Rebel Farmers: Urban Agrarians and Farm to Fork Food

When I think of gardeners, I imagine zen, friendly folk – taking the time to carefully water, prune, and talk to plants.  They compost their food and find the right mix of soil to encourage a tree to grow, hunch over seedlings in a hat and funky colored garden gloves to protect themselves from the sun. But apparently, if you grow your own greens to make your daily menu, you are a REBEL. “To reclaim…control over one’s food, to take it back from industry and science, is no small thing: indeed, in our time cooking from scratch and growing any of your own food qualify as subversive acts.”— Michael Pollan, In Defense of Food.

In a brave new world where your next burger may have been raised in a petri dish, more and more people are discovering farm to fork restaurants in their neighborhood, and growing gardens to supplement their daily meals.

What is your favorite way to eat fresh foods?  Forage, in Silverlake, sources local farms for their delicious lunch and dinner menus. A recent menu gives a mouth-watering example of their always-changing food fare. My first visit was during stone-fruit season, and my green salad was surrounded by juicy peaches in a light balsamic dressing. Many of their growing community share their green lives online, as well. Check out their blogs here.

Wendell Berry, in a conversation with Michael Pollan, said, “Wildness can extend from the wilderness all the way into the city park. … Thoreau said (wildness) is the salvation of the world … it’s also the health of the world. There is a wilderness that we don’t know much about. … It’s underfoot, every square foot of healthy soil.  And we have to maintain that wilderness underfoot, in order to keep eating.”

Where is your wilderness in the city?  Are you growing a rebellion in your backyard, harvesting peppers, tomatoes, zucchini?  Have you ever hosted a community meal with your crop?  Do you have a favorite farm to table joint in your neighborhood?  I’d love to hear – leave a note in the comment section here, or tell us on Twitter:  @TheCityFarm and @RebeccaSnavely.


Photo: Forage menu