Hyperlocal is the new local, and that goes for veggies as well as news. Want some produce that’s even more local than you can get at the Farmers Market? Let us introduce you to Noelani Alexander, Scott Behmer and the City Grown crew.
Tomorrow (Monday) from 4 – 7 pm, they’re holding their first farm stand sale at their home in Wallingford (4108 Eastern Ave N). What’s on sale? Carrots, beets, sweet onions, lettuce, chard, kale*, broccoli, fingerling potatoes, summer squash, zucchini, and garlic. Where was it grown? Wallingford and Ballard.
In addition to their own backyard plot, Noelani and Scott found five homes north of the ship canal whose owners donated plots to their worker-owned cooperative, City Grown. Right now, Noelani and Scottt (with some help from housemates Lisa, Siri and others) are the workers and the owners: they tilled the soil and have been busy all year tending to a dispersed urban farm. Tomorrow, they bring the fruit of their labor to their own, tiny market for sale.
This kind of microfarm would have been illegal up until a year ago. Then, in August 2010, the Seattle City Council passed an urban farming law that not only made it easier for people to grow their own food and raise their own livestock** within the city limits, but also made it legal to sell the produce you raise from your own backyard garden. Scott and Noelani wasted no time in setting up network of backyard plots to take advantage of the new law.
“I want to encourage the transparency that knowing where your food was raised brings,” Noelani told us as we chatted in her backyard, chickens pecking around our feet. “People should know their food, know where it comes from.”
She also sees it as a community builder.
“I love that we’re able to sell the food we grow in the neighborhood to people who live in the neighborhood from a stand here in the neighborhood. I’d love to be able to open this up to others who are growing so they can sell as well, but we’re just getting started for now.”
All the food is raised with organic methods (as a micro-producer, they haven’t obtained government organic certification, of course), and you can bet it’s been raised with care. They’re only selling veggies for now, but hope to add chicken and duck eggs eventually, and maybe even rabbits*.
So stop by 4108 Eastern Ave N tomorrow (Monday) from 4 – 7 pm (and every Monday for the rest of the season) and pick up some veggies for dinner. As we write this, everything is still in the ground: Noelani says they won’t be picked until Monday. So there ya go: picked, purchased and, if you plan your menu right, eaten all on the same day, all in the same neighborhood. That’s local.
BONUS: Remember that electronically controlled, Bellagio-style fountain we told you about back in December? Same house and yes, it will be on!
* Want something amazing to do with kale? We got turned on to this recipe for Massaged Kale from Cookus Interruptus at last week’s Seattle Night Out. The gorgonzola, currants and apples make it awesome.
** Whenever we post about keeping chickens, bees, goats or other animals within city limits, a few naysayers always pipe up about how, if you want to have animals, you should move out of the city, since it is somehow disruptive to their view of what city is that their neighbors should enjoy the pastoral life so close by. None of our neighbors mind. If your neighbor is causing a problem, please talk them personally, rather than raining on everyone’s parade.
*** Noelani says rabbit is a mainstay at their home bbq’s, but city law would prevent selling the slaughtered meat. Live rabbits could be sold, however, and they could assist in the subsequent preparation.