As urban market gardeners who want to expand, we often struggle with the idea of whether to try to find more places to grow in the city or moving out to the country where we have more flexibility to do what we want (get some chickens and goats, have a few acres under till that we can rotate with cover crops, build a yurt…). Staying urban has its appeal. We wouldn’t have to move. We would be close to our market. We wouldn’t have to contend with deer. Last week we had our neoFarmers Summit and visited a few different urban farms in the area – Turning Point Farm, Urban Growth, and Erie’s Edge. These are amazing farms right in the heart of the city of Cleveland growing food for friends and neighbors. It was an inspiring evening. Sadly, I didn’t snap any pics, but check out their sites to learn more.
Yesterday, we took a trip to see some properties of 5+ acres on our way to visit Breakneck Acres, a 30+ acre organic farm in Ravenna that specializes in beans and grains – they mill their own! We met Ami and Tim and chatted about their farm and got a tour of all the cool stuff they are doing. My favorite part is the school bus chicken tractor. Looks like a bus, but open the doors and there are the girls. They plan to put a water tank in the area where the engine used to be and haul it around the property, open the emergency door in the back and let the hens roam. For under $1,000 invested they have a mobile chicken tractor.
The other really cool tools they showed us include a tobacco planter they picked up at an auction that made their planting incredibly efficient, a seed saver also from auction and their new mill from Austria (which sadly arrived damaged). The mill is amazing! Most of their farm is dedicated to beans and grains, but they also plant veggies and go to market. Their vision is to build the business on grains and beans.