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Turning Unused City Lots Into Farms



From VOA Learning English, this is the Agriculture Report.

Farms are spreading to unused city lots and old properties across the United States. These urban farms grow crops in areas where people rarely buy fresh fruits and vegetables. They have the power to change what people eat. They also have the power to influence troubled neighborhoods. ECO City Farms is an educational, nonprofit organization in Prince George's County, Maryland. It seeks to help the local community by teaching economic development, job training and a healthier way of living.

The group has set up farms near automobile repair businesses and fast food stores in urban neighborhoods. Social activist Margaret Morgan Hubbard founded ECO City Farms. She says the lack of fresh fruits and vegetables is a health problem for children and their families who live in nearby Bladensburg, Maryland.

ECO City Farms offer several programs, including educational activities on agriculture, food and finding jobs with environmentally friendly businesses. People can also learn how to cook healthier foods and teach others how to prepare meals.

Recently, Philip Sidibe demonstrated his cooking skills. He prepared aloco, a popular food in Cameroon, where he grew up. He and other young people not only cook their food, they also grow it in a large garden next to the Autumn Woods Apartments.

Margaret Morgan Hubbard says the urban garden is an agent for change and the young people are its newest supporters. She says young people work throughout the year helping with the farm. They are not only farming food, but also making that food available to people who live in the community.

For VOA Learning English, I'm Laurel Bowman.