Through much of 2016, Community Food Lab assisted one of Raleigh’s premier mixed-use districts in identifying and defining urban agriculture opportunities. Urban farms, community gardens, and edible landscapes all inspired new thinking that re-imagined food growing as a driver of meaningful visitor experience, wellness, and placemaking.
North Hills, an outdoor mixed-use shopping and residential district of midtown Raleigh, NC, already hosts a weekly farmers market, seasonal plant and tree markets, and a number of restaurants that feature local products. Building on this experience and recognizing the growing trend in local food, North Hills sees the impact urban agriculture could have on its evolving role as an innovative, vibrant destination.
Through a multi-stage consulting and planning process, Community Food Lab began the North Hills Urban Agriculture Pilots by envisioning four goals to drive urban agriculture:
- Foster community
- Support thriving businesses
- Build sustainability
- Spark innovation
These four goals supported a high-level vision and phased development plan for urban agriculture at North Hills, and resulted in connections between an interested farmer with land at North Hills. With the consultation of Community Food Lab, North Hills continues to explore options for an urban agriculture approach composed of demonstration gardens, urban farms, community gardens, and edible landscapes.
When implemented, the Urban Agriculture Pilots at North Hills will enhance this district’s value and reputation as an innovative regional leader in mixed-use commercial and community-focused development.