ROCHESTER, N.Y. — December might not seem like the ideal time of the year for a farm story. But for Lexington Avenue Community Farm Coordinator John Miller, even though most of the year’s harvest is over, there is still work to be done.
The Lexington Avenue Community Farm is one of a growing number of urban farms in Rochester.
“Every time I see an empty lot throughout the city I'm thinking, 'man, we should grow something there,'" said Miller.
During the summer months 70 families, most of them refugees, grow various vegetables in what was once an empty lot.
“Most of the families have some sort of agricultural background,” Miller said.
New York state just announced $800,000 in grants to help make more places like this possible. Seeds and plants are expensive, not to mention the materials used to make the raised beds and makeshift greenhouses.
“One of the challenges [is] where we find the funding to be able to build those boxes to be able to build those facilities," Miller said. "People in the community can begin to grow."
Miller says he has more demand than garden space right now in this urban oasis that Foodlink opened about a dozen years ago.
“You can be here in the midst of this garden and forget that you're really in the city and there's craziness all around on all sides of us,” said Miller.
So as winter nears, it might not be the ideal time for a story on farming.
As any farmer knows — the work is never done.
“We want for every person, every family, to be able to grow their own food with dignity," Miller said. "So to have healthy food is really the beginning of a healthy community."