Phoenix’s Urban Farm Planting New View of Food One Seed at a Time

Greg Peterson knew he’d discovered his calling in 1974, while working on a writing assignment in eighth-grade about how professional fishermen were over-fishing the oceans. The concern he felt for the environment during that time developed into a passion for urban farming, and what he couldn’t learn through his own personal trial and error, he obtained at school, earning a master’s degree in 2006 in urban and environmental planning from Arizona State University.

In the heart of Phoenix, Peterson manages a showcase home called Urban Farm, where you’ll find three different types of solar panels, more than 80 citrus trees, and a patio, outdoor shower, and kitchen constructed from reclaimed materials. Since 2001 he has educated thousands of people on the importance of sustainability through webinars, online classes, in-person classes, and by providing tours of his home and farm. Peterson landscaped Urban Farm in such a way that visitors could readily see themselves living there and this in turn gives them ideas of how they too can redesign their living space into their very own urban farm. With his help, Arizonans have planted more than 15,000 apple trees, fig trees, citrus trees, and many other varieties throughout the state.

Revenue from Urban Farm is supplied through Peterson’s educational classes and the sale of fruit trees, which he orders for his customers by way of four tree suppliers, sometimes filling single orders of more than 3,500 trees. His classes include such topics as composting, gardening, edible landscape design, keeping chickens, permaculture, and rainwater and greywater harvesting. 

Peterson also maintains a very popular social media presence through his website at urbanfarm.org, where he provides a newsletter to keep enthusiasts in the know about the latest developments in agriculture and urban farming. He started a podcast 18 months ago, which now draws more than 400,000 listeners nationwide. 

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