NEEM, together with our partners & participants, have addressed issues of food security, education, nutrition, early on-set diabetes and economic development in Durham by promoting Urban Sustainable Agriculture and farming as an honorable alternative profession in the urban sector. NEEM as an organization operates Organoponico NEEM on 11.2 FSA USDA registered acres, the first FSA USDA registered non profit urban farm in North Carolina and the largest in the United States.
- One Urban Farm on 11.2 FSA registered acres at Organoponico NEEM at Wabash (the farm) and Organoponico NEEM at Hazel (pictured here).
- South East Durham/McDougald Terrace Community Garden on the farm.
- Eight School Garden Classrooms at Durham Public Schools since 2009 with support being provided to three additional schools with partial gardens
- One School Garden Classroom for an independent school and support for another
- One Community Garden in a Durham City Park operated by the community and the first in the State
- Nine Urban Community Gardens on disused property
- Fifty Individual urban gardens
- Two Church Community gardens
- Seven Community Gardens for local non-profits
- NEEM Headquarters CSA garden and one community garden
- Completion of Bennett field and the Funes-Kodak Agroeco trail
Not counting the 11.2 acre farm, Altogether our work to date represents over 11,464 square feet of edible production garden space positively affecting 30+ acres. At 1.5 to 3 pounds yield per square foot at two seasons (spring/summer & fall/winter) this amounts to an estimated 17,196 to 34,392 pounds of sustainably produced vegetables each season.
NEEM considers this a perpetual measurable & deliverables. NEEM creates food security, addresses obesity, early on-set diabetes and nutrition, educates our children on sustainable concepts and creates sustainable economies on unused property. These gardens and urban farms are evolutionary and embody bringing the community together through dialectic engagement in a cooperative effort.
2011-2013: Below are some highlights.
- Memorandum of Understanding with Durham Housing Authority
- NCSU Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture project for crayfish
- established bottom up community commitment (organic for those socioeconomically denied)
- Creation of Rice paddies for Carolina Gold and azola with crayfish
- Cleared NatGeo/Kodak American Greenways award winning Funes Agroecological Trail (a linear field)
- Leveraged land w/CNEF grant.
- Led NC Delegation to Cuba on Agroecology and sustainable Agriculture.
- Leveraged partnership with Burt’s Bee’s with land for May 19 Culture Day.
- Received Farm Services Agency farm serial number for 11.2 acres for First registered urban farm in North Carolina.
- Applied through FSA for USDA Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) with NRCS.
- Finished the MHNA Community garden project at the Hill property funded by BCBS NC.
- Completed first phase of 2 Organoponicos and one beautification/Historic Preservation projects with 450 volunteers on BBI Culture Day.
- Doubled size of Canal Street community garden.
- Provided local small businesses with all contracts related to the BBI event.
- Announced Bennett Field in honor of Dr. Bennett.
- Awarded Farm Bureau “Farm Energy Efficiency Project (FEEP) award made possible by Tobacco Trust Fund.
- Established partnership with NCCU – Lois, Deborah, Yolanda.
- Participated in the “Summer of Service” program with Durham NCCU, Public Schools, community, faith based organizations in SE Durham.
- Planted for season distributed food to community.
- Re-designed and created the farm space in 5 months and by April 2012 planting time
- Established 8 community gardens, two which were schools.
- Contributed two vertical gardens to two Durham Middle Schools w/plants.
- Contributed 1200 plants, garden tools, supplies to SE Durham gardens without funding.
- Triangle Business Journals Green Project of the year award to Burt’s Bees for the NEEM sustainable urban AG project.
- Received the coveted Kodak American Greenways national award with Kodak, National Geographic and Conservation fund
- Completed Solar install at Wabash for year round off grid production at BBI Greenhouse.
- Acquired and de-constructed 110 year old tobacco barn thanks to DDNP and Duke Office of Community and Regional Affairs.
- Acquired 40′ starter house and negotiating 100 year old Packing House, all for Wabash.
- Received funding from philanthropy for well at Wabash.
- Maintained old (see: partners), established new relationships and collaborations with Durham Housing Authority, McDougal Terrace community, C-H NA, LPCA, IFFS, Naked Fruits, SEEDS etc.
- Continued classes with DERC and our friends at the Forest Foundation
- Continued support from the City of Durham (all departments with special thanks to Tom Bonfield and Rosetta Radke at Parks and Rec)
- We grew tons of organic food at three locations on 3.5 of the 11.2 registered farm acres in spring/summer and fall/winter for those who needed it most; all distributed to or harvested by community.
Very special thanks go to:
- Duke Chapel - we would not exist if were not for your undying support from day one and faith in what we do. Sam, Keith, Lucy
- Our Board
- The Community
- Heidi Carter, Emily, Sefton, Connor, Reid, Derrick, Frankie, Kingsley, Aaron, the NEEM Team Volunteers, Rebecca, Leigh Ellen, Steve Gaddis,Ellen Weinstein, Jeff, Andy, Tim, Ken Friedlein, Chris Rumbley, Jane, Tom and the community.
- Dr. & Mrs. William Chambers
- Burt’s Bees/Clorox – partnership and the special project (go to the CSA page on our web site – click “Culture day”) that met the needs of the community beyond our wildest imagination.
- 100 Black Men, Eastern Triangle who always step up to the plate for community.
- The Conservation Fund for relentless support for NEEM (and so many other awesome organization) by team CNEF.
- Bull City Forward and Chris Gergen and the BCF team.
- CNEF/Kodak/National Geographic Society for Funes trail – our linear field and diversified agro-forestry and indigenous specialty crops project.
- Duke Chapel, Duke in general, Phail Wynn’s office, Nick school, Fuqua, the Law clinic, Terry Sanford Institute for pivotal rolls in creating an urban farm.
- NCCU for working with us on something special for that community and a partnership that is a source of pride for us.
- Carolina Farm Stewardship Association and Carolina Environmental Farming Systems for keeping everyone together and the community informed.
- NC Farmers, Non Profits, faith based, orgs, schools, funders, NCCU, UNC, NCSU, NRCS, DENR, USDA, NCDA, NIFA for support to us and the agricultural community in general, rural or urban.
- Congressman Prices office and his Aides who have been outstanding.
- the village (it takes one) in Kenya, the Navajo Nation, the Cuban people and all the groups that support them and seek positive change.
- Dr. Funes, our mentor in Cuba and President of GAO and ACTAF, his team, the farmers in Cuba, for the long distance support and inspiration. To Richard Frank Wilson, Mercedes and a special thanks to our friends, neighborhoods, schools and classes etc. too numerous to mention - you are awesome!
Last but not least is the community we all serve. They are the best and the finest. We are lucky to be a conduit of service to them.
Thanks for an unbelievable 2011 and an incredible 2012.
FINALJPGWabash (Organoponico NEEM)
NEEM has been promoting sustainable urban & rural agriculture since 1997. That is all we have ever done. There is nothing more local than sustainable urban agriculture.