Farming in the City
The concept of urban farming is being explored from New York City rooftops to inner city acreage in Atlanta. When I visited an Atlanta market last February I was asked if we had any farms within the Huntington city limits and I said no. But I was wrong!
BethAnn Earl is the energy behind Noni’s Farm, a one acre parcel of land on a ridge in the Harveytown area of Huntington. Originally farmed by her husband’s great-grandfather, BethAnn joined Scott there when they married about a year ago.
BethAnn grew up in Columbus but moved to Huntington in 5th grade. Her family moved back to Columbus after her first year of high school, so it was very sweet when she returned for a reunion and rekindled her old flame with Scott. She was still in the Navy at that time, stationed in St. Louis and they met often in Louisville to rebuild their friendship. She retired from the service and happily made the move to Huntington.
She started a small garden for the family, and then heard that the Wild Ramp would be opening this summer and decided to double the garden and turn it into a business. Her desire to grow food is new found and often confusing. “I didn’t even see peas in the pod until I was 21,” she said. “Peas came in cans.” Now she grows peas, as well as beans, radishes, squash, tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots, peppers, as well as cilantro, chives, onions, melons, and more! All that in 40feet by 40 feet of space.
They have corn in another garden across the road and plan to install a high tunnel to enable cold weather cultivation. Another plot of land near the original farmhouse is available but is mostly clay and the soil needs to be prepared to be productive. She needs compost for that as well as some additional equipment.
A new shed is being built to house a small flock of chickens. Besides providing enough eggs for the family, BethAnn plans to have the chickens help clear the garden space as the season ends for the various crops.
She is expanding her education by reading a lot and speaking with other farmers. She is also eager to spend some time interning with a more seasoned farmer to help her education. Her hope is to be able to acquire more acreage and have her own farm in about five years. We will be eating her food for a long while.
By the way, tomorrow I will be posting photos of the vegetables from the Noni’s Farm garden. Please go to the blog and check out the photos and see how many you will be able to identify.