I left NYC three years ago to take my kids away from the grit and grime, the crowded playgrounds, the noise, the smell and the claustrophobic feeling the city can take on. Leaving the big city was made easier by the existence of the urban farm my mother Randa and her partner Barb had started on a riverside hilltop in the Stanton Heights neighborhood of the city of Pittsburgh.
above: South-East view of the main field, April 2009
above: aerial view detail of farm and map
This Pittsburgh farm is six acres right in the heart of the city and the only land zoned for farming within the city limits. I am now dedicating more time working on the farm and learning the growing process from seed to flower to sustenance. I am also researching structural bamboo and cold hardy bamboos to begin farming and harvesting. My first art project I plan to pursue with the bamboo is a treehouse type of structure incorporating tetrapak insulation and solar power. The plans are in place but the bamboo is still at least two years off. Getting on plant time is a big shift. This shift I feel is the right thing for me at this time in my life. The world is changing rapidly. Its seems as if everyday brings some new unprecedented change in what once was taken for granted. I like the idea of being grounded. A literal grounding. Its a simple thing.
above: I took a run with my brother to pick up a truckload of straw leftover from a university downhill gocart race. Barb and I in front of the farm truck and the strawbale structure.