Friday, May 1, 2009

Denver's urban gardeners are digging their backyard farms

I have had the idea for Movement Victroy Garden since I graduated from CSU with a Landscape Horticulture degree. I honestly never knew what I wanted to do with my degree. Only that I loved plants. So I came up with MVG. I passed out flyers but the concept was so foreign to homeowners that I only a few ever showed intrest and fewer let me hired me to install Victroy Gardens. The following article found in Westword from April 30th has given me insperation to keep doing what I love, and that is gardening.

Here is my part of the article, "There is quite a movement," says Doug Kelley, director of Denver Animal Care and Control, which issues city permits for livestock such as chickens. "There has definitely been an upswing in permit requests. It seems like we have been getting at least a couple a week, if not more than that." In the first three months of this year, Kelley's department received eight chicken permit requests, two more than they received for all of 2008.'

Doug Kelly you are my hero!

La Ferme de Beau à Manger is one of the most tidy and picturesque farms I've ever seen.

With the growing season just beginning, terrace upon brick terrace is primed and ready for a soon-to-be-lush sea of asparagus and strawberries and raspberries and pumpkin and spinach and lettuce and zucchini. Six-foot-tall wooden A-frames stand ready to support cucumber and snap-pea vines, while wire cages arch over seed beds in anticipation of the myriad tomatoes they'll accommodate.

And in the middle of it all, there's the penthouse of all henhouses: a stained and shingled beauty complete with a skylight, an easy-access egg door, a fully enclosed chicken run and cushy nesting boxes. Not too shabby for its feathered occupants: Annie, Marguerite, Charlotte, Rosie, Dolly and Mrs. Merriweather.

But La Ferme isn't located in some rural Colorado locale. It's in central Denver — Platt Park, to be exact — squeezed into a 2,500-square-foot back yard behind an otherwise unassuming mid-century brick bungalow. The incongruous location is a bit disorienting, especially when a fox crosses my path in the front yard when I first show up.

That's the neighborhood fox, explains John, owner of La Ferme de Beau à Manger. It's been poking around since December, when it got a taste for Charlotte: John was late one evening putting the hens into their fox-proof abode, and he found the hen in a pool of blood. Luckily, she made a full recovery, and John learned to be more diligent.

There's a lot of learning to do when it comes to backyard farming, and it's something more and more people are learning to do, John explains while sitting on the patio with a roundtable of other green-thumbed Denverites.

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