After years of potting tomatoes, peppers and herbs on every apartment balcony I rented, I bought my first house in the Longfellow neighborhood of Minneapolis in September of 2010. Unbeknownst to me at the time, the house has quite a homesteading history. It’s just steps from the Dowling Community Garden in Minneapolis, one of only two remaining Victory Gardens from World War II in the United States. My home’s previous owners started that very garden.
The neighbors love to tell me stories about Rose Pearson. Into her nineties, they say, she grew dozens of varieties of fruits and vegetables in the backyard garden and manned three plots down the street. She wore a large brimmed hat, composting, cultivating and cooking for years.
When I moved in, one of my first pieces of mail was a seed catalog. Addressed to Rose Pearson.
It’s in the spirit of Rose Pearson that I take this little plot of land in South Minneapolis and attempt to turn it into an urban farm.
The EPA says the average American produces about 4.4 pounds of garbage a day. That’s 29 pounds a week. And 1600 pounds a year. I want to take some of that trash and turn it into treasure. But even more importantly, I want this home to produce something. Not just be a space that’s constantly demanding money, requiring repairs and sending out garbage bags. But a place where as much waste as possible is composted into something that will make the land better. And where much of what I eat is harvested right here.
From a home to a homestead.