Healthy, Sustainable, Local Food

Our mission is to broaden the base of our local food system by helping more people learn to grow some of their own. We believe that a widely-distributed, small-scale food system is better for families, for communities, and for our planet. We want to help other people experience the deep sense of purpose and connected-ness that comes from tending a regenerative garden, and share the health & fulfillment that we get from working the soil with our hands and coaxing sustenance from the earth. Come grow with us!

We have lived on this historic block for almost 25 years. We raised our children here. We became un-schoolers here. In 2009, as a homeschooling project, we started growing food. Suzanne was our neighbor who delighted at the prospect and invited us to move a small hobby greenhouse into a sunny corner of her big backyard. That is how our little urban farm got started. Suzanne said it was her great joy to give me the garden of my dreams. But, honestly? never in my wildest dreams had I imagined anything like this urban, permaculture foodscape!

That initial yard-share arrangement blossomed into a beautiful friendship and marked the beginning of my local-food odyssey. After a long struggle with respiratory illnesses, Suzanne passed away in September of 2014. During that summer, even as her health declined, she  was worried about what I would do after she was gone. She said she knew I had to go on growing; she said, "Looks like Im gonna 'Buy the Farm', and then I guess you'll just have to, literally, buy the farm too." And she laughed herself into a coughing fit. 

Well, buy the farm, I did! We pooled our family resources and, in the waning hours of 2014, we closed the deal to purchase Suzanne's property. Today, Suzanne's 'gift of a garden' goes on giving, growing deep roots in our community food system and connecting more people to the source of their food.

We have so much more planned for our little sustainability project! Check out our 'Projects' page to learn more about the plans that are afoot on the farm.  

 

Our name

In our early years of homeschooing, people would sometimes ask us the name of our little school. We lived on Laurel Street, so we said it was Laurel Academy. It wasn't a very imaginative answer, but we didnt care; we wondered why we even needed a name. But sometimes, having a name came in handy, like when ordering educational materials, or registering kids for programs. There would be this little box to fill in: Name of School. I would kind of chuckle to myself and write 'Laurel Academy'. I chuckled because, as unschoolers, we were much more oriented to experiential learning, than to academic learning. In no way did we try to replicate school, at home. So calling ourselves an academy was like pandering to a narrow idea about what Education, is. I kind of liked the absurdity of the moniker.

We used the name whenever it was useful,  like to deflect unwanted conversations about homeschooling. In those early days, almost no one knew anyone who homeschooled, and so many people had so many questions! so when someone would ask “What school do you go to?’, if the girls wanted to a avoid the questions they could just say ‘Laurel Academy’ and then redirect the conversation.

Over the years, we all developed a kind of fondness for 'Laurel Academy' and then, in 2009, we started growing food; that is when we added the 'Farm'. Laurel Academy Farm. I immediately identified more with the Farm, than with the Academy, but the idea of an Academy of Urban Farming was delicious. Irresistible. And the fact that the acronym is LAF? Well, its perfect.