Why My Own Farm, In The City?
A little over a year ago we bought a new house in the city. First let me say, I am not a city boy in the least. I am more of a water, live on the beach kinda guy and truly a country boy at heart. Throughout my life I have lived in cities, in the downtown areas and in the outskirts, I have also lived the country on property. When I first moved to Florida I was privileged enough to be able to live right on the beach in a small cottage. The cottage and beach life was very healing for me and my kids but I knew that I could not stay there and accomplish everything that I wanted to.
When it was time to buy a new home, we looked everywhere in Pinellas county and even started considering other counties, that is when we discovered our home. Now, this home is the perfect size home that I wanted and it has just enough space for the family but not so much space that it is overwhelming like some of my homes in the past. I had two specific requirements when we were looking for a home; 1, The home must have an in-ground pool, I mean come on we live in Florida now. Doesn’t every home have a pool? 2, The home must have property, I didn’t need 3000 acres or something ridiculous like that but I did want some land. We both love animals and I have always wanted to have a mini farm with my own livestock and other barnyard animals.
Well, the house is in the city, there was no pool and not even an acre of land but we fell in love! The house was not our only choice but the location of the house is in a part of the city that is not filled with “cookie cutter” homes and the lots are quite nice in size and all of the streets are brick pavers. This still left me with the question “how was I going to have my farm?”. Don’t you worry your pretty little self, where there is a will, there is a way is how I have always lived my life. I started my research on the city and what the restrictions were and how I could accomplish a little portion of my dream.
I started out with just a little raised bed garden in the back corner of the yard 8’x 8’, this was very successful in its first growing season. My goal was to have a 100% organic garden using my own compost and richer soil. Now that I knew my gardening skills were still in tact I expanded the garden to 12’ x 24’ and built a cute little wooden fence around it to keep the pups out of it. Again, I tested the winter gardening season and success it was. After I was done growing for the year I tilled the ground up and mulched up any leftover plant pieces, stems, leaves, etc. During this entire year I have also started a true compost pile and every chance I get to feed it or add to it I do and to help it break down faster I add chicken poo to it when I clean the coops (more about the chickens next). Now that the ground has set for
a few months, the soil is now richer than ever. It is time to add all of my compost and till again to get ready for my spring planting season. I can not tell you what a relief it has been to have my own organically grown and GMO free veggies for 70% of the year.
Even though my family and friends thought I was completely nuts, I decided to build a coop and buy a little chicken house off of Amazon and get some young chickens. I started out with 5 hens and they were the cutest little chickens ever. My addiction to these feathered babies continued to grow and I added more until I was up to 9 hens. During this time we had a pretty bad storm and it tore up a portion of the coop so I knew with having the amount of chickens that I had and the damage it was time to build a bigger and better one with a new hen house. Well because I had 9 hens and had a much bigger coop now I thought why not get more? That weekend I did buy 6 more adult hens which brought my total to 15 laying hens, and yes I know each one of their names lol. I have also added 6 babies to my flock total although they are kept separate and still under a heat lamp because they are only 4 weeks old this week.
Why do I want chickens you ask? I wanted chickens for a few reasons, I love them and can get hooked on watching them forever. We call this “Chicken TV”. I love fresh eggs, even though I try to follow a flexible AIP diet, I can tolerate eggs which is good because I really do enjoy the taste. There is nothing like the taste of fresh eggs that have not been stored somewhere for weeks before they even get to the supermarket for you to purchase. Another reason I enjoy my chickens is because I get to sell eggs to friends and co-workers (first half dz is always free). My chickens are cage free and they have their own yard to run and play in, they have access to all the sunshine and fresh air they want. I only feed them soy free, antibiotic free, gluten free, gmo free feed and I supplement their diets with fresh greens from Paleo On The Go. I also feed the chickens oyster shells and when I make hard boiled eggs I save their egg shells, bake them and grind them up, mixing them up in their food, this process makes the eggs they lay much nicer and stronger.
So there it is, the answer that so many have asked me over the last 15 months on my social media pages. I farm in the city mostly because I love it, mostly because I can. The main reason I farm in the city is to prove that no matter where you live, no matter how big or small your property is you can always have control over where your food comes from, how it is raised, how it is grown and feel good about yourself because you are giving back to the earth and giving back to your body Real Food the way it was meant to be given to your body.