You can pick up any of the produce listed above at our Saturday morning farm stand at our City Farm in Austin from 10am-Noon. We will have the produce stand set up next to the big red barn. This is the perfect way for you to continue to enjoy Green Gate Farms produce and to support the farm while we take a two week break before the start of the Spring CSA. You can also pre-order any of the produce above by joining our online ordering facebook group “Reko Ring” here. We look forward to seeing you at the farm this Saturday!
Check out Green Gate’s virtual debut at Village Farm thanks to Kirsten Dirksen’s newest video here!
Here is a word from Farmer Skip on the whole project:
Spring emerged from hiding this weekend after what will be long remembered as the week the lights went out in Texas. It arrived not like a lion or lamb but rather the exotic, red-footed whistling ducks that used to roost on the Big Red Barn — tentative and hyper-vigilent, not unlike us humans re-emerging from the pandemic.
A once-in-a-life-time storm, whether viral or meteorological, will do that. Lock everything down, but not for ever. Spring and vaccines reminds us of that. And lots of reminding is what we need these days.
Along with spring and immunizations, Erin and I were uplifted by another gift that reminded us why we keep on keeping on. The maker of that gift appeared here one day last summer. She and her family stayed only a few hours before taking off to the other side of the globe to interview creative people who have traded luxury and convenience for more sustainable living. We had almost forgotten about her visit when she suddenly reappeared, like our whistling ducks, sharing her virtual reflections, captured when we had just moved into a Tiny House on our farm. This gift can now be shared by all those who have had a hand in this unlikely yet timely experiment in urban farming and tiny home living.
Kirsten Dirksen, a globe-trotting YouTuber with more than 1.5 million followers, just published her 25-minute documentary on the unique marriage here: She has titled it: “To save historic farm, couple creates agrihood of tiny homes.”
Erin and I didn’t physically create Village Farms agrihood, but we did create the initial vision and forged the partnership with Scott Roberts, the property owner, to develop this hybrid — a farm plus a neighborhood — hence the term “agrihood.” The city of Austin, through its food policy manager, Edwin Marty, also provided a guiding hand in making it happen.
A year ago all of us were planning the grand opening of Village Farm. We envisioned a celebration of music, food and speeches — a big thank you for all the people who have supported the farm throughout the years. When Covid-19 nixed that idea, we did what everyone else has done: forged ahead, mostly alone, and continued to grow and improve this hybrid so that the reality moves closer to the vision.
What Kristen’s video has shared around the world is the clean clear tip of the development iceberg. The years of unseen work — giving input into the planning, designing, negotiating, permitting, dirt moving, remodeling and restoring — all those tedious stages have run together for me. During that time, the farmer quickly learned to appreciate all the moving parts and investments required to create an out-of-the-box development. Just as the developer learned to appreciate all the challenges and hardships required to grow an authentic community farm of organic food and flowers in this part of Texas.
When Erin and I used to have careers in communications, we saw ourselves portrayed in a gamut of media — from Good Morning America to Better Homes and Gardens to an HDTV realty TV show. But being on a YouTube channel with a big and loyal following is a breed apart.
In today’s polarized environment with its polarizing technology, a story like this one guarantees strong emotions, raw reactions, provocative debate, humor, and downright meaness (trolling, as they call it). It has been interesting to see instantaneous and wide-ranging feedback.
Our daughter, Alex, warned us not to read the comments if we didn’t want to spoil the mood. How could we not? This, our virtual debut, our five-years-in-the-making Ph.D. dissertation on the future of urban farming. In my day, trolls lived under old bridges and you never saw or heard them. Today, trolls are like the grasshoppers that swarm into our fields and poke holes in every beautiful green thing under the sun.
Fortunately, Kirsten has more of a traditional, cinema verite documentary style, without saccharine music and editing gymnastics. She puts you in her shoes, which are more like moccasins, a refreshingly light footprint that lets the viewer draw their own conclusions. In other words, she shows rather than tells — a lost art these days.
As for the comments, they are more telling than showing. Telling us how diverse the YouTube universe is. Here is one excerpt that seemed to appreciate our efforts:
“The critical factor seems to be Farmers interested in engaging in the project long term along with a supportive community which sees farms and associated spaces as true community resources. I’ve lived in or visited a number of cities where the farms have sadly been transformed into housing developments. A surviving pond/grist mill was treasured in the odd case, but not the actual farm and all that went with it— you get food from supermarkets after all! I hope concepts like this and urban farms, partnered with Farm to Table reverse the trend. Thanks Kirsten and Family for sharing the story!”
We hope you’ll take a look at Kirsten’s piece and be inspired to come see how much more has been accomplished in the past year. Thanks to all of you for your critical help and support in preserving this small but vibrant oasis in Far East Austin.
Note: Farm stand is open Saturdays, 10-12, www.greengatefarms.net.