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Our Urban Farm

When we bought this property in Castlegar, we we’re really considering the prospect of it as an Urban Farm, but now that we have been here for three summers, the property has become defined, in my mind at least, as our Urban Farm. This is despite the City’s snail pace decision making on the issue of hens in residential areas, and the fact that they laughed at our suggestion of permitting Pygmy Goats in a yard such as ours.

Saying that, we are well on the way to better understanding our soil, the patterns of the seasons, pests and predators and skills such as tilling, crop rotation, harvesting, seed saving, storage and preservation. We are busy working out how to improve our production and conversion of food from human energy on our property, and are finding the balance between effort and abundance. Last year we grew wheat, oats and amaranth in our yard among other crops, all of these grew successfully in Castlegar, which seemed to surprise some people. But the effort required to process these grains without industrial scaled machinery, made the exercise very time and effort consuming. Instead, we doubled our subscription to the Creston Grain CSA, where we procure most of our grain needs.

As the summer rolls around, leaving the cooler nights and dewy mornings of late Spring, the fruits plump up on the trees and vines, the sprinklers keep the ground moist and the bees collect pollen like kids in a candy store. We are a long way from self sufficiency or sustainability or any of those catchwords, but many of the choices we make are rooted in a sense of personal responsibility for our food and environment. That is a large part of writing here at UrbanWorkbench, sharing our experiences and findings, and keeping a record of what has worked or challenged us along the way.

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Thanks for reading.

Mike Thomas

Mike Thomas P.Eng. ENV SP, is the author of UrbanWorkbench.com and Director of Engineering at the City of Revelstoke in the Interior of British Columbia, Canada. If I post something here that you find helpful as you navigate the world of engineering, planning and building communities, that’s wonderful. But when push comes to shove: This is my personal blog. The views expressed on these pages are mine alone and not those of my employer.