Welcome! Please introduce yourself to the group sharing your name, where you are from and your connection with urban/suburban farming and gardening.


Erin Schneider said:

Hi! I live in the city of Waukesha, WI with my husband, 3 kids, a dog and a small flock of chickens. Our home sits on a small city lot, which means we've had to get creative with our yard in order to ensure enough space for gardens, a play area for the kids, our compost pile, and a place for our chickens to forage (picture is of my youngest gathering eggs from our playfort turned chicken coop). This summer will be our first summer using biodynamic principles on our small gardens and I'm looking forward to learning through experience (and a bit of trial and error, I'm sure). Looking forward to connecting with others who grow food in small spaces! 

Rebecca Briggs said:

Thanks for starting the discussion, Erin! My garden in Eugene, OR is very much a work in progress. I'm doing my best to squish a lot into our small yard. We have 9 wooden-framed beds, a compost pile, mixed flower/herb/fruit beds, a shade garden with some additional shade-tolerant edibles and native fruits, and some pots on our deck. This winter/spring we've been using lasagna gardening (with as much material from the property as possible) to create new fenced-in, more free-form garden space in the front yard. Compost has been really essential in bringing fertility and health to the soil - but again, still very much a work in progress. I'm looking into keeping bees on a friend's property, as I don't feel we have the right situation here, but am excited by the prospect of partnering on that.

I'm really interested in hearing people's thoughts on the farm organism in the urban context.

dnicebear@earth... said:

I am an urban farmer in Oakland, CA. I grew up on a small dairy farm in Illinois, and I have lived in California for parts of 27 years, and 20 years straight in Oakland. I graduated from Rudolf Steiner College in 1990, and, ever since, I have been growing in my understandings and practices of the biodynamic approach. I have bees, chickens, earthworms, fruit trees and a raspberry patch.

LocaLife said:

I have a small neighborhood farm (supplying farm products exclusively to neighbors) where I raise chickens, ducks, goats, rabbits, berries, flowers and a variety of other fruits, herbs, vegetables and local native plants, near the coast of central California. The unfolding of this space has been very slow, which has, at times, felt frustrating, but I am now able to see how valuable it has been. By cultivating the garden space entirely by hand, and adding no more than one or two species of animals per year (and not breeding any during their first year here), I have been able to observe the impact each change is having on the land and how the changes integrate into the overall health and well being of the farm (and that includes me!).

I have also recently been hired to become the Garden Teacher and Manager at the local Waldorf School, which is particularly exciting as there is a good deal of energy behind, and desire to, create a farm of similar size and form to the one I have been working with at home. I am looking forward to finding ways to create collaboration between the two sites (which are in close proximity) and I am very interested in having conversation with others around the concept of collaborative farming generally.

Erin Schneider replied:

Small community gardens/farms (be it urban, suburban or in small towns) can be such a powerful agent for change. Our backyard chickens and compost pile have sparked great conversations with our neighbors--such a great way to strengthen community and build awareness! I love seeing our neigbors dropping off their compost in our backyard and visiting with our chickens. 

Do you have any favorite resources or words of wisdom for others who are interested in creating small neighborhood farms? Your neighborhood farm sounds fascinating--I would love to hear more about it (and see pictures).



dnicebear@earth... replied:

I'd love to get together to share our small, central California farms...to find out if there's any way we can collaborate.

Brad said:

Hello. I am 41yrs old, live in Wenatchee. I am on the verge of having my first farm!! Right now we (my wife Tara and I) are almost done selling our house and in the process of finding a place. Selling proved to b much easier than finding the perfect place for our farm. Our plan is to start out with chickens, then move on to 2 mini cows. Non of our future animals will be killed for food, i plan on utilizing their manure only. And of coarse bringing life to the farm! I plan on producing produce to offer at local farmers market.
I do not have a whole lot of gardening experience except, basically limited to very small backyard garden. Living smack in middle of our town/city left me with extremely small amount of land to work with. That is why we are selling our house that served it's purpose for 14yrs. Ever since i started learning about biodynamics i have felt the impulse to not just become a gardener but rather a full fledged farmer that also raises animals. I would say i have been avidly studying anthroposophy/biodynamics for about 3.5yrs now. In the past i was never much of a reader but now i find myself reading Rudolf Steiner alot (for me at least). In fact aside from newsletters and biodynamic quarterly, Steiner is the only literature i read.
The first 35 years of my life would be considered about the opposite of the journey I am on now. I definitely do not come from a farming background and I was vehemently against any sort of spirituality most of my young life. But now that is not the case and I have the urge/impulse to study as much as I can about spirituality taking all my advice from Rudolph Steiner.
I have a very long and exciting journey in front of me but I am not ignorant to the fact that I will need lots of help to be able to run a farm but I know I can do it and I'm so glad that there are places like this to hopefully get advice

Erin Schneider replied:

Welcome! I look forward to hearing more about your journey. Good luck with finding the perfect farm--please share with us when you do! 

connieearhart said:

Hello Erin and all. I am pretty new to Biodynamics, although have been an organic gardener for years. I read Steiner so long ago, yet didn't pursue that longing it created in me. Now I am back with much happiness and have extensive gardens on my small town lot. No animals allowed, so I have yet to resolve that need. Thanks for this group.

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