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Food costs are up, so a Las Vegas-area urban farming project aims for self-sustainability

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Charlie Peaches/Instagram

Everyone knows food prices are up. And if you don’t eat, you probably drink coffee, and those prices are way up. 

The federal government says food prices overall have risen 11%, or 11 cents per dollar, in the last year. 

So what are people doing? Growing their own. And trying to become as self-reliable as possible. 

In the case of Blue Diamond, west of Las Vegas near Red RockCanyon, an entire community is trying to do that with the help of Charlie Peaches. He's the founder of Allegro Land and Life, and joined State of Nevada host Joe Schoenmann to share more.

He landed in Blue Diamond about three years ago, but was born and raised in Las Vegas. 

“I immediately learned that this community, since its beginnings, has aimed to be more self-reliant,” he said. “I immediately noticed a significant amount of backyard gardens … and people that have been growing their own food for several decades out here in the desert. Coming off the urban farming background and landing in a community that was so garden-focused, it kind of just sucked me into the solutions that we do have in the backyard.”

He said his goal is to expand what’s already there and create a neighborhood program. He said it’s not a central garden in town, but several gardens spread out in backyards growing anything from fruit trees to tomatoes to lettuce. 

Support comes from

“I manage different residential gardens and help them plant the food, with the food production. But then also where that food ends up and getting it redistributed throughout the community,” he said. 

It’s crop-swapping, he said, rather than a free garden or buying produce. 

He got into urban farming around 2015: “I just thought it was the neatest thing that we could grow food in the desert.”

But growing in the desert can be tough, and water usage is top of mind for many Southern Nevada residents. 

“And that's the common denominator of all the different ways that I'm trying to grow food is: How do we grow with the least amount of water?” he said. To help conserve, he recommends drop irrigation, above-ground layered gardens and most of all, hand-watering. “It's really kept me connected, especially as I'm learning to grow in soil where my background was learning to grow without soil.”

Guests

Charlie Peaches, professional urban farmer, Allegro Land and Life

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