The 1.4-acre site of the Berea Urban Farm was assembled from three separate land purchases throughout the summer and early Fall of 2013. The majority of the property was purchased by a local couple, while a smaller portion was bought by the City of Berea/Berea Tourism.
A lengthy series of conversations on the use of the property led to the concept of an urban farm as the option with the greatest benefit to the neighborhood and city. It also served as the foundation of a partnership for planning the farm among Sustainable Berea, Berea Tourism Commission and the Berea College Agriculture and Natural Resources Program. The City of Berea and the Madison County Conservation District subsequently joined as partners, followed most recently by the Community Sustainability Laboratory.
Since that time, we have:
• conducted a permaculture design workshop which led to a preliminary conceptual design for the site
• had several work parties to remove invasive species and to do other site cleanup
• installed an information bulletin board with a living roof
• researched the history of the site and, through deed records in Richmond, determined that the urban farm site was part of John G. Fee’s (Berea College founder) original holding
• conducted soil tests for lead and basic nutrients
• removed two derelict houses
• seeded the site of the first house with wild flowers and clover to begin rebuilding the soil and to support pollinators
• established a tree nursery with hazelnuts and 10 apple varieties
• set up two bee hives
• installed raised beds and filled them with tomatoes, potatoes, cabbage and marigolds
• built a Gothic high tunnel for season extension
• shaped and planted in-ground beds for the corn, summer squash, black beans and an assortment of herbs
• designed and begun construction of a large, wooden tool shed and a pavilion for hosting workshops