Growing up in Texas, I remember watching endless miles of corn and cotton fields fly past my passenger window as my family drove out into the country. For me, as a young girl, this scene became the very definition of farmland: acres of crop rows extending into and beyond the horizon, far outside any city limits.
But now, this paradigm is shifting. As up and coming farmers across our nation are now demonstrating, a farm can exist anywhere. From the rooftops of Brooklyn to abandoned lots in Detroit, young farmers are bootstrapping their way into the forgotten nooks and crannies of our cities in order to grow wholesome food where it is needed most.
No matter the location, finding and securing a steady farm space still remains one of the most challenging obstacles every aspiring farmer must face. For Sown & Grown, it is the story of six farmsteads within two years, all of it on borrowed land sealed with a handshake. From the backyards of rented houses and the fence-line between commercial properties, to nearly an acre of city easement on a property some friends were tired of mowing, Sown & Grown has farmed wherever we can find, because without a farm there is no farmer. We know from first-hand experience that overcoming this initial obstacle can seem daunting if not completely insurmountable without a strong, supportive community.
Sown & Grown has been fortunate enough to find and cultivate an incredible community of farm members, volunteers, and friends. Without this spirited community, we wouldn’t have made it as long as we have and we certainly wouldn’t be where we are today: sowing and growing stronger than ever before. And now, thanks to all our friends and supporters, we’ve finally found our steady farm space and collaborative partners with Blackwood Educational Land Institute. This new collaboration will allow time and space for growth we couldn’t achieve in the past as we step into a bigger role of a comprehensive education- and production farm. We will support Blackwood’s mission to grow into the leading model of sustainable and natural agriculture in the Gulf Coast region while simultaneously facilitating Sown & Grown’s project towards building a permanent farmstead home within the City of Houston.
Blackwood embodies the very philosophies we hold dear to our little farmer hearts. Their mission, ‘to co-create better ways to grow and source food, eat and live—that restore the natural systems, public health, animal welfare, and celebrate all it means to be human’, resonates with all that is natural, compassionate, and community farming at Sown & Grown.
At the heart of both Blackwood and Sown & Grown is the charge to grow good food for our people. We will continue to farm with compassion; we will continue to make clean, wholesome produce that is affordable and accessible for all persons; we will continue to educate, facilitate, and empower our community to become involved in their food systems, from seed to meal.
It is truly an honor and a blessing to have found our steady space, for now, with Blackwood Land.