The core values of Yummy Tummy Farms are to promote suburban farming, be more self sustainable, and to reclaim domesticity. This post is about promoting suburban farming and influencing my friends and neighbors to plant edible landscapes in the front yard as a major statement towards self sufficiency. This story is about my neighbor, let’s call him Farmer C, so as to protect the guilty and his evolution from growing a small garden in his backyard to now joining with me as a proud suburban farmer.
Two years ago, as I began to seriously transform my front yard from dead weeds to the rich and lush suburban farm that it is today, Farmer C began noticing the changes I was making to transform the typical neglected suburban housing tract landscape or lack of landscape into a farm. In the beginning, Farmer C was more than skeptical and his comments were less than supportive. Farmer C effortlessly pointed out how my water bill was going to go up, how people would steal the produce growing out in the open, how the birds & squirrels would ring the buffet meal bell early and often, how expensive my farm vision would be, and how the city code enforcement officials might give me grief in the forms of a warning letter or even a ticket; moreover, Farmer C can display a contrarian personality at will and with skill. I did my best to calmly counter Farmer C’s concerns because I realized that what I was doing was revolutionary within San Jose, CA and very few people, if anybody, had ever heard of the words suburban and farm used together.
One year ago over the summer of 2011, I began to notice an increasing interest from Farmer C in the various suburban farm projects that I was spending all my time on. Farmer C is incredibly talented when it comes to all things mechanical; moreover, if it involves building, installing, or assembly, Farmer C is an incredible resource. One of my personal core values is to support my community by shopping locally and patronizing local businesses whenever possible. In alignment with my personal core values and Farmer C’s increasing interest level, I proposed the idea that I hire Farmer C to help me install some drip irrigation infrastructure (which will be a future post) and to my good fortune, Farmer C agreed. In one weekend we dug and trenched over forty-eight linear feet of run, installed forty-eight linear feet of pvc pipe including risers and hose bibs, in anticipation of future drip irrigation systems. I feel so lucky to have friends and allies like Farmer C.
By the fall of the 2011, Farmer C and I had completed some projects together and were in a fairly regular dialogue that mostly involved exchanging techniques for growing fruits and vegetables. The 2011 soil synergist (my words for “tipping point or catalyst”) for Farmer C was a contrarian challenge disguised as a joke. Farmer C frequently boasts about his ability to commit to and complete big projects solo as a source of pride in his ability to be self sufficient which I really appreciate since one of the core values of Yummy Tummy Farms is to become more self sufficient. I confess to being a bit of an opportunist or maybe a bit of a predator when opportunity, in alignment with my vision for Yummy Tummy Farms, just happen to intersect at the crossroads of life.
One evening amongst Farmer C’s boastful stories about designing and installing a septic system all his self, Farmer C wryly boasted that if I thought that my suburban farm would get the neighbors attention, he was going to plant a corn field in his front yard. I smelled a huge soil synergistic moment occurring because I knew Farmer C liked being contrary to provoke a reaction and I was going to take his bait. I immediately shot back a contrary challenge that there was no way Farmer C was going to put a corn field in his front yard. Speaking to Farmer C’s contrary personality, I pointed out all of the obstacles that I recall Farmer C brought to my attention two years earlier about why I would not succeed. En guard! I could tell that I had touched the nerve in Farmer C that reflexively commits a person to a course of action wherein taking no action is not an option because it would be an injury to his personal pride. I directly challenged Farmer C in that I said I did not believe Farmer C would plant a corn field in his front yard. Farmer C reacted as if I had thrown down the gauntlet of challenge and in a very headstrong way,Farmer C boasted, “just wait until spring 2012, you’ll see,” and just to pour a little salt on the wound, I smiled and shot back, “I doubt it!”
My next post will continue the story and show you how the goal of influencing my neighborhood is making progress. Here is what both ( Farmer C and Me) our suburban home front yards looked like before any transformation: