Read this article and click on the links for a brief introduction to the nature of project we're envisioning for Memphis. Ours is "market creation" and business incubation. Not just economic gardening, which refers to tending to existing businesses and helping them grow (as opposed to typical economic development, which uses incentives to attract business from out of town). We aim not just to nurture and grow local business, but to start them and create the market for them as well.
Scott Dunscombe noted on Twitter that this article I wrote about how cities ought to look beyond high-tech for this economic destiny has a fair amount in common with what Portland mayoral candidate Jefferson Smith calls "economic gardening." And in fact, though I didn't use the phrase in the piece...
Thanks everyone for all of your "me too's." The support we've received and the visibility this has generated have been tremendous for moving the project along while the Neighborland challenge has been going on. Winning NGA's grant would really help move this project from concept to reality.
As you know, we're trying to put something together that very few cities have attempted. We believe this kind of "economic gardening" initiative is exactly what is needed in Memphis. Our focus is on the resilience of the local food economy and building prosperity from the ground up, literally, by making unproductive parcels productive and incubating a sustainable local food economy starting with urban farming entrepreneurs. The concept is huge and could be transformative. So all of your support is very much appreciated. Thank you!
Adam, check email/FB. I want to hear more about the code enforcement guys or whoever showed up and took the clippings and called it dumping.
NGA and Alan, I'll try to answer, however can I suggest contacting me directly to discuss the specifics of the project that are sensitive and under development? I can say that right now we have some funding in place, but are in the process of securing long-term funding. Similarly, resources and partnerships are also being developed and many are already committed. The principals are not related to the cotton industry in any way, nor will be any of the partners or financiers, but are part of a network of local food, urban farming, and policy professionals.
We believe winning the grant would be tremendous for the visibility of the project, would help us raise more money, and would help fund initial start-up costs, including promotion and marketing.
If Neighborland doesn't have my contact info, let me know how to contact you and I would be glad to discuss the project further, including how we would like to specifically utilize the NGA grant if awarded.
Thanks, Alan. We think this can be a significant contributor to a "greener" Memphis economy.
Alan, we are in the emergent development stage, but have been in productive conversations with existing organizations and are building momentum and enthusiasm. We plan to build upon what is already successful here by filling in the gaps necessary to completing a sustainable urban ag entrepreneurship generator.