Friday, June 3, 2011

5 Questions Answered by an Urban Farmer

While I was dreaming up some reasons for doing what I do, I began to wonder why other people do the same thing. There isn’t anything new to what I’m doing. It’s all been done before. I read recently that about every 30 years or so, cultures go through a revamping of sorts where there is a movement both back to the comfortable and a surge into the new.

With all the current discussion about the quality and safety of our food, the current surge in urban farming is a movement back to the comfortable. It’s not unusual. Even the sub-irrigated planters were patented at the turn of the century, the 20th century not the 21st so that technology is at least 100+ years old.

And as far as producing food in the city, it has only been within my lifetime that it has become the exception rather than the rule. People always gardened, raised chickens and hung their clothes out to dry on a line. (Some homeowners’ associations have even banned clotheslines. How un-green is that?)

So I thought it would be nice to ask somebody who is fairly new to this business what her motivations are and what she has learned. I sent my daughter Rachel (mother of 2 of the cutest grandkids ever!) 5 questions about her gardening. Here is what she reported.

Question #1 “How long have you been growing in the city and what was your reason to get started?”

I started my garden at the beginning of spring this year- about March/April. I didn't start from seeds this year, so I guess I had a head start from Lowe's.

There were a lot of reasons for me to start the garden, but the main 2 are because my courtyard was really ugly with just the clay-type dirt and all of the pigeon poop that covered the ground. The second reason was so I could force myself to go outside everyday. I spend so much time indoors being a stay-at-home mom, they should call me the stay-in-home mom.

Question #2 “What is your main goal for growing food in the city.”

The main reason I wanted to grow my own food was so that I would have healthy, organic fruits and vegetables readily available to aid me in my quest to lose weight and become healthy. A plethora of reasons emerged after that, but that's the main reason I started the garden.

Question #3 “How important is the concept of urban farming to you and why?”

My sanity depends on this garden I have. So, yeah, personally, it's important. However, the concept of urban farming is pretty inspirational to me. I think the more we cultivate locally, the more independent our entire society becomes. When that happens, we open the door to all kinds of growth and advancement.

Question #4 “What kind of community involvement do you participate in and what kind would you like to see available in your area?”

I don't really have much to do with my community. I guess I do participate in a co-op program that supports local farms. But all in all, I don't really do much in the way of community activities. I don't really have a lot of time to invest into anything outside my own home just yet. In the future, as the baby gets a little less dependent on me, I will start to branch out. At that time, I suppose I would be interested in more of a farmer's market forum here. We don't have much by way of farmer's markets, and I have always wanted to go to one. I would be thrilled if we had something like that close by so I could get all my fruits and vegetables fresh, pick them out myself, and support local farms (which is entirely possible since we actually have farms here in Phoenix).

Question #5 “What is the best lesson you have learned by your involvement in growing food for yourself?”

This is by far the most loaded question yet. There isn't a lesson that carries any more weight than another. I have learned patience. I have learned to stop and take a minute to think. I have learned that not everything will turn out as I imagine, but that it's okay. I have learned more about spirituality and the makeup of this earth and more about its purpose. And by extension, I have learned more about my own purpose. I've also learned to let go a little bit and let nature do what it was put here to do. I have learned that God is the only one who can MAKE a plant bear fruit and I should quit trying to force it. And ultimately, I have learned to enjoy more that which was put here to sustain man (including the bugs).

So there you have it. Answers straight from a new urban farmer. Her reasons are a bit different than mine, but there is now right or wrong answer in this. There are as many good reasons for doing this as there are people involved in it.

Stealth Farming has at its core the fundament philosophy that we need to be actively engaged in doing as much for ourselves as possible. The more we rely on ourselves, the less we have to rely on the government, big corporations or on anything else. It puts us more in control of our lives and allows us to make appropriate decisions for ourselves, decisions which no person or committee in Washington or anywhere else can make for us. Stealth Farming is really taking back the right to do for ourselves what we want to have done to us. It’s the very personal realization of the Golden Rule.


  1. Well said! Gardening for ourselves is so important...we feed ourselves, we bring ourselves back to the earth, and we get great therapy as well. Welcom to Blotanical!

  2. I agree with Sage...VERY well-said! Keep these posts coming!!!


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