“When a yard transforms into a farm, it isn’t private property anymore. It sets of a flow of relationships, education, seeds, money, meals and ideas.”
From 1/1/11 to 1/1/13 we had a hell of run that will inform what we try next –
Wheatsville helped support Resolution Gardens’ pilot program to create a de-centralized urban farm that lives in homeowner’s yards. We’ve grown from our first 200sf module, to eighty-eight modules – 17,600sf at 6 active sites. You’ve been buying our chard and lacinato kale at Wheatsville during the spring season. We’re proud to announce the formation of 5 Mile Farms! Thanks to Tyson Brown, Chance Carlini, Patti Boyce, Monica Asencio, Mary Ellen Borgelt, Nathan Wilcox, Dave Foster and Matt Risinger (and their families) for making their homes our farm. (Join them!)
When I went to 5th grade in Westlake last year and asked 6 classes of thirty students where their food comes from, they said “plants” — not animals, not farms. Do they see a farm as they move around Austin? I can’t DRIVE to more than a handful, myself.
What if we all moved around our towns everyday and saw farms? Not industrial farms, but small, beautiful, pockets of productive space that were PLACES where people and plants were becoming nutrition (food and $) for the community?
When you see or visit a 5M Farm you’ll be at a neighborhood resource where you’ll find a 5M Farmer who is physically ready to throw down and bust some butt, and probably already is. She is tuned in to the weather and soil conditions. A nurturer of organisms. Thrifty with ALL available materials and resources. He is ready to lend a hand. Constantly problem solving and anticipating next moves to increase fecundity. Someone you want to be in relationship with. What if she was YOU?
The practice of growing food generates cultivation of the community. Because we dig, plant, nurture, harvest and eat, we plan, communicate, share, sell and invest like an ecosystem. 5M increases participation as it decreases consumption. When we produce tangible, edible, healthy food we go “where someone knows our name,” but also VALUES us when we go to the local restaurant or grocery store.
Farming is a platform of activity for more than a lifetime of learning, but anyone can start RIGHT NOW with a shovel and a willingness to share. The 5M model allows for the potential to construct hundreds of thousands of farms in Austin alone with basic tools and wholesome materials (compost, seeds, rainwater barrels). We could create jobs in the organic, hyper-local food sector for thousands of under-educated, economically and most-likely, racially marginalized community-members instead of sending them to dead-end jobs cleaning toilets or frying chemically-laden death-burgers to their neighbors at fast food industries.
5M will build a new retail infrastructure for the movement of produce in neighborhoods that incorporates an online component and a scale and walking and maybe no cash at all.
5M is a meme, and a replicable business DNA that will allow every community in the industrial world to grow hyperlocal produce and neighbors.
Let’s walk to that farm because it’s in our front yard. Let’s be those people because a farmer is the best neighbor — the steward of health for herself, his family, the organisms we relate with because we eat them and depend on them, and our community.
Because we build that PLACE in your yard, and we PRODUCE that FOOD with that WORK with these PEOPLE we will have true HEALTH. We’re cultivating for ourselves a FEELING of connectedness where our life and our time MEANS something real and important. And what we GIVE in time and money and sweat comes back in food, relationships and knowledge.
At our little 5M project in Austin we FEEL it because we ARE it. It’s not a picnic. It’s not utopia. It’s us and the work we do to eat together today.