Life, Faith and Urban Farming

The life and happenings of an unconventional pastor and urban farmer living in the city with a family of five.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Design of an Urban Farm

On Tuesday night a group from the Open Door attended the final presentations of seven masters level students in the Sustainable Systems program at Slippery Rock University. Each of the students had researched the land and interviewed folks from the Open Door about the Garfield Farm project we're currently undertaking. The two plus acres of land in Garfield that we are working is was their final project for the class. The presentations were very interesting and exciting to hear about and look at. In the coming week or so I will have the visuals and hopefully be able to post some of the ideas here.

In addition to this opportunity we are also conducting an "innovation session" with Jackson Clark Partners with Garfield neighbors and folks from our churches to discern the future of Garfield Community Farm and share what is already happening. We will have the opportunity to share the designs that the students created, but more importantly listen to residents share their ideas for the project.

In the mean time, as we think about big picture designs for the 2+ acres of city land in Garfield, we're also working hard to create a smaller garden on about 1/8 of that land. It's been an exciting process. So far we've sheet mulched the entire space with thick layer of cardboard, wood chips and leaves. We've also begun composting hundreds of points of used coffee grounds from local coffee shops for our nitrogen loving plants. We've built raised beds 4'X25' across the space, built a natural wood terrace begin with is our raspberry garden, and we've planted a small orchard of plum, apple and pear trees. The two peaches look dead, we'll see. In addition we also put in two Jostaberry shrubs and three black currants, neither of which I have ever tasted. All of this has been done with volunteers and neighborhood youth. Each Wednesday night we work together, pray together, and attempt to bare witness to the redemptive work of Christ in our world to these kids who keep showing up to hang out with us and learn to garden. The youngest kids seem to have as much fun as the oldest (that would be the adults). Here's Micah "working" in the potato patch.

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