Monday, August 10, 2015

Breaking News!



Today, after meeting for the 3rd time in a month with City officials asking me (politely) to close our farm stand, I have decided to stop farming in the city-in protest.

For the rest of the season, we will be giving our produce to people in need.  If you know people who are ill, poor or want to give their children fresh nutritious food, please have us contact us ASAP. We’ll even deliver to people with terminal illness.

Since 2013, we have been diligently working with various City committees to help draft an urban agriculture ordinance. We’ve provided the City with our best practice findings, from other cities having already adopted urban agriculture ordinances. An ordinance was drafted last year with our help, was shelved and handed to a new committee. It could be months before an urban agriculture ordinance gets to the City Council floor.

We purposefully decided to open a farm stand this summer, giving the City several months’ notice of our intentions. Going to the Farmers’ Market doesn’t make sense when you can sell your food to your neighborhood. We built our farm stand in 2013 with a generous grant from Architecture for Humanity. This summer was the time we chose to showcase how beautiful a farm stand can be in the middle of a City.

Unfortunately, one neighbor and a couple of her sidekicks (one lives 5 blocks away and one in Eldorado!) have been harassing the City and asking them to enforce their zoning codes, which as they stand today, make it illegal to sell from a residential property. They are fighting us on principle not because we are a nuisance of any sort. We've been good neighbors and have received the overwhelming support of the 43 other residents bordering two sides of the farm.

One can have a garage sale every day and that’s OK, or a lemonade stand, but having a farm stand open 3 days a week from 8:00am-12:00pm is illegal.

At 57, my heart always tells me the right thing to do. It told me to learn how to farm, it told me to welcome schools and help schools with their gardens. It told me to welcome volunteers and teach people how to build soil, make compost, and grow abundant food in the desert with very little water.

I know we've been doing the right thing all along. We are very proud of it.

But because of a City behind the times, and a neighbor determined to prevent a farm from operating in the City, it has been a constant battle to do the work we’ve set out to do. I have spent so much time doing research, meeting with City committees and City officials, and involving the pro bono help of attorneys that I have exhausted myself.

Why would we continue fighting to do such a benign and beautiful thing as a farm? Why would we slave away day after day all year long to make less than a 16-year old washing dishes at a fast food restaurant makes?

It’s time for me to move on and offer my skills, energy and devotion to greater causes, and a more engaged and supportive community. I aspire to work with people who truly want to address the injustices of this world. Having farmed for 5 years has sensitized me to the plight of small farmers the world over. Believe me, they are hurting. They cannot compete against a subsidized corporate food industry that can keep its prices lower than production cost because they get huge subsidies from the USDA. 

It’s been a pleasure serving this community but it’s now time for others to take the baton. Young people in particular.

Please remember that, when you are shopping for fresh seasonal food, buying at Trader Joe’s or Wholefoods DOESN’T support local farmers. Unless local farmers are supported, small local farming, as well as family farmland, will disappear.

Shop at the Farmers’ Market or join a local CSA.  Invest in the future of your community.


  1. I am very sorry to hear this...You have my support for the PNW...You don't know what you've got, till it's gone....

  2. Believe me we are just as disgusted in Eldorado with our local vigilante busy-body as you are! She can't understand that the world is changing - old covenants and ordinances no longer apply. I applaud your work and know you have touched more lives for the good than these "neighbors" ever will.