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Urban Farming for Self-Sufficiency

Updated on April 8, 2014
One of many greenhouses in the Olympia area
One of many greenhouses in the Olympia area | Source

The Birth of This Article

This was an easy article to write. My wife and I were out running errands this past Saturday and we happened to come across a new business having a grand opening. The Eastside Urban Farm and Garden Center was open for business, and our car practically drove itself into their parking lot demanding that we see what this new store had to offer.

It took very little convincing. Once I saw the sign that said free food I was all too happy to see what this new store had to offer.

As soon as we entered the store, and I’m talking maybe twenty seconds, a gentleman approached us and asked if we would like a tour of the new store. We introduced ourselves and he, in turn, said he was Bill Jackson, one of the co-owners of this new enterprise. He then spent twenty minutes giving us that tour and answering our questions.

One of the first questions I asked Mr. Jackson was why they were opening this type of store in the heart of the city. Usually feed and farming stores are located on the outskirts of the city, close to where the farms are located. In answer to my question he asked me why we were there. I didn’t have the heart to tell him I was after free food, so I answered with the second thing that came to my mind….that we were interested in urban farming.

“Exactly,” he said. “And more and more people are as well.”

Open for business!
Open for business! | Source
Everything an urban farmer could need all under one roof
Everything an urban farmer could need all under one roof | Source

The Numbers Are Growing

Currently, urban agriculture (farming) provides food for 700 million city dwellers, and the numbers are, indeed, increasing daily. Why would they not?

As the economy continues to stagnate, more people are looking for ways to supply their own food needs. As concerns about food quality increase, more and more people are looking at urban farming as a way to guarantee the quality of their food. As concerns about the environment increase, people are turning to urban farming as a way to help, in some small way, to restore the environment.

The beauty of urban farming is that it takes very little room to implement. A small backyard can be transformed into a food-producing area. Even if one does not have a backyard, crops can be grown in containers on a deck or porch.

Our urban farm is an eighth of an acre in the heart of Olympia, Washington. We are surrounded by neighbors, many of whom also practice urban farming. Our “farm” consists of a large vegetable garden, an herb garden, six chickens, berry bushes and fruit trees…..and it is growing. Soon we will raise quail for eggs and meat, and our plans call for two goats for milk and meat, as well as beehives for organic honey. Each year we will add more berries and fruit trees.

In other words, instead of watering a lawn that produces nothing for our family, we are using our space to provide food and meat for us, and the excess is shared with our neighbors in an informal bartering system.

Community gardens are everywhere in Olympia
Community gardens are everywhere in Olympia | Source
Local organic farms
Local organic farms | Source

A Supportive Community Is Important

Urban farming is not a new concept. It dates back to Ancient Egypt, and it can be found around the world in major urban centers today. One of the advantages we have here in Olympia is a community that supports this type of activity.

There are few restrictions hampering the urban farmer in our city. Gardens can be grown in the front yard and in fact are encouraged by civic leaders. Community gardens can be found throughout the city as neighbors share space with other neighbors on land donated by the city and city business leaders.

The map on the right shows the number of organic farms in our county alone. Those organic farms bring their produce to our local Farmer’s Market, where products are sold and information is exchanged. As more organic produce is grown, and as more organic meat is raised, the prices will fall as the laws of supply and demand come into play.

And now we have an urban supply store one mile from our home! How very exciting!

One of the other co-owners I spoke to at the Eastside Urban Farm and Garden Center, Brighida deVargas, said it all perfectly:

”My goal is to help as many people as possible to create beautiful and productive gardens, urban farms, and homesteads. I believe that growing and eating food grown close to home is one of the most important things anyone can do on so many levels! It makes our cities sustainable and livable, restores health to our families, and creates more vibrant, connected communities, while boosting the local economy. It just makes sense all around. And it is fun for the whole family! ”

Great video showing the possibilities

More on the Way

As I scanned the brochures at this new store, I noticed that classes would be held throughout the year, classes on cheese-making, canning, beekeeping, organic gardening techniques and much more. The owners have a vision of their store being a hub for urban farmers in our community. They want it to be not only a thriving business but also a community center where people exchange ideas and learn from each other.

Supplies galore
Supplies galore | Source

And If It Can Happen in Olympia

Well then, quite obviously, it can happen in your community as well. All it takes is finding some like-minded people who are willing to begin the movement where you live. Lobby the local politicians so that your community becomes “urban farming friendly.” Spread the word and get people talking about the advantages of urban farming.

This is a concept where everybody wins, with the obvious exceptions of Monsanto and other life-leeching corporations.

Here is a quick list of the benefits of urban farming:

Socially it

  • Helps bring families and communities together by working toward a common goal that will be beneficial for all
  • Gives direct links to food production
  • Creates better living environment by greening up the city and making it more productive
  • Makes people stronger by putting their food security into their own hands, making them more independent and empowered
  • Teaches people life skills such as how to be more self sufficient
  • Creates jobs, income, and food
  • Helps combat hunger
  • Educate people, who have been increasingly removed from food production, to participate in, and respect, its generation (Hamm 1999)

Environmentally it

  • Greens up the city
  • Can help to clean air and rain water
  • Helps to stop erosion and topsoil removal
  • increases the amount of food grown and bought locally, decreasing carbon footprint
  • Facilitates reuse of wastes for food production
  • Has direct impacts on urban ecology

Economically it

  • Creates jobs and income from otherwise completely unproductive space
  • Can be beneficial to people of any income
  • Creates a better local economy that does not rely on food from far away
  • Makes use of valuable resources, such as compost, that would otherwise go to waste in a city

Can we really afford not to get involved in urban farming?

Just part of our urban farm
Just part of our urban farm | Source

Final Thoughts

It’s amazing what you will find while running errands. I want to thank the co-owners at the Eastside Urban Farm and Garden Center. Brighida De Vargas, Joe Vargas, Michelle Jackson, and Billy Jackson, you were all accommodating and helpful. I especially appreciate the friendly service and your passion for urban farming.

For the rest of you out there, give it some thought. As I have said in previous articles, it is time for citizens to become proactive rather than reactionary. Become a part of your community, and begin taking steps to help your family and your community. We are all counting on you to do so.

2014 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)

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    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Nicely stated, Deb! Thank you!

    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 3 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      You are so right, Billy. Urban farming is for today, tomorrow, and the future.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Glimmer, it makes me happy to hear that. Hopefully more communities will follow suit. Thank you and Happy Easter to you.

    • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image

      Glimmer Twin Fan 3 years ago

      We live in a suburban/rural area in NW PA and around us in town I see more and more urban gardens. It really does make sense and it is nice to see in bigger cities as well. Timely article Bill.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      LOL...garden porn. I love that line. Tell your husband I'm laughing my butt off. Thanks for that.

    • WiccanSage profile image

      Mackenzie Sage Wright 3 years ago

      Awesome. Gardens are awesome, lol. I love it, and I love getting books, magazines, catalogs and such, my husband calls it my "garden porn" collection because I sneak away with it whenever I can for a quick break.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Jesse, I love to hear things like that. It is the new revolution, or so I hope. Thanks buddy!

    • JesseH profile image

      Jesse Helton 3 years ago from San Francisco

      A friend of mine started an urban farming company in SF, great hub man.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Brian, I am looking forward to hearing about your container gardening experience.

      I will check out that website. Thank you Sir, and have a great weekend.

    • B. Leekley profile image

      Brian Leekley 3 years ago from Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA

      The craze has even reached Kalamazoo. My wife—who never grew food before in the 20 years I've known her—recently bought Annie's Heirloom Seeds baby lettuce, Swiss chard, pie pumpkin, bell pepper, pole bean, acorn squash, and five kinds of cherry tomatoes. We are city apartment dwellers. She plans to try container gardening. I'll assist.

      Her brother and sister-in-law bought into a community supported agriculture deal.

      For another way to put surplus produce to good use, Google on:

      Moscow Idaho backyard harvest

      Up, Useful, Interesting, and shared.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Ann, I can't imagine that kind of heat. I wouldn't last a week down there. Here we can almost have three crops of some types of veggies. Our growing season lasts from April to October, and with a greenhouse longer still. :)

    • Ann1Az2 profile image

      Ann1Az2 3 years ago from Orange, Texas

      Oh, Bill, I'm not all that noble! lol We have to plant early in Southeast Texas because the heat will settle in around the end of June and then nothing will do well. Tomatoes don't like heat and when it rains a lot, they get an ugly black mold on them. So everyone plants vegetables early here. Last year, we didn't get our strawberries out early enough and the plants did better during the winter and are actually now giving us some strawberries! About the only thing that does well in the summer down here is okra, squash, and melons. I may plant some of those a little later. But, as you say, may we both have bounty!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Sorry to hear that, vkwok. I've been there and it makes me appreciate my garden so much more now.

    • vkwok profile image

      Victor W. Kwok 3 years ago from Hawaii

      Thanks for sharing this bill. Too bad I live in an apartment, otherwise I could try my hand in this.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      BNadyn, I'm glad you found this interesting and I really hope your town promotes this sort of activity. Thank you!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      My goodness, Ann. You are way ahead of me with planting. Ours go into the ground this weekend. I hope we both have a bountiful season my friend. Thank you!

    • BNadyn profile image

      Bernadyn 3 years ago from Jacksonville, Florida

      What a great find while out running errands! I'm really interested now if my town has any stores like this...something worth looking in to. Many people here grow their own herbs, fruits and vegetables in their yard, so it is very common here, which I'm happy about. I grew up eating fruit and vegetables from my family's own garden and want to pass that way of eating down to my kids, too. I always buy local, as well. I like the idea that urban farming doesn't require much space -and bartering with one another is the way to go. I know that was something my mom did. I need to get on the ball with all of us this myself! I'll be sharing this, really great article. :)

    • Ann1Az2 profile image

      Ann1Az2 3 years ago from Orange, Texas

      I already have my lettuce, Brussels sprouts and onions growing in my little kid's pool on my patio. Then, I dug out a little 4 x 6 foot space next to our trailer for some more onions. Then, I planted 2 tomato plants in the front, next to our porch. Living in a mobile home park is not conducive to urban farming, but we make do with what little space we have. So far, the landlord hasn't said anything about us digging up a small area behind the trailer. After all, when summer is over, the grass will cover it again - it's not like it is permanent. Unless, of course, we put in another small garden next year if we're still here!

      We have nurseries all around us. We've been to a couple of them, but they don't sell vegetables. We bought flowers, which we also have a few of. Our porch looks like a jungle in the summer with all our plants and my husband likes cactus, which he trades frequently with our neighbor who also likes them. I like succulents much better - they don't bite!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      tireless, it is a wonderful store and it signals a major movement in our area, and I couldn't be more excited about that. Thanks for the fava bean story.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Mr. Happy, thanks for the visit and your thoughts. I've never tried squirrel but I would not be against it. :) Especially if I was hungry enough. As for garlic from China....I would be hard-pressed today to think of anything sillier.

    • tirelesstraveler profile image

      Judy Specht 3 years ago from California

      There are fava beans growing along our sidewalk. A lady asked if the plants were fava beans. I said I am growing them to enrich the soil. She told me I just didn't cook them right. She asked if she could pick some and bring me some cooked the right way. Gardening is wonderful community building.

      People don't know where food comes from, so they get angry about urban gardening. I am green with envy over this new store.

    • Mr. Happy profile image

      Mr. Happy 3 years ago from Toronto, Canada

      Great article! Thank You for bringing this topic to the forefront.

      For me it really makes no sense when I go to the grocery store and I see garlic from China. I mean, why would I buy garlic from China? Is Canadian garlic no good and I have to have my garlic fly over oceans and continents to end-up in my tomato sauce? It's plain insanity in my opinion. So, I try to buy local as much as possible.

      Will share this because people have to be aware of the implications of what we engage in and that includes our shopping for food.

      An interesting fact I may add here, is that the French-Canadian province of Quebec, here in Canada has announced that many restaurants as of this year will include deer and squirrel on their menus. And it was interesting to find that out because last year I was asking a friend from the Ojibwa First Nations what animals they used to trap back in the days. Amongst many, he mentioned that his grandmother used to cook squirrels that she trapped. I think I shall try some soon (lol).

      All the very best! : )

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you sujaya!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Jeannie, I don't believe you are being paranoid. I believe we are heading for an economic crash. I sure hope we are both wrong.

      Thank you for stopping by.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Jo, your last point is a good one. There is a large percentage of people who will never be interested in this sort of thing...unless the economy forces them to be. :)

      Keep dreaming my friend. It can happen.

      Thank you always!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you so much pramodgokhale....exciting times are ahead my friend.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Shelley, the goat has us in planning mode. Yes, they will eat everything. I've had them before, so we'll take our time and plan well before we get one.

      Thank you for your kind words.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      You are very welcome, Alicia! We start planting this weekend under sunny skies.

      Thank you!

    • sujaya venkatesh profile image

      sujaya venkatesh 3 years ago

      wise thinking bil

    • Jeannieinabottle profile image

      Jeannie InABottle 3 years ago from Baltimore, MD

      It is good to see more and more urban farms popping up. We need to have as many food sources as possible. In my paranoid world, I believe one day we will need to be able to grow our own crops to survive. This is the first step.

    • tobusiness profile image

      Jo Alexis-Hagues 3 years ago from Bedfordshire, U.K

      Bill, a small farm or smallholding....still my dream. My husband was reminiscing only yesterday about the four idyllic years we spent running a small farm in the Caribbean. You're right about not naming the animals that are destined for food, we learned that very early on. Bravewarrior's comment for me, highlighted the short sightedness of people who simple refuses to see the light. Unfortunately, they are the people who are most unlikely to read this type of article. Another gem, informative, useful and priceless.

    • pramodgokhale profile image

      pramodgokhale 3 years ago from Pune( India)

      Sir,

      it's a good idea and future massive urbanization would get benefited and Government should encourage .

      In India some urban areas people have started it and less dependence on farm fresh and waiting and of course prices will remain economic or reasonable .

      tahnk you sir

      pramodgokhale

    • CyberShelley profile image

      Shelley Watson 3 years ago

      I think you are on an incredible, sustaining and rewarding journey, that can only bring health, joy and self-satisfaction into your life. I'm so glad you are generous enough to share and will, as usual, be following your muddy footsteps. You will have to watch the goat, they eat everything in sight, or will he/she become the new family pet?

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 3 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      I love the idea of urban farming (minus the goat and quail meat). Increasing the amount of food grown in my garden this year is an exciting prospect. Thanks for an inspiring hub, Bill.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Jo, I agree, it is very encouraging. I think we actually have a major movement going on and I'm very excited about it. Thank you for stopping by and have a good evening in the woods. :)

    • jo miller profile image

      Jo Miller 3 years ago from Tennessee

      I have been so encouraged over the past several years to read about all of these efforts toward sustainable living happening in cities. Homesteading is not just for weird people who go off and live in the woods (like me) anymore.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Ginger, it's nice to see you again. More and more towns are allowing chickens. I hope yours does soon. Thank you so much for the visit.

    • ExpectGreatThings profile image

      ExpectGreatThings 3 years ago from Illinois

      You are really speaking my language with this hub! Each year my husband loses a little more of our yard to my food projects :). We have a great store that sounds similar to yours. This year when I get my seeds I'm going to see if they would offer some classes like yours does. And oh, how I wish our town allowed chickens in residential areas. Great hub! - Ginger

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Bill, I love the way you said that...carrying on the tradition. Good luck my friend. I'm excited to hear about your progress.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      grand old lady, good for you. Now add food scraps as you get them....the moister the better....dig them down into the soil.

    • bdegiulio profile image

      Bill De Giulio 3 years ago from Massachusetts

      I am getting ready Bill. If the weather cooperates I'll be out this weekend constructing my raised beds. Knowing myself, this is going to be the start of a long-term commitment but it is long overdue. My father had the most amazing garden for years so I need to start carrying on the tradition.

    • grand old lady profile image

      Mona Sabalones Gonzalez 3 years ago from Philippines

      What a lovely article. I love the idea of a vegetable garden, but can't see myself killing an animal. I'd rather have a chicken pet. BTW, am still working on my compost with banana peels and I cut them really small, just like you said. I also use the leaves of the dead plant. Boy, those leaves take so much time to decompose....

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Efficient, it really is a dream come true for me. I write from home and I'm twenty feet from the chickens and the garden. Can you say heaven?

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Inspired Heart, you are very welcome, and thank you for stopping by.

    • Efficient Admin profile image

      Efficient Admin 3 years ago from Charlotte, NC

      This seems like a dream come true (this is coming from a condo dweller). It's even better if you can work at home full time and during downtimes can tend to the earth. Now I want to check to see if there are any community gardens in my area I can join. Very interesting. P.S. at my office just say free food and everyone will show up LOL.

    • Inspired Heart profile image

      Yvette Stupart 3 years ago from Jamaica

      This is a great article! It's awesome to be able to use lands (normally not utilized) to produce fresh vegetables and other crops. Thanks for sharing billybuc.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Alan, simple indeed if the civic leaders are for it. Your history is rich with this type of activity, and I remember well reading about the WWII efforts. We, of course, had our Victory Gardens here. I see this movement gaining momentum here, and I hope to see it continue.

      Thank you my friend. I hope all is well in your little corner of the world.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Probably not, Deb, but I'll bet they would never notice the quail. :) Thanks for stopping by.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      That is so cool, Ruby! Bravo to you and your son....the village is growing my friend.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      It is very great, Ann, and we are happy here. :)

      bill

    • alancaster149 profile image

      Alan R Lancaster 3 years ago from Forest Gate, London E7, U K (ex-pat Yorkshire)

      I have a problem. It started out with having a dream - like MLK - but I hit a snag fairly quickly. The problem is, how do you get a combined harvester along a window box?

      Seriously, since well before WWII there's been this movement in the UK for allotments. Every town has them - except of course inner cities - and every council has land awaiting a change of land use from 'brown field sites' (formerly industrial land) that gets leased in small parcels because they're too small or in inconvenient locations for commercial development to 'retail parks' or 'light industrial parks' (workshops and warehousing). There are waiting lists for these plots in bigger or older towns, where residential areas don't include gardens (like Leeds, Bradford, Middlesbrough, Halifax, Manchester, Birmingham).

      During WWII all land was in use for food production, (even the gardens of Buck House), and your rose-growing peers became potato, cauliflower and carrot growing peers. Market gardens were an offshoot of that, but market gardens (growers of tomatoes and other warm climate produce) tend to be out in the sticks and only sell to dealers/wholesalers.

      There are many farms around the outskirts of towns who sell direct to the public through farm shops. This is no new development, having its origins in country markets and bypasses farmers renting space in markets for their stalls, using old farm buildings converted to retail use. Simple, eh?

    • DeborahNeyens profile image

      Deborah Neyens 3 years ago from Iowa

      Quail and goats, too, huh? I'd love to get a goat (for milk) but not sure that I would be able to get that one by the homeowners' association.

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Fuller 3 years ago from Southern Illinois

      I hope we will do urban farming here in my little town. The mayor of our town plants a BIG garden every year and gives it all away. ( He's the person i sold my home to. ) I have an extra lot that i will gladly give if people want to plant. I plant a garden every year too. I made beef soup today using tomatoes and bell peppers from my garden last year. My son plants a huge garden and offers to others, the only problem, they want him to pick it and bring it to them. ' It takes a village '

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 3 years ago from SW England

      Your area sounds really friendly and like-minded. You two must be really happy there. How great is that! Ann

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Faith and Happy Lunchtime to you! :)

      The west coast does seem to be leading the way in this movement. The communities are, for the most part, very accepting of these practices. I hope it spreads eastward.

      Have a great day my friend.

      blessings always

      bill

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Cecile. I am behind this movement 100%. I'm just trying to add a few people weekly and see if we can't make a difference.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I believe that to be true, Jamie. Let's hope more and more people believe it as well. Thank you!

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 3 years ago from southern USA

      Your community is certainly setting the standard when it comes to Urban gardening. I know how thrilled you are to find such a business in your neighborhood! Awesome. I do hope that more cities across the US and the world begin to adapt to the idea of Urban gardening ... well, that video of the one in NYC is a great example that it does not take much space but reaps many benefits!

      Up and more, pinning, tweeting and sharing

      Blessings always

    • cecileportilla profile image

      Cecile Portilla 3 years ago from West Orange, New Jersey

      Love your thoughts on how we can utilize Urban farming to become more self sufficient, help the environment an the economy. You have highlighted all the benefits that many people are unaware of. Produce from these urban farms also seem to taste better! Voted up!

    • jhamann profile image

      Jamie Lee Hamann 3 years ago from Reno NV

      Thank you Bill for this hub. The only way to save our broken food system in this country is to move towards urban gardens and neighbourhood coops. Jamie

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Ann, you crack me up. Have fun on that new bike.

      We live in a great community for this sort of thing. People have vegetable gardens in their front yards, which is unheard of in many cities in the States. I love this area, and I love the fact that self-sufficiency is growing as a viable alternative here as well.

      bill

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 3 years ago from SW England

      What a forward thinking lot these people are! It's great. Not only do they profit from the business but they're doing the community a service too, especially by providing those classes. They've really thought it all out, haven't they?

      I'm going to see if we have such things in our area as I've never heard of any in England with quite the same concept; that doesn't mean they don't exist of course.

      Really interesting and such a useful hub, bill!

      Picked up my new bike today; wheeeeee!!! Quite the little easy rider, eh?

      Have a great evening, bill! Ann

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Brandi, I have never grown pintos. Now that I think about it, I don't remember ever seeing seeds for sale.

      As for canning, we have never done it but I think we will try it this year.

      Good to see you as always.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      John, it is disturbing that someone would be fined for doing the right thing, but such is life in housing developments. Thanks for your thoughts, buddy.

    • CraftytotheCore profile image

      CraftytotheCore 3 years ago

      Great article. My grandmother used to can a lot of the tomatoes that were leftover each summer for spaghetti sauce. I never learned how to can. But, we don't grow enough to have enough left over to can. We eat just about everything we grow. I stagger our garden so that we have fresh salad every night in the summer.

      Billy, have you ever tried growing pinto beans? I found the seeds one year at a local hardware store and haven't found them since. They grew better than green beans. They grew like a green bean, but the flavor was more bold. The kids loved them. We ate them every night. They were so easy to grow and lasted all summer.

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      John Hansen 3 years ago from Queensland Australia

      Love it Bill. I hope more and more of these type of stores continue to pop up in urban areas to help to supply and educate the general public.

      I am very concerned with what Shauna (Bravewarrior) said. That guy should be praised not fined..what a travesty of justice.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I watched the video....oddly, I understand the neighbors being worried about property values....it is a valid concern when his is the only house in the area like that....but still....

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 3 years ago from Central Florida

      It pissed me off too, Bill!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I love it, Marlene, and I agree. We gave a dozen eggs to the neighbor this weekend and she gave us some kale...perfect barter.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Flourish, for me, the key is not becoming friends with the animal I'm going to eat. The chickens are safe because they have names. LOL I'm not going to name the quail. :)

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      DDE, I love it that you enjoy it so much. Carry on my friend and thanks for the visit.

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      Marlene Bertrand 3 years ago from Northern California, USA

      One of the greatest joys of urban farming is that there is always an abundance of food to share. In my community, just about everyone has a backyard garden and it's not unusual for us to bag up extra produce and share it with a neighbor.

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      FlourishAnyway 3 years ago from USA

      The rabbits and the deer are so appreciative of my recent efforts with suburban farming as they nibble, nibble away on the spinach and lettuce shoots. I'm no Farmer MacGregor, though so they are safe. Goats and quail for meat, huh? Wow. I couldn't do it. I wish you well in your endeavors.

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      Devika Primić 3 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      We plant our own vegetables and have a variety of fruit trees this is such a pleasure and so enjoyable to watch our plants grow and trees sprouting new for each season. Great interests here.

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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      They are indeed, Dora, and you are right...it inspired me greatly....as do you my friend.

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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Sha, thanks for sharing that....right now I have no response because this sort of thing just pisses me off too much...so I'll reserve my comment for a later date...anyway, thank you!

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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Donna, I do believe it is growing, and we will see a huge increase in it during the next five to ten years...and I'm excited about it. The answer....hot dog and goat ribs. :)

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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      LOL...Jackie, I had a hot dog, some potato salad, and some goat ribs. :) Thanks for asking.

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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      breakfastpop, I'm running out of years. Lots still to do. :) Thank you my friend.

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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      No excuses, Lisa. Get out there and start digging. :) Love you in that hat by the way.

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      Dora Isaac Weithers 3 years ago from The Caribbean

      Bill, I imagine that the trip to The Eastside Urban Farm and Garden Center made your day. It inspired me just reading about it. Great idea offering those classes. Well, some people are thinking and going in the right direction.

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      Shauna L Bowling 3 years ago from Central Florida

      Bill, last night I attended a town meeting. My purpose was to speak my piece against developing lots behind my house which will redirect the abundance of wildlife we have here, not to mention bring in more people and turn our small town into a city. Anyway, one of the items on the agenda was regarding a man who lives in my neighborhood who has been slapped with $160,000 in fines by the city for - get this - creating a biodiverse environment on his property! I couldn't believe my ears! He allows the fauna to grow as natures intends and promotes growing your own food. Some of the objections I heard from his neighbors told me is practicing hugelkulture. I was so proud of this guy, but his neighbors have bitched and bitched about his lifestyle and the way his property looks. His case has even gone to the supreme court. Well, they tried but the Supreme Court wasn't interested. The city has given him until April 15th to bring his property to a more aesthetic level (in who's eyes?) or he faces jail time and a lien put on his property for the unpaid fines. The commissioner stated that the man's property is only worth $140,000 so they intend to start seizing assets to recoup the fines IF he doesn't comply.

      I was appalled! The board made mention of YouTube videos, so I just had to look him up. I can't believe my town is reacting the way they are. Apparently, he's in code violation and he doesn't even have any animals on his property! When you get a minute look him up on YouTube. His name is Sean Law and he lives in Longwood, Florida. I've watched one video already and plan on going through the rest of them. I think you'll find what he has to say quite interesting.

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      Donna Brown 3 years ago from Alton, Missouri

      Jackie's right, Bill! What did you eat?

      You know this is an article after my own heart! I think that if everyone had a backyard "homestead", and used organic methods to grow their food, the world would be a better place. It's good to see this movement growing!

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      Jackie Lynnley 3 years ago from The Beautiful South

      I think more and more people are seeing how very easy it is to grow a few things or have a couple chickens. I will ask what everyone else wants to know though bill. What did you get to eat? !

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      breakfastpop 3 years ago

      I love your enthusiasm and energy! Voted up, interesting, very useful and awesome!

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      Lisa Williams 3 years ago

      This is really awesome! We were going to plant a garden last year, but waited to long. We did manage to get a peach tree started though! We are planning to get started soon, on our garden, this year...no excuses! Thanks for sharing.

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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Janine! I know this isn't your thing so I appreciate you taking the time. Now rest up and take it easy young lady.

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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Rafiq! As soon as I have more land I plan on making it a business of organic products....and many, many chickens. :)

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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I love it, Audrey! Urban farms will work in any major city in this country....it only take 250 square feet to feed two people seasonally. Thanks for the visit and comment about SF.

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      Janine Huldie 3 years ago from New York, New York

      Totally love how you ended up learning moor about this and finding this store and have to admit my stomach would have talked me into going in if not for anything else either. But again thank you for sharing and have a wonderful Tuesday now, too!

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      Muhammad Rafiq 3 years ago from Pakistan

      You are absolutely right Bill that Urban Farming can bring a visible change in the lives of people economically. This is a unique and very fruitful idea for those who want to start a new business. Useful and informative hub Bill!

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      Audrey Howitt 3 years ago from California

      Great article Bill! Our little neighborhood sports yards with mixtures of flowers and veggies as well as the neighborhood chickens--and we will in a suburb of SF--so I think urban farming has taken hold!