The Last Organic Outpost’s Emile Street Community Research Farm in the Fifth Ward was started by “Farmer Joe” Icet in 2001, when dirt was first brought in and laid down over the cement parking lot of the old Comet Rice Mill, creating topsoil that vegetables and other crops from around the world are grown in year-round. The site has thrived and expanded with the help of dedicated volunteers, and serves as a model of how to create a farm in a small urban area. This nonprofit's focus is Fifth Ward, which Icet describes as a food desert.
Skillshare programs give everyone in the community and beyond an opportunity to come out and learn how to grow crops using organic methods without pesticides. Volunteers can keep food that they grow here; other crops are sold to visitors, local restaurants and farmer’s markets, with surplus food given to people in the community. The group also does outreach throughout Houston, with the goal of building a production-farming local labor force that develops and sustains local natural resources. The Last Organic Outpost is described by Icet as a mix of art, farming and community, and in addition to the farm, art projects have been built on the site and a stage has been erected for local musicians to play during events and festivals throughout the year.
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