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Urban Farmer Hopes to Change Lives More Than Provide Food

Lorenza Christian, Jr. was born in Alabama and then moved to the city. Now, he works on a farm and prides himself on helping struggling people who live in poor economies turn their lives around.

According to NBC Connecticut, Knox, Inc., a non-profit horticulture organization in Hartford, provides plenty of gardening space to Christian and five other urban farmers on one specific street and more than 500 others throughout the state.

“I was born on a farm, moved to the city, dislocated, but Knox reconnected me,” said Christian.

Knox allows urban farmers to produce and harvest Mexican gherkins, Hungarian peppers, callaloo, and much more.

Altogether, across the U.S., the real estate value of agricultural land amounts to roughly $2 trillion and in 2012, U.S. agrochemical expenditures at the producer level totaled almost to $9 billion.

Knox farms, along with six other farms, centers, and organizations, all are members of the Agricultural Learning Centers and have partnered on a grant to help beginning farmers throughout the state.

Lancaster Farming reports that the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) program, National Institute of Food and Agriculture, issued the grant to the agricultural partners for the official project title, “Advancing the Business of Farming in Connecticut and Partnership With Agriculture Learning Centers.”

“With this investment supported through the USDA, the alliance will further increase accessibility between agricultural support services and Connecticut’s budding community of agricultural entrepreneurs,” said NCFTA coordinator Betsy Robson.

The main goal of the partnership is to have every new farmer in the state know where he or she can go to begin their careers, regardless of language barriers, income, or experience.

“Before the landscape program, I was in the streets,” Christian added.

Now, thanks to the help of Knox and the statewide acceptance of Christian and people like him who are trying to turn their lives around, Christian can feed his friends and family while growing his business.

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