On just a tenth of an acre (6000 square feet) in Berkeley, California, the owners of an average home in an average neighborhood are doing something most of us have never tried: they grow nearly all their own food. Not only do they grow vegetables like carrots, cabbage, cauliflower and kale, as well as fruit like apples and cherries, but they raise bees and chickens, rabbits and goats, providing their dairy and meat.
While such an extensive urban farm is a rarity in this century, Mateo Rutherford sees it as simply a swing back toward the more sustainable lifestyle of two generations ago. “My grandparents generation they raised a significant portion of their own food. Then we went through this period where convenience was the name of the game and cheap petroleum. And now I think my generation we’re starting to realize the benefits of producing your own food.”
For Rutherford and Green Faerie Farm co-homeowner Jim Montgomery, their farm is not a reaction to a difficult economic situation, but rather to a food production system that is “tragic on so many levels”. “The value we have as a household is attempting to live sustainably in the world today,” explained Montgomery to the San Francisco Chronicle, “We’re growing a victory garden against having to use so much oil.”
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