The Distributed Urban Farm Initiative (DUFi)
The Distributed Urban Farm Initiative (DUFi)
DUFi is a project that uses local agriculture as a tool to achieve good food, good health, and good growth within communities.
DUFi is a project that uses local agriculture as a tool to achieve good food, good health, and good growth within communities. Read more
About this project
What is DUFi?
The Distributed Urban Farming Initiative is a program that unites agriculture with community development, nutrition, and local economic development. The end goal of the project is not simply to build gardens around town, but rather use local agriculture to encourage healthy food choices, promote good health and spur economic growth through entrepreneurship and tourism.
Who We Are
Since 2004, Advent GX has been a leading innovation in tourism and economic development at the community level. Through experimental economics, innovative marketing, entrepreneurship, and economic analysis, Advent GX has helped Texas communities,state governments and private businesses achieve success. Today, Advent GX seeks to launch a distributed urban farm program to support community development goals while generating economic opportunity and encouraging healthy lifestyles.
Sustainable by Design
Urban farming is not a novel concept. It is being implemented in large cities such as New York and Detroit with success. But economic and operational sustainability continue to strain efforts. Small towns, with fewer resources are often unable to start – let alone sustain – these programs due to lack of direction, limited financial resources and a shortage of dedicated human capital. Our distributed urban farm program aims to resolve the weaknesses of other programs by engaging small businesses as key partners in the downtown farm. It is our intent to develop, implement and promote a sustainable downtown business model that will be available to communities that would otherwise lack the means or direction to execute urban farming.
Where We are Now
This initiative is being modeled and implemented in Historic Downtown Bryan, Texas. Downtown Bryan is passionate about supporting and advancing commerce, culture, and community. They actively work towards these goals through economic development, support of local art and culture, and community engagement. This environment creates the perfect conditions for the incubation of the Distributive Urban Farming Initiative and the creation of living classrooms that will serve both the local community as well as others seeking to replicate the model.
The city of Bryan has graciously granted access to vacant properties in, and around historic downtown for the testing of the distributed farm concept. These once unused plots will become beautiful attractions and valuable assets to city and community members alike.
Good Food – Nutrition Education
Once established, these gardens will be available to schools and organizations for hands-on nutrition education. We believe that much of our nation’s struggle with obesity comes from the severed relationship we have with our food system. Very few people today understand where their food is coming from or what is in it. Most Americans consume a diet of processed and preserved food that has been manufactured all over the world. Our goal is to reintroduce to our communities the notion of homegrown food; what is looks like, how it is grown, and how to incorporate it into our diet in order to live healthy lives.
Good Health – Local Sourcing Provides Healthy Options
It is our desire to use the produce grown within our city to supply the needs of local businesses. Food that is grown locally and consumed soon after harvest is higher in nutritional value than anything that can be purchased in stores. By using produce grown just blocks away, local restaurants will be able to offer food and products that have increased nutritional and economic value, bolstering the local economy and growing a healthier community.
Good Growth – Gardens Spur Local Commerce
Providing local produce to local restaurants is just one aspect of our approach to spurring economic activity around the gardens. The gardens enhance lots that are otherwise unused and create attractive spaces for special events, providing another source of revenue to support farm operations. Advent GX is working to make DUFi a model for other communities, making the Bryan farm a living classroom for communities throughout Texas and North America. Additionally, the distributed gardens will become part of trails, either existing or in development, that are growing attractions for travelers seeking agricultural and heritage tourism opportunities.
Below are just a few of the rewards we are offering to you as our way of saying "thank you!"
Risks and challenges
There are a number of challenges associated with this project. The first issue that we have had to address is that of utilities, namely, water. Vacant lots, by very definition, have very little to offer in terms of resources. Though initially the idea of having no power or water at each of our distributed gardens was intimidating, it has since become a key point of research and education for DUFi. Sustainability is an area of growing interest and importance. We plan to turn this challenge into an opportunity to demonstrate rain harvesting techniques in our public gardens, solving our challenge and teaching others in the process. Engaging in sustainable practices such as water catchment, and solar energy also will create a showcase facility for public education.
The second challenge that we have been cautioned of is that of sustained leadership. We have been told countless stories of community gardens that have failed due to the burnout of volunteers. This is an issue that we plan on combating by having paid workers in charge of daily operations. For this reason, DUFi had partnered with Beautiful Abilities to manage farm operations once we are up and running. Beautiful Abilities is a company that creates rewarding day programming for individuals with intellectual disabilities. The work in our gardens will provide meaningful, engaging work and learning opportunities for the individuals served by Beautiful Abilities, improving the quality of life for all of us while demonstrating a unique partnership that will sustain farm operations.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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