By Ian Taylor
This article is part of the Way to Grow Urban Farms series by Ian Taylor highlighting six hosts from the 2015 Chicken Coop & Urban Farm Tour.
As urban farms go, Little Farm is on the large side. Located in the Broadview neighborhood of North Seattle, it is an impressive half-acre of garden, orchard, chicken yard and goat yard complete with barn, hutch and coop. What’s more impressive is that goat-herder and farmer Tamara does pretty much all the work herself.
The story of Tamara’s Little Farm started eight years ago when a life-change gave her the chance to pursue her long-term interest in farming. By developing both the farm and a preschool business on the property, Tamara was able to support her family and fulfill her farmer ambitions at the same time, while also providing a beautiful, instructive and adventurous environment for her preschool charges to explore.
“When I took over the property there were a few blueberry bushes and some asparagus but that’s all. Now we have strawberries, five varieties of blueberries, raspberries, persimmons, Frost Peaches, figs, four-way Asian pears, four-way pears, four-way plums and two apple trees. And of course loads of vegetables!” says Tamara.
Little Farm also boasts a rich variety of livestock. “We have six chickens, three adult Oberhasli goats plus two kids (and more on the way), five Khaki Campbell ducks and two pet rabbits. We produce duck and chicken eggs and now we have goat milk, too. I plan to use it for raw drinking milk, cheese and goat milk soap. We also have mason bees for pollination. My next aspiration to complete my vision for Little Farm is to integrate bee hives — hopefully next year. I’ll be signing up for Seattle Tilth’s Beekeeping classes!”
A degree in horticulture provides Tamara with a sound basis of plant knowledge for the vegetable side of her enterprise, but the most important factor here is clearly the love and work that goes into growing not just plants, goats, chickens and rabbits, but also healthy young minds and bodies.
Tamara’s parting comments are an eloquent conclusion to the tour: “The advice I’d give to aspiring urban farmers is to find joy in the effort. We never ‘finish’ or ‘get there’ when we work with nature. It’s ever changing and ever challenging — which is why I think we are drawn to it and have such a deep sense of fulfillment from the connection we make through our work in the garden and with our animals.”
If you missed this year’s Chicken Coop & Urban Farm Tour you can catch it next year. Perhaps in the meantime you might want to begin planning your own urban farm and go for the joy!