Monday, March 10, 2014

Why I Farm: Taft Marsh from Urban Greens



What is the name of your farm? Does that have any special significance?
Urban Greens!  The name was decided amongst the original founding members in 2010, and was chosen for it to make sense.  Since Urban Greens started in Cincinnati, it is in an Urban area and the goal is to take vacant lots and change them into beautiful landscapes that produce fresh Greens and other fruits and veggies.  

Where is your farm?
My farm is one of several with Urban Greens.  As stated above most are in Cincinnati where it all started, while my farm located on the Corner of Stahlheber Rd. and Morman Rd. in Hamilton.  This is the furthest branch from the original plot which is located in the East end of Cincinnati off of Strader and Wool.  

Tell me about your farm.
This plot is half an acre large and was started three years ago.  We have fenced it in and put a lot of effort into balancing our soil and creating a great growing medium for all of our plants.  We don’t use any sprays and use lots of aged manure, leaves, compost, coffee grounds, worm casting, and other means for making the soil the best it can be for the plants, opposed to using any sprays.  

What do you grow or produce?
My farm consist of delicious veggies and fruits.  Some of which include Kale, Chard, Broccoli,  Pole/Bush Beans, Snap Peas, Cabbage, Garlic, Onion, Lettuce, Spinach, Strawberries, Blueberries, Mulberries, Varieties of Apples, Beets, Radish, Eggplant, Cucumber, Potatoes, Tomatoes, Peppers, Okra and Herbs.

Do you produce food year round?
I do not produce year round.  My plot has not developed to that level yet, and currently only grow outdoors for the typical growing months in Ohio.  I plant at the end of March early April for spring plants and go through till the frost, or in September.  In the plots in Cincinnati there is one green house and tunnels have started to be put up in the fall of 2013.  This helps getting plats started earlier and also providing a nice big space for germination.  

Have you always been a farmer?
I have not always been a farmer, but I have always had a love and interest for plants and the outdoors.  When I first started working for Urban Greens I knew I had found what I loved because it really connected with me.  I have always had a small home garden that my dad and I would grow every year since I was a kid giving me a spark of interest when I was younger not realizing that I would be gardening as a job when I got older.  I always loved the feeling of being outdoors, whether it is hiking, rock climbing, farming, or just admiring Mother Nature’s beauty, which is why I feel comfortable and happy when I started working for Urban Greens.

What do you wish more folks knew about farming in general?
I wish more people knew how simple it is.  There is a lot of work that goes into farming but it is also proportional to how much you want to work.  For instance my father still has a small garden, and it works for him because there is less maintenance for him to keep up with.  Where with Urban Greens I have a lot more space and plants to tend to so I have more work to continuously do.  Ryan Doan, one of the founding members of Urban Greens, and myself are working of creating an idea.  This idea is for us to come to a person’s home, build a raised bed garden for them, get it all started with plants and then if they also want to pay extra I will come out X amount of times each week to maintain the personal garden for them, and they get all the produce!  This is still a developing idea but will soon be available for people in the area.  The goal is to get people more into gardening as well as eating straight from the source.  This hopefully will get people more willing to get out and get their hands dirty and start learning to grow the food they eat right in their own back yard!

What do you wish more people know about your farm, specifically?
I want people to know that all Urban Greens are spray free.  Why I want people to know this is because there are too many people that just mindlessly put chemicals into the earth and into the plants that we eat.  I want to show everyone that there is a way around using harmful chemicals, and Urban Greens has been developing ways around using chemicals and being as organic like as we can.  We also encourage for our customers to come out to the farms and see where their food comes from and see or even do the work that goes into the products they eat. 


What are your future plans for your farm?
I plan to continue to expand my farm each season and work to gain a more established customer group through CSA.  I enjoy creating a beautiful space that also provides for me and others.  I also want to keep learning more about my land and what works best and why certain plants will or won’t grow in a specific spot and what I am able to do to make it better.

Where can people buy your products?
Urban Greens main means of distributing our food is through CSA or Community Supported Agriculture.  Our share is valid for ten weeks throughout the growing season, and the costumer gets to choose which weeks to receive their share.  The pickup is conveniently at the UptownOxford Farmers Market every Saturday 8 am to noon.  Each share cost $200 and gives you any ten weeks throughout the growing season to pick with additional $20 for each week after the initial ten weeks.  We also sell produce at the Uptown Oxford Farmers Market but the first priority is to the CSA customers.  

 Do you have a website or social media where we can connect?
There is an official Urban Greens Facebook page where you can contact us, see pictures, and read about the happenings with Urban Greens amongst other things.  There are many Urban Greens results so use “Urban Greens Cincinnati” and look for the Tomato logo!  I also provide my phone number and e mail address for anyone who has questions or interest in Urban Greens Hamilton/ Oxford farm.  My cell phone number is (513) 805-1530 and my e mail is marshta@miamioh.edu.  If anyone is interested please don’t hesitate and give me a shout, I would love to talk to you!  I am always excited to hear from interested voices! 

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