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Celebrate the culture of agriculture & share skills (Growing! Cooking! Eating!)

I know there are more of you out there. You've made the leap from obsessive gardener to full fledged urban farmer. At one time you were ripping up your lawn to fit in another 2 rows of tomatoes and corn and now you have somehow found enough land in the city to grow enough vegetables to start selling your produce. Maybe you just have a small, "honor system" produce stand. Maybe you've found a small, local restaurant to buy all of the heirloom tomatoes you can produce. Maybe you've started your own mini-CSA from veg grown in your yard and the piece of yard your neighbor has let you borrow.

I want to know what all of you are doing out there! Where are all of the urban farmers in the burgeoning local food movement?!?! We can't have truly local food without urban farmers. Let's share what we're doing and shift this discussion into high gear!!! Let's see how many new, small scale urban farmers we can inspire to start growing by spring '09!

What am I doing to pull my weight in this challenge? Well, I'm glad you asked. I'm one half of an urban farming business in Portland, OR called City Garden Farms. We grow on about 1/3 of an acre spread out over 12 yards to supply a 30 member CSA. This is a very "do-able" proposition for the motivated grower. You won't make a million dollars doing it, but it can provide a nice little side income and you get to connect with all of your neighbors through the food you grow! And isn't that one of the most important pieces of the local food movement? Connecting farmer and community...reaping all of the benefits of all of the positive outcomes that grow from this relationship. Let me answer that for you...yes it is.

--Farmer Dan in Portland, OR

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I'm just starting my garden - I rebuilt the raised bed this summer (the ones left by our previous landowner were rotted out) and have been working on soil conditions all summer. Over the weekend I planted PEAS (I so miss fresh peas) and some carrots, with an intent to buy/plant another veggie every week from here on. All hail the convenience of the southern California growing season!

In addition I can my plums as jam every summer, and eat well of my tangelos and lemons almost year 'round. I'm also due to receive the gift of a lime tree from a friend moving out of state next month.

For more unusual "farming" I harvest local acorns from public and neighbor's spaces to make flour (it works much like corn meal, but with higher fat content, a darker color, and nuttier flavor). Hopefully after this season I'll have the process down well enough that I can make flour easily available to locals who bring me nuts from their trees.

No sales yet, but my friends and relatives clamor for jam every year. Maybe I should start making them pay for it...
Hi Stacy,
The acorn flour is VERY interesting! Do you have suggested recipes that work well with those unique flavors? Hmmm...wonder how it would be for a breading on fried green tomatoes...

Stacy McKenna Seip said:
I'm just starting my garden - I rebuilt the raised bed this summer (the ones left by our previous landowner were rotted out) and have been working on soil conditions all summer. Over the weekend I planted PEAS (I so miss fresh peas) and some carrots, with an intent to buy/plant another veggie every week from here on. All hail the convenience of the southern California growing season!

In addition I can my plums as jam every summer, and eat well of my tangelos and lemons almost year 'round. I'm also due to receive the gift of a lime tree from a friend moving out of state next month.

For more unusual "farming" I harvest local acorns from public and neighbor's spaces to make flour (it works much like corn meal, but with higher fat content, a darker color, and nuttier flavor). Hopefully after this season I'll have the process down well enough that I can make flour easily available to locals who bring me nuts from their trees.

No sales yet, but my friends and relatives clamor for jam every year. Maybe I should start making them pay for it...
I unfortunately cannot tear up my whole lawn (since I'm renting) but I am in the learning process of creating my little farm, garden. Here in S. FLA the soil is sandy and so I've made a few raised bed boxes of which I'm starting some corn, squash, peppers and tomatoes (so far). I plan to expand this through out the year (as our growing season is kind of reversed with the rest of the country). Florida is the home of the manufactured landscape, so putting some beds on the lawn where big holes were developed due to the drought, feels like a great way to reclaim the earth.

So for now it's "cold weather vegetables" (though it doesn't get cold) and I'll plan on some more summer, warm weather vegetables towards the end of spring. I'll probably take the summer off, since the son is brutal and unforgiving to a lot of non native plants.
Eat the Streets! (edible streets of Berkeley):

Having just moved from a farm to the city, I was beside myself as I walked by countless edible plants and neglected fruit trees every day. Being also unemployed, and volunteering at the food bank, I decided to do a little matchmaking and get this data out to the public. Its a work in progress, but Ive mapped many plants that can be easily grabbed from the sidewalk. I keep it in mind when I walk across town and grab a fresh healthy snack on the way to my destination, or a few groceries ont he way home. I dont recommend anyone bogart the harvest, just take what you think wont be missed.

Among the more interesting crops are pink peppercorns and rose hips, both of which Ive harvested but not yet used. Any tips would be much appreciated. Also figs are very productive here and just now ripening.


You can view and edit this map at
http://maps.google.com/maps/ms?hl=en&ie=UTF8&oe=UTF8&ms...
First I want to say I'm against tearing up the lawn... that's way too much work!

Fall is the perfect time to start 'converting" your lawn to vegetable space.

1. Pick the area where you want to garden next spring.
2. Cut the grass as short as possible.
3. If available, put down some aged or composted manure.
4. Lay down newspapers or cardboard.
5. Cover with compost, chopped leaves or grass clippings.
6. Sit back and wait for the first garden catalogs to arrive while the bacteria, fungus, and worms work hard to convert lawn into garden space.

I usually share the excess produce from the garden with neighbors. Increasing the sense of community is a much bigger pay-off than making a few extra bucks. With that said I'm not against anyone selling what the garden produces... that's just what works for me.
I would do a lot more, if I were able to. We live on rented land, so we are limited on the amount of grass/landscaping we're able to tear up. We currently have an 8x16' vegetable plot and a 4x8' herb garden. We are also unable to have any animals other than one dog or cat, so chickens and their free fertilizer and eggs are out of the question. I am hoping to get a vermicomposter going in the spring, though!

That said, we're looking into moving to a larger space, which will be an all-out "hobby farm". Fruit trees, vegetable and herb gardens, chickens, perhaps even a donkey or llama to help me out (if I can talk the old man into the idea LOL). We also plan on building a greenhouse with a sitting area or sun room so that I can grow some things year round!
Hi, here in the metroplex of Dallas, TX, I finally figured out what an opportunity I was sitting on. I have a 14 acre ranch that has been used for boarding horses for decades. I recently bought it with the intention of opening an organic garden center in the old main house and leaving the rest rented out while I stayed at my reasonably modern home less than 3 miles away. HA!

Now I live in the old drafty farm house - which I love excpet for the drafty part - and have converted (so far) about an acre and half to a garden. There are chickens and ducks, not to mention the cats, that live here with me. (I don't "process" any of my chickens, they are pets and celebrities to the visitors. I jumped in with both feet this fall and asked anyone interested to jump with me and we have a CSA that keeps growing. I'm up to 20+ shares sold and I have planted most of 1/3 acre so far and have plenty more room to expand for interested parties. I still have to work full time - for now, but out of a few million people who live within 20 minutes of the farm, I'd say I'm going to be pretty busy once the farm starts really proving itself and be able to farm full time. I can't wait!

I have working share help as well as a great volunteer group who help out weeding and such. And, to top it all off - last weekend I swear a Saint was sent to me. He is going to help me design the sustainable energy system for the gravity fed drip irrigation. He is an engineer who has previously designed and installed wind and solar energy for his own home and out on the oil fields. Now retired, he is happy to help me get my vision in place!

We use a Chapain drip system that is fed by a 55 gallon bucket that sits on top of a 6' platform. Once we have the lean-to up, we'll catch rainwater into a barrel and fill a holding tank - which also may contain water from the nearby spring fed pond. The holding tank will pump water into the 55 gallon tank with a solar powered charged battery and timer that runs on regular household batteries.

Our fence is already solar and any lighting we have will be wind/solar generated. My goal is to convert the whole place to sustainable energy, gray water and be able to eat off the land and from my local farmers' market day hosted twice a month at my place. We just celebrated our one year of market day!

I learned from my friends in TOFGA.org that it doesn't take 14 acres to farm. At our TCOOPS conferences I learn so much I couldn't hardly help but start farming! So spreading the word to folks with even half acre lots that they can convert small portions and feed their families easily can help spread the availability of good food. Every time I read a story about how our kids are getting sick from what they eat, it pulls on my heart strings and I strive to do more to educate people on how to eat healthy - for cheap!
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I live in North Carolina on 1/2 acre in the city limits. We started out with a couple of bee hives. We soon acquired more, and when we harvested the honey, we decided to try selling it at the local farmer's market. We did really good. I want to expand to other things, but I live in the midst of some great farmers so I can't compete with them when it comes to produce. I have been looking to find niches I can fill. I noticed no one had pumpkins this year, so I plan on planting them. There were a lot of peppers, but no jalapenos. Broccoli sold out as soon at it showed up, and so did green beans. Next year, that's what I plan to plant. Corn was a big seller, so does anyone have any advice on varieties that can be grown in very limited space?
Can anything be done to help this lady?

"Couple fined, ordered to take down fence around vegetable garden"
http://www.courier-journal.com/article/20090616/ZONE04/906170307/Co...

What a sad story!
Raising funds for a new urban farm project in East Los Angeles . . . http://ibu-la.org/
Hey Taylor! I missed this when you first posted it. Looks great! Let us know how we can help.

taylor said:
Raising funds for a new urban farm project in East Los Angeles . . . http://ibu-la.org/
As a fellow florida gardner I understand your pains Iam slowly replacing my lawn with lasagna garden style raised beds ,with my best crops being grown in winter as a mastergardner I recommend for summer you try sweet potatoes ,seminole pumpkins,okra and peas ( black eyes) plus the legumes will build your nitrogen levels for free.

A Small Victory Garden said:
I unfortunately cannot tear up my whole lawn (since I'm renting) but I am in the learning process of creating my little farm, garden. Here in S. FLA the soil is sandy and so I've made a few raised bed boxes of which I'm starting some corn, squash, peppers and tomatoes (so far). I plan to expand this through out the year (as our growing season is kind of reversed with the rest of the country). Florida is the home of the manufactured landscape, so putting some beds on the lawn where big holes were developed due to the drought, feels like a great way to reclaim the earth.

So for now it's "cold weather vegetables" (though it doesn't get cold) and I'll plan on some more summer, warm weather vegetables towards the end of spring. I'll probably take the summer off, since the son is brutal and unforgiving to a lot of non native plants.

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