There will soon be a new market garden in Louisville’s Portland neighborhood, made possible by the purchase of property bought from the city’s Land Bank Authority. This is the first time this land has been sold for the sole purpose of growing food commercially in the city.
The city’s Land Bank Authority has a list of 470 vacant properties on its website. All are up for sale. So Amanda Fuller thought she would see if she could buy several parcels to start a market garden—a garden that sells the produce to stores. She made an offer on five adjacent properties in the Portland neighborhood…about 1/3 of an acre total.
“The Land Bank did not offer much guidance about what kind of offer we should make for the property, so not knowing what they were expecting, we just offered $10 a parcel,” she says.
And it was accepted—the first land bank properties to be sold solely for the purpose of starting an urban market garden. Fuller and a business partner have a plan for a market garden called Lots of Food that will grow high-value food, like herbs, fruit and nuts.
Fuller says she hopes other businesses will consider similar ventures.
“We wanted to just open people’s minds and propose something that hadn’t been done before, but is being done in lots of cities across the country, including cities that have land banks where they’re being converted to gardens,” she says.
The land bank authority usually fields offers from people who are interested in land for projects like side yards or housing. When there’s more than one offer, the authority determines which one is the ‘highest and best’ use for the property. A staff member says the authority is open to considering other urban agriculture projects in the future.