Cool Urban Farmer Friends
Way back in 1980, when I began art college, I met a couple of people named Kim & Mike. They belonged to what I called the “hippie Christian crowd,” & I didn’t think much about them at the time. Not long after that, I met Scott. Within a few short years, Mike married Kim, Scott & I got married, & we all became good friends. Kim & Mike were always making things like home made bagels or micro-brewed beer, & they were also experienced campers. We shared a love for music & God & talking late into the night. So, several years & kids later, when they moved back to their home state of Colorado, we began to visit them. In 2001, the Freeman clan headed to Colorado & soon we were neighbors with the Butts family (Mike, Kim, & kiddos).
A few years ago, Mike started talking to us about a guy in his church who was experimenting with aquaponics, a system of growing plants & fish in a symbiotic sort of way. The next thing we knew, our friends were raising chickens, making raised garden beds, & building their own aquaponics system– all at their home, which is not what I would call “large.” They are even roasting their own coffee & felting soap these days. Of course, they have a little more freedom to do all this now that their kids are grown.
Mike says it has taken a while to figure out how to balance the various elements of the aquaponics system they have made. “It’s doing really well now though,” he says. Kim reports, “We have an abundance of basil! Here, take some…” They are beginning to have a more or less continuous cycle of greens to harvest. One day they will “harvest” some of the goldfish to sell as pets, replacing them with little ones.
The 4 of us are really appreciating the benefits of all this DIY food production, along with numerous neighbors. It’s not uncommon to walk down the alleyways around here & see chickens & gardens, sometimes bee hives. These adventures have enriched our health & the quality of our neighborhood. Besides, it’s just fun. We still get together regularly to share a micro-brew or some home roasted coffee & talk late into the night. Just not as late as we used to.