Coeur et Sol's Urban Farming journey
Our mission is simple: to farm sustainably and produce organic food for our community. At first, it seemed as though the only way to achieve this was to put our heads down and work at our day jobs until the timing, finances, and all other stars suddenly aligned and POOF, we were on a farm with our healthy harvest and tilled land. A simple vision, but a bit too idealistic.
While we loved dreaming about our future farm, we were unsure how to begin building a bridge to that life. Being raised on a family farm in Hunterdon County, NJ didn't exactly prepare me for city living, and I was unsure if there was room for both worlds. I found myself trying to reconcile both parts of me while commuting daily to Manhattan. Slowly there were moments of clarity between daydreams that would become the blueprint for achieving our goals.
Blearily watching the world flip past me from a train car, the transient spaces I passed through daily took root in my mind. Soon I saw the same empty lots and backyards transforming; desolate landscapes forgotten, but that could maybe avoid being lost if they were worked by the right hands. Walking home from the train station to my first home nestled on a side street in East Orange, NJ, my neighborhood seemed suddenly full of empty spaces waiting to be filled and tended.
It was clear that the bridge had to start from where we were now. It wasn’t enough to wish and hope for a better future; we had to build and bloom right where we are planted - in Essex County, NJ.
Committing to farming full time last Spring, I left my former career (and commute) behind to begin my educational journey. After managing urban lots and educational gardens for City Green Urban Farm in 2017 and learning from networks of local producers, I felt ready to transition Coeur et Sol from a concept to a real resource.
Nurturing our homestead, raising our chickens, growing microgreens, and building our first farm plot has been a wonderful beginning to our journey to self sustainability. These practices have been foundational for the pivot our projects are taking now. With each emerging seed and community connection it has become clear that there is a lot of room for us to grow - literally and figuratively - right where we are.
Don't give up on the things that make your heart surge, your happy tears well up, your mind buzz. After all, what else is life really about?