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Redefining Local Food in Reno

Lyndsey Langsdale and Toni Ortega were serendipitously reunited in The Biggest Little City. The pair formed a strong friendship while studying at the University of Nevada, Reno, but were separated when they took different paths, however parallel, toward a future which would lead them right back into the heart of downtown Reno. With Ortega’s experience in the farming industry in New York and Langsdale’s work in community gardens in Arizona, they came together with a vision of creating an urban farm which could not only feed the surrounding community, but also create a cultural shift in how locals buy their produce.

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“We believe in sustainable farming, and we wanted people to be able to see it in their neighborhood,” said Langsdale.

The women wrote out plans on cocktail napkins, while exploring how the future of urban farming would look and sharing a few beers at the nearby MidTown bar, Public House. Just a few blocks away, at the corner of Center St. and Moran St., the .87-acre lot of the future Lost City Farm sat disheveled with trash and former treasures strewn about; nearly an entire block of a black eye in the blossoming MidTown District.

Langsdale said she and Ortega fell in love with the location, and that they “wanted to steward a piece of land that was sad and lonely.”

After convincing the owners of this worthwhile endeavor, the duo worked with the City of Reno to pass the Temporary Urban Farm Ordinance, allowing the Lost City Farm to seed its first season in 2013. Now in its second year, Lost City Farm is producing roughly 30 varieties of vegetables, herbs and mixed greens, as well as bouquet flowers.  The farm provides produce to more than a half-dozen local restaurants, and donated more than 800 pounds of squash to feed the homeless in 2013, but the hope is that residents will be the primary customers. So stop by and say “hello” to your local urban farmers! The Farm Stand is open every Wednesday from 3:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m., July through October.

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