Bruce Manns: Growing an urban farm

Bruce Manns started York Farm Fresh Foods, where organically grown foods are offered at affordable market rates to city residents.

Presented by: Our York Media

Bruce Manns remembers the day his dad brought home cinder blocks and declared, “We’re starting a garden.”

“But ‘we’ meant me,” Bruce says, laughing. “The first thing I thought was that it was another chore. I already had to mow the grass.”

After a season with his hands in the dirt, though, Bruce found a new love.

Today, the 64-year-old lives on a dairy farm in Brogue where he keeps a quarter-acre garden. But it wasn’t until he decided to become a master gardener through the Penn State Extension that Bruce’s real dreams seemed possible: to start an urban farm with his “partner” Metta Barbour in the city of York.

I don’t plan on doing this forever. … I am helping to build the first course. It’s my gift to give.

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Bruce Manns

And those dreams are now a reality. His vision became York Farm Fresh Foods, where organically grown foods are offered at affordable market rates to city residents.

“There’s an issue of produce availability in York,” Bruce says. “There’s not enough opportunities to buy fresh produce in the parts of the city where there’s the greatest need. And that’s where we want to be.”

The farm often sells out of okra, cabbage and peppers during its pop-up markets. As part of this “community” based on food, Bruce works with city residents who help him to identify the types of produce they want to buy – some that are new to him.

“I don’t plan on doing this forever,” Bruce says. “A few years from now, I want it to be run by someone who lives in the city. I am helping to build the first course. It’s my gift to give.”

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