Posted by: andy idsinga | March 1, 2010

In support of urban gardening

My grandfather (who we called Paka) was a Friedish/Dutch immigrant farmer. Paka was a dairy farmer, but my most vivid childhood memories of him are the brussel sprouts, spinach and fresh chickens he would bring to us on his frequent visits. Our freezer was never empty!

I grew up in small towns surrounded by small locally owned farms. I even spent some time working odd farm jobs such as picking rocks and weeds. At one point I even milked cows.

Then I spent many years not thinking at all about gardens, plants or where food came from.

The years of ignoring food in that way are gone.

I live in a big city now, but its a city where a growing number of people are interested in gardening and local farmers through farmers markets. (fyi – I count 33 farmers markets on that list!)

Here is a series of short videos I put together based on discussions I had with my neighbors and fellow parents.
These people are actually making life better for my family, in a fairly direct way, by supporting the garden at my kids school, by sharing the vegetables grown in their urban gardens and by bringing local farmers into farmer’s markets near my home!

Cheers to urban gardeners and local farmers and market organizers!

In this video I talk to my neighbor Wayne about his gardening activities.

(part 1 video link)
I enjoyed the veggies Wayne and his family shared with us last summer!

In this video I talk to Gretchan about her involvement with a local farmers market and projects at The Ivy School.

(part 2 video link)

In this video I talk to one of Ivy’s teachers – Kirk – about the School’s Edible Garden project.

(part 3 video link)

In this video I talk to Truli – and Ivy parent and local business owner.

(part 4 video link)

I want to encourage you to build an urban garden of your own and support your local area farmers.
If you don’t have a farmers market – rally your community to organize one. There is a very good chance you’ll be successful because farmers markets are good for communities.

At my daughter’s school, The Ivy School, we are planning an “Edible Garden”. I’m applying for grant from Fiskar’s Project Orange Thumb with the hope of gaining some material support. The grant includes a “creative assignment” that involves imagining things 50 years from now. It has made me wonder what the gardening and local farming scene will be like then. What long term problems will we have avoided? Will our efforts today make a difference to our kids and our kid’s kids?

My feeling, especially when I talk with folks in the videos above, is that we are headed in a good direction.

At The Ivy School I asked the teachers to have the kids write and draw about what gardening means to them.

Here are some images of their work (cuteness alert!):

As a final note, I wanted to let you know that with a little encouragement from my wife and inspiration from my neighbor – I built some planter boxes for our own urban garden. They’re the boxes at the start of each video :)
[Update] Here is a post I did on how to build planter boxes.

If you liked this post, you may also find this one interesting: Today we planted trees



  1. Hooray and thank you Andy, Truli and Gretchan!

  2. […] If you’re interested in urban gardening you may also like this post: In support of urban gardening. […]

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