716: The Future of the Urban Farm and 000 Relaunch
Happy New Year! Greg Peterson coming to you from our new home, and this has been perhaps the most exciting year of my life. I uprooted myself and moved from Phoenix Arizona, where I lived for 54 years, to Asheville, North Carolina. The food growing scene here is a bit mind-blowing and I am learning so much about growing in a different climate. I even found a fruit tree program here that I am going to volunteer with.
I have been reviewing our past podcasts over the last month and listened the other day to what we call the 000 or introduction podcast from November 2015. It’s amazing to me how well it weathered the past 7 years – over 700 episodes and almost four million listens – so I am including that podcast in its entirety today.
One year ago today, I was on the fruit tree nursery lot in Phoenix pruning trees for our annual fruit tree nursery program, and today I am sitting in my office looking out over 2 acres of forest in my backyard in Asheville. As we were moving, I was pondering the past, the present, and the future of the Urban Farm and created the past and present episodes for the podcasts and stalled on the future episode once I got here. Why? There is so much to take in: new climate, new environment, new growing rules, a new piece of land, zero edible landscape except what grows wild, and I am finding there is a lot to forage. Learning what I can eat is the trick. I have said for many decades that you need to spend at least a year on a property before you make any major changes. And I got that in my head as a thought process, but when it really hit me, I truly got the magnitude of the statement. I have been pondering, learning, and talking to people who know this area and there is so much to take in.
For the businesses, Urban Farm Nursery, Urban Farm U and the Great American Seed Up, nothing changes. I will still visit Phoenix for our annual fruit tree and seed up programs. As for what I will be doing here, that is still up in the air. Being a lifelong entrepreneur, the most exciting times for me have always been the in-between times, those moments and months when I am transitioning from one project to creating a new one. And while I am not transitioning out of anything except Phoenix, the opportunities here are incredible.
Next month I am meeting with Chris Smith, from the Utopian Seed Project, who manages a large greenhouse literally across the street from my house, at the Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancies Community Farm. Imagine my surprise when I found a 150-acre community farm across the street. I was jumping for joy!
Then I met this amazing young woman named Samara who makes elderberry products. Look for her on the podcast later this year. She and I are chatting about growing elderberries for her business. To start this process, I purchased 50 Adams Elderberry sticks from local permaculturist Joe Bass and per his instructions, I put them in a pail of water and voila! They are sending out roots! That was just too easy.
Then there was the local fruit tree program I found that runs a bare root pop up nursery like I do in Phoenix. I talked to Emma and Lucas of plantsforeveryone.com, volunteered to help them at their nursery in March, and placed an order for serviceberry, blueberries, pecans, and asparagus, and I am sure there will be more while I am volunteering.
As you might guess, I am up to a lot and have not yet made any definitive plans. What comes next, we shall see. I do know that our space, four acres west of Asheville – two and a half acres of rolling hills which could be orchards and one and a half acres of forests – presents a myriad of possibilities and unlike Phoenix, things just grow here. So, we shall see over the next few years what seeds get planted and nurtured, and what will grow. In the meantime, enjoy my first podcast episode from November 2015 and many of the others that we have released since.