RODALE NEWS, BOSTON, MA—At some point or other, you may have daydreamed about owning a farm, enjoying acre upon acre of row crops and meadows, maybe even waking up to freshly laid chicken eggs for breakfast. This farm fantasy may seem out of reach for most—especially those living in the city—but after a group of visitors mingled about Patti Moreno’s urban organic farm in her small Boston backyard Wednesday, it’s easy to see that urban farming isn’t about space, just what you’re motivated to do with it.
THE DETAILS: Moreno, founder and host of Garden Girl TV, and contributor to Organic Gardening magazine and Farmers' Almanac, routinely opens her home to visitors and neighbors and shares her extensive knowledge on urban gardens and farming. Wednesday, as part of this year's Natural Products Expo East trade show (it runs through Saturday in Boston; check back for more Expo reports over the next several days), she guided visitors through her raised-bed vegetable and edible flower gardens and small fruit orchard, around her 7,000-gallon pond and homemade chicken coop, and wrapped things up on her porch in front of kitchen and container gardens full of herbs and fresh lettuce. (She and her husband skim green duckweed, the world’s smallest flowering plant, off the top of the pond and use the high-protein food to feed their chickens—talk about efficient!) Visitors also enjoyed a lunch featuring Moreno’s urban-garden veggies, prepared by local chef Nadine Nelson, owner of Epicurean Studio.
WHAT IT MEANS: It’s not about the acreage, but what you do with it. On less than an acre, Moreno not only provides food for her family and many of her neighbors, but also has helped build a strong sense of community through healthy food and urban gardens. She herself lost and kept off 70 “post-pregnancy pounds” by burning calories working in the garden, and then eating the healthy food she grows.
Don’t have a lot of space? No worries. Here are some Garden Girl tips for the beginning urban gardener.