Homesteading for the Home (and NSA update)
Completing the "Big Dig" at Eli's garden in 2010.
I wasn’t quite sure what to expect when I started Heirloom Gardens in the spring of 2009. I began with 6 yards (including my own) totaling 8,000 square feet. I didn’t really know anyone in the Denver local food/urban homesteading community, and I wasn’t sure if anyone in our neighborhood would be interested in buying food grown in yards.
The last four years have been an incredible journey. We took Heirloom Gardens to 18,000, then 35,000 square feet of growing space. We created a wonderful network of garden volunteers, and an apprenticeship program that has helped to launch other urban farming projects. I founded Sustainable Food Denver and, with the incredible support of the Denver community, worked to get a new Food Producing Animals ordinance passed through our City Council. I started teaching classes at Denver Botanic Gardens, wrote a book, and became the urban homesteading columnist for MaryJanesFarm magazine. Denver now has a Sustainable Food Policy Council, which I was honored to co-chair for two years.
And, most importantly, I’ve become connected with a wealth of amazing, amazing people. I am so grateful for everything I have gained through these relationships.
And now my life has shifted, and so it is time to shift my focus. Until I figure out some handy-dandy cloning technology, the demands (and joys) of raising a little one don’t leave time for the demands (and joys) of running an urban farm. So, for the time being, I will not be offering the Heirloom Gardens NSA or selling produce at the farmers’ market.
However, I am very exciting about the projects I will be doing in 2013. The offerings from Heirloom Gardens this year will include:
I’m looking forward to making the transition from a “professional” grower to someone who grows for her family’s pantry and plates. I’ll be growing in my front/back yard, plus one of the former Heirloom Gardens sites. We also still have the bees, chickens, and goats (and are expecting goat kids in the spring!). I hope to use this website to share some of our family’s adventures in urban homesteading, and share tips and recipes that may be useful (like this post about making your own laundry soap).
Mostly, my husband Brian and I will be enjoying our time with this little munchkin here. Here’s to raising the next generation of urban homesteaders — kids who think it’s normal to get milk from a goat instead of a carton, and veggies from the ground instead of a package. It’s going to be a lot of fun.
Our daughter Ela enjoying a coconut-flour apple cupcake on her first birthday.