HOMEGROWN Life: What It’s Like To Urban Farm
The reactions I’m met with when I tell people I’m an urban farmer are either confusion or quaint amusement. It’s either something along the lines of:
“Oh, cute. I like to garden, too.”
Or, “What’s ‘urban farming’?”
Either way, I usually have some explaining to do.
I, together with my husband, got the wacky idea one day to rip out our grassy lawn and plant vegetables and herbs instead. Insane, I know, but we figured it would be a lot more productive to, say, grow our own food rather than continually mow a lawn which wasn’t providing us with much of any use at all. We already had a few chickens and decided, the hell with it, let’s get some more! Rabbits, too! Quail, ducks, turkey, pigeon, and why not a couple bee hives? Goats and a pig, sure, might as well!
And we were off. In a feverish pace we decided to cut back from two jobs and incomes to one, two automobiles to one, and committed every waking moment to planning and formulating a working urban farm.
So when I say that my husband and I urban farm, I mean it. We’re not just hobby-gardening on the weekends. The two of us are pretty much sunup to sundown (and we’ll even strap on headlamps so we can continue to work outside in the dark most times); our clothes are stained with a brown tinge from the soil that never seems to wash away; herbs and onions are drying in our sunroom; seed packets strewn about various table tops; farming catalogues dominating the coffee table; jars of preserved whats-its filling our cabinets; bee stings, bug bites, scratches and cuts mapping our bodies – and we’re doing all this not in the rural countryside, but in a metropolitan area, on less than 1/10 of an acre.
It’s a grandiose accomplishment, and humbling at the same time – for we’re wholly dependent on the whims of nature (and a few hungry racoons) for our successes and failures.
I’m truly excited for the opportunity to contribute to Homegrown’s blog. Whether providing recipes for canning, compiling a guide to raising livestock, or giving tips on the legalities of citified-agriculture – I hope to offer all of you some insight, inspiration, and humor based off of what I’ve learned so far, and what I’m sure to encounter in the coming seasons.
Yellow Tree Farm’s web site: http://yellowtreefarm.blogspot.com/
“I’m half of YellowTree Farm, an urban homestead that I founded with my husband in late 2008. Together, my husband and I grow vegetables and raise animals on less than 1/10 of an acre in St. Louis, Missouri. We speak publicly about urban farming, sew, and make our own toiletries. I don’t have children. I have animals, which is kind of the same thing as being a parent, except I eat my babies.”