09 August 2012

Resolution Farm

After visiting two other urban(ish) farms recently (Green Gate and Boggy Creek), I was reacquainted with a tiny, extremely local urban farm: Resolution Farm.


I say "reacquainted" because we actually spent a day there early last year, when it was just a double lot with a bungalow on one side.  This Google Map image shows what it looked like then (the picture above was taken from roughly the spot where the dark car is sitting on the vacant lot in the picture below):


There was an organized work day for volunteers to help till, weed, and otherwise turn the vacant half of the property into a farm, and Steve and I decided to spend the day helping out and learning some farm skills. (Indeed, it was that experience that gave us the confidence to invest in a tiller to get our own lot ready to landscape, saving us the $35/hour -- plus tiller rental -- that our landscape designer would have charged for her crew to do the work.)

Resolution Farm is a different kind of farm from Green Gate and Boggy Creek -- urban in the truest sense of the word, located right in the middle of town (just about a mile south of the Green House).  It's on a half-acre piece of land, which also includes the owner's house:


Every square foot of the farm is put to use, from the rows and rows of vegetables that were going strong when I was there...


 

...to the herb spiral made of salvaged bricks and stone...


...to the henhouse....


...and its egg boxes...


The day I visited the farm, the owner, Randy Jewart, was giving a presentation through the Austin Energy Green Building program. Randy is deeply committed to urban farming and expressed concern that the local food movement is becoming a "gated community" due to the cost of locally grown food versus grocery store goods.


Resolution Farm has a CSA ("community-supported agriculture," memberships to receive a share of the harvest on a weekly basis), but even using volunteer labor whenever possible and charging farmers' market prices, the farm isn't financially self-sustaining. Randy has had to get creative to keep the farm afloat. One of his initiatives is Resolution Gardens, which designs and installs raised bed systems for folks wanting to grow vegetables at home. The name "5 Mile Farm" refers to the notion of establishing enough vegetable garden capacity around town (in individual yards, etc.) to roughly equal a whole farm within a five-mile radius.


Resolution Farm is fairly unique in allowing CSA members to assemble their own shares instead of giving everyone the same random assortment of whatever was just harvested. (For the $20 weekly fee, you get to choose $20 of veggies.) Still, I'm apprehensive about having to use a whole share each week, so I haven't joined the CSA. But Resolution Farm has become my go-to spot for quality in-season veggies. Their tiny multicolored beets this spring were the best I've ever tasted. (Can't beat their beets, you might say.)

I am -- and north central Austin is -- so, so lucky to have Randy and Resolution Farm in our neighborhood. Although the challenges are great, seeing what he and his team have built in the last two years gives me faith that the farm will thrive and, with it, Austin's local food community.

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