In all of our neighborhoods, especially with the onset of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, many more families than before have been tending backyard gardens.
But, at their Brentwood-Darlington home, Shannon and Taylor Kane have taken gardening to new heights; turning almost all of their arable ".18 acre" of land into gardens and farming.
Shannon showed us around the enterprise they've dubbed "Wild Grown Farm" just as growing season was getting underway.
"Actually, with our greenhouse, we can grow pretty much year around," Shannon commented.
The couple started Wild Grown Farm in 2015, while living in an apartment. "We knew we wanted to be involved in the 'local food and farming movement', but we didn't have our own plot of land to put down roots; so, we went ahead and launched our business doing edible landscape design and consulting," she told THE BEE.
"The main idea behind our farm was to show people that you can farm and/or grow your own food wherever you are in life," Shannon explained. "You can grow an abundance – however one defines it, such as food, beauty, or community, for example – here in the city without having to own a huge rural property.
"In fact, in the face of climate change we must begin to use the urban environment in more productive ways."
Shannon and Taylor put what they're striving for like this:
· Mission: Inspire and demonstrate the possibilities of abundance in urban and suburban spaces by producing the highest-quality products, services, and educational opportunities for our community.
· Vision: Develop community resilience in the face of climate change through a reimagined local food system that values and encourages urban land stewardship.
· Triple Bottom Line: People, Profit, Planet. "It's not just about selling our products, it's also about growing the gardener!"
On their small Brentwood-Darlington farm, the couple grows rare heirloom and open-pollinated edible plant-starts – ones that are well-adapted to the Pacific Northwest – as well as offering a small Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program for veggies and eggs. "We still offer garden consulting services, and plan to start offering educational workshops in the post-pandemic world," Shannon remarked.
Because the farm is also their home, the couple asks customers interact with them primarily through their website – which offers an e-commerce platform to sell their plants.
In addition to running their farm, the pair also have "day jobs" at their family business, "Insurance Solutions NW", where Taylor is an insurance broker who specializes in employee benefits – and Shannon does all of the company's marketing and communication work.
"The single best thing that has come from establishing our farming business is the opportunity to raise our kids in this lifestyle," Shannon observed. "Cultivating this land, despite its being very small, has allowed our kids to learn so much about the natural world, even in the middle of an urban environment."
Looking ahead, Shannon disclosed that their short-term goals include securing additional greenhouse space, and adding a "Plant Start CSA" option – with an ambitious long-term goal of purchasing more farmland where they can grow food while sharing their passion for gardening with others.
Find out more about Wild Grown Farm ONLINE – www.wildgrownfarm.com
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