A collage of various photos from DEUFFC celebrating at Ag Week

The Delaware Urban Farm and Food Coalition (DEUFFC) celebrated its partnership with Delaware Agriculture Week

February 02, 2024 Written by Michele Walfred

The Delaware Urban Farm and Food Coalition (DEUFFC) celebrated its decade-long partnership with Delaware Agriculture Week, a 19-year tradition held each January in Harrington. An urban agriculture session was not originally part of the event everyone knows as “ag week.”

 

Urban Agriculture

Recognizing that urban agriculture deserved to be part of the overall conversation and outreach, DEUFFC officially joined the Ag Week agenda in 2015, convening at the University of Delaware’s Wilmington campus, where the session was broadcast simultaneously to a classroom in Harrington. 

The addition helped to round out agriculture conversations across all of Delaware. In 2024, DEUFFC selected the theme “Past, Present and Future” to celebrate the success of that connection and look ahead to future awareness of urban agriculture. 

“The annual urban ag session complements get-togethers, robust events and committee meetings throughout the year,” said Carrie Murphy, Delaware Cooperative Extension horticulture agent in New Castle County. 

Attendee at the DEUFFC at Ag Week

Delaware Ag Week

In recent years, the Delaware Center for Horticulture in Trolley Square, Wilmington, has served as the venue for the concluding session of Delaware Ag Week. 

As one effort concludes, many others begin.

University of Delaware Cooperative Extension’s participation at Delaware Ag Week ensures a successful start to our new year; it provides us an opportunity to reconnect and make new connections, showcase accomplishments, and plan for the future,” Murphy added.

Murphy spoke at the 2024 session along with guest speakers Madison Walter from the New Castle Conservation District and current co-chair of the DEUFFC, Dr. Melvina Brown from Innersource Wellness Center, and panelists Ruth Arias with Bright Spot Farm, Matthew Williams with Conscious Connections, Jamila Davey from Green for the Greater Good, and Lydia Sarson from Healthy Foods for Healthy Kids.

 

Bringing People Together

January’s session acknowledged the vital history that, in addition to Murphy, initially began in 2015 with the then-fellow co-chair of the DEUFFC, Tara Tracy from the Delaware Center for Horticulture and active DEUFFC member Faith Kuehn from Delaware Department of Agriculture. “The session aimed to bring people together, to highlight urban ag and local efforts, including current and potential project work, and to bring visibility to the coalition and its collective impact,” Murphy explains. 

That first session sought to get the right people in the room to discuss community needs and request additional support. The program featured the Delaware Department of Agriculture,  USDA Rural Development, and the City of Wilmington. Panelists and presentations featured project work from Bright Spot Ventures, Planting Hope Urban Farm, Conscious Connections, Southbridge Community Gardens, and the Delaware Healthy Corner Stores project.  

Fast forward to 2024, DEUFFC continues to refresh and strengthen community involvement and the mission to support urban agriculture.

 

Ideas and Resources

“The initiatives that we tackle come directly from input provided by urban growers,” said Madison Walter. “ For example, land access is always a concern, so our policy subcommittee has focused on creating recommendations for revising the City of Wilmington zoning code to make it more supportive of urban agriculture.”

Each year, a menu of experts and leaders are invited to exchange ideas and resources at the January event – representatives from federal, state and local agencies, Delaware Cooperative Extension (Delaware State University and UD), dozens of local activists, educators, gardeners, farmers, community members and more who have demonstrated incredible impact, individual and team commitments and projects that contribute to the advancement of local food production, access, and awareness in Delaware. 

Cooperative Extension and Master Gardener volunteers are long-time, hands-on members of the DEUFFC, serving on the coalition's outreach, education, and community gardens committees. The organization benefits from a diversity of folks who live and work in and around Wilmington and who are interested in local food production, access, and awareness with a focus on shared goals and objectives, training, resource allocation, and more. 

 

Interest Among Attendees

Captivating displays, such as an urban ag timeline detailing milestones from 2002-2022 in the City of Wilmington, drew interest among the more than 100 attendees. Attendees mingled and networked among the other education displays from partner organizations and enjoyed photo collages of DEUFFC members, gardens, events, and training of the past.  

Not only was food a topic of many conversations, but it was also on display and enjoyed by attendees, provided by local caterer Vegan in Motion. 

“It felt amazing to return to an in-person program at the Delaware Center for Horticulture,” Murphy said. “The food was delicious, the turnout fantastic, and the energy and shared accomplishments of our community and school gardens and urban farm panelists, inspiring.”

Visit https://www.deuffc.org/ and sign up for our mailing list to learn more.

 

Woman presenting at DEUFFC Celebrates Partnerships at Ag Week

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