The We Over Me Farm in Dallas, Texas may be the most innovate use of space in urban farming I’ve yet seen. The 2-acre organic farm is located on the former football field of Paul Quinn College, a historically black college (HBCU). In addition to in-ground and hoophouse vegetable production, the farm also raises chickens, bees, and tilapia. According to their website, farmers have grown over 55,000 pounds of vegetables since their inception in March of 2010. The school closed its football program and launched the farm in 2010 as one way to respond to the food swamp plaguing the community surrounding the Paul Quinn campus. (Click here to listen to Paul Quinn’s president speak about the history of the farm’s development.) The non-profit farm both sells produce to local restaurants but also donates food to local charitable organizations. Student-employees form the farm’s workforce and professors have incorporate learning at the farm in several courses.
I have not visited this farm nor contacted its staff, however I can speculate about several unusual characteristics to farming on such a site. First, the site presumably already possessed both the water and electrical infrastructure, both of which are key characteristics in determining potential success in urban farming. Additionally, it is likely that site contains one or more unused buildings that could be used for storage of materials and harvested produce, as well as washing and packing. I could not find any written or pictorial documentation of this on the web. Finally, an important characteristic of any football field is parking and access to major roads. These characteristics are also important characteristics for successful urban farms. Satellite imaging from Google Maps indicates the farm has ample parking and road access (pan slightly right/East).
Follow this link to a USDA produced video that shows some elements of the farm’s built environment, including extant goal posts, scoreboard, and lighting rigs. (More pictures are available through this USDA profile.)