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Applications open for Flagstaff's expanded Urban Farm Incubator program

Flagstaff has been leasing farmable land in its  Urban Farm Incubator program since 2018. Now that program is expanding, with the goal of promoting sustainable farm practices in an urban setting.

For $500 a year, Flagstaff plans to license out three acres of the city-owned McAllister Ranch to an organization or partnership with at least one year of growing experience in the area. One of the goals is to increase access to healthy, affordable food.

Natalie Pierson is the food systems coordinator with the city’s sustainability division.

“Sourcing agricultural land in Arizona is really difficult and so what we’re trying to do is created affordable, flexible options for local growers to be able to produce food here in Flagstaff," Pierson said. "And so the ranch is really affordable, we have really flexible longer-term contracts that makes it much easier for agricultural producers to utilize that space and to sell or donate food throughout the Flagstaff community.” 

The applications are due Sunday, April 28.

Steven Thompson, with the city’s sustainability division, says the program has one other location in the city.

“That space has been operated by Ruby Earth Gardens since 2018 and they have produced hundreds of tons of food over the years that has either been sold at the local markets, donated to food banks," Thompson said.

Ideally, the chosen applicant will be able to start growing this summer.

Jill Ryan joined KJZZ in 2020 as a morning reporter, and she is currently a field correspondent and Morning Edition producer.