The term ‘Farmer’ for me has evolved over the course of my life. Starting off in New England gave me a unique perspective of what I thought it meant. Both my parents were avid gardeners who would often plant flowers and vegetable beds around their property while taking me and my siblings to Schartner Farms for their fresh cut, straight from the farm seasoned curly fries–a summer staple. Driving up and down Route 1A along the coast revealed more than just old money and mansions. It gave exposure to seasonal pumpkin patches, the centuries-old stone walls, sweet corn fields, apple orchards, the occasional dairy cow, and small scale family farms.
Experiencing a transcontinental move before my coming of age introduced a completely different view of farming, and living for that matter. Home was no longer the coastal farms and Del’s Lemonade stands of the Ocean State. The urban sprawl of Los Angeles had to have been the most beautiful and overwhelming sight I had seen in my life only to discover it’s eclectic and diverse roots. It’s materialistic addiction coupled by it’s community gardens and food deserts and street tacos and dim sum and Griffith Observatory and Watts Towers provided an inexplicable balance I shortly grew to admire.
Navigating through my post-collegiate life has opened my eyes and mind to the importance that food and stewardship has on a system battling too many economic and social variables. A farmer isn’t necessarily one who tends to their 100-acre property all day, it’s the individual who engages in agriculture, who buys organic, who fights for food policy and social justice, who supports chefs who respect their products, who resists buying tomatoes in January. It’s an individual, who despite all the vices and conveniences of living in a city still finds the time to care for the succulent growing outside their apartment window.
This city holds many opportunities as the model for urban agriculture and a functional, sustainable food system for the rest of the country and arguably on an international stage. The biggest key is to have L.A.’s citizens do their part in all of this. Whether you consider yourself a foodie, a gardener, a restauranteur, a home cook, living in a food desert, living west of the 405, a farmers market visitor, a food truck enthusiast, each of us has a role to play. Science claims 100% of us eat food.
This blog will take on the role of attempting to connect all of us and inspire us to take on a more participatory role in food, environmental stewardship, and wellness. When I first started to dig my heels into the urban agriculture, there was so much energy, excitement, enthusiasm, and disorganization. Needless to say it has come a long way, but from an outsiders perspective the web has not completed connecting the dots. This is where the vibrant and eclectic members of this city and beyond will play the most crucial role in reconstructing regional food systems, decentralizing industrialized farming, alleviating healthcare disparities, balancing climate change, and making our local economies more autonomous and independent. Once we start to look at everything from the urban sprawl to the rural communities as a diverse and symbiotic ecosystem, where every single one of us has a unique and extremely important role to play, then can we create a self-sustaining, close loop system as nature exhibits.
This blog will host ways to make your participation in our agricultural system less cumbersome and more meaningful. It will provide gardening, farming, lifestyle, holistic wellness, and cooking information for those who want to become more hands on with their food choices. But above all, it will find a reason to become more involved. Let’s get our hands dirty, together