Sidewalk Farms Tour: Urban Permaculture in Action

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Leslie Stevens and her daughter Carly will give us a tour of their creation: Sidewalk Farms.

Sidewalk Farms started over 20 years ago as a very small urban flower garden surrounded by lots of lawn. Twenty years, two UNH Cooperative Extension courses, three children, and many hard-learned gardening lessons later, Sidewalk Farms has grown into a small urban farm that now produces enough food to store, can, and freeze for their family of five. Sidewalk Farms is also home to eight egg-laying chickens and functions as a neighborhood example of what can be done with a 1/5 of an acre less than a mile from the center of Portsmouth, NH. We use organic principles to grow our food and never use non-organic pesticides or herbicides. We also practice Permaculture principles and are constantly learning about ways to incorporate Permaculture into our farm.

Highlights of the tour will include: Indoor green house used for spring seed starting and winter food production; Active three bin compost site; Two chicken coops and 8 chickens; Worm composting; Small fruit farming;Extensive vegetables growing; Rainwater collection / usage for garden watering.

The mission of Sidewalk Farms is very simple -to help people learn to grow their own food. Because Sidewalk Farm actually lives right next to the city sidewalk, people walking by want to stop and chat about the gardens. They want to know what is growing and how to grow it and this often leads to discussions about growing methods and an impromptu mini-lesson on urban farming.

If we can teach people just a little about the importance of eating local food (and what is more local than your front yard), why we should avoid synthetic (non-organic) pesticides and herbicides, and how to have more control in our lives about what we eat, then we are having the desired impact of raising consciousness about food sources and environmental issues and giving people more control over their food choices.

The cost for this tour is on a sliding scale of $5-10, payable at the meetup.

About Leslie & Carly Stevens:

Leslie is a UNH Master Gardener and Natural Resource Steward and was introduced to Permaculture through these classes. She has become very interested in Permaculture and trys to incorporate it into Sidewalk Farms in many different ways.

Leslie's daughter Carly has grown up with gardening and urban agriculture all around her. She’s an integral part of the everyday workings of the farm.