Sunday, February 9, 2020

Hello, I Grow My Own Food!

Stranger:  Your backyard is only vegetables?!  Seriously?

Me:  Well there is a shed back there, the borders are mostly sunflowers, there’s a strawberry patch, two compost piles, and a fire pit but yeah, everything else is all vegetables.

Stranger:  Ssssoooo, you live out in the country then with lots of land?

Me:  Nope, I live in the city, the property itself is just shy of a quarter acre (9,000 sq. ft) but my house is on that property.  The front yard is all wildflowers with the backyard being the main urban farm full of vegetables.  I’m able to grow more than enough food to last year round*.

Stranger:  You’ve got to be kidding.

I pull out my phone and show them the most recent photo(s).

Stranger:  Holy Cow, that’s incredible, you weren’t kidding! 

That’s a pretty typical, initial exchange that I have with people as they find out what I’ve been doing with my urban farm experiment over the past three years.  My name is James, I live in Longmont, Colorado, I don’t have any sort of formal agriculture experience or training and yet I’m able to grow the vast majority of the food that I eat, all grown at a typical house in the U.S.

This is me:

Urban Farmer Among Plants

I hope you’ll join me on this journey as I show you what I’m doing, how I’m doing it, the mistakes I’ve made (that’s an endless list), what I’ve learned (possibly a longer list), how you can even do this yourself if you want to, and fun sidetracks on things that will probably be loosely related to all of this.  Anyone can grow their own food, it isn’t quantum physics (or is it?).  If you own a house you likely have a large grassy yard that you put a lot of time and energy into manicuring only for you to look at and rarely utilize.  Or you neglect it, don’t care what it looks like and you have a large space full of weeds that you don’t know what to do with.

I get asked a lot why I do this, and the answer is really quite simple.  I’ve grown sick and tired of trying to figure out where the food I buy in grocery stores comes from, how it was grown, what sort of chemicals were used to grow it, and will those chemicals harm me more than the benefits of the food?  By growing my own food, I know with 100% certainty that the only things used to grow my food are:  soil, water, sunshine, and homemade compost.  The food that I grow is undoubtedly good for me, it’s nutritious, it tastes fantastic and is loaded with lots of flavor!  On top of that, this is my own way of trying to combat climate change while learning more about plants and agriculture, getting more in touch with nature as well as the local community.

We could spend hours, days, weeks, months, or years debating all of these details which would probably just end in everyone being pissed off and no real action being taken by anyone.  Instead, I decided to take things into my own hands by getting them dirty and figuring out how to grow my own food with the space and resources that I have available to me.

July of 2016 (Pre Urban Farm):

Backyard with Playset and Grass

July of 2019 (3rd Season of the Urban Farm):
Taken from a different corner of the yard

Backyard full of plants

*As of July 2021, I am now able to sustain myself year round on the vegetables that I have grown in the backyard of my very own home.


  1. Amazing journey and I can attest to the amazing quality of veggies my brother grows. Hoping to follow in his footsteps this year.

    1. Thanks and hopefully you'll get some veggies growing this year!

  2. I appreciate all your knowledge! Inspiring me to be a better gardner!

  3. Cool and Good for you, James! It's really true, "Heal ourselves, heal the world !"