In September of 2016, we had to make a move. After living at our beloved farm for seventeen years, it became necessary to purchase a home that would accommodate our family plus my mother who was recently widowed. I miss many things about our farm, from the pomegranate tree and the thriving gardens to the converted playhouse that served as our adorable chicken coop. But the thing that I miss most of all is the community building that we enjoyed with our neighbors and with the friends who joined us in our gardening adventures. The Micro Farm Project was perfectly located for building relationships, situated in a quiet cul-de-sac and surrounded by a group of friendly neighbors. And one of the best decisions that we ever made was to build garden beds in our front yard.
The front yard garden was at first intended only to expand my gardening space and provide a hands-on workshop for gardening students. My business partner, Greg Peterson, and I were teaching a course called Growing Food the Basics at the time, and members of the class built and planted the beds as part of their training. Following the workshop, another group of students cultivated the beds with me over the course of several months to gain experience through an entire growing season. Eventually, this evolved into a garden club that met in our front yard on Monday evenings to grow food and enjoy each other’s company.
Getting to know our long-term students and club members opened my eyes to the great need in our society for community gardens and garden clubs. People are hungry to get back in touch with nature and with the source of their food, and they are even hungrier for a sense of connectedness in an increasingly isolating culture. I also discovered, to my delight, that people of all walks of life can come together over growing food. (Read more in Chapter Ten of City Farming: A How-to Guide to Growing Crops and Raising Livestock in Urban Spaces.)
TIPS FOR BUILDING COMMUNITY
School Gardens Teach Teens and Young Adults to Farm Interview with Molly, co-manager of The Youth Farm school gardens and teaching farm (Brooklyn, NY) On a cool April day, one month prior to the peak growing season, Lewis and I visited one NYC’s most visionary urban farms, The Youth Farm […]
Backyard Permacuture with Urban Farmer Heather Rodman The internet is a wonderful tool for connecting with like-minded folks. I recently asked a question online about Tattler canning lids, and received a wonderful reply from Heather Rodman. Her response piqued my interest in her farm. I discovered that Heather is a […]
Interview with Tony from Saint Vincent de Paul of Phoenix Farm and community garden (Phoenix, AZ) 7/20/2015 This post contains a video of the farm, a summary of the interview with Tony Kasowski, and a the full audio interview with transcript below the summary(with video and photos from the farm.) The […]
S.T.E.M. Education Happens in a School Garden Educators and parents are realizing that garden based Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) education is both valuable and effective for educating school-age children. School garden plots are becoming more prevalent as people’s interest grows in teaching kids how food is produced, as well as […]