Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Our Happy Urban Farm

I am getting ready to graduate with my masters in environmental studies and as my classes and projects get more intense so do my desires to live sustainably. Like I have said before I grew up on a mini farm that practiced sustainable living but my poor husband did not. He grew up in the city; his closest interaction with farming was mowing the 5x10 foot lawn in front of his mom’s house.
When I decided to go back to school he was very supportive, I had originally studied government and had talked a lot about law school so he was all smiles at the thought of us boosting our family income. But then I broke the news that I was going to pursue environmentalism. He smiled and said, “Whatever makes you happy, I support you,” but he was thinking, “I have married a hippie lunatic!” He thought this again when I informed him that we were going to tear out his precious back yard lawn and start an urban farm!
So this is our new project, we are going to start urban farming. Our current garden measures 3 x 10 ft. (it runs along the side of our house), but our new one will be 10 x 30. We are starting off with 20 vegetables beds and then a 10 x 10 patch of wheat. We currently have four fruit trees along the back perimeter of our yard, by next summer we plan to have added 10 more. We also plan to add chickens in the spring for eggs and meat. We want to grow enough food to feed the entire Happy Green Life Crew and our extended families, and maybe someday have enough to sell at the farmers market.
What is exciting, besides the prospect of never having to go grocery shopping again, is that all of our family and friends want to be a part of it. All of our friends and family have offered to come and help us. Even friends of friends have gotten excited by the idea of us doing this and have offered to help; we even had offers of land if we find that our dinky back yard is holding us back!
We are so excited, and a little scared, after all this is crazy! Remember my husband is a city boy and while I may have grown up on a farm I spent the majority of the time watching 90210 in my bedroom-far far away from any farm like activity.  Luckily we have friends with knowledge! My husband is in the military and one of his fellow soldiers is a member of the Farmer-Veteran Coalition. This group offers training and grants to veterans who want to become farmers. Our friend Eric has been working for the last two months with us getting all of our preparations for our urban farm. He has taught us everything from soil testing and PH levels, to layouts and crop rotations. This weekend along with the whole Happy Green Life crew we will be putting in our first winter crop! We are all very excited! This is going to be quite an adventure for all of us. After our first crop is in we will be learning how to harvest and then rotate, and then as the spring gets near we will be looking into what to plant as the season changes. We will be looking into chickens and how to build a coop and our resident chef Michael will be teaching us green ways to cook with our garden!
I am so excited to share this crazy adventure with you guys. I am sure it is going to be full of ups and downs but I think it will be fun.


  1. Yay for urban farming and becoming more self sustainable! We live in a large city and do some urban farming. We help our neighbors and together we have enough space to have a garden, chickens, ducks, guinea fowl, rabbits, and a couple milk goats :)

    I just posted pictures not long ago on my blog. Feel free to check it out and follow back!

  2. That is so cool!! I love the idea of joining with your neighbors and farming together!! We here at A Happy Green Life dream of having a big farm where all of our families can join together and work! Until then we are doing it in our little back yards! Kristin and Michael have begun working on their mini farm, hopefully our families can plant different plants and we can have a great combination veggies!!