Quality food. Grown closer to home.
Works Urban Farms is an urban agriculture initiative in Memphis, TN under the umbrella of The Works, Inc. WUF seeks to increase access to fresh, healthy produce through cultivation on vacant lots in Memphis’s urban core. Through strategic tie-in with TWI’s other food-related programs and projects, WUF augments the positive impacts TWI has on food security and healthy eating while simultaneously helping address issues of blight associated with vacant, unused land.
WUF has the specific mission of providing access to healthy, organic, culturally relevant food staples for those otherwise deprived of access due to the combined effects of socioeconomic disenfranchisement, historic middle class flight, and the disappearance of full-service grocers in low income areas. Memphians, especially those in low-income neighborhoods, struggle with food insecurity and related health issues at alarming rates. One in six Memphis residents lives in a food insecure household, and the USDA considers large swaths of the city to be food deserts. Much of the produce harvested at WUF will be sold at The Grocer at South Memphis Farmers Market and at the Mobile Grocer, two TWI programs that get healthy food into Memphis food deserts, and completes a circular, regenerative food economy. WUF also partners with sustainably minded local restaurants and other distributors to support the mission of regenerative urban agriculture and access to locally produced food. Residents of these neighborhoods suffer from disproportionately high rates of food-related chronic diseases including diabetes and hypertension.
WUF’s first farm is located within the Washington Bottoms Neighborhood Greenspace, fourteen empty acres in the heart of the city that have changed hands many times in the past few decades with no improvements having been made during that time. The site, between two major thoroughfares, a residential neighborhood, and apartment buildings (some occupied, some empty), has suffered from absentee ownership, uninhibited weed growth, crumbling infrastructure, and illegal dumping in recent years.