It’s been a while since I’ve sung the praises of my adopted hometown, but this past weekend I was once again reminded of the fact that I live in a totally bad ass city. Perhaps it’s the back to school energy that infuses this college town of ours (seeing all of the wide-eyed freshman finding their way around Brown’s campus always makes for humorous people watching). Whatever it is, I’m feeling a contagious energy to get out and explore. Of course most of the students will never leave the comfort of the East Side, but let me tell you, they are missing out…there are so many interesting pockets of the city.
Tucked away on a residential street on the South Side of Providence lies City Farm, a wildly abundant urban farm. I was in the neighborhood working on an Edible Rhody piece, and decided to swing by and snap a few pictures.
Growing up in a suburb of Michigan, my exposure to community gardens was limited. Every house had enough of yard to garden, so the idea of tending a plot of land away from home was foreign. In Providence, you can hardly throw a stone without hitting a community garden. I belong to one, and I LOVE it. I cannot stress enough what a learning experience it can be if you find a welcoming, and knowledgeable gardening network. I didn’t know what I was doing this year, but my plot mates all helped me out. We look after each others plots while people are on vacation, we trade tomato secrets and pest control advice. We collectively work to weed and spread compost, wood chips and mulch. We all seem to take immense pride in the space, and it shows. However, an urban farm is quite different than a community garden. This land is being WORKED (annually they produce 2 tons of food in a 3/4 acre space)…and the staff really know what they’re doing, which makes for a great learning experience as a visitor.
Every available inch of soil is being farmed, and it was inspiring to see how much could be produced on a single city lot. Each week, City Farm sells their produce at the farmers market. Think about that- a single city lot can produce enough produce to sustain a large booth at the market (again- 2 tons of food!!). Imagine the possibilities in your own city- abandoned lots, unused green spaces, all that lawn….makes you think!
As a beginner gardener, it was inspiring to see how they were growing- the particular way they stake their tomatoes (I’m so growing those deep purple ones next year), which plants they grow together (companion planting- I need to learn so much more), how flowers can add to the beauty of a vegetable garden (this is something I am determined to do next year in my small plot- grow flowers!). Anywhooo- I promise not to bore you with too many more garden posts; I can’t resist, that’s all I want to photograph these days. I know the growing season is winding down, and I can’t help but want to soak in the last green moments before colder weather comes a knocking. But with Squam and a family trip to Montreal coming up this month I promise some travel and adventure to break up the monotony. Oh and we’re celebrating our six-year anniversary by attending Outstanding in the Field tonight (please stop raining!). I’m beyond excited, and can’t wait to share. So there’s that to look forward to…but of course it’s held at a farm, so we’re right back where we started…more gardening stuff. Thanks for sticking it out with me!