"Anyone that doesn't agree with leggings as pants can physically fight me.
And I'm going to win because I have a full range of motion due to the fact that I am wearing leggings as pants."

Friday, May 2, 2008

Farming in the Suburbs

Recently, Jeff found a farm for sale that is perfect. It has everything that I could want. Goats, chickens, greenhouses (swoon!), a stream, a pond, a professional kitchen (I can only assume for canning and making cheese from all the goat milk). Just thinking about it makes me sigh and feel very very content. The only problem is that it's 70 acres and just a teensy, tinsey bit out of our price range (heh). As I spent the following days dreaming about being there and how I would live my life if we did, I realized that maybe I should pull my attentions back to the here and now and start where I am.

It was a grounding thought.

So, I've decided to dedicate some time and space on this site to talk about farming. Not farming with 30 sheep and dozens of chickens on acres of land, but farming here, in the suburbs. Right where I am.

It's sort of a crazy ambition considering that the only edible things I've grown here so far are tomatoes, pumpkins, mustard (as a cover crop) and herbs.

Oh yah, and dandelions. Those are edible. They are! I've seen them for sale at the health food store. Except, yah, we didn't actually eat ours, just composted them. But hey, maybe now that I've decided that we're a farm (and an organic one to boot) we will.

(This is a picture of me creating the vegetable garden with the sheet composting method.)

And then with thoughts of local food swirling through my head this morning, I followed a link from Soule Mama and discovered the coolest CSA. It seems to fit right in with this idea. They are called Sense of Colorado and they don't actually have a farm either. They do all their 'farming' in suburban yards, most of them are right here in town. One is even a little plot in Denver.

Well, I guess I'd better get planning. This is Farmer Wendy signing out.


Unknown said...

What have you done to our backyard?!?!

Just wait till I get home !! ;-P

Also to clarify, I did point out that we could buy the 70+ acre farm if we could find 25 additional people to live (and work) with us.

Wendy said...

From one "Farmer Wendy" to another, I applaud you.

I felt the same way a couple of years ago, wanting to move from the suburbs and find a big piece of land for my dreamed about farm. I, actually, found an eleven acre farm that the bank said we could afford, but we decided that we weren't comfortable with taking it (and given the current foreclosure rate - phew! Glad we didn't!). Instead I've been turning my 1/4 surburban lot into a homestead for the past few years :).

There are lots and lots of models of suburban farmers out there, I'm finding. I even found a homestead in Oakland, CA (not PathToFreedom, although that's a good one, too) where Farmer Novella raises ducks, pigs, chickens, and goats on her "rented" space. And check out GroovyGreen for a video tour of Richard Heinberg's 1/4 acre "garden."

It's fantastic fun to dig up the lawn and throw down a few seeds. You should check out your local area's laws regarding "livestock", too. You might find that you can have a few chickens or rabbits, or maybe even a goat, on your suburban farm ;). Rabbits are great for your garden, make good pets, and if you're so inclined, can make a nice meal :). And as for the chickens ... well, nothing beats fresh eggs from one's own backyard "flock" ;).

Anyway, I'm so excited for you, and I hope to read more about your adventures with Suburban Farming :).

Wendy said...

Oh, eat dandeliions! They're good for you! They take a little getting used to, but hey, beer is an "acquired taste" too :).

Wendy said...

Wendy, we aren't zoned for chickens, but if we can get a permit, those are definitely in our future. I'm also thinking of raising some honey bees.

And rabbits are a great idea. Though, eating them would not be an option.

Thanks so much for all the resources! I'll have to check them out.

Jennifer said...

Colorado farming compatriots? I'm such a failure at Colorado gardening (having learned in Nebraska). I can't wait to see what works for you!

Anonymous said...

One great thing I've found are containers! Think of anything that you could put dirt in and push around if you need to do so. All kinds of containers can be recycled in to growing space by drilling holes in the bottoms of them and filling with soil.

For several years I have been trying to grow a garden in my family's field, and it never works very well. But I also keep a couple tomato plants in 'muck bucket' planters near the house. Year after year, the container plants do far better. Next years its all containers for me!

Cami said...

Wendy, I was so inspired by this line, "As I spent the following days dreaming about being there and how I would live my life if we did, I realized that maybe I should pull my attentions back to the here and now and start where I am." - it's been in the back of my mind for months now. I've always wanted to get a piece of property further away from town and raise chickens, etc. But, I need to face the reality that that may never happen and I don't want to waste my days longing for "what could've been". So, your post was a good reminder to work with what you have and make it happen now. Thank you!!