Growing statewide interest in urban agriculture

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On a sunny May afternoon, Alan Crossley tends his backyard “farm” in the Tenney-Lapham neighborhood to the tune of his four chickens — the maximum number allowed under city of Madison ordinance — squawking away in their coop.

He has held off on planting his tomatoes but says the time is about right to add those to an already full garden of broccoli, spinach, salad greens, carrots and peppers, among a variety of other vegetables.

“For me, at least, it’s all about being able to produce at least some of your food in your own backyard and the pride in doing that,” Crossley said.

As a former wildlife biologist for the Department of Natural Resources, Crossley said he is worried people are losing the connection to where their food is grown.

“One of the things we always worried about in resource management is people losing touch with the land,” Crossley said. “I think that urban agriculture is an extension of that. It allows people to be reminded of where their food comes from.”

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