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Outside of Philly, Greensgrow is changing the way we see all things urban.

When we talk about community, we never think about them as homogenous, rather, much like the article suggests: “I guess I see that as I look at the Thursday market shoppers: young folks with mustaches on their faces and baskets on their bikes, a double-date popping out of a Prius, a mom with a stroller the size of a Pugeot. But there’s also a policeman and the owner of the auto detail shop across the street.”

Today, people have more conversations. About things, actual, meaningful things. Whether its about the vegetables, the story behind the market, Minnesota’s first rooftop farm or the community itself, activities like this are a keystone in the holistic approach to building reuse and new land-use strategy.

But, how do you make money doing this? Its a different model, a changed, combined model that has a few bottom lines. “Mary [Seton Corboy] has always intended for Greensgrow to be profitable. She wants it to be a model for sustainable profitability, in fact. All 19 staff members are paid by the for-profit side of the business, from nursery and farm sales, which grossed one million last year. The CSA (community supported agriculture) has 400 members. 400. That’s enormous for a city-block farm. Greensgrow has created a 75-mile web of farms and producers with the Greensgrow CSA as the mothership distribution point. It’s so big that they’ve achieved the holy grail of the CSA model – a low-income option.” “The nursery is the economic engine of Greensgrow, earning the farm over half a million dollars a year.

We need to start looking at our cities and how we go about using land and collaborating with owners and users alike in order to take sustainability to a real, meaningful level.

Read the full article here