Most urban farms I’ve seen usually get the response, “wow that looks great” usually commenting on how a garden looks better than an unmowed lawn. My goal for the Ridge Farm (Ridge Ave & Oak Hill) is to make it a destination. I want it to be the White House Fruit Farm of Youngstown. I remember going to White House as a little kid, picking apples and cherries, chasing frogs around the pond, drinking 10 cent cups of apple cider, and eating blueberry donuts. White House was always the best field trip destination in school.
Ridge Farm will not only be a highly productive farm, but I want it to be an experience. I want kids to want to visit and want to eat fresh berries and tomatoes. I want people to make it a weekly destination to get all their produce.
In Sepp Holzer’s Permaculture, there is an example of a U-pick farm formed into pathway. With basket in hand, you pick and harvest whatever you want. In the middle there could be a picnic bench for people to enjoy a piece of fruit on stroll. Everything eaten while harvesting is free, and at the end there is a scale and someone to pay for the harvested fruits and vegetables.
There will also be a large picnic area with an herb bed attached so fresh herbs can be added to meals and snacks.
The first hoophouse will be used for raising worms, a small aquaponics systems, and seed starting. A second hoophouse is possible for a larger aquaponics operation.
By utilizing all eight layers of a forest gardening system, hugelkultur beds with sloped sides, I hope to make Ridge Farm one of the most most productive parcels of land in the world. Big goal, but I think its possible.