Local and organic urban micro-farming making a rise in Greenville.

By Ed Wilmott

The days of fresh food, growing it and consuming it, are coming back with a vengeance. The words local and sustainable have become synonymous with food and farming. With spring well under way, more and more people are putting hands to dirt and hearts to cooking. It's an ongoing celebration that is found in every city and community. And Greenville is no exception.

For the second year, the Greenville Organic Foods Organization presents the 2012 Urban Farm Tour, the Upstate's premiere self-guided tour that features a wide range of examples of city residents who are making Greenville more sustainable by growing their own vegetables, raising chickens, keeping bees, catching rain water, implementing energy savings solutions and more. After the first year's immense success, this year's tour will include additional activities for all ages.

This self-guided tour on May 12 will include 31 sites to visit, all within 8 to 10 miles of Downtown Greenville. Some sites are backyard gardens or community gardens, others are school or church gardens, some are private, and some are on public grounds. What they all embody is a passion for resilience, sustainability and community. Self-sufficiency has become a community contact sport. The tour will give participants the opportunity to learn for themselves what can be done in their own yards and communities.

Education is the theme of the day with additional activities. Participants can choose from a variety of workshops (16 totals) at the Urban Farm Tour headquarters located at 1040 W. Washington Street in downtown Greenville. Workshops include everything from organic gardening to composting to raising chickens to rainwater harvesting. Tour particpants can also visit sponsor exhibit booths at a mini-fair at the headquarters, learning about other companies and organizations focused on sustainable living.

The tour encourages participants to car pool or takes one of the bike tours being organized by a new partner, Bikeville. Tours will be leaving at 10am and 2pm and are family friendly. Expect to visit 5 to 6 sites on the bike tour. Advanced registration is required. Whether you are bike touring or doing a self-guided tour, it is encouraged that you plan in advance what to do and what sites to see.

This year's newest activity will be the pre-event gala scheduled for Thursday, May 10 at Zen Greenville. By attending this fantastic concert (featuring the Hoodoo Hounds, a blues band from Clemson) and party, participants will help GOFO raise funds, have fun and meet & greet this year's Urban Farm Tour site owners, event sponsors, partners, workshop presenters, the organizing committee and volunteers who made this event possible. Advance tickets for the benefit gala are $25 and include drinks, a taco bar prepared with organic and local foods, car parking and live music.

The Urban Farm Tour will run 9am - 5pm on Saturday, May 12 rain or shine, so come prepared. Tickets are $8 per person, children 12 years or younger are free. For tickets, more information or a chance to visit sites for free by volunteering visit http://www.greenvilleuft.com/

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