“How did you fall into this so easily?” This is a question that I keep hearing, and I usually give a short, simple answer somewhere along the lines of “I grew up gardening, and my family raised rabbits for meat”. Of course there’s a lot more to it, but that’s usually what I tell folks. For me urban farming has become a beautiful marriage of who I was and who I became. I haven’t always been a city dweller and when I was little I swore I never would be. That of course changed as I got older and suddenly, for a multitude of reasons, I needed a drastic change of scenery.
Some of my earliest memories are of helping my dad plant corn and my mom pull weeds in the flower gardens. These images of sunshine and dirt below my feet are warm glimpses into my childhood. Fast forward into adolescence and it’s a different picture. My dad had passed away and I went through the usual turmoils of the teen years with an extra dash of angst. I found myself aching to be elsewhere. I got a scholarship to study art and I found myself suddenly living in the city, albeit a small city.
After I got my bearings and stopped getting lost all the time, I thrived in my new home. I enjoyed all the conveniences and social opportunities. I even had the opportunity to travel the world several times. The point when I started glancing back over my shoulder at the life I left behind was when I watched the documentary Fresh. It featured a farm called Polyface Farms run by Joel Salatin. It woke something inside of me that had long been dormant. I wanted to grow my own food again. At the time I was living in an apartment, but I had a little porch that allowed me to grow a few plants. When I moved in with my husband, I finally had access to space that could accommodate more than a few tomato plants. Ever since then, the grass has slowly been disappearing and I’ve become more ambitious.