Down and Dirty: Digging MyFarm

| April 17, 2009 | 3 Comments
  • 3 Comments

cabbage seedlings When my friend Natalie asked me if I had any plans for Easter weekend, I was mildly embarrassed to admit that I hadn’t. I just hadn’t given it much thought this year.

“Well, you do now,” she said. “Want to help plant a farm?”

Plant a farm. I couldn’t think of a good reason not to. I welcomed the excuse to get outside and do something interesting, something for free. Something more than a little dirty.

It had been a while since I’ve weeded, hoed, or lugged 4 cubic yards of soil, but I was game for it. I just wasn’t sure what I was going to wear. I haven’t owned a pair of overalls since the 1980′s.

It seems Natalie has gotten herself involved with an organization called MyFarm– a business that specializes in decentralized urban farming. It’s a Community Supported Agriculture organization with heavy emphasis on community. In fact, every herb and vegetable grown comes directly from community members’ backyards. Want to know where your mustard greens are really coming from? Well then, go ask your neighbor. With 71 MyFarms planted at the time of this posting, you are likely to know someone who’s got one.

When we arrived at the site, we were introduced around to the various MyFarm staff members and volunteers, one of whom came all the way from Santa Cruz to help.

gardeners

Fortunately, there were a good many people volunteering for the day’s planting. With lots of farmhands, well, on hand, the work was swift and enjoyable. I was especially grateful for our numbers when it came time to move the small mountain of soil from a gigantic pile dumped in the driveway to the garden awaiting it in the back– through the garage, one bucket at a time. At times I pretended I as though I were an ant– a cog in a great earth-moving machine, but without the ability to lift 25 times my own body weight or smell things through antennae. Of course, in the unseasonable warm April weather, it sometimes felt as though a large bully were holding a magnifying glass over me, trying to set me on fire.

The next time you see me, please feel free to compliment me on my newly-found shoulder muscles and red, red neck.

I was rather stunned by how smoothly everything went. From start to finish, the garden was weeded, top-soiled, dug, irrigated, and planted in less than five hours.

sundial

We were a well organized, well-oiled, and well-hydrated team– the couple hosting the garden kept a blender of filtered water filled for us at all times. I was certain the water was placed in a blender because it was made of non-breakable materials, but I couldn’t look at it without thinking that whenever I took a sip, I was drinking a water smoothie.

It was a great day spent outside. I highly recommend it to anyone with a strong back and a good attitude.

kohlrabi

And I don’t care that someone can’t spell Kohlrabi, I’m just glad someone is actually planting it. In an effort to add my own special skills to the endeavor, my pleas for matching font styles on the planting tags went unheeded.

Until the next time, that is.

How MyFarm Works:

How It Works

MyFarm’s Vision (from the website):

At MyFarm it is our mission to make growing food and growing community one in the same. We believe in the power of the individual. But we believe true power comes from working together towards a better future for all.

We want to offer everyone in our community a chance to participate in achieving greater personal sustainability by installing local organic gardens, selling organic vegetables to neighbors and continually seeking ways for others to lend their ideas, their time and their hands to our growing organization.

Interested in hosting a farm?

Their complete list of services include:

* Initial garden set up and weekly follow up to keep your space growing.
* Organic techniques to grow nutrient rich vegetables.
* CSA style pickup a weekly box of very local edibles from a nearby neighbor.
* Permaculture techniques implemented to beautify in a sustainable way.
* Garden design consultations and networking with high quality suppliers.
* Local food feasts with chefs featuring foods from your backyard

Sign up today to host your own garden or volunteer your time– the kohlrabi and your neighbors will thank you.

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Category: bay area, farmers and farms, gardening and urban farming, local food businesses, politics, activism, food safety, sustainability, environment, climate change, vegetarian and vegan

About the Author ()

I am terribly fond of martinis, Edward Gorey, and sleeping with many pillows. You are more than welcome to follow me on Twitter: @procopster
  • karen g.

    There are now 2 people, including myself, who have had the same bad experience with MyFarm taking their money for soil analysis, then being told their yards would be perfect for MyFarm, and then nothing. I have had direct communications with Trevor Paque, but I am still waiting for a firm commitment for step 2 – design. Since you never reported how long the individual waited, from soil analysis to garden planting, I would be curious to know where this garden fell in the calendar year (ie: when did they first contact MyFarm, when was their soil analysis done, when was design consultation done, and when was the garden planted). This would certainly help people understand how long they might expect to wait after they first contact MyFarm. Check out Yelp for the 2 reviews so far.

  • http://www.myfarmsf.com/ Chris Burley

    Michael, amazing article. Thank you very much for helping out last weekend and writing about it as well.

    Karen, thanks for your comments. We’re eager to get a garden installed for you as well. It’s challenging to meet the demand for gardens and we’re doing our best to meet the needs of each one who is interested in our work.

    On the road to creating a new and revolutionary urban food production system … there will be bumps. I’m sincerely sorry your experience with MyFarm has been less than you expected. We’re doing our best to get someone over to you soon so we can get your garden installed.

    I also have to encourage future customers to look beyond the Yelp.com reviews. The website claims it is real reviews from real people, yet many of the reviews come from individuals who are dissatisfied enough to post something. In the near future we’ll encourage our many many satisfied customers to post their opinions on the website as well so the site is a fair and equal representation of all people who’ve been impacted by our work.

    Eat Well and Thrive!
    Chris

  • Diana

    I’m the owner of the property. I contacted MyFarm in early Nov, had a soil analysis on Feb 8th, and had a follow up visit where we signed up and paid half of the installation on Mar 16th. We received the design the day of the installation, which was Apr 11th. On two occasions, I complained about delays and Trevor was immediately responsive. He also recently made changes to improve the process. It was completely worth the wait. The installation crew were professional and hardworking, the farmer assigned to us is dedicated and reliable, and seeds are sprouting! Be patient and flexible with this rapidly growing organization. They are a good group of people, with their hearts in the right place and their ears open to feedback.