Homegrown City Farms: Keepin’ It Urban
By Lesley Lammers
(On my romp around the Eastern Triangle Farm Tour during one of this growing season’s most beautiful days yet, I came across three farms that particularly caught my local farm-loving eye. Part 1 of 3.)
Homegrown City Farm, new to the farm tour this year, is a 1/4 acre urban farm tucked away on a residential street of East Durham created by Durhamites Collier Reeves and Maryah Smith-Overman. “It’s definitely been a long time coming,” says Maryah. “My background is in fine woodworking and furniture, but I’ve always grown food for myself and been interested in plants, food quality and accessibility. I really came into this through Collier who studied sustainable agriculture and worked on a bunch of farms. We moved here together with the interest of farming in town.”
Maryah brought the business knowledge, having run a business prior to starting the farm, but admits that she is learning everything, “and that’s the really exciting part for me.” Collier and Maryah plan to expand the farm over into the neighboring property. They currently serve 15 CSA (community supported agriculture) members with their produce as well as local restaurants like Vin Rouge and Panciuto when they are able. Both need to have jobs outside of the farm to pay the bills, but a goal of Homegrown’s is to make a partial living off of farming, while also providing food to their community.
Homegrown received a Slow Money loan to kickstart the farm. “It’s basically a person-to-person loan. There are no banks involved. It’s low interest, so it’s really reasonable and realistic for us to get the drip tape for irrigation and buy seeds and tools. That really made it possible to start it up,” Maryah gratefully notes. They aren’t just growing food at Homegrown, but offer services off-site including garden consultations, education, design, installation as well as construction of wood and stone masonry walls, retaining structures and garden beds.