Tuesday, September 29, 2020 11:04 pm

Growing up — urban farms have the potential to transform Phoenix

By Chris Malloy | Phoenix New Times

When he was a teenager, Greg Peterson turned a stranger’s swimming pool into a catfish farm. He started building fish ponds at 15. He couldn’t drive yet, so his mom shuttled him to jobs in the family’s blue Ford Pinto. At 29, Peterson bought his central Phoenix home, The Urban Farm, where he reared fish for eating the first five years. Now 59, Peterson oversees Urbanfarm.org, hosts a podcast, co-runs The Great American Seed Up and Grow PHX, teaches, and farms his suburban land.

Greg Peterson is, in short, an urban farmer. He estimates there are 2,000 in greater Phoenix.

On a recent morning, in a neighborhood of driveways and houses, Peterson — short sleeves, blue jeans, parted hair, black glasses — stands between two garden beds on his quarter-acre property. Fruit trees, sleepy in the weekday sun, create a natural fence along the street. Peterson says he designed his whole front yard to be edible. He says he has 80 fruit trees. As proof, he starts counting them.

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