Coming together from a wide variety of backgrounds and experiences, our skilled team of professionals is the backbone of Urban Community AgriNomics. Their ideas help shape the direction and mission of our organization as it continues to develop. Read on to learn more about some of our incredible team members.
Otto Phillips Jr.
Urban Community AgriNomics at Catawba Trail Farm
Prior to receiving its nonprofit status in 2016, UCAN worked in the community with and for other nonprofits to reduce food insecurity, prevent and reverse health issues, augment the academic success of our children and create healthy families. In November 2017 we finalized our User License Agreement with TLC for the use of their Snow Hill IV property.
In January 2018 Urban Community AgriNomics (UCAN) began reclaiming this dilapidated historic farmstead into Catawba Trail Farm (CTF) and Community Garden. By spring we had cleared a densely wooded pasture and constructed a 10’ fence around the perimeter of a 47 raised bed garden. By the end of 2019 UCAN members, volunteers and supporters enclosed an additional ¾ acre that includes a small orchard, in-ground planting area and chicken coop.
We rely heavily on volunteers who have been instrumental in helping us to create a safe infrastructure. Volunteers assisted in clearing overgrown field areas, construction of raised garden beds, cutting and stacking fire wood, repurposing natural resources and removal of unsafe structures and farm operation debris. We hire contractors to complete work that require expertise in a given area, such as building deconstruction and restoration, well drilling for water, tree trimming and removal and initial land clearing.
UCAN has been able to accomplish a lot with an average annual budget of $26,000. Funds are acquired through individual donations, the sale of vegetables, garden plots and seasoned firewood and small grant awards.
UCAN growth plan is rooted in increasing value and visibility through engagement with local schools, youth groups and farm and food related organizations. UCAN is working with low income communities and local schools in teaching healthy food preparation and preservation, addressing relevant issues, teaching life skills that encourage academic and career success and distributing fresh food to those in need. Eventually we will clear an additional 2 acres to provide space for new and aspiring farmers.
Urban Community AgriNomic’s mission is to improve the health and wellness of our community. Our programs shall provide education on healthy lifestyles, seed-to-table food preparation and preservation, and hands-on STEM and agricultural skills. We empower Durham families with access to resources to grow their own healthy food using sustainable practices in a supportive environment.