New City Urban Farm
is one of Grand Rapids’ largest Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farms off Leonard Street and Union Avenue. It continues to expand in its third season as a social enterprise focused on providing job training for youth and bringing fresh, organically grown food to people in the Creston neighborhood.
Whether planting crops, watering or weeding, Lance Kraai, farm director, and Shanna Greer, field manager, maintain New City Urban Farm prior to the arrival of student workers in early June. Kraai manages the operation year-round, spending long days in the trenches spring through fall making sure the farm produces bountiful, flavorful crops.
The farm, located on the eastern border of a two square mile food desert, is a program of New City Neighbors
and a spinoff of the community garden on the same property. It operates to build and improve community on several fronts.
Besides employing teens who live nearby, Kraai recognizes that access to fresh, nutritious and affordable food is essential to health and human flourishing.
“It should be an option for everyone,” he said. “Our big thing is we want to see food grown in the city. We want people to see the process, the hard work, see where food comes from. You can walk out your door and see what we’re doing. Anyone can come. We’re not exclusive.”