OASIS PROJECT: The goal is to create an urban farm at a church

Prince of Peace Lutheran Church was looking for a mission.
N.C. A&T (North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University) was seeking real-world experience for its horticulture students.
UNCG professor Marianne LeGreco wanted to expand the Warnersville Farmers Market.
The Guilford County Department of Public Health wanted to bring fresh food to one of the city’s worst food deserts.
Matthew King wanted to bring urban horticulture to the east Greensboro neighborhoods where his father once built houses for low-income families.
Every now and then, all the right elements converge at just the right time. So it is with the City Oasis Project.
Modeled on successful programs elsewhere, most notably Milwaukee, the City Oasis Project aims to create an urban farm in Warnersville where greenhouses and aquaponics produce large quantities of fruits and vegetables that can be processed and sold in an area nearly bereft of fresh food. It would not only produce food but also create jobs in the low-income area.
What sets the City Oasis Project apart from existing food programs is its comprehensive approach, said Mark Smith, epidemiologist with the county health department.
“You’re not only addressing food issues, but poverty and unemployment that are contributing to the problem,” Smith said.
The project is only in the planning stages, but with the players involved so far, it has the potential to revitalize east Greensboro.

NCAT Professors Gouchen Yang (left) and Odile Huchette pose with graduate student Michael King (right) at site where King plans to break ground on his urban horticulture project in the Warnersville neighborhood of Greensboro, NC.

The City Oasis Project aims to create an urban farm in Warnersville that would include:
• A permanent pavilion for the Warnersville Farmers Market (that plans to accept SNAP/EBT)
• A wooded area near Prince of Peach Lutheran Church will be cleared to plant fruit trees to create an orchard.
• An aquaponics area that has a sustainable food production system that combines aquaculture (raising fish in tanks) with hydroponics (cultivating plants in water instead of soil).
• Four new greenhouses will be built, to help the project become a high-yield operation.
• The introduction of a mobile farmers market to bring produce into neighborhoods and a distribution center to supply fresh fruit and vegetables to local convenience stores.

For more information, click here.