Urban farmers looking to team up with rural farmers

Quilen Blackwell and Tyrean Lewis

Two urban farmers are ready to bridge the communication gap with rural farmers.

Quilen Blackwell with Southside Blooms in Chicago tells Brownfield urban famers have access to a massive consumer market and rural farmers have more flexibility to raise livestock and crops – which could be a win/win if put together.

“That is one of things we want to start becoming more intentional about is building those relationships. We definitely have costumers who would love to buy high quality meats, but I just don’t know anyone with a successful beef farm to partner up with. They would get more money with the ability to sell direct to the consumer and we already have that consumer base, but we would be able to diversify our product portfolio.”

Tyrean Lewis with Heru Urban Farming in St. Louis says he has started the process through selling Community Supported Agriculture Boxes or CSAs.

“I have collaborated with cattle farmers in Missouri. I will buy the meat and they will package it with a label for me to add to my CSA’s.”

They say agriculture as a whole could benefit from rural urban partnerships.

“Let’s team up! Because then you are talking about undercutting the global supply chain and everyone wins with that.”

Blackwell and Lewis were part of an urban farming panel at the Illinois Specialty Crop Conference in Springfield.

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