Making gardening easy: The Urban Farm Company of Colorado
March 13, 2012
At Motherlove, our roots are in the dirt! Our founder, Kathryn Higgins, grew up tending her family’s country garden, and she continues to maintain a large garden. Her connection with the natural world is the foundation for her passion for herbal healing.
That’s why we’re happy to share this interview with the founder of The Urban Farm Company of Colorado- a new company in our area which makes gardening accessible to even the most intimidated and time starved of us. We asked its founder, Bryant Mason to explain how his company works. Bryant has worked in local food and gardening, served as a research fellow studying socially responsible endowment investment, and interned at Natural Capitalism Solutions. He co-founded and led “CU Going Local,” a sustainable food and agriculture student group at the University of Colorado.
How does your company help people grow their own food?
Our goal is to make gardening more easy, simple, and fun! I believe that gardening doesn’t have to be a chore, and should be an integral and fulfilling part of people’s lives. I also believe that vegetable gardening is one of the best ways for people to reconnect and learn about our planet, our community, and ourselves.The Urban Farm Company of Colorado helps individual households and businesses install high-yield, raised vegetable gardens. After an installation, our customers have access to an extensive online database of gardening resources (from suggested crops for Northern Colorado to how to harvest and store vegetables). Our gardening method is intended to simplify and streamline the process for someone who has never gardened before, and has very little to do so. Our optimal soil mix is nutrient rich, our beds require no fertilizer or tilling, and our growing method is very high-yield per unit area. Customers can purchase additional products and services such as monthly garden coaching and drip irrigation to supplement their garden and simplify the growing process even further. Our customers will be incorporated into a Growers’ Network, offering additional benefits like cooking and gardening classes. Ten percent of our profits will go toward subsidized gardens for low-income communities and families. For more information, check out our website.
There are many benefits of growing your own food. What’s your favorite?
My favorite benefit of gardening is one few people know about. There is a bacteria in soil called mycobacterium vaccae. When gardening, you breath in this bacteria and your bodies immune response creates serotonin in the brain. Serotonin is an anti-depressant, improves mood, and boosts overall happiness! Who needs prescription drugs when you have soil?
Why do you install raised beds instead of preparing the soil in people’s yards?
It takes a gardener on average 7 years to get their soil “just right” from amending it. In Colorado, our soil is very full of clay, making a ‘double dig’ incredibly difficult. With raised beds, we can fill them with an optimal soil mix on day one, and skip the years of low yields and nutrient-poor soil. Because this soil is so valuable, the raised beds contain the mix. Raised beds also make it easier to connect cold frames and trellises, and simply look better in your yard!
What do you think stops most people from growing food in their yards?
Where do you start and how do you go about doing it? People are often times daunted by the process. While gardening is a simple concept, there are actually several snippets of important things you need to know to have a thriving garden. Learning these things can be difficult with such a hodgepodge of information online, and many people don’t want to spend their weekends weeding their garden or digging in their clay-filled soil. Also, gardening has been branded as the ‘grandma’s hobby’. We want to make gardening more hip and cool so everyone wants to do it.
You advocate “disruptive eating.” What does that term mean?
It’s a term that I made up. My goal is to create a business model that disrupts the status quo of agriculture. The beauty of gardening and eating is that everyone makes dozens of food choices every day, so everyone has the power to disrupt this status quo through food. By making ethical, conscious, and healthy food choices, a person is making a tremendous positive difference in the world. Luckily these larger goals are perfectly aligned with the pleasurable-driven goals of eating tastier and more nutritious food!