Urban Farming Inspiration

Kristen and I are now 5 months into our experiment. Our goal is to grow or purchase 25% of our food locally in 2010. So far, it’s been a fun experiment! And in the process we’ve found a hobby that the whole family can participate in.

One thing that has been incredibly satisfying is knowing that we aren’t the only family on this journey. I’ve met a number of co-workers, friends, and youth workers who are leading their families on similar experiments.

It’s been super encouraging and satisfying to discover that you don’t have to have a lot of acreage to feed your family. In fact, we’re pretty confident that if we keep improving the soil quality, expand to just a few more planting beds, and a few more seasons of experience under our belts, that we can actually produce much more than 50% of our families produce right here in the city. (Thank God for a landlord who loves gardening!)

Here are two bits of inspiration for Kristen and I. One of which we discovered months ago while the other we only discovered this weekend.

City Farmers Nursery This place is legendary in San Diego. A massive organic nursery in the heart of City Heights (aka, the hood)

Path to Freedom One families attempt to live off the land in the city of Pasadena. Now they are launching a movement the are calling, Urban Homesteading.

Here’s a rundown of what is growing in our garden right now:

  • Artichokes
  • Cilantro
  • Oregano
  • Coriander
  • Parsley
  • Rosemary
  • Thai basil
  • Sweet basil
  • Peppermint
  • Chocolate Mint
  • Mr. Stripey tomatoes
  • Traditional beefsteak tomatoes
  • Acorn squash
  • Zucchini
  • Cucumbers
  • Sweet corn
  • Eggplant
  • Jalapeños
  • Roma tomatoes
  • Yellow tomatoes
  • Strawberry
  • Spinach
  • Watermelon
  • Green beans
  • Green peppers
  • Tangerines
  • Grapefruit
  • Oranges
  • Peaches
  • Plums
  • Mandarines
  • Lemons
  • Sunflowers
  • Pumpkins

What’s really crazy is that this probably only takes up 20% of our backyard. Here are some things we want to add in the next year:

  • Chickens!
  • Herbs in the front yard
  • 2-3 raised beds
  • Avocado
  • Triple our worm composting (we have 1 container, need about 3 more to capture all of our food waste)

Some quick facts:

  • No, this isn’t taking over our lives. If anything, its a major stress reducer.
  • No, this isn’t expensive. There are some start-up costs with getting drip irrigation, basic tools, and composting equipment. We’ve spent less than $500.
  • No, we don’t have a rain barrel yet. Shame on us.
  • Yes, we are spending more money on gardening stuff and our CSA. But that is offset by less money spent at the grocery store. And we’ve already down-graded to the smaller box of our CSA.
  • Yes, the kids are involved. They love helping! There’s nothing quite like the joy of picking carrots or strawberries with your kids.
  • Yes, we really can have chickens in the city. Our neighborhood is zoned for up to 25. (No roosters) There are people near us with goats and pigs, too.
  • Yes, we really are doing all of this on property we rent!
  • Yes, we do live in the city of San Diego. (Though not a super urban neighborhood.) We live in a quiet neighborhood about half a mile from San Diego State University.



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One response to “Urban Farming Inspiration”

  1. renee Avatar

    hey adam-
    this is fantastic! nice job.
    I so expect to be invited to dinner! 😉

    coincidentally, wikihow featured this article today:


    fantastic advice and encouragement for others (like me) who live in an apartment, and don’t have land space.

    rock on, dude. it’s truly fabulous.

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