Monday, August 3, 2009

Urban Farming

Success!!! Our first baby tomato is turning red!
To speak of urban farming would be preliminary, but our little 3 by 8 foot terrace has definitely awoken our green fingers. I come from a long line of Flemish farmers and my parents tried to continue that tradition by growing produce in our Knokke backyard. Varying from fruits (apples, berries...) to different vegetables and some seasons even a couple chickens to the frustration of some neighbors who didn't see a future trend and perhaps necessity of what we all call urban farming nowadays. As a child it was sometimes hard to understand why my parents would rather spend hours weeding a garden instead of just going to do something "fun", but growing up with the privilege of just walking to the backyard and picking the beautiful, fresh and super organic (bugs and insects are a sign of truly pure veggies my mama would say when I pulled one out of my salad) ingredients for dinner was a feeling that I treasure for ever.
So far living in New York has always stopped me from growing anything. Seeing our apartment with its tiny terrace got us both excited for the possibility of creating a little green oasis in the urban jungle. Our first thoughts were more esthetically oriented. A greener view from our living room window, soft for the eyes and relaxing for the mind. Trying to find a beautiful Japanese Maple tree at Sprout in Brooklyn, we saw a nicely created container with herbs and tomato plants. Was it possible? Can we grow food on a small terrace? So we arrived home with not only a gorgeous little tree, we had also bought the start of our first miniature urban "garden". Harvested so far: practically unlimited pesto ingredients - a pleasure to all senses: basil. Mint for mojitos, teas, salads... And then of course: delicious, flavor-exploding, sun ripened baby tomatoes.
For us this is just the beginning of many urban farming seasons with more experiments in growing our own greens on our own little terrace yet to come.
And, as many people are showing us the way, growing veggies in a city is becoming more natural again and soon enough maybe you will be eating your own true local and organic tomatoes. Good luck!!!