough, NC  27278
View map »


Sponsor: Hillsborough Main Library
Telephone: 919-245-2525
Contact Name: Beth Hawkey
Website »

More information

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Cost: Free

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Orange County Main Library
137 W Margaret Ln
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View map »


Sponsor: Orange County Public Library
Telephone: 919-245-2539
Contact Name: Libbie Hough
Website »

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Contact Name: Hugo Romero Sanchez
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Show More...
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Forget tourist-filled museums, make your own memories with a photo scavenger hunt tour in Raleigh! On a Let’s Roam scavenger hunt, you and your team will work together to wander throughout...

Cost: $11

Where:
500 S Salisbury St
raleigh, NC  27601
View map »


Sponsor: Let's Roam
Website »

More information

Amongst the ancient oak trees is the heart of Raleigh. We'll help you see the forest for the trees and all its magic splendor. Tourist, local, or new to town, this is a lively small group activity...

Cost: $11

Where:
Downtown
500 S Salisbury St
Raleigh, NC  27601
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Sponsor: Let's Roam
Telephone: 833-202-7626
Contact Name: Kelly
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It's your last chance to catch the Wolfpack at home this season! Help RED OUT Duke by wearing your favorite RED NC State Gear to the meet. The first 300 fans will receive an exclusive RED OUT...

Cost: FREE

Where:
Willis R. Casey Aquatic Center
2611 Cates Ave.
Raleigh, NC  27695
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Kindermusik is a research-based early childhood curriculum that includes 45-minute classroom lessons with materials and resources that encourages parental involvement . Research has linked...

Cost: $70/month

Where:
Hope Community Building
2080 E Williams St
Hope Community Building, Fuquay Varina Room
Apex/Holly Springs, NC  27539
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Telephone: 191-990-25432
Contact Name: Leigh Hamm
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Preschoolers (ages 3-5 with an adult) learn what wild animals do in winter by pretending to be animals that hibernate, migrate or just stay warm in the cold, winter woods! Take a hike, do a craft,...

Cost: $3

Where:
Wilkerson Nature Preserve
5229 Awls Haven Drive
Raleigh, NC  27614
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Sponsor: City of Raleigh Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources
Telephone: 919-996-6764
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Explore nature through play!  The Main Library is partnering with local Tinkergarten leaders Heather Murphy and Kate MacCartney to bring the fun of nature indoors.  Join us as we investigate...

Cost: Free

Where:
Orange County Main Library
137 W Margaret Ln
Hillsborough, NC  27278
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Sponsor: Orange County Public Library
Telephone: 919-245-2539
Contact Name: Libbie Hough
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January Story Time, Puppet Show & Art Activity Puppet Show Incorporated https://www.puppetshowinc.org/ presents the classic Aesop fable The Lion and the Mouse. Activities include a story time,...

Cost: FREE

Where:
Carrboro Library
900 Old Fayetteville Road
Inside McDougle Middle School
Chapel Hill, NC  27516
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Sponsor: Carrboro Branch Library
Telephone: 919-969-3006
Contact Name: Beth Hawkey
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Want a wild start to your new year?When you’re facing the after-holiday blues after packing up the decorations and taking down the tree, never fear. Come celebrate the new year in a thrilling,...

Cost: $20 - $26

Where:
Animal Park at the Conservators Center
676 E Hughes Mill Rd
Burlington, NC  27217
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Sponsor: Animal Park at the Conservators Center
Telephone: 336-421-0883
Contact Name: Taylor Sharp

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Sign up for a Raleigh scavenger hunt and put on your best Nick Cage impression as you seek out the national treasures hidden in Raleigh. Via an app, be guided through the cultural, historical,...

Cost: See website for fees

Where:
Downtown Raleigh
500 S. Salisbury St.
Raleigh, NC  27601
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Sponsor: LetsRoam!
Telephone: 833-202-7626
Contact Name: LetsRoam!
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Skate on an ice trail or free skate on 17,000 sq. ft of ice. Located in the Upper Pond of the Whitewater Center, the skating environment features three distinct programming areas and an on-ice...

Cost: 20

Where:
USNWC
5000 Whitewater Center Pkwy
Charlotte, NC  28214
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Sponsor: USNWC
Telephone: 704-391-3900
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Lights is a half-mile walking trail that leads viewers through a series of immersive light installations featuring  honeycombs, vines, crystals, and other natural features integrated into the...

Cost: Free

Where:
USNWC
5000 Whitewater Center Pkwy
Charlotte, NC  28214
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Sponsor: USNWC
Telephone: 704-391-3900
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Spanish Alive is providing Family Spanish classes starting in January! Join us to learn Spanish as an entire family in an immersive, fun environment. Our teachers are trained Spanish educators and...

Cost: $75-$216

Where:
Spanish Alive
156 E. Chatham St
Cary, NC
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Family Wildlife Series: Owl Prowl Saturday, January 18, 6-7:15 p.m. Venture into the night on a Blue Jay hike.  Learn about owl habits and adaptations as we listen for these nocturnal birds....

Cost: Free

Where:
Blue Jay Point County Park
3200 Pleasant Union Church Road
Raleigh, NC  27614
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Telephone: 919-870-4330
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Education Guide

The 2019-20 Education Guide offers 718 education resources in the Triangle, including area preschools, private schools, public school systems, charter schools, boarding schools and academic resources.

The Triangle Go-To Guide

Our Triangle Go-To Guide connects you to family fun resources across the Triangle. In our 2019-20 issue, explore 1,028 resources for family fun.