The Country Farmer? The City Farmer?

Lots of internal debate between farm in the country vs urban farm.  Hearing incredible numbers like $50k from 1/10 acre makes me want to accept that gauntlet, what a challenge!  But what about all the animals I dream of, the wind-powered flour mill, the woodlot, the lonely vistas?  Is the future for 7 billion people really coming from farms or is the real vision to convert urban space into food production and solve all kinds of transport problems, not to mention building food community.  But how is the animal/plant symbiosis to be accomplished in urbanized, zoned, regulated, sanitized, bureaucratized cities when all you can raise is four chickens?  Someone just tell me what direction to head!

Manual labor

The other day I timed myself spading the garden.  It took one hour to to spade up 100 sq ft.

At that rate, an acre would take nearly 11 weeks to spade by hand, spading 40 hours a week!

1 acre = 43560 sq ft
43560 sq ft * (1 hr / 100 sq ft) = 435.6 hours / 40 hrs/week = 10.89 weeks

Graduation Day

Today was the final Farm Beginnings class.  We did presentations or talks about what each of our plans were, and enjoyed a potluck lunch.  I found the class helpful in many ways and experienced some surprising turns in my own thinking.  Prior to this year I think I was still in a romantic state of mind about the whole farm thing.  I thought paramount was to purchase a farm where I could be alone with nature and everything would sort itself out.  Somehow the accumulated discussions, readings, conferences, and presentations finally penetrated my brain to the enormity of the undertaking.  Perhaps it was also the rubber-meets-the-road realization as movement to the goal becomes more real, but my mind has been opened to themes: start where you are, don’t confine your thoughts to a box, look for opportunities around you, can’t do everything yourself.  At any rate, it caused me to think about options to transition into farm income that don’t require owning land – renting, collaboration, urban farming, etc.

Here’s my presentation if you’re really board and can’t think of something to do: Farm Beginnings Class Presentation

And, here’s the class photo!

Instructor and proud graduates

Instructor and proud graduates

Everett St Garden – Veggies in Front

Spading up the front strip of lawn by the curb!  Plan to put in some raised beds and grow vegetables, maybe confuse the neighbors a little.  We put too much water (potable water no less) on nothing but lawn.  It’s an American obsession.  What purpose does it serve really?
2014-04-24 15.02.42

Future Urban Farmland

Know your weeds – Field Pennycress

Now mind you, Common Good Farm does not have weeds; this was from their neighbor’s place. 🙂  It is Field Pennycress (Thlaspi arvense).  Shepherd’s Purse has similar flowers but with lobed leaves (image from web).  Both are in the Brassicaceae, or cabbage family.

Field Pennycress

Field Pennycress (Thlaspi Arvense)

SI Exif

Shepherd’s Purse (Capsella bursa-pastoris)